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M. DE VOLTaire.
It is unnecessary to enter into any particulars of the life of Voltaire. His talents are generally acknowledged, and his unfortunate misapplication of them but too well known.
We are indebted to the Abbe Barruel for the following particulars of the last moments of this miserable man, and as they are extremely interesting, we shall lay them before the reader in a translation of that gentleman's own words, taken from the "History of Jacobinism," by the editor of the British Critic.
"It was during Voltaire's last visit to Paris, when his triumph was complete, and he had even feared that he should die with glory, amidst the acclamations of an infatuated theatre, that he was struck by the hand of Providence, and made a very different termination of his career.
“In the midst of his triumphs, a violent hemorrhage raised apprehensions for his life.-D'Alembert, Diderot, and Marmontel, hastened to support his resolution in his last moments, but were only witnesses to their mutual ignominy, as well as to his own.
"Here let not the historian fear exaggeration. Rage, remorse, reproach, and blasphemy, all accompany and characterize the long agony of the dying atheist. His death, the most terrible ever recorded to have stricken the impious man, will not be denied by his companions in impiety. Their silence, however much they may wish to deny it, is the least of those corroborative proofs, which might be adduced. Not one of those sophisters has ever dared to mention any sign of resolution or tranquillity evinced by their great chief," during the space of three months, which elapsed from the time he was crowned in the theatre
until his decease. Such a silence expresses how great Iwas their humiliation in his death!
"It was on his return from the theatre, and in the midst of the toils he was resuming in order to acquire fresh applause, when Voltaire was warned that the long career of his impiety was drawing to an end.
"In spite of all the sophisters flocking around him, on the first day of his illness, he gave signs of wishing to return to the God whom he had so often blasphemed; and called for the Priest, who ministered to Him whom he had sworn to crush, with language too horrible to be repeated. His danger increasing, he wrote the following note to the Abbe Gaultier :- You had promised me, Sir, to come and hear me. treat you would take the trouble to call as soon as possible. Signed VOLTAIRE. Paris, the 26th Feb. 1778.'
"A few days after this, he wrote the following declaration, in presence of the same Abbe Gaultier, the Abbe Mignot, and the Marquis de Villevielle, copied from the minutes deposited with Mr. Momet, notary at -Paris.
"I, the underwritten, declare, that for these four days past, having been afflicted with a vomiting of blood, at the age of eighty-four, and not having been able to drag myself to church, the Reverend the Rector of Saint Sulpice, having been pleased to add to his good works, that of sending to me the Abbe Gaultier, a Priest; I confessed to him; and, if it please God to dispose of me, I die in the Holy Catholic Church, in which I was born; hoping that the Divine Mercy will deign to pardon all my faults. If ever I have scandalized the Church, I ask pardon of God and the Church. Second of March, 1778. Signed VOLTAIRE, in the presence of the Abbe Mignot, my nephew, and the Marquis de Villevielle, my friend.'
"After the two witnesses had signed this declara
tion, Voltaire added these words, copied from the same minutes - The Abbe Gaultier, my confessor, having apprized me that it was said among a certain set of people, I should protest against every thing I did at my death, I declare I never made such a speech, and that it is an old jest, attributed long since to many of the learned, more enlightened than I am.'
"Was this declaration a fresh instance of his former hypocrisy for he had the meanness, even in the midst of his efforts against Christianity, to receive the sacrament regularly, and to do other acts of religion, merely to be able to deny his infidelity, if accused of it.
"Unfortunately, after the explanations we have seen him give of his inferior acts of religion, might there not be room for doubt ?-Be that as it may, there is a public homage paid to that religion in which he declared he meant to die, notwithstanding his having perpetually conspired against it during his life.
"Voltaire had permitted this declaration to be carried to the Rector of Saint Sulpice, and to the Archbishop of Paris, to know whether it would be sufficient. When the Abbe Gaultier returned with the answer, it was impossible for him to gain admittance to the patient. The conspirators had strained every nerve to hinder their chief from consummating his recantation; and every avenue was shut to the Priest, whom Voltaire himself had sent for. The demons haunted every access; rage succeeded to fury, and fury to rage again, during the remainder of his life.
"Then it was that D'Alembert, Diderot, and about twenty others of the conspirators, who had beset his apartment, never approached him but to witness their own ignominy; and often he would curse them, and exclaim-Retire! It is you who have brought me to my present state! Begone! I could have done
without you all; but you could not exist without me! And what a wretched glory have you procured me!'
"Then would succeed the horrid remembrance of his conspiracy. They could hear him the prey of anguish and dread, alternately, supplicating or blaspheming that God, against whom he had conspired; and in plaintive accents he would cry out, O Christ! O Jesus Christ!' and then complain that he was abandoned by God and man. The hand which had traced in ancient writ the sentence of an impious and reviling King, seemed to trace before his eyes the horrid blasphemies which he had so often uttered.
"In vain he turned his head away; the time was coming apace when he was to appear before the tribunal of Him whom he had insulted; and his physicians, particularly Mr. Tronchin, calling in to administer relief, thunderstruck, retired, declaring, that the death of the impious man was terrible indeed.' The pride of the conspirators would willingly have suppressed these declarations, but it was in vain. The Mareschal de Richelieu fled from the bed side, declaring it to be a sight too terrible to be sustained:' and Mr. Tronchin, that the furies of Orestes could give but a faint idea of those of Voltaire.""
Must not the Reader turn aside from these awful scenes, convinced of the truth of that portion of Holy Writ, where it is recorded-"For their rock is not as our rock, even our enemies themselves being judges !" (Deut. xxxii. 31.)
END OF PART II.
ANECDOTES, MAXIMS, SELECT
POETRY, &c. &c.
HEATHENS REPROVING CHRISTIANS.
SOME time ago, a Nair, to whom an European read some chapters of the Gospels, which he highly approved, eagerly said, "Are these really your Shasters?" (meaning the Bible:) and being assured that they were, he added, "Why then did you not let us have them long ago? You always had access to our Shasters; why did you keep back yours?"
Analecta, by the Rev. James Churchill.
DISAPPOINTMENT WELL REPAID.
THE celebrated Dr. John Owen was induced to accompany a cousin of his to hear the Rev. E. Calamy preach; a man of great note for his pulpit eloquence. Mr. Calamy was prevented from preaching, and a country minister filled his place. The text was "Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith!" These words arrested his attention as soon as he heard them. The sermon went into the very objections which he had been wont to bring against himself; a spirit of prayer