The Works of Voltaire: A Contemporary Version [Introduction; Candide; Political Dissertations] - Vol. 1

By Voltaire; William F. Fleming | Go to book overview

Denis and desired to buy his library of 6,210 volumes, and having done so, invited Wagnière to St. Petersburg to arrange the books as they were in Ferney. Crowned heads bowed to this great man, and the homage of his native Paris knew no bounds.

After thirteen years of rest, his body, by order of the king of France, was removed from the church of the Romilli to that of Sainte-Geneviève, in Paris, thenceforth known as the Panthéon of France. The magnificent cortège was the centre of the wildest enthusiasm. On July I0, 1791, the sarcophagus was borne as far as the site of the Bastille, not yet completely razed to the ground. Here it reposed for the night on an altar adorned with laurels and roses, and this inscription:

"Upon this spot, where despotism chained thee, Voltaire, receive the homage of a free people."

A hundred thousand people were in the procession. At ten o'clock at night the remains were placed near the tombs of Descartes and Mirabeau. Here they reposed until 1814, when the bones of Voltaire and Rousseau were sacrilegiously stolen, with the connivance of the clerics, and burned with quicklime on a piece of waste ground. This miserable act of toothless spite was not publicly known until 1864.


OLIVER GOLDSMITH ON VOLTAIRE.

[This appeared as Letter XLIII. in the Chinese letters
afterwards published under the title of "The Citizen of
the World."]

We have just received accounts here that Voltaire, the poet and philosopher of Europe, is dead. He is now beyond the reach of the thousand enemies who, while living, degraded his writings and branded his character. Scarce a page of his later productions that does not betray the agonies of a heart bleeding under the scourge of unmerited re

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