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[22] while some were aiming also at the extermination of
chap. II.} 1763.
the throne. The new ideas got abroad in remonstrances and sermons, comedies and songs, books and epigrams.

On the side of modern life, pushing free inquiry to the utmost contempt of restraint, though not to total unbelief, Voltaire employed his peerless wit and activity. The Puritans of New England changed their hemisphere to escape from bishops, and hated prelacy with the rancor of faction; Voltaire waged the same warfare with widely different weapons, and, writing history as a partisan, made the annals of his race a continuous sarcasm against the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic church. His power reached through Europe; he spoke to the free thinkers throughout the cultivated world. In the age of skepticism he was the prince of scoffers; when philosophy hovered round saloons, he excelled in reflecting the brilliantly licentious mind of the intelligent aristocracy. His great works were written in retirement, but he was himself the spoiled child of society. He sunned himself in its light, and dazzled it by concentrating its rays. He was its idol, and he courted its idolatry. Far from breaking with authority, he loved the people as little as he loved the Sorbonne. The complaisant courtier of sovereigns and ministers, he could even stand and wait for smiles at the toilet of the French king's mistress, or prostrate himself in flattery before the Semiramis of the north; willing to shut his eyes on the sorrows of the masses, if the great would but favor men of letters. He it was, and not an English poet, that praised George the First of England as a sage and a hero who ruled the

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