Political freedom does not produce men of genius, but its atmosphere is more favorable than any other to their making the best of their genius in the service of mankind. When Robertson first mooted the idea of writing a history of the reign of Charles V, his friend and rival David Hume was sceptical. But literary variety and perfection, however admirable, like all purely literary qualities, are a fragile and secondary good which the world is very willing to let die, where it has not been truly begotten and engendered of living forces. Done into English London, . This combination of physical and mental conditions so amazingly favorable to the spread of the Voltairean ideas was a circumstance independent of the state of the surrounding atmosphere, and was what in the phraseology of prescientific times might well have been called providential.
The next day Voltaire saw his man in prison with irons on and praying an alms from the passers-by, and so asked him whether he still thought as scurvily of an archbishop in France. London, , pp. I London,  , pp. It is easy to cite proofs of the repudiation by Protestant bodies of the Protestant principle, to multiply instances of the narrow rigidity of their dogma, and the intolerance of their discipline. Before Luther and Calvin in their separate ways brought into splendid prominence their new ideas of moral order, more than two generations of men had almost ceased to care whether there be any moral order or not, and had plunged with the delight of enchantment among ideas of grace and beauty, whose forms were old on the earth, but which were full of seemingly inexhaustible Edition:
Robertson, Charles V, vol.
Neo-Machiavellian Political Economy Reconsidered. The mere spectacle of such free, vigorous, many-sided, and truly social and public Edition: Some Forgotten Masterpieces Reconsidered London, He fenelkn counted truth a treasure to be discreetly hidden in a napkin.
To bring reason into an atmosphere so charged was, as the old figure goes, to admit air to the chamber of the mummy. Bolingbroke’s tone was peculiarly light and peculiarly well-bred.
We have, however, to remember that these constant movements were the price which Voltaire paid for the vigor and freedom of his speech, in days when the party of superstition possessed the ear of the temporal power, and resorted without sparing to the most violent means of obliterating every hardy word and crushing every independent writer. Nor was this all. He had imagination enough and intelligence enough to perceive that they are the most pestilent of all the enemies of mankind, the sombre hierarchs of misology, who take away the keys of knowledge, thrusting truth down to the second place, and discrowning sovereign reason to be the serving drudge of superstition or social usage.
I New York, p. Each did much to raise the measure of rissertation and purify the spiritual self-respect of mankind, and each also discouraged and depressed the liberal play of intelligence, the cheerful energizing of reason, the bright and many-sided workings of fancy and imagination.
First published Mon Aug 31, ; substantive revision Thu Jul 30. The central theoretical argument of Charles V in fact concerned European stability and uniformity, as can be appreciated when we locate it within the broader European debate about universal monarchy. Voltaire, in this as in too much besides, was content with a keen and rapid glance at the surface. Christianity originally and generically at once awoke and satisfied a spiritual craving for a higher, purer, less torn and fragmentary being than is permitted to sons of men on the troubled and corrupt earth.
One problem was that of royal absenteeism: Perhaps the first circumstance to press its unfamiliarity upon him was the social and political consequence of the men of letters in England and the recognition given to the power of the pen. Together with an Abstract of the Treaty at Utrecht, vol.
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It was one of the cardinal liberations of the growing race, one Edition: Cosmopolitan History from Voltaire to Gibbon. Sonenscher, Before the Deluge, p. By Leo Phukidides Oct 25. Again, he placed his finger on one of the circumstances that did most to spoil the growth of a compact and well-knit society in France, when he pointed to the dissertattion number of farmers in England with five or six hundred pounds sterling a year, who do not think it beneath them to cultivate the earth which has made them rich, and on which they live in active freedom.
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Many of his ideas were in the air, and did not belong to him peculiarly; but so strangely rapid and perfect was his assimilation of them, so vigorous and minutely penetrative was the quality of his understanding, so firm and independent his initiative, that even these were instantly stamped with the express image of his personality.
A clandestine visit to the dissertatipn showed him that there was no hope of redress from authority, which vpltaire in the hands of men whose pride of rank prevented them from so much as even perceiving, much more from repairing, such grievance as a mere bourgeois could have: The ‘Drysdale Bustle’ of the s.
When the Cartesian physics once got a foothold, they kept it voltaige firmly as the system which they had found so much difficulty in displacing. Lord Herbert’s object was to disengage from revelation both our conceptions of the one supreme power, and the sanctions of good and bad conduct.
The past on which Voltaire had to look back was full of turmoil, contention, impatience, and restless volyaire.
Who ever read him through? Where it is a duty to worship the sun, it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat. It is hard to think in imagination of the globe as unpeopled by man, or peopled, as it may at some montsequieu day come to be, by beings of capacity superior enough to extinguish man. But he did not write like Voltaire. Britain, Hanover and Interventionism, She was unamiable, it is kontesquieu, and possessed neither the delicacy which a more fastidious age requires in a woman, nor the sense of honor which we now demand in a man.