Page images

Histoire des Révolutions de Suède et de Por

tugal. La Haye, 1734, 2 vols. in one, 4to.

-Les mêmes Révolutions, édition augmentée

de discours académiques. Paris, 1819, 5 vols, Svo. “ Vertot's Revolutions of Rome, Sweden and Portugal, have been received by the public of every country with equal favour. The last of these works is considered by the French, to be surpassed in purity of style, by no work in their language." Works of C. Butler, vol. 5, p. 217.

Bossuet, after reading the Révolution de Portugal, by Vertot, remarked: “ This is the pen which should write the History of Turenne.” Unfortunately this was never accomplished.

Père Bouhours, one of the most esteemed French critics, remarked, “ we have nothing in our language which, in point of style, can surpass the Révolutions de Suède et de Portugal.

“Who is not acquainted with the Abbé Vertot’s History of the Revolutions of the Roman Republic? It is one of the finest productions in our language; its style is rapid, pure, elegant and natural."-Barbier's Bibl. vol. 3, p. 339.

See Vector, Euvres complètes.

VILLEMAIN (M.) Histoire de Cromwell, d'après les Mémoires du

temps et les recueils parlementaires. Paris, 1819, 2 vols. 8vo. « The History of Cromwell is well-written, and in a style which we conceive to be peculiarly favourable to this species of composition: animated, clear, sometimes admirably concise, and in many parts brilliant in the extreme. The author's por

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

traits are richly drawn, and start, as it were, from the canvas, with life-like vigour."-Revue Ency. vol. 2, p. 305..

VOLTAIRE (F. M. Arouet de)

Le Siècle de Louis XIV. et celui de Louis XV.

Paris, 1821, 4 vols. 8vo. and 12mo. “ I finished the Siècle de Louis XIV, and believe that Voltaire had for this work an advantage which he has seldom enjoyed. When he treats of a distant period, he is not a man to turn over musty, monkish writers to instruct himself. He follows some compilation, varnishes it over with the magic of his style, and produces a most agreeable, superficial, inaccurate performance. But there the information, both written and oral, lay within his reach, and he seems to have taken great pains to conşult it. Without any thing of the majesty of the great historians, he has comprised, in two small volumes, a variety of facts, told in an easy, clear, and lively style. To this merit he has also added that of throwing aside all trivial circumstances, and chosing no events, but such as are either useful or entertaining. His method of treating every article in a distinct chapter) I think vicious: as they are all connected in human affairs, and as they are often the cause of each other, why separate them in History? The first volume is much less interesting than the second ; arts and manners were a subject almost untouched, but so many writers had exhausted the battles and sieges of Louis XIVth's reign, that it was impossibie to add anything new, especially in so confined an abridgement. Besides, those detached particulars wanted less that art of narrating, which Voltaire never possessed, with all his other talents ; I mean in prose, for there are some rery fine narrations in his tragedies.”—Gibbon's lliscellaneous Works, vol. 2, p. 69,

The great names which distinguish the reign of Louis XIV. are thus classed by M. Maury:“ Louis XIV had at the head of his armies, Turenne, Condé, Luxembourg, Catinat, Créqui, Boufilers, Montesquiou, Vendome and Villars ; Duquesne, Tourvile and Zoray directed his councils ; Bossuet, Bourdaloue and Masillon instructed him in his duties. In his senate he had Molé and Lamoignon ; Tulon and d’Aguesseau. Vauban fortified his cities ; Riquet planned his canals; Perrault and Mansard erected his palaces. Paget, Girardon, le Poussin, le Suear and le Brun embellished them. Lenôtre laid out his gardens ; Corneille, Racine, Molière, Quinault, La Fontaine, La Bruyère, Boileau, enlightened and amused him. Montausier, Bossuet, Beauvilliers, Fénelon, Huet, Fléchier, and the Abbé Fleury educated his children. At the head of this august assemblage of immortal genius, the first Royal Protector of the French Academy, proud of the nation to whose grandeur he has so much contributed, and supported by the great men of whom he was the distinguished patron, presents himself, thus gloriously attended, to posterity.”

--Histoire de l'Empire de Russie, sous Pierre

le-Grand. Paris, 1803, 2 vols. 18mo. “ The author of this History has been accused of having made use of the same facts as in his History of Charles XII; he has also been accused of having, in some instances, sacrificed truth to his love for antitheses and the marvellous. His introduction is dry; his division into chapters has been greatly censured ; and some wits have entitled the Czar,le Roi Chapitré. The success of the work has been chiefly owing to the charın of imagination for which its author is so much distinguished.” - Barbier's Bibl. vol. 4,

p. 155.

-Histoire de Charles XII. Paris, 1817, 1 vol


“We had nothing worthy of mention relative to the History of Sweden, before the publication of Voltaire's Charles XII. It is his best historical composition. It is universally read and admired. Quintus Curtius has been accused of having given his History of Alexander the air of a romance. The adventures of Charles XII are also of so singular a kind, that it is very possible the same accusation may, in after times, be brought against the historian of Charles XII."-—Barbier's Bibl. vol. 4,

p. 160.

“ The Histoire de Charles XII, an author gravely asserts, has obtained for Voltaire the title of the French QuintusCurtius. If this be the case, where shall we find his Alexander ? If not in the person of Charles, the eulogium is as much out of place, as the line of Pope

From Macedonia's madman to the Swede, is unjust, not to say absurd.”—Craufurd': Essais, 8c. vol. 3,

p. 126.

-Essai sur l'Histoire générale et sur les Meurs

et l’Esprit des nations, depuis Charlemagne jusqu'à nos jours. Paris, 1757, 8 vols. 8vo. “ The Essai sur l'Histoire générale, written for Madame du Chatelet, is in many respects worthy of admiration; but the author's hatred of the Jews, and of the Christian religion, is sometimes carried beyond all reasonable bounds." --Craufurd's Essais, 8c. vol. 3, p. 128.


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »