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SEQUEL

TO

THE WISHES OF A RECLUSE.

CERTAIN persons have expressed surprize that after having spoken, in my Studies of Nature, of the causes which were likely to produce the revolution, I should have declined to accept any employment in it. To this I shall make the reply already stated: it is that for more than twenty years past the state of my health has not permitted me to mix in any assembly, political, literary, religious, or even convivial, if there be a crowd and the doors shut. Some of my friends allege that the desire of getting out, and the spasmodic agitations which I then undergo, arise from an over exquisite sentiment of liberty: it may be so; but God forbid I should endeavour to make

my
infirmities

pass

for virtues! My maladies are real maladies; they are produced by a derangement of my nervous system, the effect of the rude shocks to which my life has been exposed. * Independently of the physical

causes

* This malady is much more ancient than is generally imagined. I find the following passage on the subject toward the beginning of the 54th Epistle of Seneca to Lucilius :

Longum mihi commeatum dederat mala valetudo ; repentè me invasit. Quo genere, inquis ? Prorsus merito me interrogas: adeo nullum mihi ignotum est. Upi tamen morbo quasi assignatus sum, quem quare Græco nomine apellem, nescio. Satis edim aptè dici suspirium potest.

Brevis

causes which forbid my mixing with assemblies, 1 had other reasons of a moral nature. I had acquired an experience so long and 'so discouraging of mankind, that for some time past I formed the resolution of expecting no portion whatever of my happiness from them.

I had consequently retired for several years into of the least frequented suburbs of Paris. There I tried to comfort myself with the recollection of the vain efforts which I had formerly

Brevis autem, valdè & procellæ similis est. Intra horam ferè desinit. Quis enim dieu expirat? Omnia corporis aut incommoda aut pericula per me transierunt: nullum mihi videtur molestius: quidni? Aliud enim quidquid est egrotare est, hoc est, animain agere. Itaque medici hanc meditationem mortis vocant.

“My indisposition had given me a considerably long respite; but “ attacked me all of a sudden. Of what Nature is it you will ask? « Good reason you have for putting the question: to such a degree “ have I felt every existing species of malady. I am however delivered “ up as it were to one distemper, which I can see no reason for “ calling by a Greek name; for it may with sufficient propriety be “ denominated the sighing illness. The paroxysm is very short, and “ resembles the violence of a tempest. It generally spends itself within « the hour; for who can remain long in giving up the ghost? All the

disorders and dangers to which the human body is exposed have

passed through mine, but I know no one more insupportable. How " so? Every other disorder, of whatever kind, is only to be sick, but a this is actually dying. Physicians, on this account call it meditation " of death."

This malady, if I am not mistaken, bas a perfect resemblance to the nervous disorder. It was perhaps to Seneca the source of his philosophy, which in return alleviated disease: it instructed him how to support it as well as the atrocities of Nero. Philosophy then is necessary to all men, as one may be as violently tormented, in the calmest retreat, by a sigh, as by the most inhuman tyrant.

The Epistles of Seneca to Lucilius are, in my opinion, his best production. He composed them in bis old age, after having passed through a long and severe ordeal of affliction.

serve my Country in reality, by amusing myself about its prosperity in speculation. I imagined in my retirement that I had sufficiently acquitted myself of my duty as a Citizen, by daring under the old Government, to publish the disorders which were going to produce the Revolution, and the means which I deemed necessary to prevent it, by suggesting a remedy for our calamities. I have attacked in my Studies of Nature, published for the first time in 1784, the abuse which has pervaded the Finances, great territorial Properties, the Nobility, the Clergy, Academies, Universities, Education, &c.... without help, without reputation; without corporation-interest, without patronage, and without fortune, which is of itself, in the present state of the world, equivalent to every other resource. I have to say farther, that I had no means of subsistence except a moderate annual gratuity, which was entirely at the disposal of the department whose power and irregularity I had chiefly combat: ted, that of the Finances. The benefit which I de"Tived from it was so casual, that it depended from year to year on the good pleasure of the upper Clerk, aud afterwards on that of the Minister, himself so dependent on the will of another, that there were ten successively in the course of two years. I cannot conceive the possibility of any

Writer's finding himself in my situation, even among those who have devoted themselves most strenuously to the public cause. John-James, was personally connect ed with Grandees who were fond of his works; with Ministers who favoured the publication of them, even by confiscating them; with women of Vol. IV.

Сс

beauty

beauty and fashion who defended them against the world; but what is of still more importance, his musical talents alone were sufficient to procure hiny an absolute independence on all the world. For my own part, it was a matter of great dubiety, whether I should have any thing of the kind, but it was not totally for want of puffers: for I had embroiled myself, from the very principles which I had laid down, with philosophers who had at their absolute disposal most of the daily journals, those trumpeters of reputation.

A judgment may be formed of the difficulties which I had to surmount, by those which I have actually encountered in procuring permission to print and publish my Studies of Nature. I had at first composed the greater part of that Work, in furnished lodgings in the rue de la Madeleine, and I arranged my materials in a little turret in the rue neuve St. Etienne du-Mont, where I have lived four years amidst disquietudes physical and domestic of a singular nature. There likewise it was that I enjoyed the most delicious pleasures of my life, amidst a profound solitude, and an enchanting horizon. I should perhaps have been there still, had I not been obliged by the caprice of the proprietor to quit it, as he took a fancy to pull it down; here I put the last hand to my Studies of Nature, and here it was I published them. My first business was to apply to Chancery to have my manuscript inspected; but a kind of Secretary of the Press. department insisted on my leaving it in his custody. As it was filled with ideas peculiar to myself, it would have been improper to trust my Work to

the

1

the indiscretion or carelessness of a Public Office. After repeated solicitations I prevailed so far as to have it submitted to the inspection of a Censor. He was a very distinguished literary character: it received his entire approbation ; but, conformably to the regulations, he was under the necessity of referring me to a Theologian, because it contained matter of a moral kind. This Gentleman was very much offended that I had not applied to him in the first instance. He disputed every page

of

my inanuscript with me. He imputed dangerous ideas to words the most innocent; he found fault, for example, with my having said that Louis XVI. had called the British Americans to liberty; he wished me to retrench the word liberty, condemned as he alleged, by the Keeper of the Great Seal, as being the rallying term among Philosophers. It cost me no little pains to make him comprehend that I did not mean the liberty of thought of the AngloAmericans, but their political liberty, toward effecting which Louis XVI. had contributed, as all the world knows. He did not choose that I should expose the abuses of corps, those of the University however excepted, because he was Professor in the Royal College, the rival seminary for education, I was astonished to find how many disputes I had to sustain with a Theologian on the subject of my best proofs of a superintending Providence. Fre, quently was I on the point of withdrawing my papers, telling him I would make my complaint to the, Chancellor and demand another Censor, But the remedy would have been worse than the disease. The more you change your Cen

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