On one other point I must give the reader warning. A rock of offence on which if he heedlessly strike, I reckon he will split; at least no help of mine can benefit him till he be got off again. Alas, offences must come; and must stand, like rocks of offence, to the shipwreck of many! Modern Dryasdust, interpreting the mysterious ways of Divine Providence in this Universe, or what he calls writing History, has done uncountable havoc upon the best interests of mankind. Hapless godless dullard that he is; driven and driving on courses that lead only downward, for him as for us! But one could forgive him all things, compared with this doctrine of devils which he has contrived to get established, pretty generally, among his unfortunate fellow-creatures for the time!--I must insert the following quotation, readers guess from what author:--
"In an impudent Pamphlet, forged by I know not whom, and published in 1766, under the title of
"Who wrote that Pamphlet I know not, and am in no condition to guess. A certain snappish vivacity (very unlike the style of Frederick whom it personates); a wearisome grimacing, gesticulating malice and smartness, approaching or reaching the sad dignity of what is called 'wit' in modern times; in general the rottenness of matter, and the epigrammatic unquiet graciosity of manner in this thing, and its elaborately INhuman turn both of expression and of thought, are visible characteristics of it. Thought, we said,--if thought it can be called: thought all hamstrung, shrivelled by inveterate rheumatism, on the part of the poor ill-thriven thinker; nay tied (so to speak, for he is of epigrammatic turn withal), as by cross ropes, right shoulder to left foot; and forced to advance, hobbling and jerking along, in that sad guise: not in the way of walk, but of saltation and dance; and this towards a false not a true aim, rather no-whither than some-whither:--Here were features leading one to think of an illustrious Prince de Ligne as perhaps concerned in the affair. The Bibliographical Dictionaries, producing no evidence, name quite another person, or series of persons, [A certain "N. de Bonneville" (afterwards a Revolutionary spiritual-mountebank, for some time) is now the favorite Name;--proves, on investigation, to be an impossible one. Barbier
"As to the theory, I must needs say, nothing can be falser, more heretical or more damnable. My own poor opinion, and deep conviction on that subject is well known, this long while. And, in fact, the summary of all I have believed, and have been trying as I could to teach mankind to believe again, is even that same opinion and conviction, applied to all provinces of things. Alas, in this his sad theory about the world, our poor impudent Pamphleteer is by no means singular at present; nay rather he has in a manner the whole practical part of mankind on his side just now; the more is the pity for us all!--
"It is very certain, if Beelzebub made this world, our Pamphleteer, and the huge portion of mankind that follow him, are right. But if God made the world; and only leads Beelzebub, as some ugly muzzled bear is led, a longer or shorter temporary DANCE in this divine world, and always draws him home again, and peels the unjust gains off him, and ducks him in a certain hot Lake, with sure intent to lodge him there to all eternity at last,--then our Pamphleteer, and the huge portion of mankind that follow him, are wrong.
"More I will not say; being indeed quite tired of SPEAKING on that subject. Not a subject which it concerns me to speak of; much as it concerns me, and all men, to know the truth of it, and silently in every hour and moment to do said truth. As indeed the sacred voice of their own soul, if they listen, will conclusively admonish all men; and truly if IT do not, there will be little use in my logic to them. For my own share, I want no trade with men who need to be convinced of that fact. If I am in their premises, and discover such a thing of them, I will quit their premises; if they are in mine, I will, as old Samuel advised, count my spoons. Ingenious gentlemen who believe that Beelzebub made this world, are not a class of gentlemen I can get profit from. Let them keep at a distance, lest mischief fall out between us. They are of the set deserving to be called--and this not in the way of profane swearing, but of solemn wrath and pity, I say of virtuous anger and inexorable reprobation--the damned set. For, in very deed, they are doomed and damned, by Nature's oldest Act of Parliament, they, and whatsoever thing they do or say or think; unless they can escape from that devil-element. Which I still hope they may!--
"But with regard to the facts themselves, 'DE NOTRE MAISON,' I take leave to say, they too are without basis of truth. They are not so false as the theory, because nothing can in falsity quite equal that. 'NOTRE MAISON,' this Pamphleteer may learn, if he please to make study and inquiry before speaking, did not rise by worship of Beelzebub at all in this world; but by a quite opposite line of conduct. It rose, in fact, by the course which all, except fools, stockjobber stags, cheating gamblers, forging Pamphleteers and other temporary creatures of the damned sort, have found from of old to be the one way of permanently rising: by steady service, namely, of the Opposite of Beelzebub. By conforming to the Laws of this Universe; instead of trying by pettifogging to evade and profitably contradict them. The Hohenzollerns too have a History still articulate to the human mind, if you search sufficiently; and this is what, even with some emphasis, it will teach us concerning their adventures, and achievements of success in the field of life. Resist the Devil, good reader, and he will flee from you!"--So ends our indignant friend.
How the Hohenzollerns got their big Territories, and came to what they are in the world, will be seen. Probably they were not, any of them, paragons of virtue. They did not walk in altogether speckless Sunday pumps, or much clear-starched into consciousness of the moral sublime; but in rugged practical boots, and by such roads as there were. Concerning their moralities, and conformities to the Laws of the Road and of the Universe, there will much remain to be argued by pamphleteers and others. Men will have their opinion, Men of more wisdom and of less; Apes by the Dead-Sea also will have theirs. But what man that believed in such a Universe as that of this Dead-Sea Pamphleteer could consent to live in it at all? Who that believed in such a Universe, and did not design to live like a Papin's-Digester, or PORCUS EPICURI, in an extremely ugly manner in it, could avoid one of two things: Going rapidly into Bedlam, or else blowing his brains out? "It will not do for me at any rate, this infinite Dog-house; not for me, ye Dryasdusts, and omnipotent Dog-monsters and Mud-gods, whoever you are. One honorable thing I can do: take leave of you and your Dog-establishment. Enough!"--