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in the prefence of the whole court; he asks how it could poffibly be true, that the Czar had cut off his head? What! fays he, had he no head when the oil was poured upon that head itfelf? Or, what time could they have to few on the head, when the Prince was not left a moment alone, from the time of reading his fentence, to his death? It is to be obferved here, that our Author reafons upon facts, which it is poffible those who are of a contrary opinion, will not take for granted, and which may require first to be proved themfelves, before they will be admitted to prove any thing. Excufing him the petitio principii, however, his argument is juft enough; they could not pour oil on a man's head, who had no head. He confefles, that it is very fingular for a young man fuddenly to expire, at only hearing a sentence pronounced against him, a fentence too that he expected; but, fays he, the Phyficians admit the thing to be poffible. Mere poffibility, however, ought, in our opinion, to have little weight with an impartial Hiftorian, when probability is against it. How far this prevails in the prefent cafe, the world will judge. The next plea Mr. Voltaire offers in favour of the Czar, carries more weight. If the Emperor, fays he, haď really poifoned his fon, he would have loft the fruit of all the pains he had taken, in that fatal procefs, to convince all Europe of his right to punifh the delinquent: the motives for condemnation would have been rendered fufpicious, and the Czar himfelf ftood univerfally condemned. If he had defired the death of his fon, he would have executed the fentence immediately, which he had the abfolute power to do. Could a prudent Monarch, on whom the eyes of all the world were fixed, refolve meanly to poifon a criminal who ought to fall by the fword of public juftice? Could he refolve to fain his ches racter to the lateft pofterity, with the name of parrici väl he might fo cafily have appeared at the worst, only as toe 2-a Judge.
Before we difmifs the ftory of this young Prince we hat quote another paffage from our Author, where
count is given of the religious cabal, by what
who pretended to have had a vexua
him, on the part of God A
months longer to live, the E
vent of Sufdal, under the name of Helena, with the Princes Mary, fifter to the Czar, fhould afcend the throne, and reign conjointly with his fon Alexis. Eudocia and Mary were weak enough to believe in this impofture, and were fo far perfuaded of its veracity, that Helena quitted her religious habit, and refumed the name of Eudocia; infifting on being treated as Emprefs, and ordering the name of her rival Catherine to be omitted in the public prayers of the church. The Treasurer of the convent objecting against this behaviour, Eudocia haughtily replied, that as Peter had punished the Strelitzes who had infulted r his mother, fo would her fon Alexis chaftife every one that fhould affront her. She ordered the Treafurer accordingly to be confined to his cell, and an officer named Glebo, to be introduced into the convent. This officer Eudocia made use of as the inftrument to effect her defigns, attaching him to her service by perfonal favours. Glebo foon fpread through the town of Sufdal, and its neighbouring country, the prediction of Doritheus. The three months being elapfed, Eudocia reproached the Bishop, that the Czar was still alive. True, replied Doritheus, the fins of my father, who is in Purgatory, and has advifed me of his fituation, prevent the accomplishment of the prediction. On this, Eudocia ordered a thousand maffes to be faid for the foul of the deceased; which the Bishop told her would certainly have the effect. Accordingly, about a month after, he came to acquaint her, that his father had already got his head out of Purgatory; in a month after that, he had got out as far as the waift; and in fome time longer, ftuck only by the feet. To difengage his heels, however, was the grand difficulty; and, when this fhould be effected, the Czar would moft infallibly die. In the mean time the Princefs Mary had furrendered herself to the Bifhop, as Eudocia had done to Glebo, on condition that the Prophet's father fhould immediately be got out of Purgatory, and the prediction be fulfilled. It was on the faith of thefe predictions, that Alexis proceeded fuch lengths in contumacy to his father. A difcovery, however, being made of this fcandalous and fuperftitious intrigue, Doritheus and Glebo were arrested; and the letters of the Princefs Mary to the former, and of Eudocia to the latter, read publicly to the Senate. The Czarina and the Princes were afterwards confined in feparate convents; while Doritheus, Glebo, and other accomplices, as well as those who were privy to the evafion of Alexis, were put to the queftion; his Confeffor, Governor, and Master of his houfhold, all expiring under the torture.
It is admirable, as our Author obferves, that during the agitation which fo horrible a cataftrophe muft occafion, the attention of Peter was never diverted from thofe objects which tended to
the political happiness of his people. Of this, his various.rcgulations and improvements in the commerce, laws, and religion of his country, are remarkable proofs. Mr. Voltaire confiders thefe feveral fubjects apart, in his usual cursory way; after which he goes on to give an account of the negociation of Aland, the death of Charles XII. and the peace of Neuftadt. He then gives a relation of the fubfequent revolutions in Persia; finishing his work with an account of the coronation of Catherine, the death of Peter, and the manner in which the former fucceeded to the Crown of Ruffia.
But, having extended this article to a confiderable length, we hall here lay down this volume: having only to observe farther, that the Author hath annexed to his hiftory, three original papers, printed from the translations made by the exprefs order of Peter; being the sentence paffed on Alexis; the treaty of the peace at Neuftadt; and the ordinance of the Czar for the coronation of the Emprefs Catherine.
Obfervations fur les Sçavans Incredules, et fur quelque-uns de leurs ecrits. Par J. F. De Luc. 8vo. Geneva,
Remarks on learned Infidels, and on fome of their Writings.
T is now many years fince the well-meaning and refpectable Author of this performance, took up the pen against the *Sceptics and Infidels of his time; one of his earliest attacks being made upon the celebrated Writer of the Fable of the Bees. His criticism on that piece was printed about fixteen years ago, and is incorporated with propriety in the prefent work; which is defigned as a general reply to what has been advanced by the principal Writers on the fide of Infidelity. Mr. De Luc is, indeed, by no means a match, either in fcience or literature, for fome of thofe Goliahs, whom he hath, nevertheless, ventured to encounter: the fpirit, however, which hath animated him to engage with thefe Philiftines, is fo very commendable, and his behaviour to the enemy fo fair and candid, that whetne PE performance may command fuccefs or not, it is certau 1 kap deferyes it."
Our Author fets out with obferving, that to ever enters on the examination of the facred writing able difpofition, the divine inspiration of the more and more evident. He then confider t contempt in which the Pagans held the b
that thofe very caufes prove the divine mit Teftament. On this occafion he take
fure the mistakes of the Authors of Les Mœurs and Les Penfees Philofophiques. The latter of thefe ingenious Writers had cenfured the fuppofed abfurdity of putting queftions to children, learning their catechifm, which are with difficulty answered by the most profound Philofophers. For instance, Qu'est-ce que Dieu? question qu'on fait aux enfans, & à laquelle les Philofophes ont bien de la peine a repondre. On this paffage our Author remarks, that the question here put to children, is not in expectation of an answer to it from them, but only as a leading propofition, in the folution of which we inftruct them betimes in thofe truths which God hath revealed in his word, relating to himieli It is neceflary, therefore, to make a diftinction between the fituation of Chriftians, who are fo happy as to poffefs a divine revelation, and the circumftances of mankind in general before the coming of the Meffiah. The pagan Philofophers, bewildered in the labyrinth of Polytheifm, had loft that fimplicity of ideas, originally given them by the Creator, of his nature and exist. ence; in fo much that Simonides, one of the wifeft among them, was so embarrassed by the queftion, What is God? that, after meditating a confiderable while, he very frankly declared, he could not answer it. In thofe times, I confefs, fays our Author, it had been abfurd to put fuch a queftion to children as their greatest Philofophers could not refolve; but children properly educated in the principles of Christianity, have, by means of the Scriptures, the fame advantage in this respect over Simonides, as a Refiner's apprentice hath over Archimedes in making an effay of metals. The circumfpection of Simonides, in a point of this importance, gives reafon alfo to think, that the greateft Philofophers among the Heathens, deduced from the Hebrews their fineft fentiments of the Divinity. Hence Mr. De Luc infers, that it is effentially neceffary to inftruct our children early, in thofe adorable perfections of the Deity, which are revealed to us in the Scriptures: concluding, that if the young Hottentot, fpoken of by Rouffeau, had been really educated in fuch a chriftian-like manner, he would never have left his Patron, Vanderftel, to rejoin his compatriot brutes of the Cape.
There is one objection, however, to the very early attempts to inftruct children, in principles of fuch importance, to which our Author hath not fully replied; and this is what Mr. Rouffeau hath pretty largely expatiated on, in his Treatife on Education, viz. the impoffibility of making them understand what is faid to them; in confequence of which they get by rote
Mr. Touffaint. This Gentleman, however, hath fince made an apology for all the paffages in this work, which feem to favour Scepicifm. See the foreign Articles in the Review for March, 1763.
a form of words, of which they never afterwards give themselves the trouble to acquire the meaning. No valid objection, indeed, can poffibly be made against inftructing Chriftian children in the truths contained in the facred writings; but the grand question, is whether they are, or can be, really inftructed in these truths before the understanding arrives to a certain degree of maturity. Both the Author of Penfées Philofophiques and of Emilius, may poffibly carry their objection too far; but there is certainly fome difficulty in it, which we fhould be glad to see fairly obviated by the Champions of the Chriftian caufe.
Our Author proceeds to confider fome other reflections of the fame Writer; after which he attacks Mr. Voltaire, in regard to what that celebrated Hiftorian had advanced in his Melanges de Litterature, &c. on the subject of the apoftate Julian. In his observations on this head, Mr. De Luc hath certainly detected this inaccurate Genius in fome little inconfiftencies and hiftorical mistakes; the character of Julian, however, is very far from being cleared up, in fo fatisfactory a manner as could be wifhed. It is, indeed, very probable, that, be the facts related of this Prince as they will, he was neither fo bad, nor fo good a man as his enemics and friends would reprefent him. But this is ever the case with perfonal characters, when they are once made the fubject of party difpute. Thus, when Mr. Voltaire reprefents Julian as le premier des hommes, ou du moins pour le fecond, and as ir modèle des Rois, we cannot help fufpecting, that a spirit of oppofition to those who ftigmatize him as the worst of Princes, and 'most impious of human Beings, may have carried him bevona 'the bounds of truth and moderation. Be this as it may Voltaire would have had better pretenfions to credit, hac ceeded to fhew the inconfiftency of the Hiftorians in relating facts charged on this Emperor, and not contented he merely afferting the improbability of thofe facts. m. that confiftency with the character he himself if con Hero. On the whole, this part of our Au well worthy of perufal.
After fome farther obfervations
Mr. De Luc takes into confideration: in the famous Sermon of Rabin A by a Jew, on occafion of the As at Lisbon; and calculate, ument the teftimony which the actua offers in favour of Chrifinier. between natural religion, as dictate, ligion as deduced from the c of Les Penfées Philofophiques, tion of Cicero, viz. that want an ima