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In this connexion, it may be noticed that the influence upon Voltaire of the writers of this group has often been exaggerated. To say, as Lord Morley says, that 'it was the English onslaught which sowed in him the seed of the idea ... of a systematic and reasoned attack' upon Christian theology, is to misjudge the situation.

Marmontel alone shared with him the really intimate friendship of M. and Madame Necker; the former had given up tragedies and moral tales; a pupil of Voltaire, without the splendor and inexhaustible vigor of his master, he was less prone to license, and his feelings were more serious; he was at that time correcting his Elements de Litterature, but lately published in the Encyclopaedie, and commencing the Memoires d'un pere, pour servir d l'instruction de ses enfants.

Moreover, the anti-Cartesian colour of some of the parts of the memoir of Voltaire was calculated to find little favour in a society, where Cartesianism, with its incomprehensible vortices, was everywhere held in high estimation.

Voltaire, in spite of his surroundings, in spite of almost universal tyranny and oppression, was a believer in God and in what he was pleased to call the religion of nature. He attacked the creed of his time because it was dishonorable to his God.

Then it ceased to feel to be a duty to rid Gertrude of Voltaire. Why should I struggle and resist? Supposing I succeeded, was I any more fit to be her husband than he? What was I? At best a poor weak creature, the plaything of a villain. At any time he could exert his power and make me his slave. But I might be worse than that. I might, with my own hand, have sent a man into eternity.

This was very true of Voltaire, who was as thin-skinned as he was violent; and who is believed to have tried sometimes to silence his opponents by the arbitrary method of procuring from some man in power a royal order to have them locked up. Palissot, in a very readable comedy, makes fun of Diderot and his friends. As for invective, the supply is endless on both sides.

As soon as his health had recovered a little from the horror of the Bohemian campaign, Vauvenargues took the step of writing to Voltaire, then a stranger, for his opinion on that crying question, the relative greatness of Corneille and of Racine, a question to all Frenchmen like that between predestination and free-will to Milton's rebel angels.

Boswell venerates his Johnson, right truly even in the Eighteenth century. The unbelieving French believe in their Voltaire; and burst out round him into very curious Hero-worship, in that last act of his life when they "stifle him under roses." It has always seemed to me extremely curious this of Voltaire.

"But your majesty is pleased to lend your ears to my enemies," said Voltaire, sullenly; "exactly those who attack me most virulently receive the highest honors at the hands of your majesty. You are as cruel with me as a beautiful and ravishing coquette. So soon as by a love-glance you have made me the happiest of men, you turn away with cold contempt, and smile alluringly upon my rivals.

His God, however, was more than the creator and organiser of the Encyclopaedists, he was also the "Dieu vengeur et remunerateur" in whom Voltaire believed. But here his faith was larger than Voltaire's. For while Voltaire referred the punishments and rewards to this life, the Abbe believed in the immortality of the soul, in heaven and hell.