13 APRIL 1889, Page 15



SIR,—Why is it " highly improbable " that Danton should have read Bacon's Essays P He was a buyer of and reader of English books, for I find in Robinet, " Danton : Memoire sur sa Vie privee," p. 239, an inventory of Danton's library. In it there appears :—" Euvres de Plutarque,' en anglais ; Virgile, traduit en anglais par Dryden ; (Euvres de Shake- speare,' en anglais ; CEuvres de Pope,' en anglais ; Lettres de Sussini,' en anglais ; `Le Spectateur,' en anglais ; 'Clarisse,' en anglais ; Don Quichotte,' en anglais ; Histoire de Gil Blas,' en anglais ; Essai sur la Ponctuation,' en anglais ; Dictionnaire Anglais de Jonhson ' [sic]; Blackstone, public en anglais ; L. Johnson,' en anglais ; Richesses des Nations,' de Smith, en anglais ; Histoire d'Ecosse,' de Robertson, en anglais ; Robertson : Histoire d'Amerique,' en anglais; ' CEuvres de Johnson,' en anglais."

In Johnson's Dictionary, edition 1786, I find the following quotation under the head of " Boldness :"—" Wonderful is the case of boldness in civil business. What first ? Boldness. What second and third P Boldness. And yet boldness is a child of ignorance and baseness, far inferior to other parts.' —BACON."

Danton possessed a copy of Johnson's Dictionary. Is it unreasonable to assume that he may have come across the quotation Johnson gives from Bacon ? Danton may not have read Bacon's Essays, but he may have read extracts from