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is no road) over which you are passing. The whole is covered with a short brown turf, and unbroken by a single tree or a single habitation : and, with the exception of a view of the sea now and then on the left, bounded only by the horizon. The effect of this, besides being exceedingly fine in itself, adds greatly to that of the noble prospect which, at a turn of the hill, bursts upon the eye suddenly, and at once.
The character of this view is, in almost every thing, different from those we are accustomed to in France; but if it wants their grandeur and variety, it is still extremely beautiful. The spectator stands on the ridge of a range of Downs, such as I have been describing to you, which seem, as far as the eye can reach on either side, to form an inaccessible barrier to the sca.
Smooth brown turf covers their almost perpendicular declivity down to the very foot; and then the country lies before the eye in one immense flat, or plain, which, in the front, stretches out interminably, till the blue distance becomes lost in the blue sky. Nothing can be more luxuriant than the cultivation with which the whole of this plain is covered; and yet it is totally different from any thing I have seen before. That part which lies near enough for the eye to distinguish the detail of it, consists of square patches of from one to three or four arpents*, completely divided from each other by thick hedge-rows. This, together with the wood which is scattered about in small quantities everywhere, gives to the scene the appearance of a vast garden-at this season almost of a flower-garden, from the endless variety of tints with which the whole is covered. To complete the effect of the picture, narrow roads wind about like the course of a river, and lead to little villages, which are seen here and there, with their small simple-looking church-spires rising out of clumps of trees, which seem to have been planted there not by man, but by Nature. This appearance, both of the roads and the trees, is almost unknown with us; but it is extremely pleasing. Indeed, I am half-inclined not to confess to you how very much I have, been delighted by this view; for, if I have succeeded in giving you any thing like a distinct idea of it, you will see how entirely it differs from our own favourite ones. Here are no forest-crowned mountains rising majestically in the distance; no laughing valleys which seem to exult in their own beauty; no rivers winding and glittering between their banks, till they become lost to the eye, but not to the fancy; no vine-covered hills jutting out in the foreground on either side, round the corners of which the imagination is enticed to wander, and paint for itself pictures even more lovely than the one it leaves. Here every thing is seen; but then neither the eye nor the mind has a desire to wander they feel as if they could rest for ever on the beautiful creation which seems to lie breathing and basking in the sunshine before them. You know I am accustomed to find, or to fancy, everywhere in external nature symbols of the mind. Our favourite French landscapes scem, then, like the song of the nightingale, to talk of joy. This English one, like the voice of the stock-dove, seems to breathe and to murmur of happiness. The one laughs outwardly like a bacchante of Titian; the other smiles inwardly, like a Madonna of Corregio.
Adieu for a day or two.
* About an acre. TR.
D. S. F.
CASANOVA'S VISIT TO HALLER AND VOLTAIRE.
[The following article is extracted from a MS. consisting of 600 closely-written sheets that fell in the hands of the Editor of the "Urania," a periodical publication at Leipsic, and was written by J. J. Casanova. It includes a period of nearly fifty years, commencing with the year 1730; and contains a history of the author's life, from his youth to his latter years, with notices of the principal characters with whom he became acquainted in all the great courts of Europe. The writer was brother to Casanova, late Director of the Royal Academy of Arts in Dresden, whose name is mentioned in Mensel's "Gelehrtes Deutschland;" or, "The History of the Learned Germans of the 18th Century." The ancestors of J. J. Casanova are said to have been Spaniards, but he himself states Venice to have been his birth-place. He received his first education at Padua; he then entered a seminary, and again returned to Venice. In 1743 he went to Constantinople, where, besides others, he formed an interesting acquaintance with Bonneval. Twelve years after, i. e. in 1755, we find him again at Venice, confined in the lead prisons, from which, by the most astonishing efforts, he escaped in 1756. In 1757 he went to Paris, and after a variety of adventures he removed in 1757 to Spain. During a journey which he made thence to the South of France, he passed through Aix in Provence, in his way to Italy. At Madrid he became acquainted with the Count of Aranda, the Duke Medina Celi, and with Olavides; but he was induced, or rather obliged, for various reasons, to leave that country. In 1774, after having passed eighteen years in travelling, he was declared free by the Republic of Venice. From the year 1785 he lived at Dux, in Bohemia, as librarian to the Count Waldstein, and completely gave himself up to the study of the sciences till his death, which was nearly at the end of the century.]
I WAS introduced to Haller by letters of recommendation. He was a man of tall stature, being about six feet high, and his features displayed a perfect symmetry.
Whatever can be reasonably expected from a hospitable man, was offered to me by this great philosopher. Whenever I put a question to him, he displayed to me his knowledge with a correctness and precision that merited my warmest admiration. This was done with such modesty, that a man like myself might have imagined it was carried to excess. He appeared to be receiving instruction himself, when he was in reality conveying instruction to me. When he questioned me on any scientific subject, there was always enough in the question to guide me, and to render it impossible to answer him erroneously.
Haller was eminent as a philosopher, a physician, and an anatomist. Like Morgagni, whom he called his preceptor, he had made many discoveries in physiology. He shewed me several letters of Morgagni and Pontevedra, who were Professors of the same University. Pontevedra had directed his attention principally to botany: Haller had also made it his study. The conversation we held concerning these distinguished men, by whom I also had been instructed, induced him to complain of Pontevedra. His letters, he observed, gave him much trouble, partly because it was difficult to decipher his writing, and partly because he wrote in obscure Latin.
Haller had just received, from a member of the Academy of Berlin, the intelligence, that the king of Prussia, after the receipt of his letter, had given up his intention of suppressing the Latin language in his dominions. "A sovereign," said Haller, in his letter to this monarch, "who should succeed in banishing from the republic of letters the language of Cicero and Horace, would erect an eternal monument of his own ignorance. If the learned must have a language for communicating their discoveries to each other, the Latin language is of all the fittest; for the dominion of the Greek and Arabic has ceased."
Haller was also a great lyric poet, and an able statesman: his country derived great advantages from his abilities. His morals were distinguished by a purity that is very rare. He once said to me, that the
best means of teaching morality to others, is to prove its value by our own example. So good a citizen could not but be at the same time an excellent father to his family; and such I found him. He had contracted a second marriage; both his wife and daughter were very interesting: the latter, then in her eighteenth year, took no share in the conversation during dinner, except that she occasionally addressed a few words in a low voice, to a young gentleman who sat next to her. After dinner I asked Haller, who this young man was, and he informed me, he was the tutor of his daughter. I said, "It is not improbable that such a tutor and such a pupil may feel a mutual inclination for each other." He replied, "Let it be so if Heaven ordains it." This answer was so dignified and wise, that I reproached myself for having made such a hasty observation; and, in order to change the subject, I opened an octavo volume of Haller's works, and seeing the words: "Utrum memoria post mortem, dubito," I said, "You, then, consider the recollection as no essential part of the soul?" And thus I obliged the philosopher to give a qualified explanation; for he did not wish his orthodoxy to be doubted. I inquired during dinner, whether Voltaire often visited him? He smiled, and answered:-' Vetabo, qui Cereris sacrum vulgavit arcanum, sub iisdem sit trabibus.' During the three days I remained with him, I did not again venture to converse with him on religious subjects. When I observed, that I rejoiced at my approaching acquaintance with the great Voltaire, he answered, without appearing to be in the least hurt at my observation, "Voltaire is a man whose acquaintance I had cause to seek, but many persons have found him, contrary to the laws of physics, greater when beheld at a distance."
Haller was very abstemious, although his table was abundantly provided. His usual drink was water; but at the desert he generally took a small glass of spirits, which he poured into a large glass of water. He related many things of Boerhaave, whose favourite pupil he had been. After Hippocrates, he considered him as the greatest physician; and, as a surgeon, he considered him superior to Hippocrates and all others. This induced me to ask him, why Boerhaave himself had not been able to attain an advanced age. He replied, "Quia contra vim mortis nullum est medicamen in hortis." Had not Haller been born a physician, a poisoned wound, which no other person could heal, would have caused his death; but he cured himself by washing the wound with a lotion, which he made by dissolving in his own urine a certain portion of common salt.
"Madame ****," said I to him, "pretends you possess the philosopher's
He replied, "The world says so, but I myself doubt it."
"Do you then," continued I, "conceive it impossible to obtain it?”
He answered, "I have endeavoured for thirty years to convince myself of the impossibility; but to the present moment I have not succeeded. One cannot be a chemist without believing in the physical possibility of this great result."
When I took my leave, he requested I would write to him, and give him my opinion of Voltaire. Thus our correspondence commenced, which we carried on in the French language. I received twenty-three letters from this rare man, the last of which was written six months previous to his death.*
While I was at Bern I had read the Heloise of Rousseau, and I requested Haller to give me his opinion of it. "The little," said he, "that I have read of it, in compliance with the wishes of a friend, is sufficient to enable me to form an opinion of the whole work. It is the worst of all novels, because it is more eloquent than any other. You will see the Waadtland: it is a beautiful country, but do not expect to find the originals like Rousseau's brilliant pictures. He thinks it is allowed to lie in a novel. Your Petrarch did not lie. I have his Latin works. People will no longer read them, because they consider his Latin to be faulty; but they are wrong. Petrarch's love for the chaste Laura is not a fanciful invention. He loved her as any other man would have loved a woman who had won his affections: and if their love had been reciprocal, Petrarch would never have celebrated her in song."
Thus Haller spoke of Petrarch; when I asked his opinion of Rousseau, whose eloquence he said he hated, because all its splendour consisted in antithesis and paradox. Although this distinguished Swiss was one of the greatest philosophers of his age, yet he never boasted of his knowledge either in his family circle, or in his conversation with scientific men. He was affable and amiable, and seldom incurred the displeasure of any one. By what means he gained the affections of all who knew him, I know not. It is easier to say what he had not, than to explain the good qualities of which he was possessed. He had not the defects of those who are generally styled the learned and the great. He was a man of upright intentions, but he made nobody feel it, who possessed a less share of them than himself. He certainly despised those ignorant persons, who, instead of confining themselves within the bounds of their own insignificance, speak at random on all subjects, and who ever aim at making the well-informed appear ridiculous; but nevertheless he never allowed his contempt to be seen or felt. He left it to others to discover his superiority of mind, for it could not be concealed, but he did not expect them to acknowledge it. He expressed himself in elegant language, and whatever he advanced was replete with sound reasoning, but never over-ruled the sentiments of others. He seldom mentioned his own works, and if the conversation led to them, he changed it to some other subject. If he was obliged to contradict any one, he generally did so reluctantly.
*In the year 1777, at the age of 70.
Agreeably to my plan, I terminated my journey through French Switzerland, by a visit to Voltaire.
I found him just rising from dinner, surrounded by ladies and gentlemen.
C. "At last," said I, on approaching him," the happiest moment of my ife is arrived: I, at length, behold my great teacher; for the last twenty years, Sir, I have attended your school."
V. 66 Do me this honour twenty years longer, and then do not fail to bring me the money for your schooling.'
C. "I promise, it shall not be withheld. But do you also promise, that you will then expect me."
V. "I promise it, and would sooner die than break my promise."
A general laugh resounded applause to this first witty answer of Voltaire this was a matter of course. When two persons begin a contest, the laughers always countenance one at the expense of the other. These are little cabals, for which one must be prepared in good company. I was so; and I hoped that I should be able in my turn to lay a snare for Voltaire.
Two Englishmen, lately arrived, were now presented to him: one of them was Fox, afterwards so justly celebrated. Voltaire rose and said, "The gentlemen are English; oh! that I were likewise an Englishman!" This was a bad compliment. The Englishmen ought to have said, "Oh! that we were Frenchmen!" But they either were unwilling to lie, or were ashamed to tell the truth. A man of honour may, in my opinion, extol his own nation in preference to a foreign one, but he ought not to depreciate it.
We had scarcely sat down, when Voltaire again attacked me. He said with a smile, but very politely, "As a Venetian, you undoubtedly know Count Algarotti?" "I know him," I replied, "but not as a Venetian; for seven-eighths of my countrymen know not that there exists such a man as Count Algarotti. (I ought to have said, as a learned man.) I know him from an intercourse of two months in Padua, where he has lived for seven years; and I admire him because he is one of your admirers."
V. "We are friends. He has the esteem of all who know him. It is not necessary, therefore, that he should admire any one in order to gain esteem." C. "If he had not begun by admiring others, he would not have obtained fame. As an admirer of Newton, he enabled the ladies to treat of light." V. "Has he really effected this?"
C." He has obtained his end, though not so completely as Monsieur de Fontenelle obtained his by his Plurality of Worlds."
V." You are right. Tell him, if you should see him in Bologna, I expect his Letters on Russia. He may send them to me by the banker Bianchi at Milan. The Italians are said to be dissatisfied with his style of writing."
C. " Certainly. His own language cannot be found in his works: they are full of Gallicisms. We pity him."
V. "Does not then the French mode of construction embellish your language?"
C." It renders it intolerable. The French language interspersed with Italian words could not be more intolerable, even if you, Monsieur de Voltaire, had written it."
V." You are right: all authors should write in pure language: Livy has been censured on account of his provincial Latin."
C." The Abbé Lazzarini told me, when I began to write, that he preferred Livy to Sallust."