Page:Notes and Queries - Series 12 - Volume 10.djvu/468

This page needs to be proofread.


382 NOTES AND QUERIES. [12 s.x. MAY so, 1922. of his children' who remained at home were constrained to follow manual' occupations (ibid., p. 32). -JYoung Jean Paul, although he attended the colleges first of Neuchatel and afterwards, it has been said, of Toulouse and Bordeaux, appears to have been educated in large part by his father. In any case he was an omni- vorous student and rapidly acquired a know- ledge of several modern languages, classics, and the rudiments of science. When only 16 years of age (1759), urged, without doubt, like his brother Henri, by stress of family circumstances and not, as some of his bio- graphers have sentimentally conjectured, by grief at the loss of his mother, who, in fact, survived his exodus by several years, he left home and succeeded in securing the situation of tutor to the children of M. Paul Nairac, a sugar-refiner at Bordeaux, who, through his wife, had connexions in Switzer- land. At Bordeaux, whether as tutor or alumnus or both, Jean Paul remained, he tells us, for two years, when he determined to seek his fortune elsewhere. It is from this year, at all events, that the first of those peculiar lacunae which mark his career dates. The elucidation of these obscure intervals, although of special importance to the present inquiry, has, however, been very imperfectly attempted by his biographers, one of whom remarks that " From the age of 16 to 31 his- tory loses sight of Marat," another that " We know only what he tells us in a few lines of his newspaper," and a third that " The whole existence of Marat in England remains in shadow " (Vellay, * Correspondance de Marat,' p. vii.). Leaving Bordeaux, then, in 1761, when 18 years of age, what became of Jean Paul ? His own account of his movements is vague, dateless and unreliable. In 1793 he published this scrap of autobiography : I approach my 50th year. But since 161 have been absolute master of my own conduct. I lived two years at Bordeaux, 10 in Londan,one in Dublin, one at The Hague, Utrecht and Amsterdam, 19 in Paris, and I have travelled over half Europe (Le Publiciste Parisien, March 19, 1793). This itinerary, however, though usually accepted by his biographers as authentic, is in almost every particular untrustworthy. For example, it would imply that his 10 years' residence in England began 4n 1761 ; on the other hand, in the Preface to his * Essay on Gleets,' published in London on Nov. 21, 1775, he speaks of his " 10 years' medical practice in this country," which would seem to place his sojourn from 1765 to 1775, and leave the years 1761-1765 unexplained. I Elsewhere, again, he states that " after 10 ! years passed in London and Edinburgh, I Ireturned to Paris " (Letter to St. Laurent, | Nov. 20, 1783). Now, as the date of this 'particular return marked, as we shall see, en | important incident in his career and is officially established as 1777, the preceding 10 years would stretch back only to 1767, and so would either wholly eliminate, or at least materially diminish, his alleged sojourns in Dublin and Holland. How, then, were these 10 years, commencing whether in 1761, 1765 or 1767, passed ? It is difficult to say, since he supplies a different version as occasion requires. From the letter just quoted, which was written to further his candidature for an academic post, as well as from a Fore- word to one of his works on electricity, they were presumably absorbed in " science " ; when, however, politics are on hand, they had been devoted to a study of the " merits and vices of the British Constitution " (' (Thames de FEsclavage,' Paris, 1792, p. 324) ; while, when some more apposite background is needed for a professional tract, this accom- modating period has been passed entirely in " medical practice " ( * Essay on Gleets,' p. 17). The following particulars may perhaps help us to answer this question rather more accurately. The earliest specific record of Jean Paul's residence in England relates to the years 1767-8. At that date there existed in St. Martin's Lane, London, an establishment known as Old Slaughter's Coffee-house, which was much frequented by foreigners. Here, in particular, the painter Zucchi and the architect Bonomi used to foregather, and here they met Marat, who lodged near by in St. Martin's Lane and called himself " Doctor," his object being, they under- stood, to improve himself by consulting the practice in different countries. From his classical reading, it appears, Marat occasion- | ally suggested mythological subjects for i Zucchi's brush, while Bonomi on two or three occasions is said to have derived benefit from his medical knowledge (Faring- ton's ' Diary,' Dec. 6, 1793). Marat, how- ! ever, was intrigued by politics no less than i medicine, being a follower of John Wilkes, ! the revolutionary (ibid.); but although, in I an issue of his paper V Ami du Peuple

dated Oct. 22, 1790, he relates having been 

I present at Wilkes' s trial in London in 1768, yet, as we shall see, disciple and master seem never actually to have met. In