Shakespeare and Voltaire

By Thomas R. Lounsbury | Go to book overview

SHAKESPEARE AND VOLTAIRE

CHAPTER I
VOLTAIRE IN ENGLAND

ON the second of May, 1726, Voltaire was released from the Bastille on the condition that he should repair at once to England. On the following morning he set out for Calais. Either from fear that he would miss the road, or to guard against a momentary lapse of memory which might lead him to wander in another direction, a government official was commissioned to accompany him on the journey to that port. The instructions given to the attendant were, to remain with the released prisoner until he saw him safely on board of the vessel and on his way to England. At Calais Voltaire remained a few days, much irritated at the surveillance to which he was subjected. At last he embarked. In a short time he found himself in a land separated from his own by a few leagues of water, but in opinions, in feelings, in tastes, divided by immeasurable distances.

The country to which he was exiled welcomed him cordially. To both the great Whig and Tory houses he had access. He came into personal contact with no small number of the men most renowned in literature

-1-

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