Three French Moralists--
The Gallantry of France
root of everything.
This attitude or habit of mind is particularly shocking to all those who live in a state of illusion, and there is probably no aspect of French character which is more difficult for the average Englishman to appreciate than this tendency towards sceptical dissection of the motives of conduct. Yet it is quite certain that it is widely disseminated among those of our neighbours who are most prompt and effective in action, and whose vigour is in no degree paralysed by the clairvoyance with which they seek for exact truth even in the most romantic and illusive spiritual circumstances. To throw light on this aspect of French character, I propose to call attention to a little book, which is probably well-known to my readers already, but which may be regarded from a point of view, as I venture to think, more instructive than that which is usually chosen.
In the year 1665 there appeared anonymously in Paris, in all the circumstances of well-advertised secrecy, a thin volume of "Maxim