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chevalier, whose relations thereupon pro- was afterwards taken under the proteccured an order for his imprisonment. At tion of the pope himself (Benedict XIV), the end of six months, he was released and has remained upon the stage with at the intercession of the marchioness de the reputation of one of the best French Prie, the favorite of the regent, who ad- productions of its kind. His Mérope (1743) · mired his poetical talents; but he was was the first French drama which produced obliged to leave the kingdom. He went a strong effect without the aid of love. On to England, where his Henriade was pub- the representation of this piece, the custom lished by subscription, at the request of was introduced of calling for the appearking George I and the princess of Wales. ance of the writer. Before this time, From this he obtained considerable emol- Voltaire had gained the favor of the court ument. He became acquainted with by a political service. He corresponded nany men of rank, and distinguished with the crown-prince of Prussia, afterscholars, but gave such license to his wit, wards Frederic the Great, who had a that it is said Pope's mother was some- great fondness for French literature. times driven away, by his conversation, When Frederic ascended the throne, in from her son's table. In 1728, he received 1740, an alliance with him was considered permission to return to France, where he desirable. Voltaire was sent to Berlin, put his acquisitions into a lottery. By and discovered the ground upon which this, as well as by other fortunate specu- Frederic had declined the advances which lations (he traded under the name of Du had been made him. The alliance was Moulin, and sent ships to Africa), he ob- concluded as soon as France had declared tained great wealth, so that, after he came herself against Austria. Voltaire now deinto possession of the estates of his father sired, as the reward of his services, some and brother, his income amounted to marks of favor from the court, to facilitate nearly 130,000 livres, which he employed his admission to the academy, which had in a praiseworthy manner: he particular- been opposed by his numerous enemies. ly aided youthful literary talent. In 1730, He was therefore invited to compose a he brought the tragedy of Brutus upon piece for the celebration of the nuptials the stage; but, notwithstanding much of the dauphin, and wrote the Princess of merit, it did not please universally. His Navarre. The piece was approved, if talent for dramatic poetry was even not the public, at least by the court; doubted; and Fontenelle and La Motte and his reward was the place of gentiladvised him not to employ his genius homme ordinaire, and historian of France. any more in this manner. His answer As such, he planned a history of the then was the Zaïre, a play, which produced existing war of 1741. It was not, howa deep and universal impression, and is ever, until 1746 that he received a place still a favorite on the French stage. in the academy. In the mean time, he He afterwards attacked the pretensions of was persecuted with lampoons of all the church with such vehemence, in his kinds, so that he withdrew, with madame Lettres philosophiques, that the parliament du Chatelet, to the court of king Stanisof Paris condemned the book to be burnt; laus, at Luneville. During this time were and an order was issued for the arrest of produced his tragedies Sémiramis, Orestes, the author. He therefore passed some and Rome Sauvée, the subject of which years in concealment at Cirey, near Vassi, was the conspiracy of Catiline. After the in Champagne, where he was treated death of madame du Chatelet, in 1749, with the greatest kindness by the mistress Voltaire returned to Paris, where he conof the estate, the marchioness du Chat- tributed much to form the celebrated actor elet (q. v.), and wrote his Elémens de la Lekain. Frederic the Great had hitherto Philosophie de Newton, to make his coun- vainly invited him to Potsdam; but being trymen acquainted with the great discov- told that Frederic had called Arnaud the eries of the English philosopher. He rising and him the setting sun, his selfwished, as he expressed it, to exhibit the love was so much touched that he sprang Briareus in miniature. But scientific out of bed, and exclaimed, "Frederic may labors were by no means so well adapted judge of affairs of state, but not of me! to his powers as the culture of the belles- Yes; I will go and show him that I am lettres. He soon returned to poetry, and not setting yet." He went to Potsdam in wrote, in 1736, his Alzire, and, in 1741, June, 1750. Frederic treated him with his Mohammed. The attacks in the last the greatest distinction: in a moment of upon fanaticism displeased the clergy, enthusiasm, he even kissed his hand. and, by the advice of the minister, cardi- Voltaire occupied an apartment under nal Fleury, he withdrew the piece; yet it that of the king, with permission to visit
him at certain hours, and iad a table and equipage at his command. He spent every day two hours with the king, and revised his literary productions, when, as he himself said, he never failed to praise the good, and quietly to strike out the bad. But this friendship continued hardly, a year. A quarrel between Maupertuis, president of the Berlin_academy, and a mathematician named Konig, in which Voltaire took part, drew upon him the displeasure of Frederic, who caused his Akakia, a satire upon Maupertuis, to be burnt in the presence of the writer, and sent him his dismission. Voltaire return ed to the king the chamberlain's key and the cross of the order which had been conferred on him, with some verses, in which he compared himself to a lover who sends back the portrait of his mistress; but the king soon restored them. Voltaire now made a visit to the duchess of Gotha. During his absence, Maupertuis succeeded in depriving him of the favor of the king, and he concluded to return to France. When he reached Frankfort on the Maine, he was stopped by order of Frederic, because he had with him various productions of the king, who feared that he would use them to his prejudice. He was likewise compelled to resign the chamberlain's key, his order, and his promise of a pension of 22,000 livres. The breach between Frederic and Voltaire was now irreparable. Voltaire wished to reside in Paris; but his Pucelle d'Orléans had excited so much displeasure, that he was not allowed to remain in the capital. He now resided for some years at Colmar, where he wrote the Orphan of China, and bought a country seat in the neighborhood of Geneva. Jean Jacques Rousseau sent him his wellknown treatise which had gained the prize of the academy of Dijon. Voltaire returned him an answer which, among many flattering remarks, contained the following sentence: "When I read your treatise, I desire to creep upon all-fours." This ridicule made the author of Emile his irreconcilable enemy. Soon after, Voltaire took part in the political contentions then prevailing in Geneva; and, having become involved in disputes with many of the principal people, he thought it best to leave the place. He therefore purchased the estate of Ferney, in the Pays de Ġex, where he resided the rest of his life, with his niece, madame Denis. He drew manufacturers, and other settlers, into his district, obtained for them, through his influence, important advantages, and 3
reigned like a petty prince among his subjects. Here he erected a new and elegant church, with the inscription. Deo erexit Voltaire. A decided enemy of tyranny and oppression, he afforded aid and protection to many persecuted persons; among others, to the family of Jean Calas, who had fallen a victim to fanaticism. At that time, he wrote his masterly treatise upon toleration. The granddaughter of the great Corneille also experienced his bounty. In the numerous writings which he composed in this retreat, his free spirit employed the weapons of ridicule, and the boldest eloquence, against all which contravened his ideas of freedom and independence. To the clergy he was particularly hostile, on account of their intolerance and persecuting spirit. But he often injured the cause of religion itself while he attacked its servants. His motives, moreover, were not always of the highest kind. In 1757, the first edition of his works appeared, prepared under his own eye. It reconciled him with Frederic the Great. This monarch renewed his correspondence with Voltaire, and sent him his own bust, of porcelain, with the inscription Viro immortali. The empress Catharine of Russia sent him, like-. wise, splendid presents, accompanied by the most flattering letters. In return for an ivory box, made by herself, and for her instructions (prepared for the direction of a law commission which she had instituted), he sent her a bracelet netted by his own hands. In 1769, a medal was stamped in honor of him, the inscription ou which was a verse taken from the Henriade: Ilôte aux nations le bandeau de l'erreur. Soine French literati, together with Frederic, erected a statue to him. with the inscription Statue erigée à Voltaire par les hommes de lettres ses compatriotes; and Louis XV said, "He deserves it." All strangers of distinction who passed by Ferney stopped to testify their esteem for this remarkable man. Joseph II only did not visit him. Nevertheless, Voltaire was by no means happy. Too much accustomed to the constant admiration of the world, he soon became weary of his quiet life, and went, even in his advanced age (February, 1778), once more to Paris. Here he found many admirers, who adored him, and many bitter enemies. He was sensible of the dislike entertained towards hin; and, therefore, when stopped by the officers of the customs, with the inquiry if he had any con traband goods with him, he replied, “No, no; there is nothing contraband here but
myself." The inquiry of the king, on his arrival, if the decree of the parliament was still in force against him, made him anxious; but nothing further was done to molest him. The French academy sent three of their members to welcome him, though, in similar cases, it was customary to send but one. The actors waited upon him in a body: "We have come," said they, "to beseech you to inspire us with your odes." "I live only for you and through you" was his answer-a proof that he considered his dramas as his chief productions; and, in truth, dramatic works were his last labors. He wrote his Tancrède in the sixty-sixth year of his age. The calls upon him were so constant that he felt himself oppressed by them. "I am suffocated," said he, "but it is with roses." Franklin came, with his grandson, to see Voltaire: "My son," said he, "fall upon your knees before this great man." Voltaire gave the boy his blessing, with the words "God and freedom." He had brought with him a new tragedy, Irène, which was performed on the 16th of May. The royal family was present, and the piece was received with unbounded applause. The French academy sent him their gratulations on this occasion, and placed his bust by the side of Corneille. At the sixth representation, he came into the theatre; and, when he had sat down in his box, a player entered, and presented him with a laurel wreath; and, at the conclusion of the piece, his bust was also crowned in the theatre. All these excitements, together with incessant literary labors, and the change from his accustomed manner of life, affected his health so much that it seemed as if he could not live much longer. He perceived this plainly: "I have come to Paris," he said, "to find my glory and my grave." He could not sleep; and a large dose of opium, which he took without the advice of his physician, is thought to have hastened his death. When his tenants heard of his sickness, they wished to go to Paris, and carry him, in a litter, to Ferney. He resided in Paris with the marquis de Villette. The latter sent to the principal clergyman of St. Sulpice, to induce him to beg Voltaire to submit to the ceremony which Catholic Christians undergo on leaving the world. The circumstances of the case have been related differently; but it is certain that Voltaire died without receiving the sacrament, in the eightyfifth year of his age, May 30, 1778. The archbishop of Paris is said to have denied the corpse Christian burial; and it was
therefore interred secretly at Scellières, a Bernardine abbey, between Nogent and Troyes. By a decree of the national assembly (1791), his remains were placed in the Pantheon, in Paris, near those of J. J. Rousseau and other great men.-The exterior of Voltaire was quite characteristic. In his countenance, as has been said, there was a mixture of the eagle and the monkey; and, in character, he united the boldness of the one with something of the malice of the other. He was impetuous, irritable, sensitive, but also mild, compassionate, benevolent, cheerful, and lively from principle. With noble views and principles, his actions were not always the most praiseworthy; and many of his good deeds did not flow from the purest sources. He had something vacillating in his character; and, notwithstanding his hatred of prejudice, he frequently bowed to it in a manner which did him little honor. From vanity he flattered the great, and often sought their company for the same reason. His fame did not become great till after his retirement from court. He was too selfish to inspire love, and avarice is said to have had much ascendency over him. Yet he was, in his latter years, the friend of the poor, and the protector of the oppressed. Notwith standing all his admirers, he gained no friend. He had great talents, but not an elevated character; and his writings want the charm which only a great soul can give. Nevertheless, he often acted nobly. The abbé Desfontaines, to whom he had shown much kindness, published, without any authority, an edition of the Henriade from a very imperfect manuscript. Desfontaines became unfortunate, repented of what he had done, and Voltaire became again his benefactor. Being arrested on account of a dishonorable accusation, the abbé owed to Voltaire's influence with madam de Prie his freedom, his honor, and perhaps his life. Desfontaines recompensed this favor by a severe criticism and a bitter lampoon. To a peasant, deprived, by an unjust sentence, of his land, who applied to Voltaire for assistance, he gave 3000 livres, and invited him to settle in Ferney. In company, Voltaire was agreeable, polite, and a complete courtier, The activity of his temperament was so great that he often labored all night. Even in his eightieth year, he worked fourteen hours a day. Among his works, his dramas hold the first place. He is the worthy rival of Racine and Corneille, and his pieces are still favorites with the French. Notwithstanding his great wit
however, Voltaire was not distinguished in comedy The Henriade has many striking passages, but wants true epic characters, and is faulty in its plan. Among his historical works, the Siècle de Louis XIV et XV, and the Histoire de Charles XII, the Essai sur l'Histoire générale,sur les Mœurs et l'Esprit des Nations, abound in penetrating views. His merits are not those of thorough investigation, but of striking and happy description, and sagacious observation. His prevailing defect is the exaggerated estimation of the superiority of the French over other modern nations. His philosophical romances, treatises, smaller poems, narratives, dialogues, &c., show a comprehensive spirit, and great felicity of execution. In the department of fugitive pieces, he is unique. As a prose writer, he is unequalled, so beautiful and polished is his expression, so copious his wit. Among all the French writers, he, perhaps, displays, in the fullest degree, the peculiarities of his nation. The accomplished marchioness du Chatelet, as we have already said, was.his intimate friend: hence the Lettres inédites de la Marq. du Chatelet et Supplément à la, Correspondance de Voltaire avec le Roi de Prusse, etc., avec des Notes histor. (Paris, 1818), is an important addition to his biography.—See La Vie de Voltaire par Condorcet; also La Vie de Voltaire par M. [Mercier] (Geneva, 1788); Examen des Ouvrages de M. de Voltaire par M. Linguet (Brussels, 1788); Vie littéraire de Voltaire rédigée par de Luchet. The abbe Duvernet describes him more particularly as a man, and a private man, in his Vie de Voltaire suivie d'Anecdotes qui composent sa Vie privée (Paris, 1797); see also Mémoires sur Voltaire et sur ses Ouvrages par Wagnière et Longchamp, ses Secrétaires (1826, two vols.). Wagnière was directed by the empress Catharine,who bought Voltaire's library, to arrange it in St. Petersburg, as it had stood in Ferney. The Vie de Voltaire, by Mazure, is very partial. His works were published by Beaumarchais, at Kehl, 1784, seq. in 70 vols. 4to and 8vo, and 92 vols. 12mo; and, by Palissot, with notes, at Paris, 1796, seq. The Pièces inédites appeared at Paris in 1820. Since 1817, seven editions of the works of Voltaire have been published (the cheapest by Touquet, 1820). In 1823, some unpublished works of his were found in the imperial hermitage, at Petersburg: the most important are a bitter commentary upon Rousseau's Contrat Social, and a tale; the latter has since been published. Dupont has lately pub
lished an edition of Voltaire's works, in 70 volumes. A tolerably complete, but perhaps not entirely impartial review of the numerous literary contests of Voltaire, is given in the Tableau philosophique de l'Esprit de M. de Voltaire (Geneva, 1771).
VOLTERRA; a town of Tuscany, twenty-four miles south-west of Florence, with 5000 inhabitants. It is the see of a bishop, and has a public seminary of education. The ancient Volaterra was one of the twelve principal cities of Etruria, and had 100,000 inhabitants. Some Etruscan monuments still remain: among these are its walls, with a gate, dedicated to Hercules; and the fish-pond, constructed of enormous blocks of stone. (See Etruria.)
VOLUME (Latin volumen). The volume of a body has reference to the space which it occupies. To have a correct idea of this, imagine a body immersed entirely in a liquid, which neither changes nor penetrates it. If it is now taken out, and we add new liquid, to raise the contents of the vessel as high as they were when the body was immersed, the amount of the newly-added Liquid will give us the volume of the body. Thus we have a simple means of ascertaining the volume of small bodies, the irregularity of which presents some difficulty in the way of determining it by ordinary means. Volume must not be confounded with_mass. the volume also depends the difference of the absolute and specific gravity. (q. v.)
VOLUMNIA. (See Coriolanus.)
VOLUNTEER, in military language; one who serves in the army, or undertakes a particular duty without being obliged so to do: thus officers not unfrequently take part in a campaign, as volunteers. When an enterprise of peculiar danger is to be undertaken, as the assault of a formidable battery, the taking of a square, &c., a call is made for volunteers; and those who survive receive rewards of money, or medals, swords, &c., or promotion. Sometimes there are also bodies of troops consisting entirely of volunteers; e. g. the Prussian volunteer riflemen, attached to each battalion in the campaigns of 1813, '14 and '15, and the volunteer companies of citizens raised, in 1794, in England. These mostly laid down their arms in 1801; but when the war broke out again in 1803, and the intention of the French to effect a landing was nounced, the inhabitants of Great Britain rose anew, and the ministers spoke of nearly 500,000 volunteers being in arms. VOLUTES. (See Architecture, vol. i, p. 340.) VON; a German preposition, meaning
in some cases, from, or of. It is prefixed to the names of the host of noblemen in that country; in which case it is equivalent to the French de, and the Dutch van, which latter, however, does by no means always indicate nobility. There are a few cases, also, in Germany, in which von precedes the name of a commoner. The origin of this signification of von was, probably, that the early noblemen were called by their Christian name, with the addition of the castle or village which belonged to them. Before family names became settled (see Names), it was very customary, on the European continent, to call any person, commoner or nobleman, by his Christian name, with the addition of the place in which he resided, either changed into an adjective, or with the preposition of, de, von. By degrees, this became a distinction of the nobility in Germany, but not in Holland.
VONDEL, Joost van der, one of the most celebrated poets of Holland, of which, however, he was not a native, was born at Cologne, in 1587. His parents, who were Anabaptists, removed to Holland while he was a child, and the poet himself afterwards went over to the Arminians (q. v.), and finally died in the bosom of the Roman Catholic church, in 1659. Nature had endowed him with extraordinary talents, and he derived little aid from education. He has been called the Dutch Shakspeare. Devoting himself entirely to the cultivation of poetry, Vondel first learned Latin and French in the thirtieth year of his age, read the Roman and French writers, and endeavored to supply the deficiencies of his early education. His works display genius and elevated imagination; but the language is often incorrect. His poems compose nine vols. quarto, and include metrical versions of the Psalms, of Virgil and of Ovid, together with satires and tragedies. Among the latter, Palamedes, an allegorical piece relating to the death of Barneveldt, and the Conquest of Amsterdam, are considered the masterpieces of Dutch tragedy. Camper has treated of Vondel, in a Latin prize essay, published at Leyden, in 1818. VORARLBERG; a mountainous district, now forming a circle of the Tyrol, surrounded by the Tyrol, Switzerland, lake Constance, and Bavaria. It has its own separate constitution, and consists of the lordships of Bregenz, Feldkirch, Pludenz, and Hohenems, with a population of 66,754 souls, on 1578 square miles. The Vorarlberg lordships derive their name from the Arlberg, or Adlersberg (Eagle
mountain), which belongs to the Norie Alps, and separates them from the Tyrol. They were annexed to the Tyrol in 1782, and were ceded with it, by the peace of Presburg, to Bavaria; but, in 1814, were restored to Austria. The country is mountainous, and watered by several small rivers, among which, the Lech and the Iller take their rise here. There is much wood and good pasturage, and the raising of.. cattle is the chief occupation of the inhabitants. The corn produced is not equal to the consumption. There are cotton manufactures here, and the making wooden ware, and the building of boats and houses (the latter exported to Switzerland), employ a great number of the inhabitants. The chief town (Bregenz) has 2500 inhabitants.
VORSTIUS, Conrad, an eminent divine, born at Cologne, in 1569, was the son of a dyer, who secretly seceded to the Protestant communion. Conrad was sent to Haerlem and Heidelberg, at which university he was created a doctor of divinity. After giving lectures on theology, at Geneva, in 1596, he accepted a professorship at Steinfurt, until 1610, when he received a call to succeed Arminius in the professorship of theology at Leyden. Having accepted this offer, he soon became involved in the controversial war which raged in the Netherlands; and the Gomarists, taking advantage of a book which he had published, entitled Tractatus Theologicus de Deo, accused him of heresy. James I, on receiving the book of Vorstius, drew up a catalogue of heresies from it, which he sent to his minister at the Hague, with an order to certify to the states how much he detested those alleged errors. He also caused his book to be burnt in London, and informed the states, who said they would inquire into the case, that if they did not dismiss Vorstius, none of his subjects should visit Leyden. The appearance of a work, by some of his disciples, entitled De Officio Christiani Hominis, which contained some anti-Trinitarian doctrines,although formally disclaimed by Vorstius, excited against him so much odium, that he was banished, by the states of Holland, from their territories. (See Arminius, and Arminians.) He lived for more than two years in secrecy, frequently changing his abode, in fear for his life, and died, in 1622, at the' age of fifty-three.
VORTICES OF DESCARTES. cartes.)
VOSGES; a chain of mountains in the east of France, extending from north to