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aborigines, and interesting notes respecting the French colonists. Volney's visit was long remembered by our older citi

A Knickerbocker reminiscent, in describing the local associations of “Richmond Hill,” in the city of New Yorka domain now marked by the junction of Varick and Vandam streets-speaks of the Lispenard meadows once flanking the spot, and of the adjacent forest trees, where the echo of the sportsman's gun often resounded; and, in allusion to the mansion itself, notes the curious fact that the first opera house was built upon its site; that the elder Adams resided there when Congress met in New York; and that the dwelling became the home of the notorious Aaron Burr, among whose guests he mentions Volney, “whose portly form gave outward tokens of his tremendous vitality, while the Syrian traveller descanted on theogony, the races of the red men, and Niagara." *

We have a curious glimpse of Volney during his tour in this country, from another venerable reminiscent: “Some thirty or more years ago, at the close of a summer's day, a stranger entered Warrentown. He was alone and on foot, and his appearance was anything but prepossessing; his garments coarse and dust-covered, like an individual in the humbler walks. From a cane resting across his shoulder was suspended a handkerchief containing his clothing. Stopping in front of Turner's tavern, he took from his hat a paper, and handed it to a gentleman standing on the steps. It read as follows: "The celebrated historian and naturalist, Volney, needs no recommendation from G. Washington.”

It is said that the idea of his celebrated work on the Ruins of Empires was first suggested in the cabinet of Franklin. Herein he elaborately proclaims and precisely defines the law of decay as the condition of humanity in her most magnificent social development; and states, with the eloquence of scientific logic, the right, necessity, and duty of

*" Old New York,” by Dr. Francis.

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toleration--then a doctrine but casually recognized as a philosophical necessity. It was objected to this work, in addition to its sceptical generalization, that, in describing sects, he misrepresented their creed and practice. A merit, however, claimed for Volney, and with reason, is his freedom from egotism when writing as a philosopher. There is a remarkable absence of personal anecdote and adventures both in his work on the East and his American travels. One of his biographers claims that the topographical descriptions in the latter are written in a masterly style, and that his remarks on the course and currents of the winds denote original insight and observation. The same writer, however, states that his character, which was naturally serious, became morose as he advanced in life.

It was his original purpose to treat of America as a political essayist and social philosopher. He intended to trace “the stock, the history, language, laws, and customs; to expose the error of the romantic colonists, who gave the name of a virgin people to their descendants-a combination of the inhabitants of old Europe--Dutch, Germans, Spaniards, and English from three kingdoms; to indicate the differences of opinions and of interests which divide the New England and Southern country—the region of the Atlantic and that of the Mississippi; to define republicanism and federalism,” &c. A profound admirer of the liberty of the press and of opinion, he would have explained the antagonism between the followers of Adams and of Jefferson. In a word, the scope of his work, as at first projected, resembled that so ably achieved by his more consistent and judicious countryman, De Tocqueville. Instead of this, Volney wrote in a scientific vein. He treats of the winds, temperature, qualities of soil, local diseases; and writes as a naturalist and physiologist, instead of making the great theme subservient to his political theories. There is much condensed knowledge and remarkable scientific description; interesting accounts of Florida, the French colony on the Scioto, and others in Canada, with curious remarks on the aborigines. The style and thought as well as scope of the work, although thus partial in its design, are superior to most of those which preceded it.

Another Frenchman, who enjoyed considerable literary renown in his day, was instrumental, though not in the character of a traveller, in making America and her political claims known in Europe. Born at St. Geniez, Guienne, in 1711, and dying at Paris in 1796, the life of the Abbé Raynal includes a period fraught with extreme vicissitudes of government and religion, whereof he largely partook in opinion and fortune. Bred a Jesuit, he went to Paris, and, from some elocutionary defects, failed as a preacher at St. Sulpice, became intimate with Voltaire, Diderot, and D'Alembert; and abandoned theology for philosophy. Familiar with the writings of Bayle, Montaigne, and Rousseau, he became an ardent liberal and active litterateur ; first compiling memoirs of Ninon de L'Enclos, then writing “L'Histoire du Stathoudérat”-a branch of the noble theme since so memorably unfolded by our countryman Motley; the "Histoire du Parlement d'Angleterre ;" articles in the “Cyclopædia ;" literary anecdotes, &c. But the work which for a time gave him most celebrity, was written in conjunction with Diderot“Histoire philosophique et politique des Etablissements et du commerce des Européens dans les Indes.” The first edition appeared in 1770. In the second, ten years after, his direct attacks upon the existing government and religion caused the work to be prohibited, and its author condemned to imprisonment; which latter penalty he escaped by flight. In 1781 appeared his “ Tableau et Revolutions des Colonies Anglaises dans l'Amérique Septentrionale," * whose many errors of fact were indicated in a pamphlet by Tom Paine. Elected a deputy, his renunciation of some of his obnoxious opinions failed to conciliate his adversaries; and, despoiled by the Revolution, he died in poverty, at the age of eighty-four. Incorrect and desultory as are the Abbé Raynal's writings, and neglected as they now are, his advocacy of the American cause, and description of the country, drawn apparently from inadequate yet sometimes authentic sources, on account of a certain philosophical tone and agreeability of style, were for some years read and admired. As we recur to them in the ninth volume of the latest edition of his chief work, wherein they are now included, we obtain a vivid idea of the kind of research and rhetoric then in vogue, and can imagine how to foreign minds must then have appeared the problem of our nascent civilization.

*** The Abbé Raynal on the Revolution in America," 12mo., Dublin,

The Abbé's biographer claims that he was personally very agreeable, and possessed of a fine figure; that the vivacious discussions and literary fellowship of the Paris salons enlivened and enlarged the acquisitions of this eleve of the cloister who “succeeded in the world," and, though he did not understand the science of politics, and often contradicted himself, was, notwithstanding, an ardent and capable defender of human rights, and a true lover of his face. It is a curious fact, that he was a warm admirer and eloquent eulogist of Sterne's fair friend, Eliza Draper; and a more interesting one, that he was among the very earliest to protest against the cruelties then practised against the negro race. He draws a parallel, at the close of his history, between the actual results of European conquests in America, and their imagined benefits. The new empire multiplied metals, and made a grand movement in the world ; but, says the Abbé, " le mouvement ne’st pas le bonheur,” and the Western empire donné naissance au plus infame, au plus atroce de tous les commerces, celui des esclaves.” Chiefly occupied with the West India Islands, what is said of North America is discursive. He describes the process of civilization in brief; the Puritan, Dutch, and Catholic leaders; Penn, and Lord Baltimore; the settlement of Georgia and Carolina ; the trees, grain, birds, tobacco, and other indigenous products; notes the imported domestic animals, and the exported wood and metals; discusses the probable success of silk and vine culture in the southern and middle regions, and gives statistics of the population, and partial accounts of the laws, currency, municipal and colonial systems, &c., of the several States; and then, in outline, describes the Revolution. A love of freedom, and a speculative hardihood and interest in human progress and prosperity, imbue his narratives and reasonings, though the former are often incorrect, and the latter inadequate.

According to the habit of French authors of those days, the Abbé occasionally turns from disquisition to oratory; and it is amusing to read here and now the oracular counsel he gave our fathers : addressing the "peuples de l'Amérique Septentrionale," in 1781: “ Craignez," he says, “ l'affluence de l'or qui apporte avec le luxe la corruption des meurs, le mepris des lois; craignez une trop inégale repartition des richesses; garantissez-vous de l'esprit de conquête ; cherchez l'aisance et la santé dans le travail, la prosperité dans la culture des terres et les ateliers de l'industrie, la force dans les bonnes mæurs et dans la vertu; faites prosperer les sciences et les artes; veillez à l’education de vos enfans; n'établissez aucune preference légale entre les cultes. Après avoir vu dans le début de cet ouvrage, en quel état de misère et de tenèbres était l'Europe à la naissance de l'Amérique, voyons en quel état le conquête d'un monde a conduit et poussé le monde conquerante.” He laments the fanaticism of Massachusetts ; tells the story of Salem witchcraft, and the perpetuation in the New of the cruel laws of the Old World ; says epidemics like the small pox acquire new virulence in America; praises the Long Wharf of Boston, and compares the dwellings and furniture of that city to those of London.

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