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attenuated frame present any attraction to the vulgar gaze; but his conversation, sparkling with pointed and well told anecdotes, soon conciliated the disappointed eye, and rivetted all attention. And particularly when consociated with Mademoiselle L'Espinasse, practically guiltless as their intercourse was known to be, no society was more solicitously courted than theirs. We have already noticed his degrading condescension in administering to her passions, which even sunk him in the estimation of those from whom his own direct participation in the immorality would not have elicited a word of reproof.

These details, for D'Alembert's life was by no means confined to studious avocations, we feel confident, demand no excuse, relating as they do to a person of preponderant European influence, scientific, literary, and social, far beyond the sphere of any other individual in his position, with the sole exception of Voltaire; for Rousseau, so posthumously ascendant, lived comparatively isolated and unsociable. He was the recognised chief of the philosophic faction in Paris, its central seat, whence radiated its spreading branches over the continent's expanse. Perfectly aware of the fact, the Great Frederick used every means to make D'Alembert the herald of his fame, and the instrument of his ambition, which an exalted report of his power and capacity, could not fail to facilitate. This he does not hesitate candidly to acknowledge, while utterly indifferent to the moral inference, in his Confessions, as they may well be called, or Political Maxims and Private Thoughts, addressed in 1764 to his nephew and successor, Frederick William, and previously noticed at page 446. In the preceding year, when

at Wesel, at the conclusion of the scene of his glory, the "Seven Years War," he sent for the philosopher, and warmly embracing him (lui sautant au cou, et l'embrassant tendrement,) asked him some questions, which D'Alembert answered with the highest compliments. Referring to this and other demonstrations of royal hypocrisy, Frederick says to his nephew "Vous avez vu avec quelle distinction j'ai traité M. D'Alembert; je l'ai toujours fait manger avec moi; et je n'ai fait que le louer. Vous avez même paru surpris des grandes attentions que j'avais pour cet auteur. Vous ne savez done pas que ce philosophe est écouté à Paris comme un oracle, qu'il ne parle jamais que de mes talens, que de mes vertus, et qu'il conte partout que j'ai le caractère d'un vrai héros, et d'un grand roi. D'ailleurs, j'aime à être loué, et D'Alembert n'ouvre jamais la bouche que pour me dire des choses agréables." He then added, that Voltaire was of a different character, and to be feared, as the retrenchment of a single louis d'or (a pound,) from his pension, or expectations, would expose him to the poet's ribaldry. The Empress Catherine, we have seen (at page 446, ante,) was not more the dupe of the French poet and philosophers' cajoleries, nor less disposed to repay them in kind.

Few writers could afford larger materials than D'Alembert for a special biography, embracing the opinions, habits, manners, and views, of a period introductive of an era ever memorable in the annals of man, which rapidly succeeded it, and in the preparation of which none could be more efficiently active. We are, indeed, rather surprised that so pregnant a subject should not have produced some corresponding essay of

execution. It can hardly fail, however, to do so; while we are bound to say, that Lord Brougham's sketch is a very imperfect attempt, both in the extent and accuracy of the information it assumes to convey, although the article is, next to that devoted to Voltaire, the ablest of the series, and not less one of predilection. The mathematical portion, sometimes rather of ostentatious display, is superior to the personal or historical narrative, which deficient, as is too usual with his lordship, in research, beyond the most obvious sources, offers little that may not be gathered from any biographical repository.*

* Mathematics, as already noted, formed Lord Brougham's earliest chosen subject of mental application, but the study was soon and necessarily interrupted by his vocation to the bar and parliament, in which his eloquence at once assigned him a foremost rank. His sketches, again, of our statesmen and orators, the fruits of personal or closely traditional observation, imposing consequently no great labor, are creditable to his discrimination; but unfortunately for his legitimate fame, he was betrayed into the ambitious display of omniscience, "the foppery of universality”— of knowing all sciences,-so characterised, by possible allusion to the aspiring pretensions of his lordship, in his early friend, Sidney Smith's ninth lecture on Moral Philosophy. In truth, his lordship seems anxious to emulate the fame of Picus Mirandula-of the Admirable Crichton, and the Franciscan friar, Francis Macedo, who respectively, as had, in some degree, also done Petrarch, challenged the world to encounter them in scientific and literary contest-"de Omni Scibili"-and who, each triumphed in the ordeal, when thus adversely met. His lordship has not equally succeeded; nor, indeed, has he similarly presented himself, lance in rest, and provoked the combat, or boldly hurled universal defiance; but, conscious of his great powers, he still misdirected and overvalued them; for, aiming at the higher and graver departments of history, his impatience of research, haste of publication, and various prejudices, exposed him to constant inaccuracies of facts and views, which induced us, old and great admirers of his talents, thus withdrawn from their appropriate sphere, to address him some years since the following advice, derived from a volume well known to his lordship, and of great literary merit in his estimation, however reprovable in other respects. "Enrico, lascia l'istoria, e studia la matematica o la rettorica." The observance of this admonition would have precluded many a charge of singular aberrations in his lordship's more recently published works. In his political career he has been likened to the "bellua anceps,"

D'Alembert's miscellaneous works were collectively published in 1805, and again in 1821, while his mathematical treatises, though of far higher character, still remain unassembled, because science in general, has fewer readers, and being the aggregate of facts in most of its departments, is in daily advance, antiquating, consequently, in a great degree, or disproving the preceding theories. Literature and Science in their respective influence on the human community, are thus distinguished by their special partisans. M. de Fontanes, Grand Master, as we have stated of the University, or as now understood, the Minister of Public Instruction, in his address on the 24th of April, 1816, to the French Academy, fondly characterised the distinctive sway of literature. "Un peuple qui ne serait que savant, pourrait devenir barbare; un peuple de lettrés est de sa nature, et nécessairement, poli et sociable." And Cardinal de Bonald consonantly observes, "La littérature est l'expression de la societé,” while La Place, the modern Newton, whose successor in the Institute, Louis Puissant, afforded another instance of a mathematician's perverse temper, closes his first great work, L' Exposition du Système du Monde, with this impressive exhortation to the culture of science, "Conservons avec soin, augmentons le dépôt

the elephant in battle, (Livy xxvii., 14,) often more formidable to his friends than to his adversaries. Nor as a writer, is he entitled to firmer confidence; for often as we have had, on this and other occasions, to indicate his misrepresentations, to rectify his errors, and from sources unknown to, or unconsulted by him, to supply his omissions, we can assure our readers that these proofs of careless inquiry, precipitate judgments, and fallacious statements, might be considerably extended. For his perverted quotations, see an instance in the Gentleman's Magazine, for March 1847, in the Minor Correspondence, relative to Dryden's and Johnson's lines on death, at page 75 of his second volume.

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de ces hautes connaissances, les délices des êtres pensants."* To these glorious pursuits and aspirations, the animating words of Dante's Beatrice seem equally impellent

"L'alto disio, che mo t'infiamma ed urge,

D'haver notitia di ciò, che tu vei ;

Tanto mi piace più quanto più turge."

Paradiso-Canto xxx., 67, &c.

*This sentence of La Place is attributed to the atheistical "Système de la Nature," in the Quarterly Review, Vol. lxxvii., page 536! a most unpardonable blunder, caused by a complete ignorance of the purpose to which the system of the two works respectively referred, while one was on demonstrated science, and the other on the most perverted metaphysics. It is in the fifth book, chap. 6th, of La Place's volume, containing the astronomical portion of it, which was published separately, (1821, 8vo.) The entire was a quarto, of which the fifth edition appeared in 1824.

† It is singular that in the diversified course of Napoleon 3 conversations at St. Helena, embracing not only war, politics, legislation, morals, &c., but literature, in no instance did they turn on mathematics, although his earliest devotion of mind, and the only one for which at the College of Brienne he evinced any aptitude. In a conversation with Champagny, (duc de Cadore) the Count de Ségur and others, at St. Cloud, in April 1812, on acknowledging his little capacity for the acquirement of languages, Napoleon related, that when at Brienne, his German master, on being told that he had obtained a prize in mathematics, observed-oh! that is not surprising, for in mathematics it may be gained by any dunce-(quoique l'on fût bête.) Even Fontenelle, though Secretary of the Academy of Sciences, seemed to convey the same thought, when, on introducing Clairaut to a distinguished nobleman, he said "Voici un grand geomètre, qui est cependant un homme d'esprit," as if wit, or general talent, and mathematics, were of rare union. Yet Fontenelle himself possessed both, more especially, indeed, wit, in an eminent degree. (See p. 438 ante.) The unmilitary associates of Bonaparte's expedition to Egypt in 1798, were chosen in the scientific class of the Institute; and he contributed two or three papers, of no particular merit, however, to the mathematical section of the Grand Cairo Institute; but the portable library of four hundred small volumes provided for his recreation, consisted principally of works on light literature, including translations of our Richardson, Fielding, Goldsmith, and his favourite Ossian. The Bible is adjoined to the Koran, and the Vedah under the head of metaphysics, a subject so derided by him subsequently, as the visionary yet dangerous phantasies of those he called ideologues. The Ex-Emperor read admirably, by no means, however desirable, a common gift, and preferably chose the French tragic writers, of whom Voltaire appeared to him by far the lowest in the relative scale of genius, to a degree of inferiority, indeed, scarcely justified by considerate and impartial judgment.

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