Images de page

"Langrognet in Hell. By the "Abbe Talbert de Nancray." Langrognet, councillor in the parliament of Besançon, having died suddenly, Talbert, who was his personal enemy, describes him carried into hell, where he sees the limbos, tartarus, and elysium, prepared for his friends or his enemies. This personal satire was burned by a decree of the parliament of Besançon.

"Thuani Historia. Paris, 1604. "fol." This first part, which contains the only eighteen first books of this interesting history, was censured in 1601, that is to say, as soon as it appeared. It contains only the events from 1545 to 1560. The censure is in manuscript; it exists in the library of the Emperor of Germany.

lieve in God, I have never offended the king, and I give justice to the devil." It is added, that being in the carriage which was to conduct him to punishment, he ridiculed the monk who attended to exhort him to repentance, and said, speaking of Jesus Christ, "he sweated with fear, while I die intrepid." May all these details be depended upon? They are found in the life of Vanini, pnblished by Durand, at Rotterdam, 1717, 12mo.

Lucilio Vanini was born at Taurozano in the Terra d'Otranto in 1585. He gave to the public only the two works which form the subject of this article; he has likewise a treatise on astronomy, which is in manuscript.

"Voltaire." There is no writer, who, joining boldness in opinion to brilliant talents in writing, has so many claims to make a figure in this work as Voltaire. It would be endless to enumerate all those of his writings which were condemned and censured; we shall notice, however, some of the most remarkable.

"The J'ai vu (I have seen) and "the Birth of Adonis." The first of these two pieces of verse, which is said to be by the poet Lebrun, was ascribed to Voltaire, and made him be confined in the Bastille in 1716: he remained there more than a year: it is said to be there that he began his poem of the League,' known afterwards under the name of the Henriade.

"Vanini Amphitheatrum æternæ "Providentiæ divino-magicum, Lyons, "1650;" and, "De admirandis na“turæ reginæ deæ mortalium arcanis, "libri IV. Paris 1616." These two works are full of infamy and impiety, yet it is remarkable that they appeared at first with the royal privilege and approbation. The second, which is the strongest, contains sixty dialogues between Alexander and Julius Caesar: it is divided into four books, and dedicated to Marshal Bassompierre, the patron of the author. Vanini was arrested at Toulouse: after being tried as an atheist, he was delivered to the flames on the 19 February 1619, aged 34, after having had his tongue cut The "Henriade," (first edition at out. It is pretended, that at the first London.) This poem was not coninterrogatory which was put to him, demned; yet the author could not he was asked if he believed the exist- obtain permission to print it in France. ence of God; he stooped down, took he published it at first in England; up a straw, and said, "I need only when, in 1725, a few copies appeared this straw to prove the existence of a secretly at Paris, the outcry of impiecreating being:" he then made a very ty was raised. The clergy wished to fine discourse on Providence; which subject it to censure, as containing the did not save him, however, as being errors of the Semi-pelagians. At court, ascribed rather to fear than to convic- it was said, that no one who was not tion. When he was asked to atone seditiously disposed would have venfor his offences, and to ask pardon of tured to write the panegyric of the God, of the king, and of justice, he is Admiral de Coligny. Notwithstandsaid to have replied, "I do not being all these accusations, the Henri

Dec. 1808.


ade, in the sequel, met with the greatest success; it was translated into Latin verse; into English by Lokman; into Italian by the Abbe Quirini; into German, into Dutch, &c.

The Maid of Orleans." This poem had been begun in 1730. Chauvelin, the keeper of the seals, having heard it talked of, had threatened to throw Voltaire into the bottom of a dungeon, if he published this work.—The first edition given by the author was in 1762.


Philosophical Dictionary, begun in "1760, printed in 1764, one vol. 8vo.

" and very much augmented since un"der the title of Questions upon the "Encyclopedia." This work was committed to the flames at Geneva, proscribed in Holland, and condemned to be burned by a decree of the Parliament of Paris, of 19th March 1765. The prosecutor-general wished to make Voltaire be arrested. I have been assured, that it was on the subject of this book that the condemnation of young Labarre to the flames took place. This decree was executed at Abbeville in 1766.

"The Man with Forty Crowns." This romance of political economy was proscribed and burned by a decree of the Parliament. A magistrate is reported to have said, at the time of the condemnation of this work : "Shall we burn books only?" Is this sally well authenticated? It reminds me of one still stronger: a magistrate of the 16th century cried out at the point of death, "Thank God,I die in peace, for thro' me, 166 sorcerers have been burned; if I have not done more, God will forgive me, he knows it has not been for want of good will." I do not recollect the name of this worthy and humane magistrate; he belonged to the Parliament of Toulouse or of Bourdeaux.

We shall conclude this article by a notice respecting the library of Voltaire. It consisted of 6210 volumes, the greater part of which were very

middling, especially in regard to history. Romances were not numerous; they amounted, at most, to 30 vols. But however middling a great part of the works in this library were, they became very valuable from the notes with which Voltaire had covered them. When he read a work, and found occasion to make any remark upon it, he took the first scrap of paper which came to his hand, wrote his remark, and fixed it on the margin, at the very place which had called it forth. It is to be regretted, that this curious monument should no longer be in France; its place ought to have been in the imperial library of Paris, but it is in that of St Petersburg. Catharine II. made the acquisition of it: Madame Denis, Voltaire's heir, yielded it in 1778, for the sum of 150,000 livres, (about 7000/.) This was the price set upon it by that magnificent sovereign. The Empress required also, that to the books should be added all the original letters of Voltaire, which could be printed, and even those which could not. Madame Denis only asked permission to keep copies of them. Catharine likewise asked exact plans, in every direction, of the Chateau de Ferney; she proposed to cause a similar one to be built in her park at Czarskozelo, and to erect in it a monument to the memory of Voltaire : there was to be a museum, where the books were to be placed in the same order in which they had been at Ferney. I know not if these projects have been executed.

"Wiclef. Joannis Wiclefi, viri un"dequaque clarissimi dialogorum libri "IV. quorum primus divinitatem et "ideas tractat; secundus, universa

rum creationem complectitur: ter"tius, de virtutibus vitüsque contra"riis copiosissime loquitur; quartus, "romanæ ecclesiae sacramenta, ejus "pestiferam dotationem, antichristi regnum, fratrum fraudulentam ori"ginem, atque eorum hypocrysim, variaque nostro oevo scitu dignissima

[ocr errors]



"graphice perstringit, 4to. 1525, (no "place.") This volume has become very rare, from the care with which it was suppressed by the court of Rome. It appears that it issued from the press of John Oporin of Basle: a copy was sold in 176 by the Jesuits of the College of Clermont, at 241 livres, (10.) But it is commonly valued at 100 or 120 livres, (4 or 5.) The impression at Frankfort, 1753, in 4to. is of less value. In this work, of which Otho Brunsfels is said to be the editor, Wickliffe introduces three personages, who are: Truth, or Alithia; Lying, or Pseudis; and Prudence, or Phronesis. It is a sort of theology, which contains all its doctrine, the basis of which, consists in admitting an absolute necessity in all things, even in the actions of God. Yet, he says, that God is free, and that he could have done otherwise had he so willed it; but, at the same time, he says, that it forms part of his essence not to will otherwise than he does. Wickliffe wished to establish equality and independence among men; a pretension equally ridiculous and impossible to execute. The French made a fatal trial of it at the end of the eighteenth century. The English had made the same beneath the eyes of Wickliffe in 1379 and 1380. It was in the time of this heretic, that Urban VI. and Clement VII. disputed the seat of Rome. Europe was divided between these two Pontiffs: one was acknowledged by the English, and the other by the French. The emissaries of Urban preached, in England, a crusade against France, and granted to the crusaders the same indulgences enjoyed by those who went to the Holy Land. Wickliffe thundered against this crusade in a work forcibly written. is shameful, says he, that the cross of Christ, which is a monument of peace, of mercy, and of charity, should become to all Christians the standard and


signal of the interests of two false priests, who are manifestly both Antichrist, in order to preserve them in worldly greatness, by oppressing the Christian world more than the Jews oppressed Jesus Christ and his apostles. Why will not the haughty priest of Rome grant to all men, on condition that they shall live in peace and charity, that plenary indulgence which he grants to them to fight and destroy each other. In 1382, a council was assembled at London by William de Courtenay, in which several heretical propositions of Wickliffe were condemned. The most prominent are the following: "Outward confession is unnecessary to a man who feels sufficient contrition; we do not find in the gospel that Jesus Christ enjoined mass: If the Pope is deceitful and wicked, and consequently a member of the devil, he has no power over the faithful, except, perhaps, what he has received from the Emperor. After Urban VI. we ought to own no Pope, but to live like the Greeks, each under his own laws. It is contrary to sacred scripture that churchmen should hold temporal goods." It has been said, that there exists another work of Wickliffe, entitled, "Four books of Trialogues," infinitely more rare than that we are now speaking of; but no copy of it is actually known, and there is reason to believe that it is the same work with that which we now announce. John Wickliffe, born at Wickliffe, in the county of York, about 1324, died at Lutterward, where he kept himself concealed, in December 1384. The animosity of his enemies pursued him beyond the tomb; for they dug up his body some years after, burned it, and then threw the ashes into the river. Wickliffe composed a great number of works; but none has reached us except that of which we have spoken.



SKETCH of the RISE and PROGRESS of which we received from the entrance


(Concluded from p. 815.)

of the combined fleets into the channel, in August 1779. By 1st January 1780, accordingly, they were rai

AT the conclusion of peace in No- sed to 143; and by 1st January

vember 1762, the number of ships amounted to 141 sail of the line, 24 fifties, and 267 smaller vessels. Twenty-four ships of the line were building, 14 in the King's, and 10 in the Merchant's yards. Twenty-one ships of the line were taken from the enemy in the course of this war. The English, on the contrary, lost no vessel of more than 50 guns. They lost two fifties, one of 20 guns, and six small vessels. During the course of this war, L.200,000 was annually voted for building and repairing of ships. At the end of it some reduction was made in the navy, though a much greater force was still kept on foot than during any former peace. The number from 1762 to 1771 continued pretty steadily at about 135 ships of the line, and 250 smaller vessels. On occasion however of the dispute with Spain about Falklands islands, it was discovered that these ships were in a most defective state of repair; and, had a long war taken place, the nationaust have suffered considerably. In consequence of this discovery, a general examination took place, and pains were taken to put the ships into a proper state of repair.

At the breaking out of the American war in 1775, the navy consisted of fewer vessels than at any former period of the peace. There were only 131 of the line, and 209 smaller vessels;

in all 340. As small vessels were chiefly wanted during the earlier stages of this unfortunate contest, their numbers were greatly augmented; and in 1778, the larger vessels continuing the same, amounted to 319. The accession of the European powers rendered it necessary to extend this augmentation to the larger vessels; especially after the alarm

1782, to 161; the smaller vessels were also raised at the latter period to 439. Eight more of the line had been added before the signing of the preliminaries on 20 January 1783, The tonnage of the Navy then amcunted to 500,000 tons. In the course of this war there were taken from our different enemies, twenty-six ships of the line, and 61 of 54 guns and under. We lost only one ship of the line, thirty of 50 and under, besides 50 sloops and smaller vessels. Fortytwo ships of the line were building, 13 in the King's, and 29 in the Merchants' yards.

About this time, the East India Company presented Government with three ships of 74 guns.

The state in which the navy had been found in 1771, afforded proof of the necessity of attending to its proper repair. Accordingly all the artificers were retained in the dock yards, and continued, even during the winter months, to work extra hours. An useful regulation was adopted, on the suggestion, it is said, of Lord Barham, by which large stores of all kinds, sufficient to last for several years, were kept constantly accumulated; thus obviating any precariousness of supply, or uncommon high price, to which war might give occasion.

In the course of the peace, from 1783 to 1791, the building and repairing of ships went on with great activity; but as a good number were disposed of as old and unserviceable, no numerical augmentation took place. In 1789 the ships of the line amounted to 148, and the smaller vessels to 304. Of these 93 were in perfectly good condition, and ready to be sent upon immediate service; a much lar


ger proportion than had ever been so, during any former period of peace.

In December 1790, in the building of a ship called the Hawke, an important experiment was tried.This vessel was built in part of wood that had been stript of its bark and left standing since the spring of 1777. The experiment however totally failed; for in 1803 this vessel was found to be in so great and general a state of decay, as not to be worth repair.

On 1st January 1791, the ships in good condition were 95, of which 35 were in commission. On the 1st December 1792, the ships of the line amounted to 141, but the number in good condition, from several accidental causes, had diminished to 77, of which 12 were in commission. In each of these two years an ariament had been prepared, in contemplation of a rupture, first with Spain, and afterwards with Russia. The value of stores, at 31st December 1792, amounted to 1,812,9821.; of which there was at Deptford to the value of 218,5581.; at Woolwich 189,550,; at Chatham 378,3047.; at Sheerness, 71,8071.; at Portsmouth, 448,6247.; at Plymouth, 506,1291.

At this period, war broke out with France, and the utmost activity was employed in fitting the navy for ser


In the course of nine months, the ships in commission were increased from 12 to 72. It is needless to recal to our readers the events of

this naval war, the most glorious in which Britain was ever engaged, and which completely established her empire over the seas. The following is a list of the ships taken or destroyed the course of it by the English.

Of the line, and down to 54
guns inclusive,

Of 50 guns,
Frigates -

Sloops and small vessels,

[blocks in formation]

The unappropriated stores at the end of this war amounted to 2,610,9087.

During the short peace which ceeded, the establishment of the navy was never greatly reduced; and when at the lowest, 50,000 seamen were still employed, and 38 ships in commission. At 15 May 1803, there were in all 177 ships of the line, and in 1st January 1805, the number was nearly the same. At this latter period 124 were in commission.

The following is an account of the number of ship-wrights employed in our docks during different periods of our history.

[blocks in formation]

86 Rigging and stores, 51. 4s..

3. Masts and yards,


206. Rigging,


275 Sails,


[blocks in formation]
« PrécédentContinuer »