THE CRITIC CRITICISED
Up to this time Voltaire had paid no attention to the criticisms which had been passed upon him in England. Of the existence and nature of some of them he could hardly have been unaware. Still, assailed as he was on many sides and about many things, these probably did not affect him seriously enough to provoke reply, or even comment. He kept sufficiently well-informed in regard to English opinion to know that it continued to set Shakespeare far above Corneille. Ridiculous as was such a view on the part of the countrymen of Newton and Locke, he was compelled to accept the fact. But as yet he had come into no personal collision either with the supporters of this opinion, or with those who had championed the English dramatist against his own attacks. This state of things was now to undergo a change.
While Voltaire was appealing directly to the nations of Europe, the English had begun to do so indirectly and undesignedly. The first proceeding of this character which in some slight degree attracted the attention of the Continent was the work of Henry Home, who in 1752 had taken his seat upon the Scottish bench under the title of Lord Kames. Ten years later he brought out