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102
VOLTAIRE IN THE NETHERLANDS.

name of Frederick, to persuade the Leyden professors 's Gravesande and Musschenbroek to enter the Prussian service, promising them great consideration and large emoluments. Neither could be persuaded to leave their country, which is all the more creditable to them, as Voltaire, to the surprise of most people, had at once succeeded with the French savant Maupertuis, the great friend of 's Gravesande. Besides these transactions Voltaire mixed much with politicians at the Hague, and he writes to Frederick that he had heard secret rumors of his coming.

J'ai de plus entendu dire que ce voyage pourrait être utile aux intérêts de Votre Majesté. Tout ce que je sais c'est que si votre humanité vient ici, elle gagnera les cœurs tout Hollandais qu'ils sont. Votre Majesté a ici de grands partisans.

Voltaire returned to Brussels on the 9th of August, and remained until he went to Cleves on the 11th of September 1740, where Frederick met him for the first time, and begged him to take charge of a new edition of the "Anti-Machiavel" at the Hague. He was very reluctant to return to Holland, as appears from a letter which he wrote on the 18th of September to his friend Maupertuis.

Quand nous partînies tous deux de Clèves, et que vous prîtes à droite et moi à gauche, je crus être au jugement dernier où le bon Dieu sépare ses élus des damnés. Divus Fredericus vous dit, "Asseyez-vous à ma droite dans le paradis de Berlin," et à moi, "Allez, maudit, en Hollande." Je suis dans cet enfer flegmatique, loin du feu divin qui anime les Frédéric, les Maupertuis, les Algarotti. Pour Dieu, faites-moi la charité de quelques étincelles dans les eaux croupissantes où je suis morfondu.

This was written in a moment of bad temper, such as Voltaire frequently indulged in. There are sufficient proofs to show that he had no real dislike to Holland.

Voltaire superintended the new edition at the publisher Paupie's, and had to carry on a lawsuit against Van Duren, who maintained that by the laws of Holland the bookseller who brought the book out first, acquired an exclusive right to sell it.

On the 7th October, Voltaire wrote to the king of Prussia, "J'attends que j'aie bien mis les choses en train pour quitter le champ de bataille, et m'en retourner auprès de mon autre monarque à Bruxelles." This was Madame du Châtelet, who was still occupied with her lawsuit, and for whom Voltaire had asked Frederick's aid. Frederick had answered, "Si je puis, je ferai marcher la tortue de Breda," meaning William IV., Prince of Orange, who then lived chiefly at Breda and at Leeuwarden.

Je suis en attendant [the letter goes on to say] dans votre palais où M. de Raesfeld [the ambassador] m'a donné on appartement sous le bon plaisir de Votre Majesté. Votre palais de la Haye est l'emblème des grandeurs humaines.

Sur des planchés pourris, sous des toits délabrés
Sont des appartements dignes de notre maître;
Mais malheur aux lambris dorés
Qui n'ont ni porte ni fenêtre!
Je vois dans un grenier les armures antiques,
Les rondaches et les brassards
Et les charnières des cuissarts,
Que portaient aux combats vos aïeux héroïques.
Leurs sabres tout rouillés sont rangés dans ces lieux,
Et les bois vermoulus de leurs lances gothiques,
Sur la terre couchés, sont en poudre comme eux.

Il y a aussi des livres que les rats seuls ont lu depuis cinquante ans, et qui sont converts des plus larges toiles d'araignées de l'Europe, de peur que les profanes n'en approchent.
Si les pénates de ce palais pouvaient parler, ils vous diraient sans doute: —

Se peut-il que ce roi, que tout le monde admire,
Nous abandonne pour jamais,
Et qu'il néglige son palais
Quand il rétablit son empire?

The building then used for the Prussian embassy at the Hague was known as the "Oude Hof" or Old Court, and is now the palace of the king of the Netherlands. Built by William Goudt, receveur-général of Holland, it passed after his death into different hands, and was at length bought by the States of Holland, in 1595, for the abode of Louise de Coligny, the widow of William the Silent, who lived there till her death. It was then purchased by her son Frederick Henry, who considerably enlarged and restored it. His widow, Amalia van Solms, remained in the same building till her death. At the death, in 1702, of Prince William III king of England, great disputes arose about his inheritance, specially between his cousin Johan Willem Friso, stadtholder of Friesland, Groningen, and Drenthe, whom William had appointed his heir, and Frederick I., king of Prussia, who based his claims on the will of his grandfather, Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange. When these disputes were settled, the king ac-