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Buffon, while maintaining friendship with the celebrated men of his age, did not identify himself with the party of the encyclopaedists, or the sects into which they were divided. But he lived among men who deemed physical nature alone worthy of study, and the wits of the age who had succeeded in discovering how a Supreme Being might be dispensed with.

It is obvious that Rousseau and all other theorists of Regress would be definitely refuted if it could be proved by an historical investigation that in no period in the past had man's lot been happier than in the present. Such an inquiry was undertaken by the Chevalier de Chastellux. It betrays the influence both of the Encyclopaedists and of the Economists.

It is true, it offers some few antiquated notions which were very efficacious in the past, but which are no longer efficacious. Fourth-of-July liberty in terms of the Declaration of Independence and of the French Encyclopaedists is scarcely apposite to-day.

If, instead of working out the details of endless particular reforms, he had built up general theories of government and society, economics and education, they might have had no more intrinsic value, but he would have been recognised as the precursor of the Encyclopaedists. For his principles are theirs.

He was probably prejudiced against Rousseau from the beginning, and he may have allowed his prejudices to colour his view of Rousseau's character and acts. The violence of the abuse which Grimm and the rest of the Encyclopaedists hurled against the miserable Jean-Jacques was certainly quite out of proportion to the real facts of the case.

There can be only one reply: Why should he? If it is possible to suggest some fairly plausible motives which might conceivably have induced Grimm to blacken Rousseau's character, the case of Diderot presents difficulties which are quite insurmountable. Mrs. Macdonald asserts that Diderot was jealous of Rousseau. Why? Because he was tired of hearing Rousseau described as 'the virtuous'; that is all. Surely Mrs. Macdonald should have been the first to recognise that such an argument is a little too 'psychological. The truth is that Diderot had nothing to gain by attacking Rousseau. He was not, like Grimm, in love with Madame d'Epinay; he was not a newcomer who had still to win for himself a position in the Parisian world. His acquaintance with Madame d'Epinay was slight; and, if there were any advances, they were from her side, for he was one of the most distinguished men of the day. In fact, the only reason that he could have had for abusing Rousseau was that he believed Rousseau deserved abuse. Whether he was right in believing so is a very different question. Most readers, at the present day, now that the whole noisy controversy has long taken its quiet place in the perspective of Time, would, I think, agree that Diderot and the rest of the Encyclopaedists were mistaken. As we see him now, in that long vista, Rousseau was not a wicked man; he was an unfortunate, a distracted, a deeply sensitive, a strangely complex, creature; and, above all else, he possessed one quality which cut him off from his contemporaries, which set an immense gulf betwixt him and them: he was modern. Among those quick, strong, fiery people of the eighteenth century, he belonged to another world to the new world of self-consciousness, and doubt, and hesitation, of mysterious melancholy and quiet intimate delights, of long reflexions amid the solitudes of Nature, of infinite introspections amid the solitudes of the heart. Who can wonder that he was misunderstood, and buffeted, and driven mad? Who can wonder that, in his agitations, his perplexities, his writhings, he seemed, to the pupils of Voltaire, little less than a frenzied fiend? 'Cet homme est un forcené! Diderot exclaims. 'Je tâche en vain de faire de la poésie, mais cet homme me revient tout

Little as Johnson would have liked the association, it must be admitted that he was in his way as pure and unhistorical a rationalist as Voltaire and the Encyclopaedists; and that it was inevitable that the reaction in favour of history which Burke set in motion would tell against him as well as against them.

The country, in spite of Voltaire and the Encyclopaedists, believed itself to be fervently Catholic; but its ideal of Catholicism was of a reformed and regenerated type; while that maintained by the government was corrupt and lifeless in high places. The country wanted provincial councils, resident bishops, a purified church.

He carried to a great extreme an idea which in England had been held by Hooker, and more explicitly expounded by Locke. His doctrine furnished a theory for the political revolution in France. The "Encyclopaedists" went much beyond Voltaire and Rousseau. D'Alembert, Helvetius, Holbach, advocated atheism and materialism. All religious sentiment was condemned as morbid illusion.

Coming nearer to our time, it was the work of the encyclopaedists and earlier political questioners which made the French Revolution; and the effect of that Revolution was not confined to France. The ideas which animated it re-acted directly upon our Empire, upon the American Colonies, upon the Spanish Colonies, upon Italy, and the formation of United Italy, upon Germany the world over.