This reform involved the ruin of many native reputations, and for a second time brought Hastings into collision with the wily Brahman, Nuncomar.
The use of the historical method has, in fact, raised more reputations than it has destroyed, because by keeping carefully in view the conditions in which economic works have been written, it has shown that many theories hastily condemned as unsound by a priori critics had much to be said for them atthe time when they were propounded.
What is universally admitted is that Chenier was a very great artist, who like Ronsard opened up sources of poetry in France which had long seemed dried up. In England it is easier to feel his attraction than that of some far greater reputations in French poetry, for, rhetorical though he nearly always is, he yet reveals something of that quality which to the Northern mind has always been of the very essence of poetry, that quality which made SainteBeuve say of him that he was the first great poet "personnel et reveur" in France since La Fontaine.
He encouraged artists whose reputations were still in the making,but his patronage was somewhat capricious.
Those small critics who are always desirous to lower established reputations ran about proclaiming that the anonymous satirist was superior to Pope in Pope's own peculiar department of literature.
For the next two years political interest was transferred from parliament to the law courts, in which financial scandals were exposed, and the reputations of some of the leading politicians were destroyed.'
But the interest of such veteran reputations is eclipsed by the more modern school.
His witty articles in the antirepublican papers, and his attacks on established reputations, involved him in more than one duel.