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tactics, fortification, and the history of his country. He does not seek to inspire him with love for his king and his country, but contents himself with making him a joiner. He would have this gentleman-joiner, when he has received a blow or a challenge, instead of returning it and fighting, “prudently assassinate the man.” Molière does, it is true, say jestingly, in L'Amour Peintre, “ assassination is the safest;" but the author of this romance asserts that it is the most just and reasonable. He says this very seriously; and, in the immensity of his paradoxes, this is one of the three or four things which he says the first. The same spirit of wisdom and decency which makes him declare that a preceptor should often accompany his pupil to a place of prostitution,* makes him decide that this disciple should be an assassin. So that the education which Jean Jacques would give to a young man, consists in teaching him how to handle the plane, and in fitting him for salivation and the rope.
We doubt whether fathers of families will be eager to give such preceptors to their children. It seems to us, that the romance of Emilius departs rather too much from the maxims of Mentor in Telemachus; but it must also be acknowledged that our age has in all things very much varied from the great age of Louis XIV.
Happily, none of these horrible infatuations are to be found in the Encyclopedia. It often displays a philosophy seemingly bold, but never that atrocious and extravagant babbling, which two or three fools have called philosophy, and two or three ladies, eloquence.
ASTROLOGY. Astrology might rest on a better foundation than magic. For if no one has seen farfadets, or lemures, or dives, or peris, or demons, or cacodemons, the predictions of astrologers have often been found true. Let two astrologers be consulted on the life of an in,
* Emile, tome iii. p. 261.
fant, and on the weather; if one of them say that the child shall live to the age of man, the other that he shall not; if one foretel rain and the other fair weather, it is quite clear that there will be a prophet.
The great misfortune of astrologers is, that the heavens have changed since the rules of the art were laid down. The sun, which at the equinox was in the Ram in the time of the Argonauts, is now in the Bull; and astrologers, most unfortunately for their art, now
attribute to one house of the sun that which visibly 3 belongs to another. Still, this is not a demonstrative
argument against astrology. The masters of the art are mistaken ; but it is not proved that the art cannot exist.
There would be no absurdity in saying—“Such a child was born during the moon's increase, in a stormy !
season, at the rising of a certain star: its constitution was bad, and its life short and miserable, which is the ordinary lot of weak temperaments; another, on the contrary, was born when the moon was at the full, and the sun in all his power, in calm weather, at the rising of another particular star; his constitution was good, and his life long and happy.” If such observations had been frequently repeated and found just, experience might, at the end of a few thousand centuries, have formed an art which it would have been difficult to call in question: it would have been thought, not without some appearance of truth, that men are like trees and vegetables, which must be planted only in certain seasons. It would have been of no service against the astrologers, to say, “My son was born in fine weather; yet he died in his cradle.” The astrologer would have answered—“ It often happens that trees planted in the proper season perish prematurely: I will answer for the stars, but not for the particular conformation which you communicated to your child : astrology operates only when there is no cause opposed to the good which they have power to work.”
Nor would astrology have suffered any more discredit from its being said.““ Of two children who were born in the same minute, one became a king, the other nothing more than churchwarden of his parish;" for a defence would easily have been made, by showing that the peasant made his fortune in becoming churchwarden, just as much as the prince did in becoming king.
And if it were alleged that a bandit, hung up by order of Sixtus the Fifth, was born at the same time with Sixtus, who, from being a swineherd, became Pope; the astrologers would say that there was a mistake of a few seconds, and that, according to the rules, the same star could not bestow the tiara and the gallows. It was, then, only because long-accumulated experience gave the lie to the predictions, that men at length perceived that the art was illusory; but their credulity was of very long duration.
One of the most famous mathematicians of Europe, named Stofler, who flourished in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, foretold a universal deluge for the year 1524. This deluge was to happen in the month of February; and nothing can be more plausible; for Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars, were then in conjunction in the sign of the Fishes. Every people in Europe, Asia, and Africa, that heard of the prediction, were in consternation. The whole world expected the deluge, in spite of the rainbow. Several cotemporary authors relate, that the inhabitants of the maritime provinces of Germany hastened to sell their lands, at any price, to such as had more money and less credulity than themselves. Each one provided himself with a boat, ta
an ark. A doctor of Toulouse, in particular, named Auriol, had an ark built for himself, his family, and friends; and the same precautions were taken in a great part of Italy. At last, the month of February arrived, and not a drop of rain fell: never was a month more dry; never were the astrologers more embarrassed. However, we neither discouraged nor neglected them; almost all our princes continued to consult them.
I have not the honour to be a prince; nevertheless,
the celebrated Count de Boulainvilliers, and an Italian named Colonna, who had great reputation at Paris, both foretold to me that I should infallibly die at the age of thirty-two. I have already been so malicious as to deceive them thirty years in their calculation, for which I most humbly ask their pardon.
ASTRONOMY, WITH A FEW MORE REFLECTIONS ON ASTROLOGY.
M.Duval, who, if I mistake not, was librarian to the Emperor Francis I. gives us an account of the manner in which, in his childhood, pure instinct gave him the first ideas of astronomy. He was contemplating the moon, which, as it declined towards the west, seemed to touch the trees of a wood. He doubted not that he should find it behind the trees; and, on running thither, was astonished to see it at the extremity of the horizon.
The following days his curiosity prompted him to watch the course of this luminary; and he was still more surprised to find that it rose and set at various hours.
The different forms which it took from week to week, and its total disappearance for some nights, also contributed to fix his attention. All that a child could do was, to observe and to admire: and this was doing. much; not one in ten thousand has this curiosity and perseverance.
He studied, as he could, for three years, with no other book than the heavens, no other master than his eyes. He observed that the stars did not change their relative position; but the brilliancy of the planet Venus having caught his attention, it seemed to him to have a particular course, like that of the moon. He watched it every night; it disappeared for a long time; and at length he saw it become the morning instead of the evening star.
The course of the sun, which from month to month
. This article was printed, for the first time, in the edition of 1757.
rose and set in different parts of the heavens, did not escape him. He marked the solstices with two staves, without knowing what the solstices were.
It appears to me that some profit might be derived from this example, in teaching astronomy to a child of ten or twelve years old, and with much greater facility than this extraordinary child, of whom I have spoken, taught himself its first elements.
It is a very attractive spectacle for a mind disposed to the contemplation of nature, to see that the different phases of the moon are precisely the same as those of a globe round which a lighted candle is moved, showing here a quarter, here the half of its surface, and becoming invisible when an opaque body is interposed between it and the candle. In this manner it was that Galileo explained the true principles of astronomy before the Doge and Senators of Venice on St. Mark's tower; he demonstrated every thing to the eyes.
Indeed, not only a child, but even a man of mature age, who has seen the constellations only on maps globes, finds it difficult to recognise them in the heavens. In a little time, the child will very well comprehend the causes of the sun's apparent course, and the daily revolutions of the fixed stars.
He will, in particular, discover the constellations, with the aid of these four Latin lines, made by an astronomer about fifty years ago, and which are not sufficiently known :Delta Aries, Perseum Taurus, Geminique Capellam; Nil Cancer, Plaustrum Leo, Virgo Comam atque Bootem, Libra Anguem, Anguiferum fert Scorpios : Antinoum Arcus; Delpbipum Caper, Amphora Equos, Čepbeïda Pisces.
Nothing should be said to him about the systems of Ptolemy and Tycho Brahe, because they are false; they can never be of any other service than to explain some passages in ancient authors, relating to the errors
* It may perhaps be of service here to remark, that this child who became a man of letters, of great information, and acute and origiual intellect, never rose above mediocrity in astronomical science,