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deep and instructive train of thinking. But I cannot forbear to mention three particular books, since they may have_remotely contributed to form the historian of the Roman empire. 1. From the Provincial Letters of Pascal, which almost every year I have perused with new pleasure, I learned to manage the weapon of grave and temperate irony, even on subjects of ecclesiastical solemnity. 2. The Life of Julian, by the abbé de la Bleterie, first introduced me to the man and the times; and I should be glad to recover my first essay on the truth of the miracle which stopped the rebuilding of the temple of Jerusalem. 3. In Giannone's Civil History of Naples, I observed with a critical eye the progress and abuse of sacerdotal power, and the revolutions of Italy in the darker ages. This various reading, which I now conducted with discretion, was digested, according to the precept and model of Mr Locke, into a large commonplace book; a practice, however, which I do not strenuously recommend. The action of the pen will doubtless imprint an idea on the mind as well as on the paper: but I much question whether the benefits of this laborious method are adequate to the waste of time; and I must agree with Dr Johnson, (Idler, No 74,) "that what is twice read, is commonly better remembered than what is transcribed."
During two years, if I forget some boyish excursions of a day or a week, I was fixed at Lausanne; but at the end of the third summer my father consented that I should make the tour of Switzerland with Pavilliard: and our short absence of one month (September 21st-October 20th, 1755) was a reward and relaxation of my assiduous studies.* The fashion
* From EDWARD GIBBON to Mrs PORTEN.
Now for myself.
As my father has given me leave to make a journey round Switzerland, we set out to-morrow.
Buy a map of Switz
of climbing the mountains and reviewing the glaciers, had not yet been introduced by foreign travellers who seek the sublime beauties of nature. But the political
erland-it will cost you but a shilling; and follow me. I go by Iverdun, Neufchâtel, Bienne or Biel, Soleure or Solothurn, Bale or Basil, Bade, Zurich, Lucerne, and Bern. The voyage will be of about four weeks; so that I hope to find a letter from you waiting for me. As my father had given me leave to learn what I had a mind, I have learned to ride, and learn actually to dance and draw. Besides that, I often give ten or twelve hours a day to my studies. I find a great many agreeable people here; see them sometimes, and can say upon the whole, without vanity, that though I am the Englishman here who spends the least money, I am he who is the most generally liked. I told you that my father had promised to send me into France and Italy. I have thanked him for it; but if he would follow my plan, he won't do it yet awhile. I never liked young travellers; they go too raw to make any great remarks, and they lose a time which is (in my opinion) the most precious part of a man's life. My scheme would be, to spend this winter at Lausanne: for though it is a very good place to acquire the air of good company and the French tongue, we have no good professors. To spend (I say) the winter at Lausanne; go into England to see my friends for a couple of months; and after that, finish my studies either at Cambridge, (for after what has passed one cannot think of Oxford,) or at an university in Holland. If you liked the scheme, could you not propose it to my father by Metcalf, or somebody who has a certain credit over him? I forgot to ask you whether, in ease my father writes to tell me of his marriage, would you advise me to compliment my motherin-law ! I think so. My health is so very regular, that I have nothing to say about it.
I have been the whole day writing you this letter; the preparations for our voyage gave me a thousand interruptions. Besides that, I was obliged to write in English. This last reason will seem a paradox, but I assure you the French is much more familiar to me. I am, &c.
Lausanne, Sept. 20, 1755.
face of the country is not less diversified by the forras and spirit of so many various republics, from the jealous government of the few to the licentious freedom of the many. I contemplated with pleasure the new prospects of men and manners; though my conversation with the natives would have been more free and instructive, had I possessed the German as well as the French language. We passed through most of the principal towns in Switzerland; Neufchâtel, Bieune, Soleure, Arau, Baden, Zurich, Basil, and Bern. In every place we visited the churches, arsenals, libraries, and all the most eminent persons; and after my return, I digested my notes in fourteen or fifteen sheets of a French journal, which I dispatched to my father, as a proof that my time and his money had not been misspent. Had I found this journal among his papers, I might be tempted to select some passages; but I will not transcribe the printed accounts, and it may be sufficient to notice a remarkable spot which left a deep and lasting impression on my memory. From Zurich we proceeded to the Benedictine abbey of Einfidlen, more commonly styled Our Lady of the Hermits. I was astonished by the profuse ostentation of riches in the poorest corner of Europe; amidst a savage scene of woods and mountains a palace appears to have been erected by magic; and it was erected by the potent magic of religion. A crowd of palmers and votaries was prostrate before the altar. The title and worship of the Mother of God provoked my indignation; and the lively naked image of superstition suggested to me, as in the same place it had done to Zuinglius, the most pressing arguiment for the reformation of the church. About two years after this tour, I passed at Geneva a useful and agreeable month; but this excursion, and some short visits in the Pays de Vaud, did not materially interrupt my studious and sedentary life at Lausanne.
My thirst of improvement, and the languid state of science at Lausanne, soon prompted me to solicit a
literary correspondence with several men of learning, whom I had not an opportunity of personally consulting. 1. In the perusal of Livy (xxx. 44) I had been stopped by a sentence in a speech of Hannibal, which cannot be reconciled by any torture with his character or argument. The commentators dissemble, or confess their perplexity. It occurred to me, that the change of a single letter, by substituting otio instead of odio, might restore a clear and consistent sense; but I wished to weigh my emendation in scales less partial than my own. I addressed myself to M. Crevier, the successor of Rollin, and a professor in the university of Paris, who had published a large and valuable edition of Livy. His answer was speedy and polite; he praised my ingenuity, and adopted my conjecture. 2. I maintained a Latin correspondence, at first anonymous, and afterwards in my own name, with professor Breitinger of Zurich, the learned editor of a Septuagint Bible. In our frequent letters we discussed many questions of antiquity, many passages of the Latin classics. I proposed my interpretations and amendments. His censures, for he did not spare my boldness of conjecture, were sharp and strong; and I was encouraged by the consciousness of my strength, when I could stand in free debate against a critic of such eminence and erudition. 3. I corresponded on similar topics with the celebrated professor Matthew Gesner, of the university of Gottingen; and he accepted, as courteously as the two former, the invitation of an unknown youth. But his abilities might possibly be decayed; his elaborate letters were feeble and prolix; and when I asked his proper direction, the vain old man covered half a sheet of paper with the foolish enumeration of his titles and offices. 4. These professors of Paris, Zurich, and Gottingen, were strangers, whom I presumed to address on the credit of their name; but Mr Allamand, minister at Bex, was my personal friend, with whom I maintained a more free and interesting correspondence. He was a
master of language, of science, and, above all, of dispute; and his acute and flexible logic could support with equal address, and perhaps with equal indifference, the adverse sides of every possible question. His spirit was active, but his pen had been indolent. Mr Allamand had exposed himself to much scandal and reproach by an anonymous letter (1745) to the Protestants of France; in which he labours to persuade them that public worship is the exclusive right and duty of the state, and that their numerous assemblies of dissenters and rebels were not authorised by the law or the gospel. His style is animated, his arguments specious; and if the Papist may seem to lurk under the mask of a Protestant, the philosopher is concealed under the disguise of a Papist. After some trials in France and Holland, which were defeated by his fortune or his character, a genius, that might have enlightened or deluded the world, was buried in a country living, unknown to fame, and discontented with mankind. Est sacrificulus in pago, et rusticos decipit. As often as private or ecclesiastical business called him to Lausanne, I enjoyed the pleasure and benefit of his conversation, and we were mutually flattered by our attention to each other. Our correspondence, in his absence, chiefly turned on Locke's metaphysics-which he attacked, and I defended; the origin of ideas, the principles of evidence, and the doctrine of liberty.
And found no end, in wandering mazes lost.
By fencing with so skilful a master I acquired some dexterity in the use of my philosophic weapons; but I was still the slave of education and prejudice. He had some measures to keep; and I much suspect that he never shewed me the true colours of his secret scepticism.
Before I was recalled from Switzerland, I had the satisfaction of seeing the most extraordinary man of the age; a poet, an historian, a philosopher, who has