Infomotions, Inc.Rousseau. / Morley, John, 1838-1923




Author: Morley, John, 1838-1923
Title: Rousseau.
Publisher: London, Chapman and Hall, 1873.
Tag(s): rousseau, jean jacques, 1712-1778; rousseau; emilius; new helo'isa; new heloisa; hume; social contract; social
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JAMES K.MOFFITT 



PAULINE FORE MOFFITT 
LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 
GENERAL LIBRARY, BERKELEY 



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K 





ROUSSEAU. 

VOL. II. 




VOLTAIRE 

De la Tour pinx]73"i 



ROUSSEAU. 



BY 

JOHN MORLEY. 



VOL. II. 



LONDON : 
CHAPMAN AND HALL, 193, PICCADILLY. 

NEW YORK : D. APPLETON AND CO., BROADWAY. 
1873- 

{All rights reserved.} 



LONDON 

PRINTED BY VIBTUE AND CO.. 
CITY BOAD. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER X. 



Montmorency The New Helo'isa. 

PAOB 

Conditions preceding the composition of the New Helo'isa , . . 1 

The duke and duchess of Luxembourg 3 

Rousseau and his patrician acquaintances ,' 4 

Peaceful life at Montmorency . 9 

Equivocal prudence occasionally shown by Rousseau . . . ,11 

His want of gratitude for commonplace service 13 

Bad health, and thoughts of suicide 15 

Episode of madame Latour de Franqueville 17 

Relation of the New Helo'isa to Rousseau's general doctrine ... 20 

Action of the first part of the story 23 

Contrasted with contemporary literature 24 

And with contemporary manners 26 

Criticism of the language and principal actors 27 

Popularity of the New Helo'isa 31 

Its reactionary intellectual direction ....... 33 

Action of the second part 35 

Its influence on Goethe and others 37 

Distinction between Rousseau and his school 39 

Singular pictures of domesticity . .41 

Sumptuary details 43 

The slowness of* movement in the work, justified 44 

Exaltation of marriage 46 

Equalitarian tendencies 48 

Not inconsistent with social quietism 49 

Compensation in the political consequences of the triumph of sentiment 52 



vi CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

Circumstances of the publication of the New Heloi'sa . . . .54 

Nature of the trade in books 56 

Malesherbes and the printing of Emilius 59 

Rousseau's suspicions 61 

The great struggle of the moment 62 

Proscription of Emilius . . . . 64 

Flight of the author . 65 



CHAPTER XL 

Persecution. 

Rousseau's journey from Switzerland 67 

Absence of vindictiveness 68 

Arrival at Yverdun 70 

Repairs to Motiers 71 

Relations with Frederick the Great 72 

Life at Motiers 75 

Lord Marischal 76 

Voltaire 78 

Rousseau's letter to the archbishop of Paris 80 

Its dialectic ... 83 

The ministers of Neuchatel 87 

His singular costume 88 

His throng of visitors 89 

Lewis, prince of Wiirtemberg 92 

Gibbon 94 

Boswell 95 

Corsican affairs 96 

The feud at Geneva 99 

Rousseau renounces his citizenship . . . : . . .100 

The Letters from the Mountain 101 

Their theological side 102 

Political side 103 

Consequent persecutions at Motiers 105 

Flight to the isle of St. Peter 107 

The fifth of the Reveries ". . .108 

Proscription by the government of Berne .113 

Rousseau's singular request 114 

"His renewed flight 115 

Persuaded to seek shelter in England 116 



CONTENTS. vu 
CHAPTER XII. 

The Social Contract. 

PAGK 

Eousseau's reaction against perfectibility 117 

Abandonment of the position of the Discourses 118 

Doubtful idea of equality 119 

The Social Contract, a repudiation of the historic method . . .122 

Yet it has glimpses of relativity 125 

Influence of Greek examples .127 

And of Geneva 129 

Impression upon Eobespierre and Saint Just 130 

Eousseau's schemes implied a small territory 132 

Why the Social Contract made fanatics 134 

Verbal quality of its propositions 136 

The doctrine of public safety 139 

The doctrine of the sovereignty of peoples 141 

Its early phases 142 

Its history in the sixteenth century 143 

Hooker and Grotius 145 

Locke 146 

Hobbes 148 

Central propositions of the Social Contract : 

1. Origin of society in compact 150 

Different conception held by the Physiocrats 152 

2. Sovereignty of the body thus constituted 154 

Difference from Hobbes and Locke 155 

The root of socialism 157 

Eepublican phraseology 157 

3. Attributes of sovereignty 158 

4. The law-making power 159 

A contemporary illustration .161 

Hints of confederation 162 

5. Forms of government 164 

Criticism on the common division 165 

Eousseau's preference for elective aristocracy 167 

6. Attitude of the state to religion 169 

Eousseau's view, the climax of a reaction 172 

Its effect at the French Ee volution 174 

Its futility 175 



viii CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

Another method of approaching the philosophy of government : 

Origin of society not a compact 179 

The true reason of the submission of a minority to a majority . .181 

Rousseau fails to touch actual problems 182 

The doctrine of resistance, for instance 183 

Historical illustrations 185 

Historical effect of the Social Contract in France and Germany . .188 
Socialist deductions from it 190 



CHAPTER XIII. 



Emilius. 

Rousseau touched by the enthusiasm of his time 192 

Contemporary excitement as to education, part of the revival of 

naturalism 195 

I. Locke on education . . . 197 

Difference between him and Rousseau 198 

Exhortations to mothers 200 

Importance of infantile habits 203 

Rousseau's protest against reasoning with children .... 204 

Criticised 205 

The opposite theory 206 

The idea of property .209 

Artificially contrived incidents 211 

Rousseau's omiseion of the principle of authority 213 

Connected with his neglect of the faculty of sympathy . . . .217 

II. Rousseau's ideal of living ..219 

The training that follows from it 220 

The duty of knowing a craft , . .221 

Social conception involved in this moral conception .... 223 

III.- Three aims before the instructor 227 

Rousseau's omission of training for the social conscience . . .228 

No contemplation of society as a whole 230 

Personal interest, the foundation of the morality of Emilius . . .231 

The sphere and definition of the social conscience 232 

IV. The study of history 234 

Rousseau's notions upon the subject 236 

V. Ideals of life for women 240 

Rousseau's repudiation of his own principles 241 

His oriental and obscurantist position 242 



CONTENTS. ix 

PAGB 

Arising from his want of faith in improvement 244 

His reactionary tendencies in this region eventually neutralised . . 246 

VI. Sum of the merits of Einilius 248 

Its influence in France and Germany . 249 

In England 251 



CHAPTER 

The Savoyard Vicar. 

Shallow hopes entertained by the dogmatic atheists .... 254 

The good side of the religious reaction 256 

Its preservation of some parts of Christian influence . . . . 257 

Earlier forms of deism 258 

The deism of the Savoyard Vicar 262 

The elevation of man, as well as the restoration of a divinity . .264 

A divinity for fair weather 266 

Religious self-denial 268 

The Savoyard Vicar's vital omission 269 

His position towards Christianity 271 

Its effectiveness as a solvent 273 

Weakness of the subjective test 275 

Subordination of reason to devout emotion, not tenable . . .276 
The Savoyard Vicar's deism not compatible with growing intellectual 

conviction 277 

The true satisfaction of the religious emotion . . . . .277 



CHAPTER XV. 

England. 

Rousseau's English portrait 282 

His reception in Paris 283 

And in London 284 

Hume's account of him 285 

Settlement at Wootton 287 

The quarrel with Hume 288 

Detail of the charges against Hume 289 

Walpole' s pietended letter from Frederick 292 

Baselessness of the whole delusion 293 



x CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

Hume's conduct in the quarrel 294 

The war of pamphlets 296 

Common theory of Rousseau's madness 297 

Preparatory conditions ' . . . 298 

Extension of disorder from the affective life to the intelligence . .300 

The Confessions 301 

His life at Wootton 305 

Flight from Derbyshire 306 

And from England 308 



CHAPTER XVI. 

The End. 

The elder Mirabeau 309 

Shelters Rousseau at Fleury 310 

Rousseau at Trye 312 

In Dauphiny i I 313 

Return to Paris 314 

The Reveries 315 

Life in Paris 316 

Bernardin de Saint Pierre's account of him . . . . .317 

An Easter excursion 320 

Rousseau's unsociality 322 

Poland and Spain 324 

Withdrawal to Ermenonville 325 

His death . ,326 



ROUSSEAU. 



CHAPTER X. 

MONTMORENCYTRE NEW HELOISA. 

THE many conditions of intellectual productiveness 
are still hidden in such profound obscurity, that 
we are as yet unable to explain why in certain natures 
a period of stormy moral agitation seems to be the 
indispensable antecedent of their highest creative 
effort. Byron is one instance, and Eousseau is 
another, in which the current of stimulating force 
made rapid way from the lower to the higher parts of 
character, only expending itself after having traversed 
the whole range of emotion and faculty, from their 
meanest, most realistic, most personal forms of 
exercise, up to the summit of what is lofty and ideal. 
No man was ever involved in such an odious compli- 
cation of moral maladies as beset Rousseau in the 
winter of 1758. "Within three years of this miserable 
epoch he had completed not only the New Heloisa, 
which is the monument of his fall, but the Social 
Contract, which was the most influential, and Emilius, 

VOL. II. B 



2 ROUSSEAU. 

which was perhaps the most elevated and spiritual of 
all the productions of the prolific genius of France 
in the eighteenth century. A poor light-hearted 
Marmontel thought that the secret of Eousseau' s 
success lay in the circumstance that he began to write 
late, and it is true that no other author so considerable 
as Eousseau waited until the age of fifty for the full 
vigour of his inspiration. No tale of years, however, 
could have ripened such fruit without native strength 
and incommunicable savour; nor can the splendid 
mechanical movement of those characters which keep 
the balance of the world even, impart to literature the 
peculiar quality, peculiar but not the finest, that comes 
from experience of the black and unlighted abysses of 
the soul. 

The period of actual production was externally 
calm. The New Helo'isa was completed in 1759, 
and published in 1761. The Social Contract was 
published in the spring of 1762, and Emilius a few 
weeks later. Throughout this period Eousseau was, 
for the last time in his life, at peace with most of his 
fellows ; that is to say, though he never relented from 
his antipathy to the Holbachians, for the time it slum- 
bered, until a more real and serious persecution than 
any which he imputed to them, transformed his anti- 
pathy into a gloomy frenzy. 

The new friends whom he made at Montmorency 
were among the greatest people in the kingdom. The 
Duke of Luxembourg (1702 64) was a marshal of 
France, and as intimate a friend of the king as the 



MONTMORENCY. 3 

king was capable of having. The marechale de 
Luxembourg (1707 87) had been one of the most 
beautiful, and continued to be one of the most bril- 
liant leaders of the last aristocratic generation that 
was destined to sport on the slopes of the volcano. 
The former seems to have been a loyal and homely 
soul; the latter, restless, imperious, penetrating, 
unamiable. Their dealings with Eousseau were 
marked by perfect sincerity and straightforward friend- 
ship. They gave him a convenient apartment in a 
small summer lodge in the park, to which he retreated 
when he cared for a change from his narrow cottage. 
He was a constant guest at their table, where he met 
the highest names in France. The marshal did not 
disdain to pay him visits, or to walk with him, or to 
discuss his private affairs. Unable as ever to shine in 
conversation, yet eager to show his great friends that 
they had to do with no common mortal, Eousseau 
bethought him of reading the New Heloisa aloud to 
them. At ten in the morning he used to wait upon 
the marechale, and there by her bedside he read the 
story of the love, the sin, the repentance of Julie, 
the distraction of Saint Preux, the wisdom of Wol- 
mar, and the sage friendship of lord Edward, in 
tones which enchanted her both with his book 
and its author for all the rest of the day, as all the 
women in Trance were so soon to be enchanted. 1 
This, as he expected, amply reconciled her to the 
uncouthness and clumsiness of his conversation, which 

1 Conf., x. 62. 
B2 



4 ROUSSEAU. 

was at least as maladroit and as spiritless in the 
presence of a duchess, as it was in presences less 
imposing. 

One side of character is obviously tested by the 
way in which a man bears himself in his relations 
with persons of greater consideration. Eousseau was 
taxed by some of his plebeian enemies with a most 
unheroic deference to his patrician friends. He had 
a dog whose name was Due. When he came to sit 
at a duke's table, he changed his dog's name to Turc. 1 
Again, one day in a transport of tenderness he 
embraced the old marshal the duchess embraced 
Rousseau ten times a day, for the age was effusive 
1 Ah, monsieur le marechal, I used to hate the great 
before I knew you, and I hate them still more, since 
you make me feel so strongly how easy it would be for 
them to have themselves adored.' 2 On another occa- 
sion he happened to be playing at chess with the 
prince of Conti, who had come to visit him in his 
cottage. 3 In spite of the signs and grimaces of the 
attendants, he insisted on beating the prince in a 
couple of games. Then he said with respectful 



1 Conf., x. 2 Ib., 70. 

3 Louis Francois de Bourbon, prince de Conti (1717 76), was great- 
grandson of the brother of the Great Conde. He performed creditable things 
in the war of the Austrian Succession (in Piedmont 1744, in Belgium 1745) ; 
had a scheme of foreign policy as director of the secret diplomacy of Lewis xv. 
(1745 56), which was to make Turkey, Poland, Sweden, Prussia, a barrier 
against Russia primarily, and Austria secondarily ; finally went into 
moderate opposition to the court, protesting against the destruction of the 
parlements (1771), and aiterwards opposing the reforms of Turgot (1776). 
Finally he had the honour of refusing the sacraments of the church on his 
death-bed. See Martin's Hist, de France, xv. and xvi. 



MONTMORENCY. 5 

gravity, l Monseigneur, I honour your serene highness 
too much not to beat you at chess always.' l A few 
days after, the vanquished prince sent him a present 
of game, which Eousseau duly accepted. The present 
was repeated, but this time Eousseau wrote to madame 
de Boufflers that he would receive no more, and that 
he loved the prince's conversation better than his 
gifts. 2 He admits that this was an ungracious pro- 
ceeding, and that to refuse game ' from a prince of the 
blood who throws so much good feeling into the 
present, is not so much the delicacy of a proud man 
bent on preserving his independence, as the rusticity 
of an unmannerly person who does not know his 
place.' 3 Considering the extreme virulence with 
which Eousseau always resented gifts even of the 
most trifling kind from his friends, we find some 
inconsistency in this condemnation of a sort of con- 
duct to which he tenaciously clung, unless the fact of 
the donor being a prince of the blood is allowed to 
modify the quality of the donation, and that would be 
a hardly defensible position in the austere citizen of 
Geneva. Madame de Boufflers, 4 the intimate friend of 

1 Conf., 97. Corr., v. 215. 2 Corr., ii. 144. Oct. 7, 1760. 

3 Conf., 98. 

4 The reader will distinguish this correspondent of .Rousseau's, Comtesse 
de Boufflers- Rouveret (172718), from the Duchesse de Boufflers, which 
was the title of Rousseau's Marechale de Luxembourg before her second 
marriage ; and also from the Marquise de Boufflers, said to be the mistress of 
the old king Stanislaus at Luneville, and the mother of the chevalier de 
Boufflers (who was the intimate of Voltaire, sat in the States General, 
emigrated, did homage to Napoleon, and finally died peaceably under 
Lewis xviii.). See Jal's Diet. Critique, 259 62. Sainte Beuve has an essay 
on our present comtesse de Boufflers (Nouveaux Lundis, iv. 163). She is the 
madame de Boufflers who was taken by Beauclerk to visit Johnson in his 



6 ROUSSEAU. 

our sage Hume, and the yet more intimate friend of 
the prince of Conti, gave him a judicious warning, 
when she bade him beware of laying himself open to 
a charge of affectation, lest it should obscure the 
brightness of his virtue, and so hinder its usefulness. 
i Fabius and Eegulus would have accepted such marks 
of esteem without feeling in them any hurt to their 
disinterestedness and frugality.' l ferhaps there is a 
flutter of self- consciousness that is not far removed 
from this affectation, in the pains which Eousseau takes ^ 
to tell us that after dining at the castle, he used to 
return home gleefully to sup with a mason who was 
his neighbour and his friend. 2 On the whole, how- 
ever, and so far as we know, Rousseau conducted him- 
self not unworthily with these high people. His 
letters to them are for the most part marked by self- 
respect and a moderate graciousness, though now and 
again he makes rather too much case of the difference 
of rank, and asserts his independence with something 
too much of protestation. 3 Their relations with 
him are a curious sign of the interest which the 
members of the great world took in the men who were 
quietly preparing the destruction both of them and 
their world. The marechale de Luxembourg places 
this squalid dweller in a hovel on her estate in the 
place of honour at her table, and embraces his Theresa. 

Temple chambers, and was conducted to her coach by him in a remarkable 
manner (Boswell's Life, ch. li. p. 467;. Also much talked of in EL Walpole's 
Letters. 

1 Streckeisen, ii. 32. 2 Conf., x. 71. 

3 For instance, Con:, ii. 85, 90, 92, etc. 1759. 



MONTMORENCY. 7 

The prince of Conti pays visits of courtesy and sends 
game to a man whom he employs at a few sous an 
hour to copy manuscript for him. The countess of 
Boufflers, in sending him the money, insists that he is 
to count her his warmest friend. 1 When his dog dies, 
the countess writes to sympathize with his chagrin, 
and the prince begs to be allowed to replace it. 2 And 
when persecution and trouble and infinite confusion 
came upon him, they all stood as fast by him as their 
own comfort would allow. Do we not feel that there 
must have been in the unhappy man, besides all the 
recorded pettinesses and perversities which revolt us 
in him, a vein of something which touched men, and 
made women devoted to him, until he drove both men 
and women away? With madame d'Epinay and 
madame d'Houdetot, as with the dearer and humbler 
patroness of his youth, we have now parted com- 
pany. But they are instantly succeeded by new 
devotees. And the lovers of Eousseau, in all degrees, 
were not silly women led captive by idle fancy. 
Madame de Boufflers was one of the most dis- 
tinguished spirits of her time. Her friendship for 
him was such, that his sensuous vanity made Eousseau 
against all reason or probability confound it with a 
warmer form, and he plumes himself in a manner 
most displeasing on the victory which he won over 
his own feelings on the occasion. 3 As a matter of 
fact he had no feelings to conquer, any more than the 

1 Streckeisen, ii. 28, etc. 2 Ib., 29. 

3 Conf., x. 99. 



8 ROUSSEAU. 

supposed object of them ever bore him any ill-will for 
his indifference, as in his mania of suspicion he after- 
wards believed. 

There was a calm about the too few years he passed 
at Montmorency, which leaves us in doubt whether 
this mania would ever have afflicted him, if his 
natural irritation had not been made intense and 
irresistible by the cruel distractions that followed the 
publication of Emilius. He was tolerably content with 
his present friends. The simplicity of their way of 
dealing with him contrasted singularly, as he thought, 
with the never-ending solicitudes, as importunate as 
they were officious, of the patronizing friends whom 
he had just cast off. 1 Perhaps, too, he was soothed 
by the companionship of persons whose rank may have 
flattered his vanity, while unlike Diderot and his old 
literary friends in Paris, they entered into no competi- 
tion with him in the peculiar sphere of his own genius. 
Madame de Boufflers, indeed, wrote a tragedy, but he 
told her gruffly enough that it was a plagiarism from 
Sou theme's Oroonoko. 2 That Rousseau was thoroughly 
capable of this hateful emotion of sensitive literary 
jealousy is proved, if by nothing else, by his readiness 
to suspect that other authors were jealous of him. 
"No one suspects others of a meanness of this kind, 
unless he is capable of it himself. The resounding 
success which followed the New Heloisa and Emilius 
put an end to this apprehension, for it raised him to a 
pedestal in popular esteem as high as that on which 

1 Cof.,x. 57. 2 Ib., xi. 119. 



MONTMORENCF. g 

Yoltaire stood triumpliant. This very success unfor- 
tunately brought troubles which destroyed Bousseau's 
last chance of ending his days in full reasonable- 
ness. 

Meanwhile he enjoyed his last interval of moderate 
wholesomeness and peace. He felt his old healthy 
joy in the green earth. One of the letters 1 com- 
memorates his delight in the great scudding south- 
west winds of February, soft forerunners of the spring, 
so sweet to all who live with nature. At the end of 
his garden was a summer-house, and here even on 
wintry days he sat composing or copying. It was not ' 
music only that he copied. He took a curious 
pleasure in making transcripts of his romance, which 
he sold to the duchess of Luxembourg and other 
ladies for some moderate fee. 2 Sometimes he moved 
from his own lodging to the quarters in the park 
which his great friends had induced him to accept. 
c They were charmingly neat ; the furniture was of 
white and blue. It was in this perfumed and deli- 
cious solitude, in the midst of woods and streams and 
choirs of birds of every kind, with the fragrance of the 
orange-flower poured round me, that I composed in a 
continual ecstasy the fifth book of Emilius. With what 
eagerness did I hasten every morning at sunrise to 
breathe the balmy air ! "What good coffee I used to 
take under the porch in company with my Theresa ! 
My cat and my dog made the rest of our party. That 

i Corr., ii. 196. Feb. 16, 176.1. 
2 Corr., ii. 102, 176, etc. 



io ROUSSEAU. 

would have sufficed for all my life, and I should never 
have known weariness.' And so to the assurance, so 
often repeated under so many different circumstances, 
that here was a true heaven upon earth, where if fates 
had only allowed, he would have known unbroken 
innocence and lasting happiness. 1 

Yet he had the wisdom to warn others against 
attempting a life such as he craved for himself. As 
on a more memorable occasion, there came to him a 
young man who would fain have been with him 
always, and whom he sent away exceeding sorrowful. 
' The first lesson I should give you would be not to 
surrender yourself to the taste you say you have for 
the contemplative life, which is only an indolence of 
the soul, to be condemned at any age, but especially so 
at yours. Man is not made to meditate but to act. 
Labour therefore in the condition of life in which you 
have been placed by your family and by providence : 
that is the first precept of the virtue which you wish 
to follow ; and if residence at Paris, joined to the 
business you have there, seems to you irreconcilable 
with virtue, do better still, and return to your own pro- 
vince ] go live in the bosom of your family, serve and 
solace your honest parents ; there you will be truly 
fulfilling the duties that virtue imposes on you.' 2 
This intermixture of sound sense with unutterable 
perversities almost suggests a doubt how far the per- 
versities were sincere, until we remember that Rous- 
seau, even in the most exalted part of his writings, was 

1 Conf., x. 60. 2 Corr., ii. 12. 



MONTMORENCY. 1 1 

careful to separate immediate practical maxims from 
his theoretical principles of social philosophy.} 

Occasionally his good sense takes so stiff and un- 
sympathetic a form, as. to fill us with a warmer dislike 
for him than his worst paradoxes inspire. A corre- 
spondent had written to him about the frightful 
persecutions which were being inflicted on the pro- 
testants in some district of France. Bousseau's letter 
is a masterpiece in the style of Eliphaz the Temanite. 
Our brethren must surely have given some pretext 
for the evil treatment to which they were subjected. 
One who is a Christian must learn to suffer, and every 
man's conduct ought to conform to his doctrine. 
Our brethren, moreover, ought to remember that the 
word of god is express upon the duty of obeying the 
laws set up by the prince. The writer cannot venture 
to run any risk by interceding in favour of our 
brethren with the government. ' Every one has his 
own calling upon the earth ; mine is to tell the public 
harsh but useful truths. I have preached humanity, 
gentleness, tolerance, so far as it depended upon me ; 
'tis no fault of mine if the world has not listened. I 
have made it a rule to keep to general truths ; I pro- 
duce no libels, no satires ; I attack no man, but men ; 
not an action but a vice.' 2 The worst of the worthy 



1 As M. St. Marc Girardin lias put it : 'There are in all Rousseau's dis- 
cussions two things to be carefully distinguished from one another; the maxims 
of the discourse, and the conclusions of the controversy. The maxims are 
ordinarily paradoxical; the conclusions are full of good sense.' (Rev, des Deux 
Mondes, Aug., 1852, p. 501.) 

2 Corr., ii. 2446. Oct. 24, 1761. 



12 ROUSSEAU. 

sort of people, wrote Voltaire, 'is that they are 
such cowards : a man groans over a wrong, he holds 
his tongue, he takes his supper, and he forgets all 
about it.' l If Yoltaire could not write like Fenelon, 
at least he could never talk like Tartufe ; he re- 
sponded to no tale of wrong with words about his 
mission, with strings of antitheses, but always with 
royal anger and the spring of alert and puissant 
endeavour. In an hour of oppression one would 
rather have been the friend of the saviour of the Galas 
and of Sirven, than of the vindicator of theism. 

Eousseau, however, had good sense enough in less 
equivocal forms than this. For example, in another 
letter he remonstrates with a correspondent for judg- 
ing the rich too harshly. i You do not bear in mind 
that having from their childhood contracted a thousand 
wants which we are without, then to bring them down 
to the condition of the poor would be to make them 
more miserable than the poor. We should be just 
towards all the world, even to those who are not just to 
us. Ah, if we had the virtues opposed to the vices 
which we reproach in them, we should forget that 
they were in the world. One word more. To have 
any right to despise the rich, we ought ourselves to be 
prudent and thrifty, so as to have no need of riches.' 2 
In the observance of this just precept Eousseau was 
to the end of his life absolutely without fault. No 
one was more rigorously careful to make his inde- 

1 Corr., 1766. (Euv., Ixxv. 364. 
2 Corr., ii. 32. (1758). 



MONTMORENCY. 13 


pendence sure by the fewness of his wants and a 

minute financial probity. This firm limitation of his 
material desires was one cause of his habitual and 
almost invariable refusal to accept presents, though no 
doubt another cause was the stubborn and ungracious 
egoism which made him resent any obligation. 

It is worth remembering in illustration of the 
peculiar susceptibility and softness of his character 
where women were concerned it was not quite with- 
out exception that he did not fly into a fit of rage 
over their gifts, as he did over those of men. He 
remonstrated, but in gentler key. i What could I do 
with four pullets ? ' he wrote to a lady who had 
presented them to him. ' I began by sending two of 
them to people to whom I am indifferent. That made 
me think of the difference there is between a present 
and a testimony of friendship. The first will never 
find in me anything but a thankless heart; the 
second. . . . Ah, if you had only given me news of 
yourself without sending me anything else, how rich 
and how grateful you would have made me ; instead 
of that, the pullets are eaten, and the best thing I can 
do is to forget all about them ; let us say no more.' 1 
Rude and repellent as this may seem, and as it is, 
there is an ugly kind of playfulness about it in com- 
parison with the truculence which he was not slow to 
exhibit to men. If a friend presumed to thank him 
for any service, he was peremptorily rebuked for his 
ignorance of the true qualities of friendship, with 

1 Corr. t ii. 63. Jan. 15, 1759. 



i 4 ROUSSEAU. 

which thankfulness has no connection. He ostenta- 
tiously refused to offer thanks for services himself, 
even to a woman whom he always treated with so 
much consideration as the marechale de Luxembourg. 
He once declared boldly that modesty is a false 
virtue, 1 and though he did not go so far as to make 
gratitude the subject of a corresponding formula of 
denunciation, he always implied that this too is one 
of the false virtues. He confessed to Malesherbes, 
without the slightest contrition, that he was ungrateful 
by nature. 2 To madame d'Epinay he once went still 
further, declaring that he found it hard not to hate 
those who had used him well. 3 Undoubtedly he was 
right so far as this, that gratitude answering to a 
spirit of exaction in a benefactor is no merit, and that 
a service done in expectation of gratitude is from that 
fact stripped of the quality which makes gratitude 
due, and is a mere piece of egoism in altruistic dis- 
guise. Kindness in its genuine forms is a testimony 
of good feeling, and conventional speech is perhaps a 
little too hard, as well as too shallow and unreal, in 
calling the recipient evil names, because he is unable 
to respond to the good feeling. Eousseau's way of 
expressing this, and of protesting against a conception 
of friendship and helpfulness, which makes of what 
ought to be disinterested helpfulness a title to 
everlasting tribute, was harsh and unamiable, but it 
was not without an element of uprightness and vera- 

1 Bernardin de St. Pierre, xii. 102. 
2 4th Letter, p. 375. 3 Mem., ii. 299. 



:Tial~by Sir Joshua. Reynolds. 9 




MONTMORENCY. 15 

city. As in his greater themes, so in his paradoxes 
upon private relations, he hid wholesome ingredients 
of rebuke to the unquestioning acceptance of common 
form. 'I am well pleased,' he said to a friend, 'both 
with thee and thy letters, except the end, where thou 
say'st thou art more mine than thine own ; for thou 
liest, and it is not worth while to take the trouble to 
thee and thou a man as thine intimate, only to tell him 
untruths.' 1 Chesterfield was for people with much 
self-love of the small sort, probably a more agree- 
able person to meet than Doctor Johnson, but Johnson 
was the more wholesome companion for a man. 

Occasionally, though not very often, he seems to 
have let spleen take the place of honest surliness, and 
so drifted into clumsy and ill-humoured banter of a 
sort that gives a dreary shudder to one fresh from 
Voltaire. ' So you have chosen for yourself a tender 
and virtuous mistress ! I am not surprised ; all 
mistresses are that. You have chosen her in Paris ! 
To find a tender and virtuous mistress in Paris is to have 
not such bad luck. You have made her a promise of 
marriage ? My friend, you have made a blunder ; for 
if you continue to love, the promise is superfluous, and 
if you do not it is of no avail. You have signed it 
with your blood ? That is all but tragic ; but I don't 
know that the choice of the ink in which he writes 
gives anything to the fidelity of the man who signs.' 2 

We can only add that the health in which a man 
writes may possibly excuse the dismal quality of what 

1 Corr., ii. 98. July 10, 1759. 2 Corr., ii. 106. Nov. 10, 1759. 



1 6 ROUSSEAU. 

he writes, and that Bousseau was now as always the 
prey of bodily pain which, as he was conscious, made 
him distraught. ' My sufferings are not very excru- 
ciating just now,' he wrote on a later occasion, i but 
they are incessant, and I am not out of pain a single 
moment day or night, and this quite drives me mad. 
I feel bitterly my wrong conduct and the baseness of 
my suspicions ; but if anything can excuse me, it is 
my mournful state, my loneliness,' and so on. 1 This 
prolonged physical anguish, which was made more 
intense towards the end of 1761 by the accidental 
breaking of a surgical instrument, 2 sometimes so 
nearly wore his fortitude away as to make him think 
of suicide. 3 In lord Edward's famous letter on 
suicide in the New Heloisa, while denying in forcible 
terms the right of ending one's days merely to escape 
from intolerable mental distress, he admits that inas- 
much as physical disorders only grow incessantly 
worse, violent bodily pain, when it is incurable, 
may be an excuse for a man making away with 
himself; he ceases to be a human being before 
dying, and in putting an end to his life he only 
completes his release from a body that embarrasses 
him, and contains his soul no longer. 4 The 
thought was often present to him in this form. 
Eighteen months later than our last date, the purpose 
grew very deliberate under an aggravation of his 
malady, and he seriously looked upon his own case as 

1 Corr., ii. 179. Jan. 18, 1761. 2 Corr. t ii. 268. Dec. 12, 1761. 

; 3 Corr., ii. 28. Dec. 23, 1761. 4 Now., HeL, III. xxii. 147. 



MONTMORENCY. 17 

falling within the conditions of lord Edward's excep- 
tion. 1 It is difficult, in the face of outspoken declara- 
tions like these, to know what writers can be thinking 
of when, with respect to the controversy on the 
manner of Bousseau's death, they pronounce him in- 
capable of such a dereliction of his own most cherished 
principles as self-destruction. It would perhaps have 
been no bad thing if he had executed his resolve in 
1763. The world would have lost the Musings and 
the Confessions, but it would have escaped the tale of 
a most unamiable life, and Eousseau himself would 
have lost no happiness that could compensate for the 
close entanglement of gloom and wretchedness in 
which he was henceforth beset. 

As he sat gnawed by pain, with surgical instru- 
ments on his table, and sombre thoughts of suicide in 
his head, the ray of a little episode of romance shone in 
incongruous upon the scene. Two ladies in Paris, 
absorbed in the New Helo'isa, like all the women of 
the time, identified themselves with the Julie and the 
Claire of the novel that none could resist. They wrote 
anonymously to the author, claiming their identification 
with characters fondly supposed to be immortal. i You 
will know that Julie is not dead, and that she lives 
to love you ; I am not this Julie, you perceive it 
by my style ; I am only her cousin, or rather her 
friend, as Claire was.' The unfortunate Saint Preux 
responded as gallantly as he could be expected to do 
in the intervals of surgery. ' You do not know that 

1 Corr. t iii. 235. Aug. 1, 1763. 
VOL. II. C 



1 8 ROUSSEAU. 

the Saint Preux to whom you write is tormented witli 
a cruel and incurable disorder, and that the very letter 
he writes to you is often interrupted by distractions 
of a very different kind.' l He figures rather un- 
couthly, but the unknown fair were not at first 
disabused, and one of them never was. Bousseau was 
deeply suspicious. He feared to be made the victim 
of a masculine pleasantry. From women he never 
feared anything. His letters were found too short, 
too cold. He replied to the remonstrance by a refer- 
ence of extreme coarseness. His correspondents wrote 
from the neighbourhood of the Palais Eoyal, then and 
for long after the haunt of mercenary women. i You 
belong to your quarter more than I thought,' he said 
brutally, 2 for the vulgarity of the lackey was never 
quite obliterated, even when the lackey had written 
Emilius. This was too much for the imaginary Claire. 
' I have given myself three good blows on my breast 
for the correspondence that I was silly enough to open 
between you/ she wrote to Julie, and she remained 
implacable. The Julie was constant to the end of 
Eousseau's life ; she took his part vehemently in the 
quarrel with Hume, and wrote in defence of his 
memory after he was dead. She is the most remark- 
able of all the instances of the unreasoning passion 
which the New Helo'isa inflamed in the breasts of the 
women of that age. Madame Latour pursued Jean 
Jacques with a devotion that no coldness could 
repulse. She only saw him three times in all, the first 

1 Corr., ii. 226. Sept. 29, 1761. 2 p. 294. Jan. 11, 17G2. 



THE NEW HELOISA. 19 

time not until 1766, when he was on his way through 
Paris to England. The second time, in 1772, she visited 
him without mentioning her name, and he did not 
recognise her ; she brought him some music to copy, 
and went away unknown. She made another attempt, 
announcing herself: he gave her a frosty welcome, 
and then wrote to her that she was to come no more. 
With a strange fidelity she bore him no grudge, but 
cherished his memory and sorrowed over his misfor- 
tunes to the day of her death. He was not an idol 
of very sublime quality, but we may think kindly of 
the idolatress. 1 Worshippers are ever dearer to us 
than their graven images. Let us turn to the ro- 
mance which touched women in this way, and helped 
to give a new spirit to an epoch. 

n. 

As has been already said, it is the business of 
criticism to separate what is accidental in form, tran- 
sitory in manner, and merely local in suggestion, 
from the general ideas which live under a casual and 
particular literary robe. And so we have to dis- 
tinguish the external conditions under which a book 
like the New Heloisa is produced, from the living 
qualities in the author, which gave the external 
conditions their hold upon him, and turned their 

1 Madame Latour (Nov. 7, 1730 Sept. 6, 1789) was the wife of a man in 
the financial world, who used her ill and dissipated as much of her fortune as 
he could, and from whom she separated in 1775. After that she resumed her 
maiden name and was known as madame de Franqueville. Muss et- Path ay, 
ii. 182, and Sainte Beuve, Causeries, ii. 63. 

c2 



20 ROUSSEAU. 

development in one direction rather than another. 
"We are only encouraging poverty of spirit, when we 
insist on fixing our eyes on a few of the minutiae of 
construction, instead of patiently seizing larger im- 
pressions and more durable meanings; nor less so, 
when we omit to move from the fortuitous incidents 
of composition, to the central elements of the writer's 
character, which already awaited them in full prepara- 
tion for active expression. 

These incidents in the case of the New Heloi'sa we 
know ; the sensuous communion with nature in her 
summer mood in the woods of Montmorency, the long 
hours and days of solitary expansion, the despairing 
passion for the too sage Julie of actual experience. 
But the power of these impressions from without 
depended on secrets of conformation within. An 
adult man with marked character is, consciously or 
unconsciously, his character's victim or sport; it is 
his whole system of impulses, ideas, pre- occupations, 
that make those critical situations ready, into which 
he too hastily supposes that an accident has drawn 
him. And this inner system not only prepares the 
situation for him ; it forces his interpretation. "What- 
ever interest the New Helo'isa possesses for the critic, 
springs from the fact that it was the outcome, in a 
sense of which the author himself was probably 
unconscious, of the general doctrine of life and con- 
duct which he only professed to expound in writings 
of graver pretension. Eousseau generally spoke of 
his romance in phrases of deprecation, as the monu- 



THE NEW HELOISA. 21 

merit of a passing weakness. It was in truth as 
entirely a monument of the strength as well as the 
weakness of his whole scheme, as his weightiest 
piece. That it was not so deliberately, added to its 
effect ; the slow and musing air which underlies all 
the assumption of ardent passion, made a way for the 
doctrine into sensitive, natures, that would have been 
untouched by the pretended ratiocination of the Dis- 
courses, and the didactic manner of the Emilius. 

Eousseau's. scheme, which we must carefully 
remember was only present to his own mind in 
an informal and fragmentary way, may be shortly 
described as an attempt to rehabilitate human nature 
in as much of its primitive freshness as the hardened 
crust of civil institutions and social use might allow. 
In this survey, however incoherently carried out, the 
mutual passion of the two sexes was the very last 
that was likely to escape Eousseau's attention. Thus 
it was with this that he began. The Discourses had 
been an attack upon the general ordering of society, 
and an exposition of the mischief it has done to 
human nature at large. The romance treated one set 
of emotions in human nature particularly, though it 
also touches the whole emotional sphere indirectly. 
And this limitation of the field was accompanied by 
a total revolution in the method. Polemic was 
abandoned ; the presence of hostility was forgotten in 
appearance, if not in the heart of the writer ; instead 
of discussion, presentation ; instead of abstract ana- 
lysis of principles, concrete drawing of persons, and 



22 ROUSSEAU. 

dramatic delineation of passion. There is, it is true, 
a monstrous superfluity of ethical exposition of most 
doubtful value, but this as we have already said was 
in the manners of the time. All people in those 
days with any pretensions to use their minds, wrote 
and talked in a superfine ethical manner, and violently 
translated the dictates of sensibility into formulas of 
morality. The important thing to remark is not that 
this semi- didactic strain is present, but that there is 
much less of it, and that it takes a far more subordi- 
nate place, than the subject and the reigning taste 
would have led us to expect. It is true, also, that 
Rousseau declared his intention in the two characters 
of Julie and Wolmar, eventually her husband, of 
leading to a reconciliation between the two great 
opposing parties, the devout and the rationalistic ; 
of teaching them the lesson of reciprocal esteem, by 
showing the one that it is possible to believe in a god 
without being a hypocrite, and the other that it is 
possible to be an unbeliever without being a scoun- 
drel. 1 This intention, if it was really present to 
Bousseau's mind while he was writing, and not an 
afterthought characteristically welcomed for the sake 
of giving loftiness and gravity to a composition of which 
he was always a little ashamed, must at any rate have 
been of a very pale kind. It woiild hardly have occurred 
to a critic, unless Eousseau had so emphatically 
pointed it out, that such a design had presided over 
the composition, and contemporary readers saw 

i Corr., ii. 214. Conf., ix. 289. 



THE NEW HELOISA. 23 

nothing of it. In the first part of the story, which 
is wholly passionate, it is certainly not visible, and 
in the second part neither of the two contending 
factions was likely to learn any lesson with respect 
to the other ; for churchmen wonld have insisted that 
Wolmar was really a Christian dressed np as an 
atheist, and philosophers would hardly have accepted 
Julie as a type of the too believing people who broke 
Galas on the wheel, and cut off La Barre's head. 

French critics tell us that no one now reads 
the New Helo'isa in France except deliberate students 
of the works of Bousseau, and certainly no one in 
this generation reads it in our own country. 1 The 
action is very slight, and the play of motives very 
simple, when contrasted with the ingenuity of inven- 
tion, the elaborate subtleties of psychological analysis, 
the power of rapid change from one perturbing inci- 
dent or excited humour to another, which mark the 
modern writer of sentimental fiction. As the title 
warns us, it is a story of a youthful tutor and a too 
fair disciple, straying away from the lessons of cold 
philosophy into the heated places of passion. The 
high pride of Julie's father forbade all hope of their 
union, and in very desperation the unhappy pair lost 
the self-control of virtue, and threw themselves into the 
pit that lies so ready to our feet. Eemorse followed 
with quick step, for Julie had with her purity lost 

1 English, translations of Rousseau's works appeared very speedily after the 
originals. A second edition of the Heloisa was called for as early as May, 
1761. -See Corr., ii. 223. A German translation of the Helo'isa appeared at 
Leipzig in 1761, in six duodecimos. 



24 ROUSSEAU. 

none of the other lovelinesses of a dutiful character. 
Her lover was hurried away from the country by the 
generous solicitude of an English nobleman, one of 
the bravest, tenderest, and best of men. Julie, left 
undisturbed by his presence, stricken with affliction at 
the death of a sweet and affectionate mother, and 
pressed by the importunities of a father whom she 
dearly loved in spite of the disasters which his will 
had brought upon her, at length consented to marry a 
foreign baron from some northern court. Wolmar 
was much older than she was; a devotee of calm 
reason, without a system and without prejudices, 
benevolent, orderly, above all things judicious. Tho 
lover meditated suicide, from which he was only 
diverted by the arguments of lord Edward, who did 
more than argue; he hurried the forlorn man on 
board the ship of admiral Anson, then just starting 
for his famous voyage round the world. And this 
marks the end of the first episode. 

Eousseau always urged that his story was dan- 
gerous for young girls, and maintained that Eichard- 
son was grievously mistaken in supposing that they 
could be instructed by romances ; it was like setting 
fire to the house for the sake of making the pumps 
play. 1 As he admitted so much, he is not open to 
attack on this side, except from those who hold the 
theory that no books ought to be written which may 
not prudently be put into the hands of the young, 
a puerile and contemptible doctrine that must ernas- 

1 For instance, Corr., ii. 168. Nov. 19, 1762. 



THE NEW HELOISA. 25 

culate all literature and all art by excluding the 
most interesting of human relations and the most 
powerful of human passions. There is not a single 
composition of the first rank, outside of science, from 
the bible downwards, that could undergo the test. 
The most useful standard for measuring the signi- 
ficance of a book in this respect is found in the 
manners of the time, and the prevailing tone of 
contemporary literature. In trying to appreciate the 
meaning of the New Helo'isa and its popularity, it 
is well to think of it as a delineation of love, in 
connection not only with such a book as the Pucelle, 
where there is at least wit, but with a story like 
Duclos's, which all ladies both read and were not in 
the least ashamed to acknowledge that they had read, 
and a story like Laclos's, which came a generation 
later, and with its infinite briskness and devilry 
carried the tradition of artistic impurity to as 
vigorous a manifestation as it is capable of reaching. 1 
To a generation whose literature is as pure as the best 
English, American, and German literature is in the 
present day, the New Helo'isa might without doubt 
be corrupting. To the people who read Crebillon and 
the Pucelle it was without doubt elevating. 

The case is just as strong if we turn from books 
to manners. Without looking beyond the circle of 
names that occur in Rousseau's own history, we 
see how deep the depravity had become. Madame 
d'Epinay's gallant sat at table with the husband, and 

i Choderlos de La Clos : 17411803. 



26 ROUSSEAU. 

the husband was perfectly aware of the relations 
between them. M. d'Epinay had notorious relations 
with two public women, and was not ashamed to 
refer to them in the presence of his wife, and even 
to seek her sympathy on an occasion when one of 
them was in some trouble. Not only this, but hus- 
band and lover used to pursue their debaucheries in 
the town together in jovial comradeship. An opera 
dancer presided at the table of a patrician abbe in his 
country house, and he passed weeks in her house in 
the town. As for shame, says Barbier on one occa- 
sion, * 'tis true the king has a mistress, but who has 
not ? except the duke of Orleans, who has with- 
drawn to Ste. Genevieve, and is thoroughly despised 
in consequence, and rightly.' * Eeeking disorder such 
as all this illustrates, made the passion of the two 
imaginary lovers of the fair lake seem like a breath 
from the garden of Eden. One virtue was lost in that 
simple paradise, but even that loss was followed by 
circumstances of mental pain and far circling distress, 
which banished the sin into a secondary place ; and 
what remained to strike the imagination of the time 
was a delightful picture of fast union between two 
enchanting women, of the patience and compassionate- 
ness of a grave mother, of the chivalrous warmth and 
helpfulness of a loyal friend. Any one anxious to 
pick out sensual strokes and turns of grossness, could 
make a little collection of such defilements from the 
New Heloi'sa without any difficulty. They were in 

1 Journal, iv. 496. (Ed. Charpentier, 1857.) 



THE NEW HELOISA. 27 

Eousseau' s character, and thus they came out in his 
work. Saint Preux afflicts us with touches of this 
kind, just as we are afflicted with similar touches in 
the Confessions. They were not noticed at that day, 
when people's ears did not affect to be any chaster 
than the rest of them. 

A historian of opinion is concerned with the general 
effect that was actually produced by a remarkable 
book, and with the causes which produced it, rather 
than with a demonstration that if the readers had all 
been as wise and as virtuous as the moralist might 
desire them to be, or if they had all been discrimi- 
nating and scientific critics, not this, but a very 
different impression, would have followed. To-day 
we may wonder at this effect. A long story told in 
letters has grown a form incomprehensible and in- 
tolerable to us. We t find Eichardson hard to be 
borne, and he put far greater vivacity and wider 
variety into his letters than Eousseau did, though he 
was not any less diffuse, and he abounds in repeti- 
tions as Eousseau does not. Eousseau was absolutely 
without humour ; that belongs to the keenly observant 
natures, and to those who love men in the concrete, 
not only humanity in the abstract. The pleasantries 
of Julie's cousin, for instance, are heavy and mis- 
placed. Thus the whole book is in one key, without 
the dramatic changes of Eichardson, too few even as 
those are. And who now can endure that antique 
fashion of apostrophizing men and women, hot with 
passion and eager with all active impulses, in oblique 



28 ROUSSEAU. 

terms of abstract qualities, as if their passion and their 
activity were only the inconsiderable embodiment of 
fine general ideas? We have not a single thrill, 
when Saint Preux being led into the chamber where 
his mistress is supposed to lie dying, murmurs pas- 
sionately, 'What shall I now see in the same place 
of refuge where once all breathed the ecstasy that 
intoxicated my soul, in this same object who both 
caused and shared my transports ! the image of death, 
virtue unhappy, beauty expiring ! ' l This rhetorical 
artificiality of phrase, so repulsive to the more realistic 
taste of a later age, was as natural then as the facility 
of shedding tears, which appears so deeply incredible 
a kind of performance to a generation that has lost 
that particular fashion of sensibility, without realising 
for the honour of its ancestors the physiological truth 
of the power of the will over the secretions. 

The characters seem as stilted as ' some of the 
language, to us who are accustomed to an Asiatic 
luxuriousness of delineation ; yet the New Heloisa 
was nothing less than the beginning of that fresh, 
full, highly-coloured style which has now taught us 
to find so little charm in the source and original of it. 
Saint Preux is a personage whom no widest charity, 
literary, philosophic, or Christian, can make endurable. 
Egoism is made thrice disgustful by a ceaseless re- 
dundance of fine phrases. The exaggerated conceits 
of love in our old poets turn graciously on the lover's 
eagerness to offer every sacrifice at the feet of his 

1 Now. Hel, III. xiv. 48. 



THE NEW HELOISA. 29 

mistress. Even Werther, stricken creature as he was, 
vet had the stoutness to blow his brains out, rather 
than be the instrument of surrounding his beloved's 
life with snares. Saint Preux's egoism is unbright- 
ened by a single ray of tender abnegation, or a single 
touch of the sweet humility of devoted passion. The 
slave of Ms sensations, he has no care beyond their 
gratification; with some rotund nothing on his lips 
about virtue being the only path to happiness, his 
heart burns with sickly lustfulness ; he writes first 
like a pedagogue infected by some cantharidean 
philter, and then like a pedagogue without the 
philter, which is worse. Lovelace and the count of 
Yalmont are manly and hopeful characters in com- 
parison. Werther, again, at least represents a prin- 
ciple of rebellion, in the midst of all his self-centred 
despair, and he retains strength enough to know that 
his weakness is shameful. His despair, moreover, is 
deeply coloured with repulsed social ambition. 1 He 
feels the world about him. His French prototype 
represents nothing but the unalloyed selfishness of a 
sensual love, for which there is no universe outside of 
its own fevered pulsation. 

Julie is much less displeasing, partly perhaps for 
the reason that she belongs to the less displeasing 
sex. At least, she preserves fortitude, self-control, 
profound considerateness for others, and at a certain 
point her firmness even moves a measure of enthu- 
siasm. If the New Helo'isa could be said to have 

1 E.g. Letters, 4046. 



30 ROUSSEAU. 

any moral intention, it is here where women learn 
from the example of Julie's energetic return to duty 
the possibility and the satisfaction of bending cha- 
racter back to comeliness and honour. Excellent as 
this is from a moral point of view, the reader may 
wish that Julie had been less of a preacher as well as 
less of a sinner. And even as sinner, tehe would 
have been more readily forgiven if she had been less 
deliberate. A maiden who sacrifices* her chastity in 
order that the visible consequences may force her 
parents to consent to a marriage, is rather too 
strategical to be perfectly touching. As was said by 
the cleverest, though not the greatest, of all the 
women whose youth was fascinated by Eousseau, 
when one has renounced the charms of virtue, it is 
at least well to have all the charms that entire 
surrender of heart can bestow. 1 In spite of this, 
Julie struck the imagination of the time, and struck 
it in a way that was thoroughly wholesome. The 
type taught men some respect for the dignity of 
women, and it taught women a firmer respect for 
themselves. It is useless, even if it be possible, to 
present an example too lofty for the comprehension of 
an age. At this moment the most brilliant genius in 
the country was filling France with impish merriment 
at the cost of the greatest heroine France had then 
to boast. In such an atmosphere Julie has the halo 
of saintliness. 

1 Madame de Stael (1765 1817), in her Lettres sur les Merits d le caraetere 
dc J. J. Jlomseau, written when she was twenty, and her first work of any pre- 
tensions. (Euv. i., 41. Ed. 1820. 



THE NEW HELOISA. 31 

We may say all we choose about the inconsistency, 
the excess of preaching, the excess of prudence, in 
the character of Julie. It was said pungently enough 
by the wits of the time. 1 Nothing that could be 
said on all this affected the fact that the women 
between 1760 and the revolution were intoxicated by 
Kousseau's creation to such a pitch, that they would 
pay any price for a glass out of which Eousseau had 
drunk, and kiss a scrap of paper that contained a 
piece of his handwriting, and vow that no woman of 
true sensibility could hesitate to consecrate her life to 
him, if she were only certain to be rewarded by his 
attachment. 2 The booksellers were unable to meet 
the demand. The book was let out at the rate of 
twelve sous a volume, and the volume could not be 
detained beyond an hour. All classes shared the 
excitement, courtiers, soldiers, lawyers, and bour- 

1 Nowhere more pungently than in a little piece of some half-dozen pages, 
headed, Prediction tiree d'un vieux Manuscrit, the form of which is borrowed 
from Grimm's squib in the dispute about French music, Le petit Prophete de 
Boehmifichbroda, though it seems to me to be superior to Grimm in pointedness. 
Here are a few verses from the supposed prophecy of the man who should 
come and of what he should do. ' Et la multitude courra sur ses pas et 
plusieurs croiront en lui. Et il leur dira : Vous etes des scelerats et des 
fripons, vos femmes sont toutes des femmes perdues, et je viens vivre parmi 
vous. Et il ajoutera, tous les homines sont vertueux dans le pays oti je suis 

ne, etje n'habiterai jamais le pays ou je suis ne Et il dira aussi 

qu'il est impossible d' avoir des moeurs, et de lire des Romans, et il fera un 
Roman ; et dans son Roman le vice sera en action et la vertu en paroles, et 
f-es personages seront forcenes d'amour et de philosophie. Et dans son 
Roman on apprendra 1'art de suborner philosophiquement une jeune fille. Et 
1'Ecoliere perdra toute honte et toute pudeur, et elle fera avec son maitre des 
sottises et des maximes. . . . Et le bel Ami etant dans un Bateau seul 
avec sa Maitresse voudra la jetter dans 1'eau et se precipiter avec elle. Et ils 
appelleront tout cela de la Philosophie et de la Vertu,' and so on, humor- 
ously enough in this kind. 

2 See passages in Goncourt's La Femme au ISieme siecle, p. 380. 



3* ROUSSEAU. 

geois. 1 Stories were told of fine ladies, dressed for 
the ball, who took the book up for half-an-hoiir until 
the time should come for starting ; who read until mid- 
night, and when informed that the carriage waited 
answered not a word, and when reminded by-and-by 
that it was two o'clock still read on, and then at four, 
having ordered the horses to be taken out of the 
carriage, disrobed, went to bed, and passed the whole 
night in reading. 2 Gallantry was succeeded by 
passion, expansion, exaltation; moods far more dan- 
gerous for society, as all enthusiasm is dangerous, but 
also far higher, and pregnant with better hopes for 
character. To move the sympathetic faculties is the 
first step towards kindling all the other energies 
which make life wiser and more fruitful. It is espe- 
cially worth noticing that nothing in the character of 
Julie concentrates this outburst of sympathy in sub- 
jective broodings. In Germany at that time and 
later there was a corresponding movement of senti- 
mentalism, with its Order of Mercy and Expiation, 
its Order of Sentiment, and the like imbecilities. 
But this was only hysterical egoism disguised by 
transcendental shriekings. It was attended with the 
extreme of disorder in the relations between men and 
women, as such undirected sensational revivals always 
are, whether they are clothed in religious or philo- 
sophical forms. The effect of the New Helo'isa was 
just the opposite. Julie is the representative of one 
recalled to the straight path by practical, wholesome, 

1 Musset-Pathay, ii. 361. 2 Conf., xi. 105. 



THE NEW HELOISA. 33 

objective sympathy for others, not of one expiring in 
unsatisfied yearnings for the sympathy of others for 
herself, and in moonstruck subjective aspirations. 
The women who wept over her romance read in 
it the lesson of duty, not of whimpering intro- 
spection. The danger lay in the mischievous intel- 
lectual direction which. Kousseau imparted to this 
effusion. 

The stir which the Julie communicated to the -affec- 
tions in so many ways, marked progress, but in all the 
elements of reason she was the most: perilous of 
reactionaries. So hard is it with the human mind, 
constituted as it is, to march forwards space further 
to the light, without making some fresh swerve 
obliquely towards old darkness. The great effusion 
of natural sentiment was in the air before the New 
Helo'isa appeared, to condense, and turn it into 
definite channels. One beautiful character, Yauvenar- 
gues (1715 47), had begun to teach the culture of 
emotional instinct in some sayings of exquisite sweet- 
ness and moderation, as that i Great thoughts come 
from the heart ; ' but he came too soon^ and, alas for 
us all, he died young, and he made no mark. Mode- 
ration never can make a mark in; the epochs when 
men are beginning to feel the urgent spirit of a new 
time. Diderot strove with more powerful efforts, in 
the midst of all his herculean labours for the acquisi- 
tion and ordering of knowledge, in the same direction 
towards the great outer world of nature, and towards 
the great inner world of nature in the human breast. 

VOL. II. D 



34 ROUSSEAU. 

His criticisms on the paintings of each, year, mediocre 
as the paintings were, are admirable even now for 
their richness and freshness. His two plays drew 
tears as natural, as simple, as true, as any that 
have ever flowed under the magic stroke of an art 
enfranchised from convention. If he had been 
endowed with emotional tenacity, as he was with 
tenacity of understanding and of purpose, the student 
of the eighteenth century would probably have been 
spared the not perfectly agreeable task of threading a 
way along the sinuosities of the character and work 
of Eousseau. But Eousseau had what Diderot 
lacked sustained ecstatic moods, and fervid trances ; 
his literary gesture was so commanding, his apparel 
so glistening, his voice so rich in long-drawn notes of 
plangent vibration. His words are the words of a 
prophet; a prophet, it is understood, who had lived 
in Paris, and belonged to the eighteenth century, 
and wrote in French instead of Hebrew. The mis- 
chief of his work lay in this, that he raised feeling, 
now passionate, now quietist, into the supreme 
place, which it was to occupy alone, and not on an 
equal throne and in equal alliance with under- 
standing. Instead of supplementing reason, he placed 
emotion as its substitute. And he made this evil 
doctrine come from the lips of a fictitious character, 
who stimulated fancy and fascinated imagination. 
Yoltaire laughed at the < baisers acres ' of madame 
de Wolmar, and declared that a criticism of 
the marquis of Ximenes had crushed the wretched 



THE NEW HELOISA. 35 

romance. 1 But madame de "Wolmar was so far from 
crushed, that she turned the flood of feeling which 
her own charms, passion, remorse, and conversion 
had raised, in a direction that Voltaire abhorred, 
and abhorred in vain. 

It is after the marriage of Julie to Wolmar that 
the action of the story takes the turn which sensible 
men like Voltaire found laughable. Saint Preux is 
absent with admiral Anson for some years. On his 
return to Europe he is speedily invited by the sage 
and unprejudiced Wolmar, who knows his past 
history perfectly well, to pay them a visit. They all 
meet with leapings on the neck and hearty kisses, 
the unprejudiced Wolmar preserving an open, serene, 
and smiling air. He takes his young friend to a 
chamber, which is to be reserved for him and for him 
only. In a few days he takes an opportunity of 
visiting some distant property, leaving his wife and 
Saint Preux together, with the sublime of magnani- 
mity. At the same time he confides to Claire his 
intention of entrusting Saint Preux with the educa- 
tion of his children. All goes perfectly well, and 
the household presents a picture of contentment, 
prosperity, moderation, affection, and evenly diffused 
happiness, which in spite of the disagreeableness of 
the situation is even now extremely charming. There 
is only one cloud. Julie is devoured by a source of 

1 Corr., Mar. 3, and Mar. 19, 1761. The criticisms of Ximenes, a thoroughly 
mediocre person in all respects, were entirely literary, and were directed 
against the too strained and highly coloured quality of the phrases, 'haisers 
acres ' among them. 

D2 



3 6 ROUSSEAU. 

hidden chagrin. Her husband, l so sage, so reason- 
able, so far from every kind of vice, so little under 
the influence of human passions, is without the only 
belief that makes virtue precious, and in the inno- 
cence of an irreproachable life he carries at the 
bottom of his heart the frightful peace of the 
wicked.' l He is an atheist. Julie is now a pietist, 
locking herself for hours in her, chamber, spending 
days in self-examination and prayer, constantly read- 
ing the pages of the good Fenelon. 2 i I fear,' she 
writes to Saint Preux, ' that you do not gain all you 
might from religion in the conduct of your life, and 
that philosophic pride disdains the simplicity of the 
Christian. You believe prayers to be of scanty 
service. That is not, you know, the doctrine of Saint 
Paul, nor what our church professes. "We are free, it 
is true, but we are ignorant, feeble, prone to ill. 
And whence should light and force come, if not from 
him who is their very well-spring ? . . . Let us 
be humble, to be sage ; let us see our weakness, and 
we shall be strong.' 3 This was the opening of the 
deistical reaction ; it was thus, associated with every- 
thing that struck imagination and moved the senti- 
ment of his readers, that Eousseau brought back those 
sophistical conclusions which Pascal had drawn from 
premisses of dark profound truth, and that enervating 
displacement of reason by celestial contemplation, 
which Fenelon had once made beautiful by the per- 
suasion of virtuous example. He was justified in 

1 Nouv. HeL, V. v. 115. 2 VI. vii. 3 yi. vi. 










' 






THE NEW HELOl'SA. 37 

saying, as he afterwards did, that there was nothing 
in the Savoyard Vicar's Profession of Faith which 
was not to be found in the letters of Julie. These 
were the effective preparations for that more famous 
manifesto ; they surrounded belief with all the attrac- 
tions of an interesting and sympathetic preacher, and 
set it to a harmony of circumstance that touched 
new and softer fibres. 

For, curiously enough, while the first half of the 
romance is a scene of disorderly passion, the second 
is the glorification of the family. A modern writer 
of genius has inveighed with whimsical bitterness 
against the character of "Weimar, supposed, we may 
notice in passing, to be partially drawn from D'Hol- 
bach, a man performing so long an experiment on 
these two souls, with the terrible curiosity of a 
surgeon in vivisection. 1 It was, however, much less 
difficult for contemporaries to accept so unwholesome 
and prurient a situation, and they forgot all the evil 
that was in it, in the charm of the account of Wolmar's 
active, peaceful, frugal, sunny household. The influ- 
ence of this was immense. We may be sure that 
Werther (1774) would not have found Charlotte 
cutting bread and butter if Saint Preux had not gone 
to see Julie take cream and cakes with her children 
and her female servants ; and perhaps the other and 
nobler Charlotte of the Wahlverwandtschaften (1809) 
would not have detained us so long with her moss 
hut, her terrace, her park prospect, if Julie had not 

i Michelet's Louis XV. et Louis XVI. , p. 58. 



38 ROUSSEAU. 

had her elysium, where the sweet freshness of the 
air, the cool shadows, the shining verdure, flowers 
diffusing fragrance and colour, water running with 
soft whisper, and the song of a thousand birds, 
reminded the returned traveller of Tinian and Juan 
Fernandez. There is an animation, a variety, an 
accuracy, a realistic brightness in this picture, which 
will always make it enchanting, even to those who 
cannot make their way through any other letter in 
the New Helo'isa, 1 and would seem to place it as an 
idyllic piece almost above even the clearest and 
freshest of such pieces in Goethe's two famous 
romances. There are other admirable landscapes, 
though not too many of them, and the minute and 
careful way in which Eousseau made their features 
real to himself, is accidentally shown in his urgent 
prayer for exactitude, in the engraving of the striking 
scene where Saint Preux and Julie visit the monu- 
ments of their old love for one another. 2 i I have 
traversed all Eousseau' s ground with the Helo'ise 
before me,' said Byron, ' and am struck to a degree 
I cannot express with the force and accuracy of his 
descriptions and the beauty of their reality.' 3 They 
were memories made true by long dreaming, by endless 
brooding. The painter lived with these scenes ever 
present to the inner eye. They were his real world, 

1 IV. xi. 2 IV. xvii. See vol. iii. 423. 

3 In 1816. Moore's Life, iii. 247 ; also 285. And the note to the 
stanzas in the Third Canto, a note curious for a slight admixture of tran- 
scendentalism, so rare a thing with Byron, who, sentimental though he was, 
usually rejoiced in a truly Voltairean common sense. 



THE NEW HELOISA. 39 

of which the tamer world of meadow and wood- 
land actually around him only gave suggestion. He 
thought of the green steeps, the rocks, the mountain 
pines, the waters of the lake, 'the populous solitude 
of bees and birds, 7 as of some divine presence, too 
sublime for personality. And they were always 
benign, standing in relief with the malignity or folly 
of the insect, man. He was never a manicha3an 
towards nature. To him she was all good and boun- 
teous. The demon forces which so fascinated Byron, 
were to Eousseau invisible. These were the compo- 
sitions that presently inspired the landscapes of Paul 
and Virginia (1788), of Atala and Rene (1801), and of 
Obermann (1804), as well as those punier imitators who 
resemble their masters, as the hymns of a methodist 
negro resemble the psalms of David. They were the 
outcome of eager and spontaneous feeling for nature, 
and not the mere hackneyed common form and inflated 
description of the literary pastoral. 

This leads to another great and important distinc- 
tion to be drawn between Eousseau and the school 
whom in other respects he inspired. The admirable 
Sainte Beuve perplexes one by his strange remark 
that the union of the poetry of the family and the 
hearth with the poetry of nature is essentially wanting 
to Eousseau. 1 It only shows that the great critic had 
for the moment forgotten the whole of the second half 
of the New Helo'isa, and his failure to identify 
Cowper's allusion to the matinee a Vanglaise certainly 

1 Causcrics, xi. 19o. 



40 ROUSSEAU. 

proves that lie had at any rate forgotten one of the 
most striking and delicious scenes of the hearth in 
French literature. 1 The tendency to read Eousseau 
only in the Byronic sense is one of those foregone 
conclusions which are constantly tempting the critic 
to travel out of his record. He assuredly had a 
Byronic side, but he is just as often a Cowper done 
into splendid prose. His pictures are full of social 
animation and domestic order. He had exalted the 
simplicity of the savage state in his Discourses, but 
when he came to constitute an ideal life, he found it 
in a household that was more, and not less, systemati- 
cally disciplined than those of the common society 
around him. The paradise in which his Julie moved 
with Wolmar and Saint Preux, was no more and no 
less than an establishment of the best kind of the 
rural middle-clasa, frugal, decorous, wholesome, tran- 
quilly austere. D^o most sentimental savage could 
have found it endurable, or could himself without 
profound transformation of his manners have been 
endured in it. The New Helo'isa ends by exalting re- 
spectability, and putting the spirit of insurrection to 
shame. Self-control, not revolt, is its last word. 

1 Nouv. HeL, V. iii. 'You remember Rousseau's description of an English 
morning: such are the mornings I spend with these good people/ Cowptr 
to Joseph Hill, Oct. 25, 1765. Works, iii. 269. In a letter to William Un win 
(Sept. 21, 1779), speaking of his being engaged in mending windows, he 
says : 'Rousseau would have been charmed to have seen me so occupied, and 
would hare exclaimed with rapture that he had found the Emilius who, he 
supposed, had subsisted only in his own idea.' For a description illustrative 
of the likeness between Rousseau and Cowper in their feeling for nature, see 
letter to Newton (Sept. 18, 1784, v. 78), and compare it with the description 
of Les Charmettes, making proper allowance for colour of prose. 



THE NEW HELOi'SA. 41 

This is what separates Bousseau, here and through- 
out, from Senancour, Byron, and the rest. He consum- 
mates the triumph of will, while their reigning mood 
is grave or reckless protest against impotence of will, 
the little worth of common aims, the fretting triviality 
of common rules. Franklin or Cohbett might have 
gloried in the regularity of madame de Wolmar's 
establishment. The employment of the day was 
marked out with precision. By artful adjustment of 
pursuits it was contrived that the men servants should 
be kept apart from the maid servants except at their 
repasts. The women, namely, a cook, a housemaid, 
and a nurse, found their pastime in rambles with 
their mistress and her children, and lived mainly 
with them. The men were amused by games for 
which their master made regulated provision, now 
for summer, now for winter, offering prizes of a useful 
kind for prowess and adroitness. Often on a Sunday 
night all the household met in an ample chamber, and 
passed the evening in dancing. When Saint Preu'x 
inquired whether this was not a rather singular in- 
fraction of puritan rule, Julie wisely answered that 
pure morality is so loaded with severe duties, that if 
you add to them the further burden of indifferent 
forms, it must always be at the cost of the essential. 1 
The servants were always taken from the country, 
never from the town. They entered the household 
young, were gradually trained, and never went away 
except to establish themselves. 

* IV. x. 260. 



42 ROUSSEAU. 

The vulgar and obvious criticism on all this is that 
it is Utopian, that such households do not generally 
exist, because neither masters nor servants possess 
the qualities needed to maintain these relations of 
unbroken order and friendliness. Perhaps not; and 
masters and servants will be more and more removed 
from the possession of such qualities, and their rela- 
tions further distant from such order and friendliness, 
if writers cease to press the beauty and serviceable- 
ness of a domesticity that is at present only possible 
in a few rare cases, or to insist on the ugliness, the 
waste of peace, the deterioration of character, that are 
the results of our present system. Undoubtedly it is 
much easier for Eousseau to draw his picture of semi- 
patriarchal felicity, than for the rest of us to realise 
it. It was his function to press ideals of sweeter life 
on his contemporaries, and they may be counted 
fortunate in having a writer who could fulfil this 
function with Eousseau' s peculiar force of masterly 
persuasion. His scornful diatribes against the do- 
mestic police of great houses, and the essential 
inhumanity of the ordinary household relations, are 
both excellent and of permanent interest. There is 
the full breath of a new humaneness in them. They 
were the right way of attacking the decrepitude of 
feudal luxury and insolence, and its imitation among 
the great farmers-general. This criticism of the 
conditions of domestic service marks a beginning of 
true democracy, as distinguished from the mere 
pulverisation of aristocracy. It rests on the claim 



' THE NEW HELOISA. 43 

of the common people to an equal consideration, as 
equally useful and equally capable of virtue and yice ; 
and it implies the essential priority of social over 
political reform. 

The story abounds in sumptuary detail. The table 
partakes of the general plenty, but this plenty is not 
ruinous. The senses are gratified without daintiness. 
The food is common, but excellent of its kind. The 
service is simple, yet exquisite. All that is mere 
show, all that depends on vulgar opinion, all fine 
and elaborate dishes whose value comes of their rarity, 
and whose names you must know before finding any 
goodness in them, are banished without recall ; and 
even in such delicacies as they permit themselves, 
they abstain every day from certain things which are 
reserved for feasts on special occasions, and which are 
thus made more delightful without being more costly. 
What do you suppose these delicacies are? Eare 
game, or fish from the sea, or dainties from abroad ? 
Letter than all that ; some delicious vegetable of the 
district, one of the savoury things that grow in our 
garden, some fish from the lake dressed in a peculiar 
way, some cheese from our mountains. The service 
is modest and rustic, but clean and smiling. Neither 
gold-laced liveries in sight of which you die of hunger, 
nor tall crystals laden with flowers for your only 
dessert, here take the place of honest dishes * here 
they have not the art of nourishing the stomach 
through the eyes, but they know how to add grace to 
good cheer, to eat heartily without inconvenience, to 



44 ROUSSEAU. 

drink merrily without losing reason, to sit long at 
table without weariness, and always to rise from it 
without disgust. 1 

One singularity in this ideal household was the 
avoidance of those middle exchanges between produc- 
tion and consumption, which enrich the shopkeeper 
but impoverish his customers. JSTot one of these 
exchanges is made without loss, and the multiplica- 
tion of these losses would weaken even a man of 
fortune. Wolmar seeks those real exchanges in which 
the convenience of each party to the bargain serves as 
profit for both. Thus the wool is sent to the factories, 
from which they receive cloth in exchange ; wine, oil, 
and bread, are produced in the house ; the butcher 
pays himself in live cattle ; the grocer receives grain 
in return for his goods ; the wages of the labourers 
and the house- servants are derived from the produce 
of the land which they render valuable. 2 It was 
reserved for Fourier, Cabet, and the rest, to carry to 
its highest point this confusion of what is so fascinat- 
ing in a book, with what is practicable in society. 

The expatiation on the loveliness of a well-ordered 
interior may strike the impatient modern as somewhat 
long, and the movement as very slow, just as people 
complain of the same things in the Elective Affinities. 
Such complaint only proves inability, which is or is 
not justifiable, to seize the spirit of the writer. The 
expatiation was long and the movement slow, because 
Rousseau was full of his thoughts ; they were a deep 

1 V. ii. 37. 2 V. ii. 4752. 



THE NEW HELOISA. 45 

and glowing part of himself, and did not only skim 
swiftly and lightly through his mind. Anybody who 
takes the trouble may find out the difference between 
this expression of long mental brooding, and a merely 
elaborated diction. 1 The length is an essential part 
of the matter. The whole work is the reflection of a 
series of slow inner processes, the many careful 
weavings of a lonely and miserable man's dreams. 
And Julie expressed the spirit and the joy of these 
dreams when she wrote, ' People are only happy 
before they are happy., Man, so eager and so feeble, 
made to desire all and. obtain little, has received from 
heaven a consoling force which brings all that he 
desires close to him, which subjects it to his imagina- 
tion, which makes it present and sensible to him, 
which delivers it over to him. The land of chimera 
is the only one in this world that is worth dwelling in, 
and such is the nothingness of the human lot, that 
except the being who exists in and by himself, there 
is nothing beautiful except that which does not exist. 52 
Closely connected with the vigorous attempt to 
fascinate his public with the charm of a serene, joyful, 
and ordered house, is the restoration of marriage in 
the New Helo'isa to a rank among high and honour- 
able obligations, and its representation as the best 
support of an equable life of right conduct and fruitful 
harmonious emotion. He even invested it with the 



1 Rousseau considered that the Fourth and Sixth parts of the New Helo'isa 
were masterpieces of diction. Con/., ix. 334. 

2 VI.viii.,298. CW?/.,xi. 106. 



46 ROUSSEAU. 

mysterious dignity as of some natural sacrament. 
c This chaste knot of nature is subject neither to the 
sovereign power nor to paternal authority/ he cried, 
c but only to the authority of the common father/ 
and he pointed his remark by a bitter allusion to a 
celebrated case in which a great house had procured 
the nullification by the courts of the marriage of an 
elder son with a young actress, whose character was 
excellent, and who had befriended him when he was 
abandoned by everybody else. 1 This was one of the 
countless democratic thrusts in the book. In the 
case of its heroine, however, he associated the sanctity 
of marriage, not only with equality, but with religion. 
"We may imagine the spleen with which the philo- 
sophers, with both their hatred of the faith and their 
light esteem of marriage bonds, read Julie's eloquent 
account of her emotions at the moment of her union 
with Wolmar. ( I seemed to behold the organ of 
providence and to hear the voice of god, as the 
minister gravely pronounced the words of the holy 
service. The purity, the dignity, the sanctity of 
marriage, so vividly set forth in the words of scripture, 
its chaste and sublime duties, so important to the 
happiness, order, and peace of the human race, so 
sweet to fulfil even for their own sake all this made 
such an impression on me that I seemed to feel within 
my breast a sudden revolution. An unknown power 
seemed all at once to arrest the disorder of my 
affections, and to restore them in accordance with the 

1 The La Bedoyere case, which began in 1745. See Barbier, iv. 54, 59, etc. 



THE NEW HELOISA. 47 

law of duty and of nature. The eternal eye that sees 
everything, I said to myself, now reads to the depth 
of my heart/ and so forth. 1 She has all the well- 
known fervour of the proselyte, and never wearies of 
extolling the peace of the wedded state. Love is no 
essential to its perfection. ' Worth, virtue, a certain 
accord not so much in condition and age as in 
character and temper, are enough between husband 
and wife ; and this does not prevent the growth from 
such a union of a very tender attachment, which 
is none the less sweet for not being exactly love, and 
is all the more lasting.' 2 Years after, when Saint 
Preux has returned and is settled in the household, 
she even tries to persuade him to imitate her example, 
and find contentment in marriage with her cousin. 
The earnestness with which she presses the point, the 
very sensible but not very delicate references to the 
hygienic drawbacks of celibacy, and the fact that 
the cousin whom she would fain have him marry, 
had complaisantly assisted them in their past loves, 
naturally drew the fire of Eousseau's critical enemies. 
Such matters did not affect the general enthusiasm. 
When people are weary of a certain way of surveying 
life, and have their faces eagerly set in some new 
direction, they read in a book what it pleases them to 
read ; they assimilate as much as falls in with their 

1 III. xviii. 84. 

2 III. xx. 116. In the letter to Christopher de Beaumont (p. 102), he fires 
a double shot against the philosophers on the one hand, and the church on the 
other; exalting continence and purity, of which the philosophers in their 
reaction against asceticism thought lightly, and exalting marriage over the 
celibate state which the churchmen associated with mysterious sanctity. 



48 ROUSSEAU. 

dominant mood, and the rest passes away unseen. 
The French public were bewitched by Julie, and 
were no more capable of criticising her, than 
Julie was capable of criticising Saint Ereux in the 
height of her passion for him. When we say that 
Eousseau was the author of this movement, all we 
mean is that his book and its chief personage awoke 
emotion to self-consciousness^ gave it a dialect, com- 
municated an impulse in favour of social order, and 
very calamitously at the same moment divorced it from 
the fundamental conditions of progress, by divorcing 
it from disciplined intelligence and scientific reason. 

Apart from the general tendency of the New 
Heloisa in numberless indirect ways to bring the 
manners of the great into contempt by the presenta- 
tion of the happiness of a simple and worthy life, 
thrifty, self-sufficing and homely, there is one direct 
protest of singular eloquence and gravity. Julie's 
father is deeply revolted at the bare notion of mar- 
rying his daughter to a teacher. Eousseau puts his 
vigorous remonstrance against pride of birth into the 
mouth of an English nobleman, an infelicitous piece 
of prosopopreia, which is interesting as illustrative of 
the eighteenth century idea of England as the home 
of stout-hearted freedom. We may quote one piece 
from the numerous bits of very straightforward 
speaking in which our representative expressed his 
mind as to the significance of birth. ' My friend 
has nobility,' cried lord Edward, 'not written in 
ink on mouldering parchments, but graven in his 



THE NEW HELOfSA. 49 

heart in characters that can never be effaced. For 
my own part, by god, I should be sorry to have 
no other proof of my merit but that of a man who has 
been in his grave these five hundred years. If you 
know the English nobility, you know that it is the 
most enlightened, the best informed, the wisest, the 
bravest in Europe. That being so, I don't care 
to ask whether it is the oldest or not. We are not, 
it is true, the slaves of the prince, but his friends ; 
nor the tyrants of the people, but their leaders. We 
hold the balance true between people and monarch. 
Our first duty is towards the nation, our second 
towards him who governs ; it is not his will but his 
right that we consider. . . We suffer no one in the land 
to say God and my sword, nor more than this, God 
and my right. ,' 1 All this was putting Montesquieu 
into heroics, but a great many people read the 
romance who were not likely to read the graver book, 
and there was a wide difference between the calm 
statement of a number of political propositions aboufc 
government, and their transformation into dramatic 
invective against the arrogance of a social inequality 
that does not correspond with inequalities of worth. 

There is no contradiction between this and what 
may be called the social quietism of other parts of the 
book. Moral considerations and the paramount place 
they hold in Rousseau's way of thinking, explain at 
once his contempt for the artificial privileges and as- 
sumptions of high rank, and his contempt for anything 

1 I. Ixii. 
VOL. II. E 



So ROUSSEAU. 

like discontent with the conditions of humble rank. 
Simplicity of life was his ideal. He wishes us to despise 
both those who have departed from it, and those who 
would depart from it if they could. So Julie does her 
best to make the lot of the peasants as happy as it is 
capable of being made, without ever helping them to 
change it for another. She teaches them to respect 
their natural condition in respecting themselves. Her 
prime maxim is to discourage change of station and 
calling, but above all to dissuade the villager, whose 
life is the happiest of all, from leaving the true 
pleasures of his natural career for the fever and cor- 
ruption of towns. 1 Presently a recollection of the 
sombre things he had seen in his rambles through 
France crossed Eousseau's pastoral visions, and he ad- 
mitted that there were some lands in which the publi- 
can devours the fruits of the earth, where the misery 
that covers the fields, the bitter greed of some grasp- 
ing farmer, the inflexible rigour of an inhuman master, 
"take something from the charm of his rural scenes. 
' Worn out horses ready to expire under the blows 
they receive, wretched peasants attenuated by hunger, 
broken by weariness, clad in rags, hamlets all in ruins 
these things oifer a mournful spectacle to the eye ; 
one is almost sorry to be a man, as we think of the 
unhappy creatures on whose blood we have to feed.' 2 

Yet there is no hint in the New Helo'isa of the 
socialism which Morelly and Mably flung themselves 
upon, as the remedy for all these desperate horrors. 

1 V. ii. 2 V. vii. 141. 



THE NEW HEL OISA . 5 1 

Property is held in full respect ; the master has the 
honourable burden of patriarchal duty ; the servant 
the not less honourable burden of industry and faith- 
fulness ; disobedience or vice is promptly punished 
with paternal rigour and more than paternal inflexi- 
bility. The insurrectionary quality and effect of 
Eousseau's work lay in no direct preaching or vehe- 
ment denunciation of the abuses that filled France 
with cruelty on the one hand, and sodden misery on 
the other. It lay in pictures of a social state in which 
abuses and cruelty cannot exist, nor any miseries 
save those which are inseparable from humanity. The 
contrast between the sober, cheerful, prosperous 
scenes of romance, and the dreariness of the reality 
of the field life of France, this was the element that 
filled generous souls with an intoxicating transport. 

Eousseau's way of dealing with the portentous 
questions that lay about that tragic scene of deserted 
fields, ruined hamlets, tottering brutes, and hunger- 
stricken men, may be gathered from one of the many 
traits in Julie which endeared her to that generation, 
and might even to our own if they only knew her. 
Wolmar's house was near a great highroad, and so was 
daily haunted by beggars. Not one of these was 
allowed to go empty away. And Julie had as many 
excellent reasons to give for her charity, as if she had 
been one of the philosophers of whom she thought so 
surpassingly ill. If you look at mendicancy merely 
as a trade, what is the harm of a calling whose end is 
to nourish feelings of humanity and brotherly love ? 

E2 



52 ROUSSEAU. 

From the point of view of talent, why should I not 
pay the eloquence of a beggar who stirs my pity, as 
highly as that of a player who makes me shed tears 
over imaginary sorrows ? If the great number of 
beggars is burdensome to the state, of how many 
other professions that people encourage, may you not 
say the same ? How can I be sure that the man to 
whom I give an alms is not an honest soul whom 
I may save from perishing ? In short, whatever we 
may think of the poor wretches, if we owe nothing to 
the beggar, at least we owe it to ourselves to pay 
honour to suffering humanity or to its image. 1 Nothing 
could be more admirably illustrative of the author's 
confidence that the first thing for us to do is to satisfy 
our fine feelings, and that then all the rest shall be 
added unto us. The doctrine spread so far that 
Necker, a sort of Julie in coat and trousers who had 
never fallen, the incarnation of this doctrine on the 
great stage of affairs, was hailed to power to ward 
off the bankruptcy of the state by means of a good 
heart and moral sentences, while Turgot with science 
and firmness for his resources was driven away as an 
economist and a philosopher. 

At a first glance, it may seem that there was 
compensation for the triumph of sentiment over 
reason, and that if France was ruined by the dreams 
in which Rousseau encouraged the nation to exult, 
she was saved by the fervour and resoluteness of the 
aspirations with which he filled the most generous of 

* V. ii. 313. 



THE NEW HELOi'SA. 53 

her children. No wide movement, we may be sure, 
is thoroughly understood until we have mastered both 
its material and its ideal sides. Materially, Bousseau's 
work was inevitably fraught with confusion, because 
in this sphere not to be scientific, not to be careful in 
tracing effects to their true causes, is to be without 
any security that the causes with which we try to 
deal, will lead to the effects we desire. A Roman 
statesman who had gone to the sermon on the mount 
for a method of staying the economic ruin of the 
empire, its thinning population, its decreasing capital, 
would obviously have found nothing of what he 
sought. But the moral nature of man is redeemed by 
teaching that may have no bearing on economics, or 
even a bearing purely mischievous, and which has to 
be corrected by teaching that probably goes equally far 
in the contrary direction of moral mischief. In the 
ideal sphere, the processes are very complex, and in 
measuring a man's influence within it we have to 
balance. Eousseau's action was undoubtedly excel- ' 
lent in leading men and women to desire simple lives, 
and a more harmonious social order. Was this 
eminent benefit more than counterbalanced by the 
eminent disadvantage of giving a reactionary intel- 
lectual direction, and commending irrational retro- 
gression from active use of the understanding to 
dreamy contemplation? The question can only be 
answered by those who feel themselves in a position to 
answer the larger question, whether the moral benefits 
of the first French revolution have counterbalanced 



54 ROUSSEAU. 

the disadvantages to Prance and Europe of its shallow, 
hasty, and inefficient methods. To one teacher is usu- 
ally only one task allotted. "We do not reproach want 
of science to the virtuous and benevolent Channing, 
whose goodness and effusion stirred women and the 
young, just as Rousseau did, to sentimental but 
humane aspiration. It was this kind of influence that 
formed the opinion which at last destroyed American 
slavery. We owe a place in the temple that com- 
memorates human emancipation, to every man who 
has kindled in his generation a brighter flame of 
moral enthusiasm, and a more eager care for the reali- 
sation of good and virtuous ideals. 

in. 

The story of the circumstances of the publication 
of Emilius and the persecution which befel its author 
in consequence, recalls us to the distinctively evil side 
of French history in this critical epoch, and carries us 
away from light into the thick darkness of political 
intrigue, obscurantist faction, and a misgovernment 
which was at once tyrannical and decrepit. It is 
almost impossible for us to realise the existence in the 
same society of such boundless licence of thought and 
such unscrupulous restraint upon its expression. Not 
one of Rousseau's three chief works, for instance, was 
printed in France. The whole trade in books was a 
sort of contraband, and was carried on with the 
stealth, subterfuge, daring, and knavery, that always 
mark contraband dealings. An author or a book- 



MONTMORENCY. 55 

seller was forced to be as c"areful as a kidnapper of 
coolies or the captain of a slaver would be in our own 
time. He had to steer clear of the court, of the par- 
liament, of Jansenists, of Jesuits, of the mistresses 
of the king and the minister, of the friends of the 
mistresses, and above all of the organized hierarchy of 
ignorance, insolence, and oppression in all times and 
places where they raise their masked heads, the 
bishops and ecclesiastics of every sort and condition. 
Palissot produced his comedy to please the devout at 
the expense of the philosophers (1760). Madame de 
Eobecq, daughter of Eousseau's marshal of Luxem- 
bourg, instigated and protected him, for Diderot had 
offended her. Morellet replied in a piece in which the 
keen vision of feminine spite detected a reference to 
madame de Eobecq. Though dying, she still had 
relations with Choiseul, and so Morellet was flung 
into the Bastile. 1 Diderot was thrown for three 
months into Yincennes, where we saw him on a 
memorable occasion, for his Letter on the Blind 
(1T48), nominally because it was held to contain irre- 
ligious doctrine, really because he had given offence to 
D'Argenson's mistress by hinting that she might be 
very handsome, but that her judgment on scientific 
experiment was of no value. 2 

The New Helo'isa could not circulate in France so 
long as it contained the words ' I would rather be 

1 Morellet's Mim., i. 89 93. Rousseau, Conf., x. 85, etc. This Vision 
is also in the style of Grimm's Petit Prophete, like the piece referred to in a 
previous note, p. 31. 

3 Madame de Varideul's Mem. sur Diderot, p. 27. Eousseau, Conf., vii. 130. 



56 ROUSSEAU. 

the wife of a charcoal-burner than the mistress of a 
king.' The last word was altered to * prince/ and 
then Eonsseau was warned that he wonld offend the 
prince de Conti and madame de Bonfflers. 1 No 
work of merit conld appear without more or less 
of mutilation, and no amount of mutilation could 
make the writer secure against the accidental grudge 
of people who -had influence in high quarters. Such 
truncation of books reached an almost tragical pitch 
in the case of the Encyclopaedia, and even then the 
unfortunate but indomitable Diderot had to confront 
as many dangers and overcome as many difficulties as 
the hero of an epic poem. 

If a French bookseller in the stirring intellectual 
time of the eighteenth century needed all the craft of 
a smuggler, his morality was reduced to an equally low 
level in dealing not only with the police, but with his 
accomplice, the book-writer. They excused themselves 
from paying proper sums to their authors on the 
ground that they were robbed of the profits that 
would enable them to pay such sums, by the piracy of 
their brethren in trade. But then they all pirated the 
works of one another. The whole commerce was a 
mass of fraud and chicane, and every prominent 
author passed his life between two fires. He was 
robbed, his works were pirated, and in the piracy they 
were defaced and distorted, by the booksellers. On the 
other side he was tormented to death by the suspicion 
and timidity, alternately with the hatred and active 

3 Nouv. HeL, Y. xiii. 194. Conf., x. 43. 



MONTMORENCY. 5 7 

tyranny, of the administration. As we read the story 
of the lives of all these strenuous men, their struggles, 
their incessant mortifications, their constantly reviving 
and ever irrepressible vigour and interest in the fight, 
we may wish that the shabbiness and the pettiness of 
the daily lives of some of them had faded away from 
memory, and left us nothing to think of in connection 
with their names, but the alertness, courage, tenacity, 
self-sacrifice, and faith, with which they defended the 
cause of human emancipation and progress. Happily 
the mutual hate of the Christian factions, to which 
liberty owes at least as much as charity owes to their 
mutual love, prevented a common union for burning 
the philosophers as well as their books. All torments 
short of this they endured, and they had the great 
merit of enduring them without any hope of being 
rewarded after their death, as truly good men are 
always capable of doing. 

Eousseau had no taste for martyrdom, nor any 
intention of courting it in even its slightest forms. 
Holland was now the great printing press of France, 
and when we are counting up the contributions of 
protestantism to the enfranchisement of Europe, it is 
just to remember the indispensable services rendered 
by the freedom of the press in Holland to the dis- 
semination of French thought in the eighteenth cen- 
tury, as well as the shelter they gave to the French 
thinkers in the seventeenth, including the greatest of 
them all. The monstrous tediousness of printing a 
book at Amsterdam or the Hague, the delay, loss, 



5 8 ROUSSEAU. 

and confusion in receiving and transmitting the proofs, 
and the subterranean character of the entire process, 
including the circulation of the book after it was 
once fairly printed, were as grievous to Eousseau as 
to authors of more impetuous temper. He agreed with 
Eey, for instance, the Amsterdam printer, to sell him 
the Social Contract for 1,000 francs. The manu- 
script had then to be cunningly conveyed to Amster- 
dam. Eousseau wrote it out in very small characters, 
sealed it carefully up, and entrusted it to the care of 
the chaplain of the Dutch embassy, who happened to 
be a native of Yaud. In passing the barrier, the 
packet fell into the hands of the officials. They tore 
it open and examined it, happily unconscious that they 
were handling the most explosive kind of gunpowder 
that they had ever meddled with. It was not until 
the chaplain claimed it in the name of ambassadorial 
privilege, that the manuscript was allowed to go on its 
way to the press. 1 Eousseau repeats a hundred times 
not only in the Confessions, but also in letters to his 
friends, how resolutely and carefully he avoided any 
evasion of the, laws of the country in which he lived. 
The French government was anxious enough on all 
grounds to secure for Prance the production of the 
books of which France was the great consumer, but 
the severity of its censorship prevented this. 2 The in- 
troduction of the books, when printed, was tolerated or 
connived at, because the country would hardly have 

1 Conf., xi. 127. 
* See a letter from Rousseau to Malesherbes, Nov. 5, 1760. Corr., ii. 157. 



MONTMORENCY. 59 

endured to be deprived of the enjo} r ment of its own 
literature. By a greater inconsistency the reprinting 
of a book which had once found admission into the 
country, was also connived at. Thus M. de Male- 
sherbes out of friendship for Kousseau wished to have 
an edition of the New Heloisa printed in France, and 
sold for the benefit of the author. That he should 
have done so is a curious illustration of the low 
morality engendered by a repressive system imper- 
fectly carried out. Kousseau had sold the book to 
Eey. Eey had treated with a French bookseller in 
the usual way, that is, had sent him half the edition 
printed, the bookseller paying either in cash or other 
books for all the copies he received. Therefore to 
print an independent edition in Paris was to injure, 
not Eey, the foreigner, but the French bookseller who 
stood practically in Eey's place. It was setting two 
French booksellers to ruin one another. Eousseau 
emphatically declined to receive any profit from such 
a transaction. But, said Malesherbes, you sold to Eey 
a right which you ha'd not got, the right of sole pro- 
prietorship, excluding the competition of a pirated 
reprint. Then, answered Eousseau, if the right which 
I sold, happens to prove less than I thought, it is clear 
that, far from taking advantage of my mistake, I owe 
Eey compensation for the loss which he may suffer. 1 

The friendship of Malesherbes for the party of 
reason was shown on numerous occasions. As director 
of the book trade he was really the censor of the 

i ibid. 



60 ROUSSEAU. 

literature of the time. 1 The story of his service to 
Diderot is well known how he warned Diderot that 
the police were about to visit his house and overhaul 
his papers, and how when Diderot despaired of being 
able to put them out of sight in his narrow quarters, 
Malesherbes said, < Then send them all to me,' and 
took care of them until the storm was overpast. Triie 
proofs of the New Helo'isa came through his hands, 
and now he made himself Eousseau's agent in the 
affairs relative to the printing of Emilius. Eousseau 
entrusted the whole matter to him and to madame de 
Luxembourg, being confident that acting through 
persons of such authority and position, he should be 
protected against any unwitting illegality. Instead 
of being sent to Eey, the manuscript was sold to a 
bookseller in Paris for six thousand francs. 2 A long 
time elapsed before any proofs reached him, and he 
soon perceived that an edition was being printed in 
France as well as in Holland. Still, as Malesherbes 
was in some sort the director of the enterprise, the 
author felt no alarm. Duclos came to visit him one 



* C. G-. de Lamoignon de Malesherbes (b. 1721 guillotined, 1794), son of the 
chancellor, and one of the best instructed and most enlightened men of the 
century, a Turgot of the second rank was Directeur de la Librairie from 
175063. The process was this : a book was submitted to him ; he named a 
censor for it; on the censor's report the director gave or refused permission to 
print, or required alterations. Even after these formalities were complied 
with, the book was liable to a decree of the royal council, a decree of the 
parliament, or else a lettre-de-cachet might send the author to the Bastile. 

After Lord Shelburne saw Malesherbes, he said, ' I have seen for the first 
time in my life what I never thought could exist a man whose soul is abso- 
lutely free from hope or fear, and yet who is full of life and ardour ' (ildile. 
TEspinasse's Letters, ii. 90). 

2 See note to vol. i. p. 203. 



MONTMORENCY. 61 

day, and Eousseau read aloud to him the Savoyard 
Vicar's Profession of Faith. ' What, citizen,' he cried, 
' and that is part of a book that they are printing 
at Paris ! Be kind enough not to tell any one that 
you read this to me.' * Eousseau remained secure. 
Then the printing came to a standstill, and he could 
not find out the reason, because Malesherbes was away, 
and the printer did not take the trouble to answer his 
letters. ' My natural tendency,' he says, and as the 
rest of his life only too abundantly proved, ' is to be 
afraid of darkness ; mystery always disturbs me, it is 
so antipathetic to my character which is open, even to 
the pitch of imprudence. The aspect of the most 
hideous monster would alarm me little, I verily 
believe ; but if I discern at night a figure in a white 
cloth, I am sure to be terrified.' 2 So he at once 
fancied that by some means the Jesuits had got pos- 
session of his book, and knowing him to be at death's 
door, designed to keep the Emilius back until he was 
actually dead, when they would publish a truncated 
version of it to suit their own purposes. 3 He wrote 
letter upon letter to the printer, to Malesherbes, to 
madame de Luxembourg, and if answers did not come, 
or did not come exactly when he expected them, he 
confesses that he grew delirious with anxiety. If he 
dropped his conviction that the Jesuits were plotting 
the ruin of his book and the defilement of his reputation, 
he lost no time in fastening a similar design upon the 

i Conf., xi. 134. 2 Ib., 138. 

3 Ib., 139. Corr., ii. 270, etc. Dec. 12, 1761, etc. 



62 ROUSSEAU. 

Jansenists, and when the Jansenists were acquitted, 
then the turn of the philosophers came. "We have 
constantly to remember that all this time the wretched 
man was suffering incessant pain, and passing his 
nights in sleeplessness and fever. He sometimes threw 
off the black dreams of unfathomable suspicion, and 
dreamed in their stead of some sunny spot in pleasant 
Touraine, where under a mild climate and among a 
gentle people he should peacefully end his days. 1 At 
other times he was fond of supposing M. de Luxem- 
bourg not a duke, nor a marshal of France, but a 
good country squire living in some old mansion, and 
himself not an author, not a maker of books, but with 
moderate intelligence and slight attainment, finding 
with the squire and his dame the happiness of his life, 
and contributing to the happiness of theirs. 2 Alas, in 
spite of all his precautions, he had unwittingly drifted 
into the stream of great affairs ; he and his book were 
sacrificed to the exigencies of faction ; and a persecu- 
tion set in, which destroyed his last chance of a coin- 
posed life, by giving his reason, already disturbed, a 
final blow from which it never recovered. 

Emilius appeared in the crisis of the movement 
against the Jesuits. That formidable order had 
offended madame de Pompadour by a refusal to 
recognise her power and position, which was as 
creditable to their moral vigour as it was contrary to 
the maxims which had made them powerful. They 
had also offended Choiseul by the part they had taken 

1 Conf., xi. 150. 2 Fourth Letter to Malesherbes, p. 377. 



MONTMORENCY. 63 

in certain hostile intrigues at Versailles. The parlia- 
ments had always been their enemies, first from the 
jealousy with which corporations of lawyers always 
regard corporations of ecclesiastics, next from their 
hatred of the bull Unigenitus, which had been not only 
an infraction of French liberties, but the occasion of 
special humiliation to the parliaments, and lastly from 
the harshness with which the system of confessional 
tickets was being carried out. Finally, the once 
powerful house of Austria, the protector of all retro- 
grade interests, was now weakened by the Seven 
Years' War, and was unable to bring effective influ- 
ence to bear on Lewis xv., who at last gave his con- 
sent to the destruction of the order. The commercial 
bankruptcy of one of their missions was the immediate 
occasion of their fall, .and nothing could save them. 
' 1 only know one man,' said Grimm, < in a position 
to have composed an apology for the Jesuits in fine 
style, if it had been in his way to take the side of 
that race ; and this man is M. Eousseau.' The 
parliaments went to work with alacrity, but they were 
quite as hostile to the philosophers as they were to 
the Jesuits, and hence their anxiety to show that they 
were not the allies of the one in destroying the other. 
Contemporaries seldom criticise the shades and 
variations of innovating speculation with any marked 
nicety. Anything with the stamp of rationality on 
its phrases or arguments was roughly set down to the 
school of the philosophers, and Eousseau was counted 
one of their number, like Yoltaire or Helvetius. The 



64 ROUSSEAU. 

Emilius appeared in May, 1762. On the llth of June 
the parliament of Paris ordered the book to be burnt 
by the public executioner, and the writer to be 
arrested. For Eousseau always scorned the devices of 
Yoltaire and others, and courageously insisted on 
placing his name on the title-page of all his works, 1 
and so there was none of the usual difficulty in 
identifying the author. The grounds of the proceed- 
ings were alleged irreligious tendencies to be found 
in the book. 2 

The indecency of the requisition in which the ad- 
vocate-general demanded its proscription, was admitted 
by people who were least likely to defend Eousseau. 3 
The author was charged with saying not only that man 
may be saved without believing in god, but even that 
the Christian religion does not exist a paradox too 
flagrant even for the writer of the Discourse on 
Inequality. No evidence was produced either that 
the alleged assertions were in the book, or that the 
name of the author was really the name on its title- 
page. Rousseau fared no worse, but better, than his 
fellows, for there was hardly a single man of letters of 
that time who escaped arbitrary imprisonment. 

The unfortunate author had news of the ferment 
which his work was creating in Paris, and received 



1 With one trifling exception, the Letter to Grimm on the Opera of Om- 
phale (1752) : Ecrits sur la Musique, p. 337. 

2 See Barbier's Journal, viii. 45 (Ed. Charpentier, 1857). A succinct con- 
temporary account of the general situation is to be found in D'Alembert's 
little book, the Destruction des Jesuites. 

3 Grimm, for instance: Corr. Lit., iii. 117. 



MONTMORENCY. 65 

notes of warning from every hand, but he could not 
believe that the only man in France who believed in 
god was to be the victim of the defenders of Chris- 
tianity. 1 On the 8th of June he spent a merry day 
with two friends, taking their dinner in the fields. 
'Ever since my youth I had a habit of reading at night 
in my bed until my eyes grew heavy. Then I put out 
the candle, and tried to fall asleep for a few minutes, 
but they seldom lasted long. My ordinary reading at 
night was the bible, and I have read it continuously 
through at least five or six times in this way. That 
night, finding myself more wakeful than usual, I pro- 
longed my reading, and read through the whole of the 
book which ends with the Levite of Ephraim, and 
which if I mistake not is the book of Judges. The 
story affected me deeply, and I was busy over it in a 
kind of dream, when all at once I was roused by lights 
and noises. ' 2 

It was two o'clock in the morning. A messenger 
had come in hot haste to carry him to madame de 
Luxembourg. News had reached her of the proposed 
decree of the parliament. She knew Eousseau well 
enough to be sure that if he were seized and exa- 
mined, her own share and that of Malesherbes in the 
production of the condemned book would be made 
public, and their position uncomfortably compromised. 
It was to their interest that he should avoid arrest by 
flight, and they had no difficulty in persuading him 



Corr., ii. 337. June 7, 1762. Conf., xi. 152, 162. 
2 Conf., xi. 163. 



VOL. II. 



66 ROUSSEAU. 

to fall in with their plans. After a tearful farewell 
with Theresa, who had hardly been out of his sight 
for seventeen years, and many embraces from the 
greater ladies of the castle, he was thrust into a 
chaise and despatched on the first stage of eight 
melancholy years of wandering and despair, driven 
from place to place, first by the fatuous tyranny of 
magistrates and religious doctors, and then by the yet 
more cruel spectres of his own diseased imagination, 
until at length his whole soul became the home of 
weariness and torment. 



CHAPTER XL 

PERSECUTION. 1 

THOSE to whom life consists in the immediate 
consciousness of their own direct relations with 
the people and circumstances that are in close contact 
with them, find it hard to follow the moods of a man 
to whom such consciousness is the least part of him- 
self, and such relations the least real part of his life. 
Rousseau was no sooner in the post-chaise which was 
bearing him away towards Switzerland, than the 
troubles of the previous day at once dropped into a 
pale and' distant past, and he returned to a world 
where was neither parliament nor decree for burning 
books nor any warrant for personal arrest. He took 
up the thread where harassing circumstances had 
broken it, and again fell musing over the tragic fate 
of the Levite of Ephraim. His dream absorbed him 
so entirely as to take specific literary form, and before 
the journey was at an end he had composed a long 
impassioned version of the bible story, which no man 
now reads, but for which the author himself always 

1 June, 1762 December, 17G5. 



68 ROUSSEAU. 

preserved a certain tenderness. 1 The contrast between 
this singular quietism and the angry stir which marked 
Yoltaire's many nights in post-chaises, points like 
all else to the profound difference between the pair. 
Contrast with Yoltaire's shrill cries, this calm utter- 
ance : < Though the consequences of this affair have 
plunged me into a gulf of woes from which I shall 
never come up again so long as I live, I bear these 
gentlemen no grudge. I am aware that their object 
was not to do me any harm, but only to reach ends of 
their own. I know that towards me they have neither 
liking nor hate. I was found in their way, like a 
pebble which you thrust aside with the foot without 
even looking at it. They ought not to say they have 
performed their duty, but that they have done their 
business. 7 2 Here was a new note from a persecuted 
writer. 

Eousseau, in spite of the belief which henceforth 
possessed him that he was the victim of a dark 
unfathomable plot, and in spite of passing outbreaks 
of gloomy rage, was incapable of steady glowing and 
active resentments. The world was not real enough 
to him for this. A throng of phantoms pressed noise- 
lessly before his sight, and dulled all sense of more 
actual impression. ' It is amazing,' he wrote, ( with 
what ease I forget past ill, however fresh it may be. 
In proportion as the anticipation of it alarms and con- 
fuses me when I see it coming, so the memory of it 
returns feebly to my mind and dies out the moment 

1 Conf., xi. 175. z Con:, iii. 416. 



PERSECUTION. 69 

after it has arrived. My cruel imagination, which, 
torments itself incessantly in anticipating woes that 
are still unborn, makes a diversion for my memory, 
and hinders me from recalling those which have gone. 
I exhaust disaster beforehand. The more I have suf- 
fered in foreseeing it, the more easily do I forget it ; 
while on the contrary, being incessantly busy with my 
past happiness, I recall it and ruminate over it, so as 
to enjoy it over again whenever I wish.' 1 The same 
turn of humour saved him from vindictiveness. ' I 
concern myself too little with the offence, to feel much 
concern about the offender. I only think of the hurt 
I have received from him, on account of the hurt 
which he may still do me, and if I were sure he would 
do me no more, what he had already done would be 
straightway forgotten.' Though he does not carry 
the analysis any further, we may easily perceive^ that 
the same explanation covers what he called his natural 
ingratitude. Kindness was not much more vividly 
understood by him than malice was. It was only one 
form of the troublesome interposition of an outer 
world in his life, from which he was fain to hurry 
back to the real world of his dreams. If any man 
called practical is tempted to despise this dreaming 
creature faring in his chaise from stage to stage, let 
him remember that one making that journey through 
France less than thirty years later might have seen 
the castles of the great flaring in the destruction of a 
most righteous vengeance, the great themselves fleeing 

* Con/., xi. 172. 



7 o ROUSSEAU. 

ignobly from the land to which their presence, their 
selfishness, and heedlessness, and hatred of improve- 
ment, and inhuman pride had been a curse, while the 
legion of toilers with eyes blinded by the oppression 
of ages were groping with passionate uncertain hand for 
that divine something which they thought of as justice 
and right. And this was what Bousseau both par- 
tially foresaw and largely prepared, 1 while the common 
politicians, like Choiseul or d'Aiguillon, played their 
poor game the elemental forces rising unseen into 
tempest around them. 

He reached the territory of the canton of Berne, 
and alighted at the house of an old friend at Yvcr- 
dun, 2 where native air, the beauty of the spot, and 
the charms of the season, immediately repaired all 
weariness and fatigue. 3 Friends at Geneva wrote let- 
ters ^)f sincere feeling, joyful that he had not followed 
the precedent of Socrates too closely by remaining in 
the power of a government eager to destroy him. 4 
A post or two later brought worse news. The council 
at Geneva ordered not only Emilius, but the Social 
Contract also, to be publicly burnt, and issued a war- 
rant of arrest against their author, if he should set 
foot in the territory of the republic (June 19). 5 
Eousseau could hardly believe it possible that the free 
government which he had held up to the reverence of 

1 For a remarkable anticipation of the ruin of France, see Conf^ xi. 136. 

2 M. Roguin. June 14, 1762. 3 Corr., ii. 347. 
4 Streckeisen, i. 35. 

6 His friend Moultou wrote him the news. Streckeisen, i. 43. Geneva was 
the only place at which the Social Contract was burnt. Here there were 
peculiar reasons, as we shall see. 



PERSECUTION. 71 

Europe could have condemned him unheard, but he 
took occasion in a highly characteristic manner to 
chide severely a friend at Geneva who had publicly 
taken his part. 1 Within a fortnight this blow was 
followed by another. His two books were reported to 
the senate of Berne, and Eousseau was informed by 
one of the authorities that a notification was on its 
way admonishing him to quit the canton within the 
space of fifteen days. 2 This stroke he avoided by 
flight to Motiers, a village in the principality of ISTeu- 
ehatel (July 10), then part of the dominions of the 
king of Prussia. 3 Eousseau had some antipathy to 
Frederick, both because he had beaten the French, 
whom Eousseau loved, and because his maxims and 
his conduct alike seemed t& trample under foot respect 
for the natural law and many human duties. He 
had composed a verse to the effect that Frederick 
thought like a philosopher, and acted like a king, 
philosopher and king notoriously being words of 
equally evil sense in his dialect. There was also a 
passage in Emilius about Adrastus, king of the Dau- 



1 Corr., ii. 356. 2 Corr., ii. 358, 369, etc. 

3 The principality of Neuchatel had fallen by marriage (1504) to the French 
house of Orleans-Longueville, which with certain interruptions retained it 
until the extinction of the line by the death of Marie, duchess of Nemours 
(1707). Fifteen claimants arose with fifteen -varieties of far-off title, as well 
as a party for constituting Neuchatel a republic and making it a fourteenth 
canton. The Estates adjudged the sovereignty to the protestant house of 
Prussia (Nov. 3, 1707). Lewis xiv, as heir of the pretensions of the extinct 
line, protested. Finally, at the peace of Utrecht (1713), Lewis surrendered 
his claim in exchange for the cession by Prussia of the principality of Orange, 
and Prussia held it until 1806. The disturbed history of the connection 
between Prussia and Neuchatel from 1814, when it became the twenty-first 
canton of the Swiss confederation, down to 1857, does not here concern us. 



72 ROUSSEAU. 

nians, which was commonly understood to mean Fre- 
derick, king of the Prussians. Still Eousseau was acute 
enough to know that mean passions usually only rule 
the weak, and have little hold over the strong. He 
boldly wrote both to the king, and to lord Marischal, 
the governor of the principality, informing them that 
he was there, and asking permission to remain in the 
only asylum left for him upon the earth. 1 He com- 
pared himself loftily to Coriolanus among the Yol- 
scians, and wrote to the king in a vein that must have 
amused the strong man. ' 1 have said much ill of 
you, perhaps I shall still say more ; yet driven from 
France, from Geneva, from the canton of Berne, I am 
come to seek shelter in your .states. Perhaps I was 
wrong in not beginning there ; this is eulogy of which 
you are worthy. Sire, I have deserved no grace 
from you, and I seek none, but I thought it my duty 
to inform your majesty that I am in your power, and 
that I am so of design. Your majesty will dispose of 
me as shall seem good to you.' 2 Frederick, though no 
admirer of Eousseau or his writings, 3 readily granted 
the required permission. He also, says lord Marischal, 
* gave me orders to furnish him his small necessaries 
if he would accept them ; and though that king's phi- 
losophy be very different from that of Jean Jacques, 
yet he does not think that a man of an irreproachable 
life is to be persecuted because his sentiments are 



1 Corr., ii. 370. 2 Corr ^ ^ 37L July> 1762 . 

3 D'Alembert, who knew Frederick better than any of the philosophers, to 
Voltaire, Nov. 22, 1765. 



PERSEC UTION. 7 3 

singular. He designs to build him a hermitage with 
a little garden, which I find he will not accept, nor 
perhaps the rest, which I have not yet offered him.' l 
When the offer of the flour, wine, and firewood was at 
length made in as delicate terms as possible, 2 Eousseau 
declined the gift on grounds which may raise a smile, 
but which are not without a rather touching simplicity. 
4 1 have enough to live on for two or three years,' he 
said, 'but if I were dying of hunger, I would rather, 
in the present condition of your good prince, and not 
being of any service to him, go and eat grass and 
grub up roots, than accept a morsel of bread from 
him.' 3 Hume might well call this a phenomenon 
in the world of letters, and one very honourable for 
the person concerned ; 4 and we recognise its dignity 
the more when we contrast it with the baseness of 
Yoltaire in drawing his pension from the king of 
Prussia, while Frederick was in his most urgent 
straits, and while he was sportively exulting in the 
malicious expectation that he would one day have to 
allow the king of Prussia himself a pension. 5 And 
Eousseau was a poor man, living among the poor and 
in their style. His annual outlay at this time was 
covered by the modest sum of sixty louis. 6 What 
stamps his refusal of Frederick's gifts as true dignity is 
the fact that he not only did not refuse money for his 

1 Letter to Hume ; Burton's Life of Hume, ii. 105, corroborating Conf., xii. 
196. 

2 Marischal to J. J. E. ; Streckeisen, ii. 70. 

3 Corr., iii. 40. Nov. 1, 1762. 4 Burton's life, ii. 113. 
6 Voltaire's Corresp. (1758). (Ettv., Ixxv. pp 31 and 80. 

6 Conf., xii. 237. 



74 ROUSSEAU.. 

work, but expected and asked for it. Malesherbes at 
this yery time begged him to collect plants for him. 
Joyfully, replied Eousseau, i but as I cannot subsist 
without the aid of my own labour, I never meant, in 
spite of the pleasure that it might otherwise have 
been to me, to offer you the use of my time for 
nothing.' 1 In the same year, we may add, when the 
tremendous struggle of the Seven Years' War was 
closing, the philosopher wrote a second terse epistle 
to the king, and with this their direct communication 
came to an end. ' Sire, you are my protector and 
my benefactor ; I would fain repay you if I can. You 
wish to give me bread ; is there none of your own 
subjects in want of it ? Take that sword away from 
my sight, it dazzles and pains me. It has done its 
work only too well, and the sceptre is abandoned. 
Great is the career for kings of your stuff, and you 
are still far from the term ; time presses, and you 
have not a moment to lose. Fathom well your heart, 
Frederick ! Can you dare to die without having 
been the greatest of men ? Would that I could 
see Frederick the just and the redoubtable covering 
his states with multitudes of men to whom he should 
be a father ; then will J. J. Eousseau, the foe of kings, 
hasten to die at the foot of his throne.' 2 Frederick, 
strong as his interest was in all curious persons who 
could amuse him, was too busy to answer this, and 
Eousseau was not yet recognised as Voltaire's rival in 
power and popularity. 

1 Corr., iii. 41. Nov. 11, 1762. z Corr., iii. 38. Oct. 30, 1762. 



PERSECUTION. 75 

Metiers is one of the half-dozen decent villages 
standing in the flat bottom of the Yal de Travers, a 
widish valley that lies between the gorges of the Jura 
and the lake of Neuchatel, and is famous in our day 
for its production of absinthe and of asphalt. The flat 
of the valley, with the Reuss making a bald and colour- 
less way through the midst of it, is nearly treeless and 
is too uniform to be very pleasing. In winter the climate 
is most rigorous, for the level is high, while the sur- 
rounding hills admit the sun's rays late and cut them 
off early. Eousseau's description, accurate and recog- 
nisable as it is, 1 strikes an impartial tourist as too 
favourable. But when a piece of scenery is a home 
to a man, he has an eye for a thousand outlines, 
changes of light, soft variations of colour, and the 
landscape lives for him with an unspoken suggestion 
and intimate association, to all of which the swift 
passing stranger is very cold. 

His cottage, which is still shown, was in the midst 
of the other houses, and his walks, which were at 
least as important to him as the home in which 
he dwelt, lay mostly among woody heights with 
streaming cascades. The country abounded in 
natural curiosities of a humble sort, and here that 
interest in plants which had always been strong in 
him, began to grow into a passion. Eousseau had 
so curious a feeling about them, that when in 
his botanical expeditions he came across a single 
flower of its kind, he could never bring himself to 

1 Corr., iii. 1105. Jan. 28, 1763. 



7 6 ROUSSEAU. 

pluck it. His sight, though not good for distant 
objects, was of the very finest for things held close, 
while his sense of smell was so acute and subtle that, 
according to a good witness, he might have classified 
plants by odours, if language furnished as many names 
as nature supplies varieties of fragrance. 1 He insisted 
in all botanizing and other walking excursions on 
going bareheaded, even in the heat of the dog-days, 
declaring that the action of the sun did him good. 
"When the days began to turn, the summer was 
straightway at an end for him : i my imagination,' he 
said, in a phrase which went further through his life 
than he supposed, ' at once brings winter.' He hated 
rain as much as he loved sun, and so must once have 
lost all the mystic fascination of the green Savoy lakes 
gleaming luminous through pale showers, and now the 
sombre majesty of the pines of his valley dripping in 
torn edges of cloud, and all the other sights that 
touch subtler parts of us than comforted sense. 

One of his favourite journeys was to Colombier, 
the summer retreat of lord Marischal. For him he 
rapidly conceived the same warm friendship which he 
felt for the duke of Luxembourg, whom he had just 
left. And the sagacious, moderate, silent Scot had 
as warm a liking for the strange refugee who had 
come to him for shelter, or shall we say a kind of 
shaggy compassion as of a faithful inarticulate creature. 
His letters, which are numerous enough, abound in 
expressions of hearty good-will. These, if we reflect 

1 Bernardin de St. Pierre, xii. 103, 59, etc. 




MARSHAL KEITH. 






PERSECUTION. 77 

on the genuine worth, veracity, penetration, and 
experience, of the old man who wrote them, may fairly 
be counted the best testimony that remains to the 
existence of something sterling at the bottom of 
Eousseau's character. 1 It is here no insincere fine 
lady of the French court, but a homely and weather- 
beaten Scotchman, who speaks so often of his refugee's 
rectitude of heart and true sensibility. 2 

He insisted on being allowed to settle a small sum 
on Theresa, who had joined Eousseau at Motiers, and 
in other ways showed a true solicitude and con- 
siderateness both for her and him. 3 It was his con- 
stant dream that on his return to Scotland, Jean 
Jacques should accompany him, and that with David 
Hume, they would make a trio of philosophic hermits ; 
that this was no mere cheery pleasantry is shown 
by the pains he took in settling the route for the 
journey. 4 The plan only fell through in consequence 



1 George Keith (1685 1778) was elder brother of Frederick's famous field- 
marshal, James Keith. They had taken part in the Jacobite rising of 1715, 
and fled abroad on its failure. James Keith brought his brother into the ser- 
vice of the king of Prussia, who sent him as ambassador to Paris (1751), after- 
wards made him governor of Neuchatel (1754), and eventually prevailed on 
the English government to reinstate him in the rights which he had forfeited 
by his share in the rebellion (1763). 

2 Streckeisen, ii. 98, etc. 

3 One of Rousseau's chief distresses hitherto arose from the indigence in 
which Theresa would be placed in case of his death. Key, the bookseller, 
gave her an annuity of about 16 a year, and lord Marischal's gift seems to 
have been 300 louis, the only money that Rousseau was ever induced to accept 
from any one in his life. See Streckeisen, ii. 99 ; Corr., iii. 336. The most 
delicate and sincere of the many offers to provide for Theresa was made by 
madame de Verdelin (Streckeisen, ii. 506). The language in which madame 
de Verdelin speaks of Theresa in all her letters, is the best testimonial to cha- 
racter that this much-abused creature has to produce. 

4 Ib., 90, 92, etc. Summer of 1763. 



78 ROUSSEAU. 

of Frederick's cordial urgency that his friend should end 
his days with him ; he returned to Prussia and lived at 
Sans Souci until the close, always retaining something 
of his good will for 'his excellent savage,' as he called 
the author of the Discourses. They had some common 
antipathies, including the fundamental one of dislike 
to society, and especially to the society of the people 
of Neuchatel, the Gascons of Switzerland. 4 Eousseau 
is gay in company,' lord Marischal wrote to Hnme, 
< polite, and what the French call aimable, and gains 
ground daily in the opinion of even the clergy here. 
His enemies elsewhere continue to persecute him, and 
he is pestered with anonymous letters.' * 

Some of these were of a humour that disclosed 
the master hand. Voltaire had been universally sus- 
pected of stirring up the feeling of Geneva against 
its too famous citizen, 2 though for a man of less 
energy the affair of the Galas, which he was now in 
the thick of, might have sufficed. Yoltaire's letters 
at this time show how hard he found it in the case of 
Eousseau to exercise his usual pity for the unfor- 
tunate. He could not forget that the man who was 
now tasting persecution had barked at philosophers 
and stage-plays ; that he was a false brother, who had 
fatuously insulted the only men who could take his 
part ; that he was a Judas who had betrayed the 
sacred cause. 3 On the whole, however, we ought 

1 Burton's Life of Hume, ii. 105. Oct. 2, 1762. 

2 The Confessions are not our only authority for this. See Streckeisen, ii. 64 ; 
also D'Alemhert to Voltaire, Sept. 8, 1762. 

3 Voltaire's Corr. (Em. Ixvii. 458, 459, 485, etc. 



PERSECUTION. 79 

probably to accept his word, though not very categori- 
cally given, 1 that he had nothing to do with the action 
taken against Eousseau. This is quite adequately 
explained, first by the influence of the resident of 
France at Geneva, which we know to have been 
exerted against the two fatal books, 2 and second by 
the anxiety of the oligarchic party to keep out of their 
town a man whose democratic tendencies they now 
knew so well and so justly dreaded. 3 Moultou, a 
Genevese minister, in the full tide of devotion and 
enthusiasm for the author of Emilius, met Voltaire at 
the house of a lady in Geneva. All will turn oiit 
well, cried the patriarch ; c the syndics will say, M. 
Eousseau, you have done ill to write what you have 
written ; promise for the future to respect the religion 
of your country. Jean Jacques will promise, and 
perhaps he will say that the printer took the liberty 
of adding a sheet or two to his book.' ' Never,' cried 
the ardent Moultou ; ' Jean Jacques never puts his 
name to works to disown them after.' 4 Voltaire 
disowned his own books with intrepid and sustained 
mendacity, yet he bore no grudge to Moultou for his 
vehemence. He sent for him shortly afterwards, pro- 
fessed an extreme desire to be reconciled with Eousseau, 
and would talk of nothing else. ' I swear to you,' 
wrote Moultou, ' that I could not understand him the 
least in the world ; he is a marvellous actor ; I could 



1 To D'Alembert, Sept. 15, 1762. 

2 Moultou to Kousseau, Streckeisen, i. 85, 87. 3 Ibid. * 

4 Streckeisen, i. 50. 



8o ROUSSEAU. 

have sworn that he loved you.' l There was no 
acting in it ; the serious Genevese did not see that 
he was dealing with ' one all fire and fickleness, a 
child.' 

Eousseau soon found out that he had excited not 
only the band of professed unbelievers, but also the 
tormenting wasps of orthodoxy. The doctors of the 
Sorbonne, not to be outdone in fervour for truth by 
the lawyers of the parliament, had condemned Emilius 
as a matter of course. In the same spirit of generous 
emulation Christopher de Beaumont, ' by the divine 
compassion archbishop of Paris, duke of Saint Cloud, 
peer of France, commander of the order of the holy 
ghost,' had issued (Aug. 20, 1762) one of those hate- 
ful documents in which bishops, catholic and pro- 
testant, have been wont for the last century and a half 
to hide with swollen bombastic phrase their dead and 
decomposing ideas. The windy folly of these poor pieces 
is usually in proportion to the hierarchic rank of those 
who promulge them, and an archbishop owes it to him- 
self to blaspheme against reason and freedom in super- 
latives of malignant unction. Eousseau' s reply (Nov. 
18, 1762) is a masterpiece of dignity and uprightness. 
Turning to it from the mandate which was its provo- 
cative, we seem to grasp the hand of a man, after 
being chased by a nightmare of masked figures. 
Eousseau never showed the substantial quality of his 
character, and without this substance he could never 
have written as he did, more surely and unmistakably 

1 Streckeisen, i. 76. 



PERSECUTION. 81 

than in controversy. He had such gravity, such 
austere self-command, such closeness of grip. Most 
of us feel pleasure in reading the matchless banter 
with which Yoltaire assailed his theological enemies. 
Beading Bousseau's letter to De Beaumont we realise 
the comparative lowness of the pleasure which Yoltaire 
had given us, and understand how it was that Bous- 
seau made fanatics while Yoltaire only made sceptics. 
At the* very first words, the mitre, the crosier, the 
ring, fall into the dust ; the archbishop of Paris, the 
duke of Saint Cloud, the peer of France, the com- 
mander of the holy ghost, is restored from the dis- 
guises of his enchantment, and becomes a human 
being. We hear the voice of a man hailing a man. 
Yoltaire often sank to the level of ecclesiastics. 
Eousseau raised the archbishop to his own level, and 
with magnanimous courtesy addressed him as an 
equal. ' Why, my lord, have I anything to say to 
you ? What common tongue can we use ? How are 
we to understand one another ? And what is there 
between me and you ? ' And he persevered in this 
distant lofty vein, hardly permitting himself a single 
moment of acerbity. We feel the ever-inspiring 
breath of seriousness and sincerity. This was because, 
as we repeat so often, Eousseau's ideas, engendered of 
dreams as they were, yet lived in him and were truly 
rooted in him. 

He did not merely say, as any of j.s can say so fluently, 
that he craved reality in human relations, that distinc- 
tions of rank and post count for nothing, that our 

VOL. II. G 



82 ROUSSEAU. 

lives are in our own hands and ought not to be blown 
hither and thither by outside opinion and words heed- 
lessly scattered ; that our faith, whatever it may be, 
is the most sacred of our possessions, organic, indis- 
soluble, self-sufficing ; that our passage across the 
world, if very short, is yet too serious to be wasted in 
frivolous disrespect for ourselves, and angry disrespect 
for others. All this was actually his mind. Hence the 
little difficulty he had in keeping his retort to the arch- 
bishop, as to his other antagonists, on a worthy level. 
Only once or twice does his sense of the reckless in- 
justice with which he had been condemned, and of the 
persecution which was inflicted on him by one govern- 
ment after another, stir in him a blaze of high remon- 
strance. ' You accuse me of temerity, 7 he cried ; 
< how have I earned such a name, when I only pro- 
pounded difficulties, and even that with so much 
reserve ; when I only advanced reasons, and even 
that with so much respect ; when I attacked no one, 
nor even named one ? And you, my lord, how do 
you dare to reproach with temerity a man of whom 
you speak with such scanty justice and so little 
decency, with so small respect and so much levity ? 
You call me impious, and of what impiety can you 
accuse me me who never spoke of the supreme being 
except to pay him the honour and glory that are his 
due, nor of man except to persuade all men to love 
one another ? The impious are those who unworthily 
profane the cause of god by making it serve the 
passions of men. The impious are those who, daring 



PERSECUTION. 83 

to pass for the interpreters of divinity, and judges 
between it and man, exact for themselves the honours 
that are due to it only. The impious are those who 
arrogate to themselves the right of exercising the 
power of god upon earth, and insist on opening 
and shutting the gates of heaven at their own good 
will and pleasure. The impious are those who have 
libels read in the church. At this horrible idea my 
blood is enkindled, and tears of indignation fall from 
my eyes. Priests of the god of peace, you shall 
render an account one day, be very sure, of the use 
to which you have dared to put his house. . . . My 
lord, you have publicly insulted me : I have now 
convicted you of heaping calumny upon me. If you 
were a private person like myself, so that I could cite 
you before an equitable tribunal, and we could both 
appear before it, I with my book, and you with your 
mandate, assuredly you would be declared guilty and 
condemned to make reparation as public as the wrong 
was. But you belong to a rank that relieves you 
from the necessity of being just, and I am nothing. 
Yet you who profess the gospel, you a prelate 
appointed to teach others their duty, you know 
your own in such a case. Mine I have done : I 
have nothing more to say to you, and I hold my 
peace.' * 

The letter was as good in dialectic as it was in 
moral tone. For this is a little curious, that Rousseau, 
so diffuse in expounding his opinions, and so un- 

1 Lettre d Christophe de Beaumont, pp. 163 6. 
G2 



84 ROUSSEAU. 

scientific in his method of coming to them, should 
have been one of the keenest and most trenchant of the 
controversialists of a very controversial time. Some 
of his strokes in defence of his first famous assault on 
civilisation are as hard, as direct, and as effective as 
any in the records of polemical literature. We will 
give one specimen from the letter to the archbishop of 
Paris, which has the recommendation of touching an 
argument that is not yet quite universally recognised 
for slain. The Savoyard Yicar had dwelt on the 
difficulty of accepting revelation as the voice of god, 
on account of the long distance of time between us, 
and the questionableness of the supporting testimony. 
To which the archbishop thus : ' But is there not 
then an infinity of facts, even earlier than those of 
the Christian revelation, which it would be absurd to 
doubt ? By what way other than that of human 
testimony has our author himself known the Sparta, 
the Athens, the Eome, whose laws, manners, and 
heroes he extols with such assurance? How many 
generations of men between him and the historians 
who have preserved the memory of these events ? ' 
First, says Rousseau in answer, l it is in the order of 
things that human circumstances should be attested 
by human evidence, and they can be attested in no 
other way. I can only know that Eome and Sparta 
existed, because contemporaries assure me that they 
existed. In such a case this intermediate communica- 
tion is indispensable. But why is it necessary be- 
tween god and me ? Is it simple or natural that god 



PERSECUTION. 85 

should have gone in search of Moses to speak to Jean 
Jacques Eousseau ? Second, nobody is obliged to 
believe that Sparta once existed, and nobody will be 
devoured by eternal flames for doubting it. Every 
fact of which we are not witnesses is only established 
by moral proofs, and moral proofs have various 
degrees of strength. Will the divine justice hurl me 
into hell for missing the exact point at which a 
proof becomes irresistible ? If there is in the world an 
attested story, it is that of vampires ; nothing is want- 
ing for judicial proof, reports and certificates from 
notables, surgeons, clergy, magistrates. But who 
believes in vampires, and shall we all be damned for 
not believing ? Third, my constant experience and that 
of all men is stronger in reference to prodigies ', than 
the testimony of some men? He then strikes home 
with a parable. The abbe Paris had died in the 
odour of Jansenist sanctity (1727), and extraordinary 
doings went on at his tomb ; the lame walked, men 
and women sick of the palsy were made whole, and so 
forth. Suppose, says Eousseau, that an inhabitant of 
the rue St. Jacques speaks *thus to the archbishop of 
Paris, ' My lord, I know that you neither believe in 
the beatitude of St. Jean de Paris, nor in the miracles 
which god has been pleased publicly to work upon his 
tomb in the sight of the most enlightened and most 
populous city in the world; but I feel bound to 
testify to you that I have just seen the saint in 
person raised from the dead in the spot where 
his bones were laid.' The man of the rue St. Jacques 



86 ROUSSEAU. 

gives all the detail of such a circumstance that could 
strike a beholder. ' I am persuaded that on hearing 
such strange news, you will begin by interrogating 
him who testifies to its truth, as to his position, 
his feelings, his confessor, and other such points, and 
when from his air, as from his speech, you have 
perceived that he is a poor workman, and when 
having no confessional ticket to show you, he has 
confirmed your notion that he is a Jansenist, Ah, 
ah, you will say to him, you are a convulsionary and 
have seen saint Paris resuscitated. There is nothing 
wonderful in that; you have seen so many other 
wonders ! ' The man would insist that the miracle 
had been seen equally by a number of other people, 
who though Jansenists, it is true, were persons of 
sound sense, good character, and excellent reputation. 
Some would send the man to bedlam, ' but you, after 
a grave reprimand, will be content with saying : I 
know that two or three witnesses, good people and of 
sound sense, may attest the life or the death of a man, 
but I do not know how many more are needed to 
establish the resurrection tff a Jansenist. Until I find 
that out, go, my son, and try to strengthen your brain. 
I give you a dispensation from fasting, and here is 
something for you to make your broth with.' ' This 
is what you would say, and what any other sensible 
man would say in your place. Whence I conclude 
that even according to you and to every other sensible 
man, the moral proofs which are sufficient to establish 
facts that are in the order of moral possibilities, are 



PERSECUTION. 87 

not sufficient to establish facts of another order and 
purely supernatural.' * 

Perhaps the formal denunciation by the archbishop 
of Paris was less vexatious than the swarming of the 
angrier hive of ministers at his gates. i If I had 
declared for atheism,' he says bitterly, i they would at 
first have shrieked, but they would soon have left me 
in peace like the rest ' the people of the lord would 
not have kept watch over me ; everybody would not 
have thought he was doing me a high favour in not 
treating me as a person cut off from communion, and 
I should have been quits with all the world ; the 
holy women in Israel would not have written me 
anonymous letters, and their charity would not have 
breathed devout insults ; they would not have taken 
the trouble to assure me in all humility of heart that 
I was a castaway, an execrable monster, and that the 
world would have been well off, if some good soul had 
been at the pains to strangle me in my cradle. Worthy 
people on their side would not torment themselves 
and torment me to bring me back to the way of 
salvation; they would not charge at me from right and 
left, nor stifle me under the weight of their sermons, 
nor force me to bless their zeal while I cursed their 
importunity, nor to feel with gratitude that they have 
a call to lay me in my grave with weariness.' 2 

He had done his best to conciliate the good opinion 
of his vigilant neighbours. Their character for con- 
tentious orthodoxy was well known. It was at Neu- 

1 Lettre d Christophe de Beaumont, pp. 1305. 2 Ib., p. 93. 



88 ROUSSEAU. 

chatel that the controversy as to the eternal punish- 
ment of the wicked raged with such fury as to 
produce a civil outbreak. The peace of the town was 
violently disturbed, ministers were suspended, magis- 
trates were interdicted, life was lost, until at last 
Frederick promulgated his famous bull, 'Let the 
parsons who make for themselves a cruel and bar- 
barous god, be eternally damned as they desire and 
deserve ; and let those parsons who conceive god 
gentle and merciful, enjoy the plenitude of his 
mercy.' 1 When Eousseau came within the territory, 
preparations were made to imitate the action of Paris, 
Geneva, and Berne. It was only the king's express 
permission which saved him from a fourth proscrip- 
tion. The minister at Motiers was of the less inhu- 
man stamp, and Eousseau, feeling that he could not, 
without failing in his engagements and his duty as 
a citizen, neglect the public profession of the faith to 
which he had been restored eight years before, 
attended the religious services with regularity. He 
even wrote to the pastor a letter in vindication of his 
book, and protesting the sincerity of his union with 
the reformed congregation. 2 The result of this was 
that the pastor came to tell him how great an honour 
he held it to count such a member in his flock, and 
how willing he was to admit him without further 
examination to partake in the communion. 3 Eousseau 



1 Carlyle's Frederick, Bk. xxi. ch. iv. Rousseau, Cbrr., iii. 102. 

2 Corr., iii. 57. Nov. 1762. To M. Montmollin. 

3 Con/., xii. 206. 



PERSECUTION. 89 

went to the ceremony with eyes full of tears and a 
heart swelling with emotion a mood which we may 
respect as little or as much as we please, but which 
was certainly more edifying than the sight of Yol- 
taire going through the same rite merely to harass 
a priest and infuriate a bishop. 

In all other respects he lived a harmless life during 
the three years of his sojourn in the Val de Travers. 
As he could never endure what he calls the inactive 
chattering of the parlour, with people sitting in front 
of one another with folded hands and nothing in mo- 
tion except the tongue, he learnt the art of making laces, 
and used to carry his pillow about with him, or sat at 
his own door working like the women of the village, 
and chatting with the passers-by. He used to make 
presents of his work to young women about to marry, 
always on the condition that they should suckle 
their children when they came to have them. If a 
little whimsical, this was a harmless and respect- 
able pastime. It is pleasanter to think of a philo- 
sopher finding diversion in weaving laces, than of 
noblemen making it the business of their lives to run 
after ribands. A society resting on breeches was 
incensed about the same time by Eousseau's adoption 
of the Armenian costume, the vest, the furred bonnet, 
the caftan, and the girdle. There was nothing very 
wonderful in this departure from use. An Arme- 
nian tailor used often to visit some friends at Mont- 
morency ; Rousseau knew him, and reflected that 
such a dress would be of singular comfort to him in 



go ROUSSEAU. 

the circumstances of his bodily disorder. 1 Here was 
a solid practical reason for what has usually been 
counted a demonstration of a turned brain. Eousseau 
had as good cause for going about in a caftan, as 
Chatham had for coming to the house of parliament 
wrapped in flannel. Yanity and a desire flowing from 
it to attract notice may, we admit, have had something 
to do with Eousseau's adoption of an uncommon way 
of dressing. Shrewd wits like the duke of Luxem- 
bourg and his wife did not suppose that it was so. 
We, living a hundred years after, cannot possibly know 
whether it was so or not, and our estimate of Eousseau' s 
strange character would be very little worth form- 
ing, if it only turned on petty singularities of this kind. 
The foolish, equivocally blessed with the quality of 
articulate speech, may, if they choose, satisfy their own 
self-love by reducing all action out of the common 
course to a series of variations on the same motive in 
others. Men blessed by the benignity of experience, 
will be thankful not to waste life in guessing evil 
about unknowable trifles. 

During his stay at Motiers, Eousseau' s time was 
hardly ever his own. Visitors of all nations, drawn 
either by respect for his work, or by curiosity to see * 
a man who had been proscribed by so many govern- 
ments, came to him in throngs. His partisans at 
Geneva insisted on sending people to convince them- 
selves how good a man they were proscribing. ' I 
had never been free from strangers for six weeks,' he 

1 Conf., xii. 198. 



PERSECUTION. 91 

writes ; f two days after, I had a Westphalian gentle- 
man and one from Genoa ; six days later, two persons 
from Zurich, who stayed a week ; then a Geneyese, 
recovering from an illness, and come for change of 
air, fell ill again, and has only jnst gone away.' * One 
visitor writing home to his wife of the philosopher 
to whom he had come on a pilgrimage, describes his 
manners in terms which perhaps touch us with sur- 
prise : ' Thou hast no idea how charming his society 
is, what true politeness there is in his manners, what 
a depth of serenity and cheerfulness in his talk. 
Didst thou not expect quite a different picture, and 
figure to thyself an eccentric creature, always grave 
and sometimes even abrupt ? Ah, what a mistake ! 
To an expression of great mildness he unites a glance 
of fire, and eyes of a vivacity the like of which was 
never seen. When you handle any matter in which 
he takes an interest, then his eyes, his lips, his hands, 
everything about him speaks. You would be quite 
wrong to picture in him an everlasting grumbler. 
Not at all ; he laughs with those who laugh, he chats 
and jokes with children, he rallies his housekeeper.' 2 
He was not so civil to all the world, and occasionally 
turned upon his pursuers with a word of most sar- 
donic roughness. 3 But he could also be very gene- 
rous. We find him pressing a loan from his scanty 
store on an outcast adventurer, and warning him, 
4 When I lend (which happens rarely enough), 'tis 

1 Corr., iii. 295. Dec. 25, 1763. 2 Quoted in Musset-Pathay, ii. 500. 
3 For instance, Corr., iii. 249. 



92 ROUSSEAU. 

my constant maxim never to count on repayment, nor 
to exact it.' 1 He received hundreds of letters, some 
seeking an application of his views on education to a 
special case, others craving further exposition of his 
religious doctrines. Before he had been at Motiers 
nine months he had paid ten louis for the postage of 
letters, which after all contained only reproaches, 
insults, menaces, imbecilities. 2 

Not the least curious of his correspondence at this 
time is that with the prince of Wiirtemberg, then 
living near Lausanne. 3 The prince had a little 
daughter four months old, and he was resolved that 
her upbringing should be carried on as the author of 
Emilius might please to direct. Eousseau replied 
courteously that he did not pretend to direct the edu- 
cation of princes or princesses. 4 His correspondent 
was undaunted, sent him full details of his babe's 
habits and faculties, and continued to do so at short 
intervals, with the fondness of a young mother or an 
old nurse. Eousseau was interested, and took some 
trouble to draw up rules for the child's nurture and 
admonition. One may smile now and then at the 
prince's ingenuous zeal, but his fervid respect and 
devotion for the teacher in whom he thought he had 
found the wisest man that ever lived, and who had at 

1 Corr., in. 364, 381. 2 Corr., iii. 1816, etc. 

3 Prince Lewis Eugene, son of Charles Alexander (reigning duke from 1733 
to 1737) ; a younger brother of Charles Eugene, known as Schiller's duke 
of Wiirtemberg, who reigned up to 1793. Frederick Eugene, known in the 
Seven Years' War, was another brother. Rousseau's correspondent became 
reigning duke in 1793, but only lived a year and a half afterwards. 

4 Corr., iii. 250. Sept. 29, 1763. 



PERSECUTION. 93 

any rate spoken the word that kindled the loye of 
virtue and truth in him, his eagerness to know what 
Rousseau thought right, and his equal eagerness in 
trying to do it, his care to arrange his household in a 
simple and methodical way to please his master, his 
discipular patience when Eousseau told him that his 
verses were poor, or that he was too fond of his wife, 
all this is a little uncommon in a prince, and deserves 
a place among the mass of other evidence of the 
power which Rousseau's pictures of domestic simpli- 
city and wise and humane education had in the 
eighteenth century. It gives us a glimpse, close and 
direct,' of the naturalist revival reaching up into high 
places. But the trade of philosopher in such times 
is perhaps an irksome one, and Rousseau was the pri- 
vate victim of his public action. His prince sent 
multitudes of Germans to visit the sage, and his let- 
ters, endless with their details of the nursery, may 
well have become a little tedious to a worn-out crea- 
ture who only wanted to be left alone. 1 The famous 
prince Henry, Frederick's brother, thought a man 
happy who could have the delight of seeing Rousseau 
as often as he chose. 2 People forgot the other side of 
this delight, and the unlucky philosopher found in a 
hundred ways, alike from enemies and the friends 
whose curiosity makes them as bad as enemies, that 
the pedestal of glory partakes of the nature of the 
pillory or the stocks. 

1 The prince's letters are given in the Streekeisen collection, vol. ii. 

2 Streekeisen, ii. 202. 



94 ROUSSEAU. 

It is interesting to find two famous English names 
in the list of the multitudes with whom he had to do at 
this time, Gibbon and Boswell. 1 The former was now 
at Lausanne, whither he had just returned from the 
visit to England which persuaded him that his father 
would never endure his alliance with the daughter of 
an obscure Swiss pastor. He had just ' yielded to his 
fate, sighed as a lover and obeyed as a son.' < How 
sorry I am for our poor mademoiselle Curchod,' 
writes Moultou to Eousseau ; ' Gibbon whom she 
loves, and to whom she has sacrificed, as I know, 
some excellent matches, has come to Lausanne, but 
cold, insensible, and as entirely cured of his old pas- 
sion as she i's far from cure. She has written me a 
letter that makes my heart ache.' He then entreats 
Eousseau to use his influence with Gibbon, who is 
on the point of starting for Motiers, by extolling the 
lady's worth and understanding to him. 2 ' I hope 
Mr. Gibbon will not come,' replied the sage ; i his 
coldness makes me think ill of him. I have been 
looking over his book again [the Essai sur V etude de la 
Utter ature, 1761] ; he runs after brilliance too much, 
and is strained. Mr. Gibbon is not the man for me, 
and I do not think he is the man for mademoiselle 
Curchod either.' 3 Whether Gibbon went or not, we 
do not know. He knew in after years what had been 
said of him by Jean Jacques, and protested with mild 
pomp that this extraordinary man should have been 

1 Possibly Wilkes also; Corr., iv. 200. 
2 Streckeisen, i. 89. June 1, 1763. 3 Corr., iii, 202. June 4, 1763. 



PERSECUTION. 95 

less precipitate in condemning the moral character 
and conduct of a stranger. 1 

Boswell, as we know, had left Johnson c rolling his 
majestic frame in his usual manner 7 on Harwich 
beach in 1763, and was now on his travels. Like 
many of his countrymen, he found his way to lord 
Marischal, and here his indomitable passion for 
making the personal acquaintance of any one who was 
much talked about, naturally led him to seek so sin- 
gular a character as the man now at Motiers. What 
Housseau thought of one who was as singular a 
character as himself in another direction, we do not 
know. 2 Lord Marischal warned Eousseau that his 
visitor is of excellent disposition, but full of visionary 
ideas, even having seen spirits a serious proof of 
unsoundness to a man who had lived* in the very 
positive atmosphere of Frederick's court at Berlin. ' I 
only hope,' says the sage Scot, of the Scot who was 
not sage, 'that he may not fall into the hands of 
people who will turn his head : he was very pleased 
with the reception you gave him.' 3 As it happens he 

1 Memoirs of my Life, p. 55, n. [Ed. 1862.] Necker (17321804), whom 
mdlle." Curchod ultimately married, was an eager admirer of Rousseau. * Ah, 
how close the tender, humane and virtuous soul of Julie,' he wrote to her 
author, ' has brought me to you. How the reading of those letters gratified 
me ! how many good emotions did they stir or fortify ! How many sublimities 
in a thousand places in these six volumes, not the sublimity that perches itself 
in the clouds, but that which pushes every-day virtues to their highest point,' 
and so on. Feb. 16, 1761. Streckeisen, i. 333. 

2 Boswell's name only occurs twice in Rousseau's letters, I believe; once 
(Corr., iv. 394) as the writer of a letter which Hume was suspected of tamper- 
ing with, and previously (iv. 70) as the bearer of a letter. See also Streck- 
eisen, i. 262. 

3 Streckeisen, ii. 111. Jan. 18, 1765. 



9 6 ROUSSEAU. 

was the means of sending Boswell to a place where 
his head was turned, though not very mischievously. 
Eousseau was at that time full of Corsican projects, 
of which this is the proper place for us very briefly to 
speak. 

The prolonged struggles of the natives of Corsica 
to assert their independence of the oppressive adminis- 
tration of the Genoese, which had begun in 1729, 
came to an end for a moment in 1755, when Paoli 
(1726 1807) defeated the Genoese, and proceeded to 
settle the government of the island. In the Social 
Contract Eousseau had said, ' There is still in Europe 
one country capable of legislation, and that is the 
island of Corsica. The valour and constancy with 
which this brave people has succeeded in recovering 
and defending its liberty, entitle it to the good fortune 
of having some wise man 'to teach them how to pre- 
serve it. I have a presentiment that this little isle 
will one day astonish Europe,' 1 a presentiment that 
came true enough in a sense long after Eousseau was 
gone, in a man who was born on the little isle seven 
years later than the publication of this passage. Some 
of the Corsican leaders were highly flattered, and in 
August, 1764, Buttafuoco entered into correspondence 
with Eousseau for the purpose of inducing him to 
draw up a set of political institutions and a code of 
laws. Paoli himself was too shrewd to have much 
belief in the application of ideal systems, and we are 
assured that he had no intention of making Eousseau 

1 Bk. ii. ch. x. 



PERSECUTION. ' 97 

the Solon of his island, but only of inducing him to 
inflame the gallantry of its inhabitants by writing a 
history of their exploits. 1 Bousseau, however, did 
not understand the invitation in this narrower sense. 
He replied that the very idea of such a task as legis- 
lation transported his soul, and he entered into it with 
the liveliest ardour. He resolved to quarter himself 
with Theresa in a cottage in some lonely district in 
the island ; in a year he would collect the necessary 
information as to the manners and opinions of the 
inhabitants, and three years afterwards he would 
produce a set of institutions fit for a free and 
valorous people. 2 In the midst of this enthusiasm 
(May, 1765) he urged Eoswell to visit Corsica, and 
gave him a letter to Paoli, with results which we 
know in the shape of an Account of Corsica (1768), 
and a feverishness of imagination upon that subject, 
which in due time made Johnson sternly cry out, 
'Mind your own affairs, and leave the Corsicans to 
theirs ; I wish you would empty your head of Corsica. ' 3 
At the end of 1765, the immortal hero-worshipper on 
his return expected to come upon his hero at Motiers, 
but finding that he was in Paris wrote him a wonder- 
ful letter in wonderful French. ' You will forget all 
your cares for many an evening, while I tell you what 
I have seen. I owe you the deepest obligation for 
sending me to Corsica. The voyage has done me 

1 Boswell's Account of Corsica, p. 367. 

2 The correspondence between Rousseau and Buttafuoco has been published 
in the (Euvres et Corr. Inedites de J. J. R., 1861. See pp. 35, 43, etc. 

3 Boswell's Life, 179, 193, etc. (Ed. 1866.) 

VOL. II. H 



98 ROUSSEAU. 

marvellous good. It lias made me as if all the lives of 
Plutarch had sunk into my soul .... I am devoted 
to the Corsicans heart and soul; if you, illustrious 
Eousseau, the philosopher -whom they have chosen to 
help them by your lights to preserve and enjoy the 
liberty which they have acquired with so much heroism 
if you have cooled towards these gallant islanders, 
why I am sorry for you. 7 * 

Alas, by this time the gallant islanders had been 
driven out of Eousseau's mind by personal mishaps. 
First, Yoltaire or some other enemy had spread the 
rumour that the invitation to become the Lycurgus of 
Corsica was a practical joke, and Eousseau's suspicious 
temper formed what he took for confirmation of this 
in some trifling incidents with which we certainly 
need not concern ourselves. 2 Next, a very real storm 
had burst upon him which drove him once more to 
seek a new place of shelter, other than an island 
occupied by French troops. For France having begun 
by dispatching auxiliaries to the assistance of the 
Genoese (1764), ended by buying the island from the 

1 ' Je suis tout homme de pouvoir vous regnrder avee pitie!' Letter dated Jan. 4, 
1766, and given by Musset-Pathay as from a Scotch lord, unnamed. Boswell 
had the honour of conducting Theresa to England, after Hume had taken 
Rousseau over. ' This young gentleman,' writes Hume, ' very good-humoured, 
very agreeable, and very mad has such a rage for literature that I dread 
some circumstance fatal to our friend's honour. You remember the story of 
Terentia, who was first married to Cicero, then to Sallust, and at last in her 
old age married a young nobleman, who imagined that she must possess 
some secret which would convey to him eloquence and genius.' Burton's 
Life, ii. 307 8. Boswell mentions that he met Rousseau in England (Account 
of Corsica, p. 340), and also gives Rousseau's letter introducing him to Paoli 
(p. 266.) 

2 To Buttafuoco, p. 48, etc. 



PERSECUTION. 09 

Genoese senate, with a sort of equity of redemption 
(1768) an iniquitous transaction, as Rousseau justly 
called it, equally shocking to justice, humanity, reason, 
and policy. 1 Civilisation would have been saved one 
of its sorest trials, if Genoa could have availed herself 
of her equity, and so have delivered France from the 
acquisition of the most terrible citizen that ever 
scourged a state. 2 

The condemnation of Rousseau by the Council in 
1762 had divided Geneva into two camps, and was 
followed by a prolonged contention between his parti- 
sans and his enemies. Tke root of the contention 
was political rather than theological. To take Rous- 
seau's side was to protest against the oligarchic 
authority which had condemned him, and the quarrel 
about Emilius was only an episode in the long war 
between the popular and aristocratic parties. This 
strife, after coming to a height for the first time in 
1734, had abated after the pacification of 1738, but 
the pacification was only effective for a time, and the 
roots of division were still full of vitality. The law- 
fulness of the authority and the regularity of the 
procedure by which Rousseau had been condemned, 
offered convenient ground for carrying on the dispute, 
and its warmth was made more intense by the sugges- 
tion on the popular side that perhaps the religion of 

1 Corr., vi. 176. Feb. 26, 1770. 

2 It may be worth, noticing, as a link between historic personages, that 
Napoleon Bonaparte's first piece was a Lettre d Matteo Buttafuoco (1791), the 
same Buttafuoco with whom Eousseau corresponded, who had been Choiseul's 
a^ent in the union of the island to France, was sent as deputy to the Con- 
stituent, and became the bitterest enemy of Paoli and the patriotic party. 

H2 



ioo ROUSSEAU. 

the book which the oligarchs had condemned, was 
more like Christianity than the religion of the oli- 
garchs' who condemned it. 

Eousseau was too near the scene of the quarrel, 
too directly involved in its issues, too constantly in 
contact with the people who were engaged in it, not 
to feel the angry buzzings very close about his ears. 
If he had been as collected and as self-possessed as he 
loved to fancy, they would have gone for very little in 
the life of the day. But Eousseau never stood on the 
heights whence a strong man surveys with clear eye 
and firm soul the unjust, or mean, or furious moods of 
the world. Such achievement is not hard for the 
creature who is wrapped up in himself, and is careless 
of the passions of men about him, because he thinks 
they cannot hurt him, and not because he has mea- 
sured them, and deliberately assigned them a place 
among the elements in which a man's destiny is cast. 
It is only hard for one who is penetrated by true interest 
in the opinion and action of his fellows, thus to keep 
sympathy warm as well as self-sufficience true. The 
task was too hard for Eousseau, though his patience 
under long persecution far surpassed that of any of 
the other oppressed teachers of the time. In the 
spring of 1763 he deliberately renounced in all due 
forms his rights of burgess-ship and citizenship in 
the city and republic of Geneva. 1 And at length 
he broke forth against his Genevese persecutors in 
the Letters from the Mountain (1764), a long but 

1 Corr., iii. 190. To the First Syndic, May 12, 1763. 



PERSECUTION. 101 

extremely vigorous and adroit rejoinder to the pleas 
which his enemies had put forth in Tronchin's 
Letters from the Country. If any one now cares to 
satisfy himself how really unjust and illegal the treat- 
ment was, which Eousseau received at the hands of 
the authorities of his native city, he may do so by 
examining these most forcible letters. The second 
part of them may interest the student of political 
history by its account of the working of the institu- 
tions of the little republic. We seem to be reading 
over again the history of a Greek city; the growth of 
a wealthy class in face of an increasing number of 
poor burgesses, the imposition of burdens in unfair 
proportions upon the metoikoi, the gradual usurpation 
of legislative and administrative function (including 
especially the judicial) by the oligarchs, and the twist- 
ing of democratic machinery to oligarchic ends ; then 
the growth of staseis or violent factions, followed by 
metabole or overthrow of the established constitution, 
ending in foreign intervention. The Four Hundred 
at Athens would have treated any Social Contract 
that should have appeared in their day, just as sternly 
as the Two Hundred or the Twenty-five treated the 
Social Contract that did appear, and for just the same 
reasons. 

Otherwise the Letters are now of no vitality for us. 
They prove that the procedure against the man was 
precipitate, against the ordinances, and without a pre- 
cedent ; in short that Eousseau was the victim of 
genuine persecution. Beyond that, his vindication 



102 ROUSSEAU. 

has become common form, which needs no repetition. 
"We know only too well the impotence of the argu- 
ment that the reformation, if it was anything at all, 
was the assertion of the right of private judgment, 
and therefore though it might be right and necessary 
to exact conformity to standards in the ministers of an 
ecclesiastical organization, it could only be wrong and 
contrary to protestant spirit and principle to insist on 
uniformity of belief among laymen. And we know 
too the hopelessness of demonstrating to the partisans 
of dogmatic systems that a community which should 
accept and act upon simple non-dogmatic ideas must 
necessarily produce pure and virtuous men, loyal and 
disinterested citizens, and true disciples of the spirit 
and teaching of the founder. And who does not 
know the weary circle of insoluble questions, how 
we are to distinguish the conjurings of pagan priests 
from the miracles of Jehovah ; how we are to be sure 
that a phenomenon is a miracle, and not merely the 
result of natural energies of whose law we still 
happen to be ignorant; whether the beauty of the 
doctrine proves the miracle, or the miracle proves the 
divine source and quality of the doctrine ? All these 
matters were handled by Eousseau gravely, honestly, 
and in a worthy spirit. He ingeniously shows in one 
place what a monstrous picture might be drawn of 
the teaching of the four gospels, by any one who 
should pick out detached sentences, on the method on 
which his own book had been treated; 1 with this pos- 

1 Letter, i. 219. 



PERSECUTION. 103 

sible exception, there is no phrase nor figure with 
which the most superstitious disputant could quarrel, 
however strenuous his objections to the substance of 
the contention. The remonstrance against the con- 
demnation of his political book is equally just and 
temperate. For once Eousseau agrees that you ought 
never to punish reason, nor even reasoning, for such 
punishment must prove too much against those who 
inflict it, and he renews the old taunt of the scandal 
of the repression of free discussion, by men whose 
whole political and religious system rests on the 
sacredness of individual judgment and freedom. The 
logic of reason, however, is always in an individual 
case too weak for the logic of power. The battle of 
argument against sinister interests is never successful, 
until a combination of many other causes has detached 
some contingent from the hostile force. No consi- 
derable body of men is ever moved to be just by 
syllogism, until either sympathetic instinct or self- 
interest has brought them round to the conclusion by 
bye-paths. 

Eousseau proved his case with redundancy of 
demonstration. A body of burgesses had previously 
availed themselves (Nov., 1763) of a legal right, and 
made a technical representation to the Lesser Council 
that the laws had been broken in his case. The 
Council in return availed itself of an equally legal 
right, its droit negatif, and declined to entertain the 
representation, without giving any reasons. Unfor- 
tunately for Eousseau' s comfort, the ferment which 



io 4 ROUSSEAU. 

his new vindication of his cause stirred up, did not 
end with the condemnation and burning of his mani- 
festo. For the parliament of Paris ordered the Letters 
from the Mountain to be burned, and the same decree 
and the same faggot served for that and for Yoltaire's 
Philosophical Dictionary (April, 1765). 1 It was also 
burned at the Hague (Jan. 22). It was noticed by 
an observer by no means friendly to the priests, 
that at Paris it was not the fanatics of orthodoxy, but 
the encyclopaedists and their flock, who on this occa- 
sion raised the storm and set the zeal of the magis- 
trates in motion. 2 The vanity and egoism of rational- 
istic sects are as fatal to candour, justice, and com- 
passion, as the intolerant pride of the great churches. 

Persecution came nearer to Rousseau and took 
more inconvenient shapes than this. A terrible libel 
appeared (Feb., 1765), full of the coarsest calumnies. 
Rousseau, stung by their insolence and falseness, sent 
it to Paris to be published there with a prefatory note 
stating that it was by a Genevese pastor whom he 
named. This landed him in fresh mortification, for 
the pastor disavowed the libel, Rousseau declined to 
accept the disavowal, and sensible men were wearied 
by acrimonious declarations, explanations, protests. 3 
Then the clergy of Neuchatel were not able any 
longer to resist the opportunity of inflicting such 

1 Grimm's Corr. Lit., iv. 235. For Rousseau's opinion of his book's com- 
panion at the stake, see Corr., iii. 442. 

2 Streckeisen, ii. 526. 

3 There appears to be no doubt that Rousseau was wrong in attributing to 
Vernes the Sentiinens des Citoyens. 



PERSECUTION. 105 

torments as they could, upon a heretic whom they 
might more charitably have left to those ultimate and 
everlasting torments which were so precious to their 
religious imagination. They began to press the 
pastor of the village where Eousseau lived, and with 
whom he had hitherto been on excellent terms. The 
pastor, though he had been liberal enough to admit 
his singular parishioner to the communion, in spite of 
the Savoyard Yicar, was not courageous enough to 
resist the bigotry of the professional body to which 
he belonged. He warned Eousseau not to present 
himself at the next communion. The philosopher in- 
sisted that he had a right to do this, until formally 
cast out by the consistory. The consistory, composed 
mainly of a body of peasants entirely bound to their 
minister in matters of religion, cited him to appear, 
and answer such questions as might test his loyalty to 
the faith. Eousseau prepared a most deliberate vindi- 
cation of all that he had written, which he intended 
to speak to his rustic judges. The eve of the morning 
on which he had to appear, he knew his discourse by 
heart ; when morning came he could not repeat two 
sentences. So he fell back on the instrument over 
which he had more mastery than he had over tongue 
or memory, and wrote what he wished to say. The 
pastor, in whom irritated egoism was probably by this 
time giving additional heat to professional zeal, was 
for fulminating a decree of excommunication, but 
there appears to have been some indirect interference 
with the proceedings of the consistory by the king's 



106 ROUSSEAU. 

officials at NeuoMtel, and the ecclesiastical bolt was 
held back. 1 Other weapons were not wanting. The 
pastor proceeded to spread rumours among his flock 
that Eousseau was a heretic, even an atheist, and 
most prodigious of all, that he had written a book 
containing the monstrous doctrine that women have no 
souls. The pulpit resounded with sermons proving 
to the honest villagers that antichrist was quartered 
in the parish in very flesh. The Armenian apparel 
gave a high degree of plausibleness to such an opinion, 
and as the wretched man went by the door of his 
neighbours, he heard cursing and menace, while a 
hostile pebble now and again whistled past his ear. 
His botanizing expeditions were believed to be de- 
voted to search for noxious herbs, and a man who died 
in the agonies of nephritic colic, was supposed to have 
been poisoned by him. 2 If persons went to the post- 
office for letters for him, they were treated with insult. 3 
At length the ferment against him grew hot enough 
to be serious. A huge block of stone was found placed 
so as to kill him when he opened his door ; and one 
night an attempt was made to stone him in his house. 4 
Popular hate shown with this degree of violence was 
too much for his fortitude, and after a residence of 
rather more than three years (September 8 10, 1765), 



1 Corr. t iv. 116, 122 (April, 1765), 16596 (August); also Con/., xii. 245. 

2 Note to M. Auguis's edition, Corr., v. 395. 

3 Corr., iv. 204. 

4 Cof., xii. 259. This lapidation has sometimes heen doubted, and treated 
as an invention of Rousseau's morbid suspicion. The official documents prove 
that his account was substantially true (see Husset-Pathay, ii. 559). 



PER SEC UTION. 1 07 

lie fled from the inhospitable valley to seek refuge 
he knew not where. 

In his rambles of a previous summer, he had seen 
a little island in the lake of Bienne, which struck his 
imagination and lived in his memory. Thither he now, 
after a moment of hesitation, turned his steps, with 
something of the same instinct as draws a child towards 
a beam of the sun. He forgot or was heedless of. the 
circumstance that the isle of St. Peter lay in the juris- 
diction of the canton of Berne, whose government had 
forbidden him their territory. Craving for a little 
ease in the midst of his wretchedness extinguished 
thought of jurisdictions and prescriptive decrees. 

The spot where he 'now found peace for a brief 
space usually disappoints the modern hunter for the 
picturesque, who after wearying himself with the 
follies of a capital seeks the most violent tonic he can 
find in the lonely terrors of glacier and peak, and sees 
only tameness in a pygmy island, that offers nothing 
sublimer than a high grassy terrace, some cool over- 
branching avenues, some mimic vales, and meadows 
and vineyards sloping down to the sheet of blue water 
at their feet. Yet as one sits here on a summer day, 
with tired mowers sleeping on their grass heaps in the 
sun, in a stillness faintly broken by the timid lapping 
of the water in the sedge, or the rustling of swift 
lizards across the heated sand, while the Bernese snow 
giants line a distant horizon with mysterious solitary 
shapes, it is easy to know what solace life in such a 
scene might bring to a man distracted by pain of body 



io8 ROUSSEAU. 

and pain and weariness of soul. Eousseau has com- 
memorated his too short sojourn here in the most 
perfect of all his compositions. 1 

' I found my existence so charming, and led a life so agreeable 
to my humour, that I resolved here to end my days. My only 
source of disquiet was whether I should be allowed to carry my 
project out. In the midst of the presentiments that disturbed me, 
I would fain have had them make a perpetual prison of my refuge, 
and confine me in it for the rest of my life. I longed for them to 
cut off all power and all hope of leaving it, and to forbid me hold- 
ing any communication with the main land, so that knowing nothing 
of what was being done in the world, I might have forgotten its 
existence, and people might have forgotten mine too. They only 
let me pass two months in the island, but I could have passed two 
years, two centuries, and all eternity, without a moment's wea- 
riness, though I had not, with my companion, any other society 
than that of the steward, his wife, and their servants. They were 
in truth honest souls and nothing more, but that was just what 
I wanted. . . Carried thither in a violent hurry, alone and without a 
thing, I afterwards sent for my housekeeper, my books, and my 
scanty possessions, of which I had the delight of unpacking 
nothing, leaving my boxes and chests as they had come, and dwell- 
ing in the house where I counted on ending my days, as if it were 
an inn whence I must set forth on the morrow. All things went so 
well, just as they were, that to think of ordering them better were 
to spoil them. One of my greatest joys was to leave my books 
safely fastened up in their boxes, and to be without a case for 
writing. When any unlucky letter forced me to take up a pen 
for an answer, I grumblingly borrowed the steward's inkstand, and 
gave it back to him with all the haste I could, in the vain hope 
that I should never have need of the loan any more. Instead of 
those weary quires and reams and piles of old books, I filled my 

1 The fifth of the Reveries. See also Conf., 262 79, and Corr., iv. 206 224. 
His stay in the island was from the second week in September down to the 
last in October, 1765. * 



PERSECUTION. 109 

chamber with flowers and grasses, for I was then in my first 
fervour for botany. Having given up employment that should 
be a task to me, I needed one that would be an amusement, nor 
cause me more pains than a sluggard might choose to take. I 
undertook to make the Flora, petrinsularis, and to describe every 
single plant on the island, in detail enough to occupy me for the 
rest of my days. In consequence of this fine scheme, every 
morning after breakfast, which we all took in company, I used to 
go with a magnifying glass in my hand and my Systema Nature 
under my arm, to visit some district of the island. I had divided it 
for that purpose into small squares, meaning to go through them 
one after another in each season of the year. At the end of two 
or three hours I used to return laden with an ample harvest, a 
provision for amusing myself after dinner indoors, in case of rain. 
I spent the rest of the morning in going with the steward, his wife, 
and Theresa, to see the labourers and the harvesting, generally 
setting to work along with them ; and many a time when people 
from Berne came to see me, they found me perched on a high tree, 
with a bag fastened round my waist ; I kept filling it with fruits 
and then let it down to the ground with a rope. The exercise I 
had taken in the morning and the good humour that always 
comes from exercise, made the repose of dinner vastly pleasant 
to me ; but if it was kept up too "long, and fine weather invited 
me forth, I could not wait, but was speedily off to throw myself all 
alone into a boat, that I used, when the water was smooth enough, 
to pull out to the middle of the lake. There, stretched at full 
length in the bottom of the boat, with my eyes turned up to the 
sky, I let myself float slowly hither and thither as the water listed, 
sometimes for hours together, plunged in a thousand confused 
delicious musings, which though they had no fixed nor constant 
object, were not the less on that account a hundred times dearer 
to me than all that I had found sweetest in what they call the 
pleasures of life. Often warned by the going down of the sun 
that it was time to return, I found myself so far from the island, 
that I was forced to row with all my might to get in before it was 



no ROUSSEAU. 

pitch dark. At other times instead of losing myself in the midst 
of the waters, I had a fancy to coast along the green shores of the 
island, where the clear waters and cool shadows tempted me to 
bathe. But one of my most frequent expeditions was from the 
larger island to the less ; there I disembarked and spent my after- 
noon, sometimes in mimic rambles among wild elders, persicaries, 
willows, and shrubs of every species, sometimes settling myself on 
the top of a sandy knoll, covered with turf, wild thyme, flowers, 
even sainfoin, and trefoil that had most likely been sown there in 
old days, making excellent quarters for rabbits. They might multiply 
in peace without either fearing anything or harming anything. I 
spoke of this to the steward. He at once had male and female 
rabbits brought from Neuchatel, and we went in high state, his 
wife, one of his sisters, Theresa, and I, to settle them in the little 
island. The foundation of our colony was a feast-day. The pilot 
of the Argonauts was not prouder than I, as I bore my company and 
the rabbits in triumph from our island to the smaller one. 

When the lake was too rough for me to sail, I spent my after- 
noon in going up and down the island, gathering plants to right 
and left ; seating myself now in smiling lonely nooks to dream at 
my ease, now on little terraces and knolls, to follow with my eyes 
the superb and ravishing prospect of the lake and its shores, 
crowned on one side by the neighbouring hills, and on the other, 
melting into rich and fertile plains, up to the feet of the pale blue 
mountains on their far-off edge. 

As evening drew on, I used to come down from the high ground 
and sit on the beach at the water's brink in some hidden sheltering 
place. There the murmur of the waves and their agitation, charming 
all my senses and driving every other movement from my soul, 
plunged it into delicious dreamings, in which night often surprised 
me. The flux and reflux of the water, its ceaseless stirrings, 
swelling and falling at intervals, striking on ear and sight, made 
up for the internal movements which my musings extinguished, and 
were enough to give me delight in mere existence, without taking 
any trouble of thinking. From time to time arose some passing 



PERSECUTION. in 

thought of the instability of the things of this world, of which the 
face of the waters offered an image : but such light impressions 
were swiftly effaced in the uniformity of the ceaseless motion, which 
rocked me as in a cradle, and held me with such fascination that 
even when called at the hour and by the signal appointed, I could 
not tear myself away without summoning all my force* 

After supper, when the evening was fine, we used to go all 
together for a saunter on the terrace, to breathe the freshness of 
the air from the lake. We sat down in the arbour, laughing, 
chatting, or singing some old song, and then we went home to bed, 
well pleased with the day, and only craving another that should be 
exactly like it on the morrow. . . 

All is in a continual flux upon the earth. Nothing in it keeps a 
form constant and determinate ; our affections, fastening on ex- 
ternal tilings, necessarily change and pass just as they do. Ever 
in front of us or behind us, they recall the past that is gone, or 
anticipate a future which in many a case is destined never to be. 
There is nothing solid to which the heart can fix itself. Here 
we have little more than a pleasure that passes ; as for the hap- 
piness that endures, I cannot tell if it be so much as known. 
There is hardly in the midst of our liveliest delights a single 
instant when the heart could tell us with real truth " I would this 
instant, in if /Jit last for ever. 1 ' And how can we give the name of 
happiness to a fleeting state that still leaves the heart unquiet and 
void, that makes us regret something gone, or still long for some- 
thing to come ? 

But if there is a state in which the soul finds a situation solid 
enough to comport with perfect repose, and with the expansion of 
its whole faculty, without need of calling back the past, or press- 
ing on towards the future ; where time is nothing for it, and the pre- 
sent has no ending ; with no mark for its own duration and without 
a trace of succession ; without a single other sense of privation or 
delight, of pleasure or pain, of desire or apprehension, than this 
single sense of existence so long as such a state endures, he 
who finds himself in t, may talk of bliss, not with a poor, relative, 



ii2 ROUSSEAU. 

and imperfect happiness such as people find in the pleasures of 
life, but with a happiness full, perfect, and sufficing, that leaves in 
the soul no conscious unfilled void. Such a state was many a day 
mine in my solitary musings in the isle of St. Peter, either lying 
in my boat as it floated on the water, or seated on the banks of 
the broad lake, or in other places on the brink of some broad stream, 
or a rivulet murmuring over a gravel bed. 

What is it that one enjoys in a situation like this ? Nothing 
outside of one's self, nothing except one's self and one's own 
existence. . . . But most men tossed by unceasing passion, have 
little knowledge of such a state, and having tasted imperfectly for 
a few moments, retain no more than an obscure and confused 
idea of it, too weak to let them feel its charm. It would not 
even be good in the present constitution of things, that in their 
eagerness for these gentle ecstasies, they should fall into a disgust 
for the active life in which their duty is prescribed to them by 
their constantly increasing needs. But a wretch cut off from 
human society, who can do nothing here below that is useful and 
good either for himself or for other people, may find in this state 
for all lost human felicities many recompenses, of which neither 
fortune nor men can ever rob him. 

'Tis true that these recompenses cannot be felt by all souls, nor 
in all situations. The heart must be in peace, nor any passion 
come to trouble its calm. There must be in the surrounding ob- 
jects neither absolute repose nor excess of agitation, but a uniform 
and moderated movement without either shock or interval. With 
no movement, life is only lethargy. If the movement be unequal or 
too strong, it awakes us ; by recalling us to the objects around, it 
destroys the charm of our musing, and plucks us from within our- 
selves, instantly to throw us back under the yoke of fortune and 
man, and restore us to all the consciousness of misery. Absolute 
stillness inclines one to gloom. It offers an image of death : then 
the help of a cheerful imagination is necessary, and presents itself 
naturally enough to those whom heaven has endowed with such a 
gift. The movement which does not come from without, then 



PERSECUTION. 1 1 3 

stirs within us. The repose is less complete, it is true, but it is 
also more agreeable when light and gentle ideas, without agitating 
the depths of the soul, on^ty softly skim the surface. This sort of 
musing we may taste whenever there is tranquillity, and I have 
thought that in the Bastille, and even in a dungeon where no object 
struck my sight, I could have dreamed away most pleasurable 
days. 

But it must be said that all this came better and more happily 
in a fruitful and lonely island, where nothing presented itself to 
me save smiling pictures, where nothing recalled saddening 
memories, where the fellowship of the few inhabitants was gentle 
and obliging, without being exciting enough to busy me incessantly, 
where in short I was free to surrender myself all day long to the 
promptings of my taste or to the most luxurious indolence. . . As I 
came out from a long and sweet musing fit, seeing myself sur- 
rounded by verdure and flowers and birds, and letting my eyes 
wander far over romantic shores that fringed a wide expanse of 
water bright as crystal, I fitted all these attractive objects to my 
dreams ; and when at last I slowly recovered myself and what 
was about me, I could not mark the point that cut off dream from 
reality, so equally did all things unite to endear to me the lonely 
retired life I led in this happy spot ! Why can that life not come 
back to me again ? Why can I not go finish my days in the 
beloved island, never to quit it, never again to see in it one dweller 
from the mainland to bring back to me the memory of all the 
calamities of every sort that they have delighted in heaping on 
my head for all these long years ? . . . Freed from the earthly 
passions engendered by the tumult of social life, my soul would 
many a time lift itself above this atmosphere, and commerce 
beforehand with the heavenly intelligences to whose number it 
trusts to be erelong taken.' 

This full and perfect sufficience of life was abruptly 
disturbed. The government of Eerne gave him 
notice to quit the island and their territory within 

VOL. II. I 



ii4 ROUSSEAU. 

fifteen days. He represented to the authorities that 
he was infirm and ill, that he ^new not whither to 
go, and that travelling in wintry weather would be 
dangerous to his life. He even made the most extra- 
ordinary request that any man in similar straits ever 
did make. 'In this extremity,' he wrote to their 
representative, * I only see one resource for me, and 
however frightful it may appear, I will adopt it, not 
only without /repugnance, but with eagerness, if their 
excellencies will be good enough to give their 
consent. It is that it should please them for me 
to pass the rest of my days in prison in one of their 
castles, or such other place in their states as they may 
think fit to select. I will there live at my own 
expense, and I will give security never to put them 
to any cost. I submit to be without paper or pen, or 
any communication from without, except so far as 
may be absolutely necessary, and through the channel 
of those who shall have charge of me ; only let 
me have left, with the use of a few books, the liberty 
to walk occasionally in a garden, and I am content. 
Do not suppose that an expedient, so violent in 
appearance, is the fruit of despair. My mind is per- 
fectly calm at this moment ; I have taken time to 
think about it, and it is only after profound consi- 
deration that I have brought myself to this decision. 
Mark, I pray you, that if this is an extraordinary 
resolution, my situation is still more so. The dis- 
tracted life that I have had to lead for several years 
without intermission, would be terrible for a man in 



PERSECUTION. 1 1 5 

full health ; judge what it must jibe for a miserable 
invalid worn down with weariness and misfortune, 
and who has now no wish but to die in peace.' l 

That the request was made in all sincerity we may 
well believe. The difference between being in prison 
and being out of it was really not considerable, to a 
man who had the previous winter been confined to his 
chamber for eight months without a break. 2 In 
other respects the world was as cheerless as any 
prison could be. He was an exile from the only 
places he knew, and to him a land unknown was 
terrible. He had thought of Vienna, and the prince 
of Wiirtemberg had sought the requisite permission 
for him, but the priests were too strong in the court 
of the house of Austria. 3 Madame d'Houdetot offered 
him a resting place in Normandy, and Saint Lambert 
in Lorraine. 4 He thought of Potsdam. Eey, the 
printer, pressed him to go to Holland. He wondered 
if he should have strength to cross the Alps and 
make his way to Corsica. Eventually, he made up 
his mind to go to Berlin, and he went as far as 
Strasburg on his road thither. 5 Here he began to fear 
the rude climate of the northern capital, changed his 
plans, and resolved to accept the warm invitations 

1 Corr., iv. 221. Out. 20, 1765. 2 Corr., iv. 136, etc. April 27, 1765. 

3 Streckeisen-Moultou, ii. 209, 212. * Streckeisen-Moultou, ii. 554. 

5 He arrived at Strasburg on the 2nd or 3rd of November, left it about the 
end of the first week in December, and arrived in Paris on the 16th of Decem- 
ber, 1765. A sort of apocryphal tradition is said to linger in the island 
about Rousseau's last evening on the island, how after supper he called for 
a lute, and sang some passably bad verses. See M. Bougy's /. J. Rousseau, p. 
17 (Paris: 1853). 

i2 



n6 ROUSSEAU. 

which he had received to cross over to England. 
His friends used their interest to procure a passport 
for him, 1 and the prince of Conti offered him an 
apartment in the privileged quarter of the Temple, on 
his way through Paris. His own purpose seems to 
have been irresolute to the last, but his friends acted 
with such energy and bustle on his behalf, that 
the English scheme was adopted, and he found himself 
in Paris, on his way to London, almost before he had 
deliberately realised what he was doing. It was 
a step that led him into many fatal vexations, as we 
shall presently see. Meanwhile we may pause to 
examine the two considerable books which had 
involved his life in all this confusion and perplexity. 



1 Madame de Verdelin to J. J. E. Streckeisen, ii. 532. The minister even 
expressed his especial delight at being able to serve Rousseau, so little serious- 
ness was there now in the formalities of absolutism. Ib., 547. 



CHAPTER XII. 

THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 

rE dominant belief of the best minds of the latter 
half of the eighteenth century was a passionate 
faith in the illimitable possibilities of human progress. 
Nothing could in their eyes stay the ever upward 
movement of human perfectibility, short of a general 
overthrow of the planet. They differed as to the details 
of the philosophy of government which they deduced 
from this philosophy of society, but the conviction that 
a golden era of tolerance, enlightenment, and material 
prosperity was close at hand, belonged to them all. 
Bousseau set his face the other way. For him the 
golden era had passed away from our planet many cen- 
turies ago. Simplicity had fled from the earth. Wisdom 
and heroism had vanished from out of the minds of 
leaders. The spirit of citizenship had gone from 
those who should have upheld the social union in 
brotherly accord. The dream of human perfectibility 
which nerved men like Condorcet, was to Eousseau a 
sour and fantastic mockery. The utmost that men 
could do was to turn their eyes to the past, obliterate 
the interval, and try to walk for a space in the track 



n8 ROUSSEAU. 

of the ancient societies. They would hardly succeed, 
but endeavour would at least do something to stay the 
plague of universal degeneracy. Hence the fatality 
of his system. It placed the centre of social activity 
elsewhere than in careful and rational examination of 
social conditions, and in careful and rational effort to 
modify them in accordance with principles which had 
been arrived at in this way. As we began by saying, 
it substituted a retrograde aspiration for direction, 
and emotion for the ascertainment of law. "We can 
hardly wonder, when we think of the intense exalta- 
tion of spirit produced both by the perfectibilitarians 
and the followers of Rousseau, and at the same time 
of the political degradation and material disorder of 
France, that so violent a contrast between the ideal 
and the actual led to a great volcanic outbreak. The 
only hope of controlling the flood within serviceable 
bounds lay in the gradual ascendancy of a respect for 
reasoned exploration of the conditions of social im- 
provement. Here, alas, is the crucial difficulty of 
political change, how to summon new force without 
destroying the sound parts of a structure which it has 
taken so many generations to erect. The Social Con- 
tract is the formal denial of the possibility of success- 
fully overcoming the difficulty. 

1 Although man deprives himself in the civil state 
of many advantages which he holds from nature, yet 
he acquires in return others so great, his faculties 
exercise and develope themselves, his ideas extend, 
his sentiments are ennobled, his whole soul is raised to 




/< 



V c /; / . ' //>//, v 
9 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 119 

such a degree, that if the abuses of this new condition 
did not so often degrade him below that from which 
he has emerged, he would be bound to bless without 
ceasing the happy moment which rescued him from it 
for ever, and out of a stupid and blind animal made an 
intelligent being and a man.' 1 The little parenthesis 
as to the frequent degradation produced by the abuses 
of the social condition, does not prevent us from 
recognising in the whole passage a tolerably complete 
surrender of the main position which was taken up in 
the two Discourses. The short treatise on the Social 
Contract is an inquiry into the just foundations and 
most proper form of that political society, which the 
Discourses showed to have its foundation in injustice, 
and to be incapable of receiving any form proper for the 
attainment of the full measure of human happiness. 

Equality in the same way is no longer denounced, 
but accepted and defined. Locke's influence has 
begun to tell. The two principal objects of every 
system of legislation are declared to be liberty and 
equality, and by equality we are warned not to 
understand that the degrees of power and wealth 
should be absolutely the same, but that in respect of 
power, such power should be out of reach of any 
violence, and be invariably exercised in virtue of the 
laws ; and in respect of riches, that no citizen should 
be wealthy enough to buy another, and none poor 
enough to sell himself. Do you say this equality is 
a mere chimera ? It is precisely because the force of 

1 ConL Soc., I. viii. 



izo ROUSSEAU. 

things is constantly tending to destroy equality, that 
the force of legislation ought as constantly to be 
directed towards upholding it. 1 This is much clearer 
than the indefinite way of speaking which we have 
already noticed in the second Discourse, being neither 
more nor less than that equality before the law, which 
is one of the elementary marks of a perfectly free 
community. The idea of the law being constantly 
directed to counteract the tendencies to violent 
inequalities in material possessions among different 
members of a society, is too vague to be criticised. 
Does it cover and warrant so sweeping a measure as 
the old seisachtheia of Solon, voiding all contracts in 
which the debtor had pledged his land or his person ; 
or such measures as the agrarian laws of Licinius and 
the Gracchi ? Or is it to go no further than condemn 
such a law as that which in England gives unwilled 
realty to the eldest son ? We can only criticise 
accurately a general idea of this sort in connection 
with specific projects in which it is applied. As 
it stands, it is no more than the expression of what 
the author thinks a wise principle of public policy. 
It assumes the existence of property just as com- 
pletely as the theory of the most rigorous capitalist 
could do ; and gives no encouragement, as the Dis- 
course did, to the notion of an equality in being 
without property. There is no element of commun- 
ism in a principle so stated, but it suggests a social 

1 Cont. Soc., IT. xi. He had written in much the same sense in his article 
on Political Economy in the Encyclopaedia, p. 34. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 121 

ideal, based on the moral claim of men to have 
equality of opportunity. This ideal stamped itself on 
the minds of Robespierre and the other revolutionary 
leaders, and led to practical results in the sale of the 
church lands and the rest in small lots, so as to give 
the peasant a market to buy in. The effect of the 
economic change thus introduced happened to work 
in the direction in which Eousseau pointed, for it is 
now known that the most remarkable and most per- 
manent of the consequences of the revolution in the 
ownership of land was the erection, between the two 
extreme classes of proprietors, of an immense body 
of middle-class freeholders. This state is not equality, 
but gradation, and there is undoubtedly an immense 
difference between the two. Still its origin is an illus- 
tration on the largest scale in history of the force of 
legislation being exerted to counteract an irregularity 
that had become unbearable. 1 

Notwithstanding the disappearance of the more 
extravagant elements of the old thesis, the new specu- 

1 Robespierre disclaimed the intention of attacking property, and took up a 
position like that of Rousseau teaching the poor contempt for the rich, not 
envy. ' I do not want to touch your treasures,' he cried, on one occasion, 
' however impure their source. It is far more an object of concern to me to 
make poverty honourable, than to proscribe wealth ; the thatched hut of 
Fabricius never need envy the palace of Crassus. I should be at least as 
content, for my own part, to be one of the sons of Aristides, brought up in the 
Prytaneium at the public expense, as the heir presumptive of Xerxes, born in 
the mire of royal courts, to sit on a throne decorated by the abasement of the 
people, and glittering with the public misery.' Quoted in Malon's Expose 
des Ecoles Socialistes franyaises, 15. Baboeuf carried Rousseau's sentiments 
further towards their natural conclusion by such propositions as these : ' The 
goal of the revolution is to destroy inequality, and to re-establish the happi- 
ness of all.' ' The revolution is not finished, because the rich absorb all the 
property, and hold exclusive power ; while the poor toil like born slaves, 
languish in wretchedness, and are nothing in the state.' Ibid., p. 29. 



122 ROUSSEAU. 

lation was far from being purged of the fundamental 
errors that had given such popularity to its prede- 
cessors. ' If the sea/ he says in one place, 'bathes 
nothing but inaccessible rocks on your coasts, remain 
barbarous ichthyophagi ; you will live all the more 
tranquilly for it, better, perhaps, and assuredly more 
happily.' 1 Apart from an outburst like this, the central 
idea remained the same, though it was approached from 
another side and with different objects. The picture 
of a state of nature had lost none of its perilous 
attraction, though it was hung in a slightly changed 
light. It remained the starting point of the right 
and normal constitution of civil society, just as it had 
been the starting point of the denunciation of civil 
society as incapable of right constitution, and as 
necessarily and for ever abnormal. Equally with the 
Discourses, the Social Contract is a repudiation of 
that historic method, which traces the present along a 
line of ascertained circumstances, and seeks an im- 
proved future in an unbroken continuation of this line. 
The opening words, which sent such a thrill through 
the generation to which they were uttered in two 
continents, ' Man is born free, and everywhere he is 
in chains,' tell us at the outset that we are as far 
away as ever from the patient method of positive 
observation, and as deeply buried as ever in deducing 
practical maxims from a set of conditions which never 
had any other than an abstract and phantasmatic 
existence. How is a man born free ? If he is born 

1 Cont. Soc. t II. xi. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 123 

into isolation, lie perishes instantly. If he is born 
into a family, he is at the moment of his birth com- 
mitted to a state of social relation, in however rudi- 
mentary a form; and the more or less of freedom 
which this state may ultimately permit to him, 
depends upon circumstances. Man was hardly born 
free among Eomans and Athenians, when both law 
and public opinion left a father a perfect liberty to 
expose his new-born infant. And the more primitive 
the circumstances, the later the period at which he 
gains freedom. A child was not born free in the 
early days of the Roman state, when the p atria 
potestas was a vigorous reality, nor to go yet further 
back, in the times of the Hebrew patriarchs, when 
Abraham had full right of sacrificing his son, and 
Jephthah of sacrificing his daughter. But to speak 
thus is to speak what we do know. Eousseau was 
not open to such testimony. 'My principles,' he 
said in contempt of Grotius, ' are not founded on the 
authority of poets ; they come from the nature of 
things and are based on reason.' 1 He does indeed in 
one place express his reverence for the Judaic law, and 
administers a just rebuke to the philosophic arro- 
gance which saw only successful impostors in the old 
legislators. 2 But he paid no attention to the processes 
and usages of which this law was the organic expres- 
sion, nor did he allow himself to learn from it the 
actual conditions of the social state which accepted it. 
It was Locke, whose essay on civil government 

1 Cont. Soc., I. iv. 2 Cont. Soc., II. vii. 



124 ROUSSEAU. 

haunts us throughout the Social Contract, who had 
taught him that men are born free, equal, and inde- 
pendent, and Locke evaded the difficulty of the 
dependence of childhood by saying that when the 
son comes to the estate that made his father a free- 
man, he becomes a freeman too. 1 What of the old 
Eoman use permitting a father to sell his son three 
times ? In the same metaphysical spirit Locke had 
laid down the absolute proposition that < conjugal 
society is made by a voluntary compact between man 
and woman.' 2 This is true of a small number of 
western societies in our own day, but what of the 
primitive usages of communal marriages, marriages 
by capture, purchase, and the rest? We do not 
mean it as any discredit to writers upon government 
in the seventeenth century that they did not make 
good the necessary want of knowledge about primitive 
communities out of their own consciousness ; but it is 
necessary to point out, first, that they did not realise 
all the knowledge within their reach, and next that, 
as a consequence of this, their propositions had a qua- 
lity that vitiated all their speculative worth. Fil- 
mer's contention that man is not naturally free, was 
truer than the position of Locke and Kousseau, and 
it was so because Filmer consulted and appealed to 
the most authentic of the historic records then acces- 
sible. 3 

1 Ch. vi. (vol. v. 371 ; edit. 1801.) 2 Ch. vii. (p. 383.) 

3 Goguet, in his Origine des Lois, des Arts, et des Sciences (1758), really at- 
tempted, as laboriously as possible, to carry out a notion of the historical method, 
but the fact that history itself at that time had never been subjected to scientific 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 125 

It is the more singular that Eousseau should have 
thus deliberately put aside all but the most arbitrary 
and empirical historical lessons, and it shows the 
extraordinary force with which men may be mastered 
by abstract prepossessions, even when they have a 
partial knowledge of the antidote ; because Eousseau 
in several places not only admits, but insists upon, the 
necessity of making institutions relative to the state 
of the community, in respect of size, soil, manners, 
occupation, morality, character. 'It is in view of 
such relations as these that we must assign to each 
people a particular system, which shall be the best, 
not perhaps in itself, but for the state for which it is 
destined.' l In another place he calls attention to 
manners, customs, above all to opinion, as the part of 
a social system on which the success of all the rest 
depends ; particular rules being only the arching of 
the vault, of which manners, though so much tardier 
in rising, form a key-stone that can never be dis- 
turbed. 2 This was excellent so far as it went, but it 
was one of the many great truths, which men may 
hold in their minds without appreciating their full 
value. He did not see that these manners, customs, 
opinions, have old roots which must be sought in a 



examination, made his effort valueless. He accumulates testimony which 
would be excellent evidence, if only it had been sifted, and had come out of 
the process substantially undiminished. Yet, even Goguet, who thus care- 
fully followed the accounts of early societies given in the bible and other 
monuments, intersperses abstract general statements about man being born 
free and independent (i. 25), and entering society as the result of deliberate 
reflection. 

1 Cont. Soc., II. xi. Also III. viii. * II. xi. Also Oh. viii. 



126 ROUSSEAU. 

historic past ; that they are connected with the con- 
stitution of human nature, and then in turn prepare 
modifications of that constitution. His narrow, sym- 
metrical, impatient humour unfitted him to deal with 
the complex tangle of the history of social growths. 
It was essential to his mental comfort that he should 
be able to see a picture of perfect order and logical 
system at both ends of his speculation. Hence, he 
invented, to begin with, his ideal state of nature, 
and an ideal mode of passing from that to the social 
state; he swept away in his imagination the whole 
series of actual incidents between present and past; 
and he constructed a system which might be imposed 
upon all societies indifferently by a legislator sum- 
moned for that purpose, to wipe out existing uses, 
laws, and institutions, and make afresh a clear and 
undisturbed beginning of national life. The force of 
habit was slowly and insensibly to be substituted for 
that of the legislator's authority, but the existence of 
such habits previously as forces to be dealt with, 
and the existence of certain limits of pliancy in the 
conditions of human nature and social possibility, are 
facts of which the author of the Social Contract takes 
not the least account. 

Eousseau knew hardly any history, and the few 
isolated pieces of old fact which he had picked up in 
his very slight reading, were exactly the most unfor- 
tunate that a student in need of the historic method 
could possibly have fallen in with. The illustrations 
which are scantily dispersed in his pages, and we 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 127 

must remark that they are no more than illustrations 
for conclusions arrived at quite independently of 
them, and not the historical proof and foundations of 
his conclusions, are nearly all from the annals of the 
small states of ancient Greece, and from the earlier 
times of the Eoman republic. We have already 
pointed out to what an extent his imagination was 
struck at the time of his first compositions by the 
tale of Lycurgus. The influence of the same notions 
is still paramount. The hopelessness of giving good 
laws to a corrupt people is supposed to be demon- 
strated by the case of Minos, whose legislation failed 
in Crete because the people for whom he made laws 
were sunk in vices; and by the further example of 
Plato, who refused to give laws to the Arcadians and 
Cyrenians, knowing that they were too rich and 
could never suffer equality. 1 The writer is thinking 
of Plato's Laws, when he says that just as nature has 
fixed limits to the stature of a well-formed man, out- 
side of which she produces giants or dwarfs, so with 
reference to the best constitution for a state, there are 
bounds to its extent, so that it may be neither too 
large to be capable of good government, nor too small 
to be independent and self-sufficing. The further the 
social bond is extended, the more relaxed it becomes, 
and in general a small state is proportionally stronger 
than a large one. 2 In the remarks with which he 
proceeds to corroborate this position, we can plainly 
see that he is privately contrasting an independent 

1 II. viii. 2 n . ^ 



iz8 ROUSSEAU. 

Greek community with the unwieldy oriental monar- 
chy against which at one critical period Greece had 
to contend, and that he had never realised the possi- 
bility of such forms of polity as the Eoman Empire, 
or the half-federal dominion of England which took 
such enormous dimensions in his time, or the great 
confederation of states which came to birth two years 
before he died. He was the servant of his own 
metaphor, as the Greek writers so often were, and his 
argument that a state must be of a moderate size 
because the rightly shapen man is neither dwarf nor 
giant, is exactly on a par with Aristotle's argument to 
the same effect, on the ground that beauty demands 
size, and there must not be too great nor too small size, 
because a ship sails badly if it be either too heavy or 
too light. 1 And when Eousseau supposes the state to 
have ten thousand inhabitants, and in his remarks on 
size of territory, 2 who does not think of the five 
thousand and forty which the Athenian Stranger pre- 
scribed to Cleinias the Cretan as the exactly proper 
number for the perfectly formed state ? 3 The predic- 
tion of the short career which awaits a state that is 
cursed with an extensive and accessible seaboard, 
corresponds precisely with the Athenian Stranger's 
satisfaction that the new city is to be eighty stadia 
from the coast. 4 "When he himself began to think 
about the organization of Corsica, he praised the 
selection of Corte as the chief town of a patriotic 

1 Politics, VII. iv. 8, 10. 2 Cont. Soc., II. x. 

3 Plato's Laws, v. 737. * Laws, iv. 705. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 129 

administration, because it was far from the sea, and so 
its inhabitants would long preserve their simplicity 
and uprightness. 1 And in later years still, when 
meditating upon a constitution for Poland, he pro- 
pounded an economic system essentially Spartan ; the 
people were enjoined to think little about foreigners, 
to give themselves little concern about commerce, to 
suppress stamped paper, and to put a tithe upon the 
land. 2 The chapter on the Legislator is in the same 
region. "We are again referred to Lycurgus ; and to 
the circumstance that Greek towns usually confided to 
a stranger the sacred task of drawing up their laws. 
His experience in Venice, and the history of his native 
town, supplemented the examples of Greece. Geneva 
summoned a stranger to legislate for her, and ' those 
who only look on Calvin as a theologian have a scanty 
idea of the extent of his genius ; the preparation of 
our wise edicts, in which he had so large a part, do 
him as much honour as his Institutes.' 3 Eousseau's 
vision was too narrow to let him see the growth of 
government and laws as a co-ordinate process, flowing 
from the growth of all the other parts and organs of 
society, and advancing in more or less equal step along 
with them. He could begin with nothing short of an 
absolute legislator, who should impose a system from 
without by a single act, a structure hit upon once for 
all by his individual wisdom, not slowly wrought out 
by many minds, with popular assent and co-operation, 

1 Projet de Constitution pour la Corse, p. 75. 
2 Gouvernement de Pologne, ch. xi. 
3 JCont. 8oc., II. vii, 

VOL. II. K 



1 3 o ROUSSEAU. 

at the suggestion of changing social circumstances and 
need. 1 

All this would be of very trifling importance in the 
history of political literature, but for the extraordinary 
influence which circumstances ultimately bestowed 
upon it. The Social Contract was the gospel of the 
Jacobins, and the action of the supreme party in France 
during the first months of the year 1794 is only fully 
intelligible, when we look upon it as the result and 
practical application of Bousseau's teaching. The con- 
ception of the situation entertained by Eobespierre 
and Saint Just was entirely moulded on all this talk 
about the legislators of Greece and Geneva. 'The 
transition of an oppressed nation to democracy is like 
the effort by which nature rose from nothingness to 
existence. You must entirely refashion a people 
whom you wish to make free destroy its prejudices, 
alter its habits, limit its necessities, root up its vices, 
purify its desires. The state therefore must lay hold 
on every human being at his birth, and direct his 
education with powerful hand. Solon's weak con- 
fidence threw Athens into fresh slavery, while 
Lycurgus's severity founded the republic of Sparta 
on an immovable basis.' 2 These words, which came 
from a decree of the Committee of Public Safety, 
might well be taken for an excerpt from the Social 
Contract. The fragments of the institutions by which 

1 Goguet was much nearer to a true conception of this kind : see, for in- 
stance, Origine des Lois, i. 46. 

2 Decree of the committee, April 20, 1794, reported by Billaud-Varennes. 
Compare ch. iv. of Rousseau's Considerations sur le Goiivernemoit de Pologne. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 131 

Saint Just intended to regenerate his country, reveal 
a man with the example of Lycurgus before his eyes 
in every line he wrote. 1 When on the eve of the 
Thermidorian revolution which overthrew him and 
his party, he insisted on the necessity of a dictator- 
ship, he was only thinking of the means by which he 
should at length obtain the necessary power for forcing 
his regenerating projects on the country ; for he knew 
that Eobespierre, whom he named as the man for the 
dictatorship, accepted his projects, and would lend the 
full force of the temporal arm to the propagation 
of ideas which they had acquired together from Jean 
Jacques, and from the Greeks to whom Jean Jacques 
had sent them for example and instruction. 2 No doubt 
the condition of France after 1792 must naturally 
have struck any one too deeply imbued with the spirit 
of the Social Contract to look beneath the surface of 
the society with which the Convention had to deal, as 
urgently inviting a lawgiver of the ancient stamp. All 
the old orders in church and state had been swept away, 

1 Here are some of Saint Just's regulations : No servants, nor gold or 
silver vessels: no child under 16 to eat meat, nor any adult to eat meat on 
three days of the decade : boys at the age of 7 to be handed over to the school 
of the nation, where they were to be brought up to speak little, to endure hard- 
ships, and to train for war : divorce to be free to all : friendship ordained a 
public institution, every citizen on coming to majority being bound to proclaim 
his friends, and if he had none, then to be banished : if one committed a crime, 
his friends were to be banished. Quoted in Von Sybel's Hist. French Rev., 
iv. 49. When Morelly dreamed his dream of a model community in 1754 (see 
above, vol. i. p. 160) he little supposed, one would think, that within forty 
years a man would be so near trying the experiment in France as Saint Just 
was. 

2 I forget where I have read the story of some member of the Convention 
being very angry, because the library contained no copy of the laws which 
Minos gave to the Cretans. 



i j2 ROUSSEAU. 

no organ for the performance of the functions of 
national life were visible, the moral ideas which had 
bound the social elements together in the extinct 
monarchy, seemed to be permanently sapped. A poli- 
tician who had for years been dreaming about Minos 
and Lycurgus and Calvin, especially if he lived in a 
state with such a tradition of centralisation as ruled in 
France, was sure to suppose that here was the scene 
and the moment for a splendid repetition on an im- 
mense scale of those immortal achievements. The 
futility of the attempt was the practical and ever 
memorable illustration of the defect of Eousseau's 
geometrical method. It was one thing to make laws 
for the handful of people who lived in Geneva in the 
sixteenth century, united in religious faith, and 
accepting the same form and conception of the common 
good. It was a very different thing to try to play 
Calvin over some twenty-five millions of a hetero- 
geneously composed nation, abounding in variations of 
temperament, faith, laws, and habits, and weltering in 
unfathomable distractions. The French did indeed at 
length invite a heaven-sent stranger from Corsica to 
make laws for them, but not until he had set his foot 
upon their neck ; and then even he, who had begun 
life like the rest of his generation by writing 
Eousseauite essays, made a swift return to the historic 
method in the equivocal shape of the concordat. 

Not only were Bousseau's schemes of polity con- 
ceived from the point of view of a small territory with 
a limited population. ' You must not,' he says in one 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT, \ 33 

place, i make the abuses of great states an objection 
to a writer who would fain have none but small ones.' 1 
Again, when he said that in a truly free state the 
citizens performed all their services o the community 
with their arms and none by money, and that he 
looked upon the corvee (or compulsory labour on the 
public roads) as less hostile to freedom than taxes, 2 he 
showed that he was thinking of a state not greatly 
passing the dimensions of a parish. This was not the 
only defect of his schemes. They assumed a sort of 
state of nature in the minds of the people with whom 
the lawgiver had to deal. Saint Just made the same 
assumption afterwards, and trusted to his military 
school to erect on these bare plots whatever super- 
structure he might think fit to appoint. A society 
that had for so many centuries been organized and 
moulded by a powerful and energetic church, armed 
with a definite doctrine, fixing the same moral ten- 
dencies in a long series of successive generations, was 
not in the naked mental state which the Jacobins 
postulated, prepared to accept free divorce, the substi- 
tution of friendship for marriage, the displacement of 
the family by the military school, and the other 
articles in Saint Just's programme of social renovation. 
The twelve apostles went among people who were 
morally swept and garnished, and they went armed 
with instruments proper to seize the imagination of 

1 III. xiii. 

2 II L xv. He actually recommended the Poles to pay all public function- 
aries in kind, arid to have the public works executed on the system of corvee. 
Gouvernement de Pologne, ch. xi. 



j 3 4 ROUSSEAU. 

their hearers. All moral reformers seek the ignorant 
and simple, poor fishermen in one scene, < proletaries 
and women ' in another, for the good reason that new 
ideas only make a way on ground that is not already 
too heavily encumbered with prejudices. But France 
in 1793 was in no condition of this kind. Opinion in 
all its spheres was deepened by an old and powerful 
organization, to a degree which made any attempt to 
abolish the opinion, as the organization appeared to 
have been abolished, quite hopeless until the lapse of 
three or four hundred years had allowed due time for 
dissolution. After all it was not until the fourth 
century of our era that the work of even the twelve 
apostles began to tell decisively and quickly. As for 
the Lycurgus of whom the French chattered, if such a 
personality ever existed out of the region of myth, he 
came to his people armed with an oracle from the 
gods, just as Moses did, and was himself regarded as 
having a nature touched with divinity. No such pre- 
tensions could well be made by any French legislator 
within a dozen years or so of the death of Voltaire. 

Let us here remark that it was exactly what strikes 
us as the desperate absurdity of the assumptions of 
the Social Contract, which constituted the power of 
that work, when it accidentally fell into the hands of 
men who surveyed a national system wrecked in all its 
parts. The Social Contract is worked out precisely 
in that fashion which, if it touches men at all, makes 
them into fanatics. Long trains of reasoning, careful 
allegation of proofs, patient admission on every hand 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 135 

of qualifying propositions and multitudinous limita- 
tions, are essential to science, and produce treatises 
that guide the wise statesman in normal times. But 
it is dogma that gives fervour to a sect. There are 
always large classes of minds to whom anything in 
the shape of a vigorously compact system is irresist- 
ibly fascinating, to whom the qualification of a propo- 
sition, or the limitation of a theoretic principle is 
distressing or intolerable. Such persons always come 
to the front for a season in times of distraction, when 
the party that knows its own aims most definitely, is 
sure to have the best chance of obtaining power. 
And Eousseau's method charmed their temperament. 
A man who handles sets of complex facts is neces- 
sarily slow-footed, but one who has only words to 
deal with, may advance with a speed, a precision, a 
consistency, a conclusiveness, that has a magical 
potency over men who insist on having politics and 
theology drawn out in exact theorems like those of 
geometry. Eousseau traces his conclusions from 
words, and developed his system from the interior 
germs of phrases. Like the typical schoolman, he 
assumes that analysis of terms is the right way of 
acquiring new knowledge about things, and mistakes 
the multiplication of propositions for the discovery of 
fresh truth. Many pages of the Social Contract are 
mere logical deductions from verbal definitions, which 
the slightest attempt to confront with actual fact 
would have shown to be not only valueless, but 
wholly meaningless, in connection with real human 



136 ROUSSEAU. 

nature and the visible working of human affairs. 
He looks into the word, or into his own verbal notion, 
and tells us what is to be found in. that, whereas we 
need to be told the marks and qualities that dis- 
tinguish the object which the word is meant to recall. 
Hence arises his habit of setting himself questions, 
with reference to which we cannot say that the 
answers are not true, but only that the questions 
themselves were never worth asking. Here is an 
instance of his method of supposing that to draw 
something from a verbal notion is to find out some- 
thing corresponding to fact. ' We can distinguish in 
the magistrate three essentially different wills : 1st, 
the will peculiar to him as an individual, which only 
tends to his own particular advantage ; 2nd, the com- 
mon will of the magistrates, which refers only to 
the advantage of the prince [i.e. the government], and 
this we may name corporate will, which is general in 
relation to the government, and particular in relation 
to the state of which the government is a part; 3rd, the 
will of the people or sovereign will, which is general, 
as well in relation to the state considered as a whole, 
as in relation to the government considered as part of 
the whole.' l It might be hard to prove that all this 
is not true, but then it is unreal and comes to nothing, 
as we see if we take the trouble to turn it into real 
matter. Thus a member of the British house of 
commons, who is a magistrate in Eousseau's sense, has 
three essentially different wills : first, as a man, Mr. 

1 Cont. Soc., III. ii. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 137 

So-and-so ; second, his corporate will, as member of 
the chamber, and this will is general in relation to 
the legislature, but particular in relation to the whole 
body of electors and peers ; third, his will as a 
member of the great electoral body, which is a 
general will alike in relation to the electoral body and 
to the legislature. An English publicist is perfectly 
welcome to make assertions of this kind, if he chooses 
to do so, and nobody will take the trouble to deny 
them. But they do not correspond to the real com- 
position of a member of parliament, nor do they seem 
to shed the smallest light upon any part either of the 
theory of government in general, or the working of 
our own government in particular. 

Almost the same kind of observation might be made 
of the famous dogmatic statements about sovereignty ; 
as that ' sovereignty 7 being only the exercise of the 
general will, can never be alienated, and the sovereign, 
who is only a collective being, can only be represented 
by himself: the power may be transmitted, but not 
the will ; ' 1 that sovereignty is indivisible, not only 
in principle, but in object ; 2 and the rest. We shall 
have to consider these remarks from another point of 
view. At present we refer to them as illustrating the 
character of the book, as consisting of a number of 
expansions of definitions, analysed as words, not com- 
pared with the facts of which the words are repre- 
sentatives. This way of treating political theory 
enabled the writer to assume an air of certitude and 
i II. i. 2 II. ii. 



138 ROUSSEAU. 

precision, which led narrow deductive minds com- 
pletely captive. Burke poured merited scorn on the 
application of geometry to politics and algebraic 
formulas to government, but it was just this seeming 
demonstration, this measured accuracy, that filled 
Eousseau's disciples with a supreme and undoubting 
confidence, which leaves the modern student of these 
schemes in amazement unspeakable. The thinness of 
Eobespierre's ideas on government ceases to astonish 
us, when we remember that he had not trained himself 
to look upon it as the art of dealing with huge groups 
of conflicting interests, of hostile passions, of hardly 
reconcilable aims, of vehemently opposed forces, but 
had disciplined his political intelligence on such 
meagre and unsubstantial argumentation as this : 
' Let us suppose the state composed of ten thousand 
citizens. The sovereign can only be considered col- 
lectively and as a body ; but each person, in his qua- 
lity as subject, is considered as an individual unit; 
thus the sovereign is to the subject as ten thousand is 
to one ; in other words, each member of the state has 
for his share only the ten-thousandth part of the 
sovereign authority, though he is submitted to it in 
all his own entirety. If the people be composed of 
a hundred thousand men, the condition of the subjects 
does not change, and each of them bears equally the 
whole empire of the laws, while his suffrage, reduced 
to a hundred- thousandth, has ten times less influence 
in drawing them. up. Then, the subject remaining 
still only one, the relation of the sovereign augments 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 139 

in the ratio of the number of the citizens. Whence 
it follows that, the larger the state becomes, the more 
does liberty diminish.' 1 

Apart from these arithmetical conceptions, and the 
deep charm which their assurance of expression had 
for the narrow and fervid minds of which England 
and Germany seem to have got finally rid in ana- 
baptists and fifth monarchy men, but which haunted 
and still haunt France, there were maxims in the Social 
Contract of remarkable convenience for the members 
of a committee of public safety. f How can a blind 
multitude, 7 the writer asks in one place, ' which so 
often does not know its own will, because it seldom 
knows what is good for it, execute of itself an under- 
taking so vast and so difficult as a system of legisla- 
tion ? ' 2 Again, l As nature gives to each man an 
absolute power over all his members, so the social 
pact gives to the body politic an absolute power over 
all its members; and it is this same power which, 
when directed by the general will, bears, as I have 
said, the name of sovereignty.' 3 Above all, the little 
chapter on a dictatorship is the very foundation of the 
position of the Eobespierrists in the few months 
immediately preceding their fall. ' It is evidently the 
first intention of the people that the state should not 
perish,' and so on, with much criticism of the system 
of occasional dictatorships, as they were resorted to in 
old Borne. 4 Yet this does not in itself go much 
beyond the old monarchic doctrine of prerogative, as 

1 Cont. Soc., III. i. 2 II. vi. 3 II. iv. l IV. vi. 



140 ROUSSEAU. 

a corrective for the slowness and want of immediate 
applicability of mere legal processes in cases of state 
emergency, and it is worth, noticing that in spite of 
the shriekings of reaction, the few atrocities of the 
Terror are an almost invisible speck compared with 
the atrocities of Christian churchmen and lawful 
kings, perpetrated in accordance with their notion of 
what constituted public safety. And, as far as Rous- 
seau's intention goes, we find in his writings one of 
the strongest denunciations of the doctrine of public 
safety that is to be found in any of the writings of 
the century. ' Is the safety of a citizen,' he cries, 
1 less the common cause than the safety of the state ? 
They may tell us that it is well that one should perish 
on behalf of all. I will admire such a sentence in 
the mouth of a virtuous patriot, who voluntarily and 
for duty's sake devotes himself to death for the salva- 
tion of his country. But if we are to understand 
that it is allowed to the government to sacrifice an 
innocent person for the safety of the multitude, I hold 
this maxim for one of the most execrable that tyranny 
has ever invented, and the most dangerous that can 
be admitted.' l It may be said that the Terrorists 
did not sacrifice innocent life, but the plea is frivolous 
on the lips of men who proscribed whole classes. You 
cannot justly draw a capital indictment against a class. 
Eousseau, however, cannot fairly be said to have had 
a share in the responsibility for the more criminal 
part of the policy of 1793, any more than the founder 

1 Economic Politique, p. 30. , 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 141 

of Christianity is responsible for the atrocities that 
have been committed by the more ardent worshippers 
of his name, and justified by stray texts caught up 
from the gospels. Helvetius had said, ( All becomes 
legitimate and even virtuous on behalf of the public 
safety.' Eousseau wrote in the margin, ' The public 
safety is nothing, unless all the individuals enjoy 
security.' * The author of a theory is not answerable 
for the applications which may be read into it by the 
passions of men and the exigencies of situation. 
Such applications show this much and no ' more, that 
the theory was constructed with an imperfect consi- 
deration of the qualities of human nature, with too 
narrow a view of the conditions of society, and there- 
fore with an inadequate appreciation of the conse- 
quences which the theory may be drawn to support. 

It is time to come to the central conception of the 
Social Contract, the dogma which made of it for 
a time the gospel of a nation, the memorable 
doctrine of the sovereignty of peoples. Of this 
doctrine Eousseau was assuredly not the inventor, 
though the exaggerated language of some popu- 
lar writers in France leads us to suppose that 
they think of him as nothing less. Even in the 
thirteenth century the constitution of the orders, and 
the contests of the friars with the clergy, had en- 
gendered faintly democratic ways of thinking, and 
among others the great Aquinas had protested against 
the juristic doctrine that the law is the pleasure of the 

1 Melanges, p. 310. 



H2 ROUSSEAU. 

prince. The will of the prince, he says, to be a law 
must be directed by reason ; law is appointed for the 
common good, and not for a special or private good: it 
follows from this that only the reason of the multi- 
tude, or of a prince representing the multitude, can 
make a law. 1 A still more remarkable approach to 
later views was made by Marsilio of Padua, physician 
to Lewis of Bavaria, who wrote a strong book (1324) 
on his master's side, in the great contest between him 
and the pope. Marsilio in the first part of his work 
not only lays down very elaborately the proposition 
that laws ought to be made by the ' universitas civiumj 
but places this sovereignty of the people on the true 
basis (which Rousseau only took for a secondary 
support to his original compact), namely, the greater 
likelihood of laws being obeyed in the first place, and 
being good laws in the second, when they are made 
by the body of the persons affected, because ' no one 
knowingly does hurt to himself, or deliberately asks 
what is unjust, and on that account all or a great 
majority must wish such law as best suits the common 
interest of the citizens. 7 2 Turning from this to the 
Social Contract, or to Locke's essay on Government, 

1 Summa, xc. cviii. (1265 73.) See Maurice's Moral and Metaphysical 
Philosophy, i. 627 8. Also Franck's Reformaleurs et Publicisf.es de V Europe, 
p. 48, etc. 

2 DefensorPacis, Pt. I., ch. xii. This, again, is an example of Marsilio's position : 
'Conveneruntenim homines adcivilem communicntionem propter commodum 
et vitse sufficientiam consequendam, et opposita declinandum. Quse igitur 
omnium tangere possunt commodum et incommodum, ab omnibus sciri debent 
et audiri, nt commodum assequi et oppositum repellere pos.sint.' The whole 
chapter is a most interesting anticipation, partly due to the influence of 
Aristotle, of the notions of later centuries. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 143 

the identity in doctrine and correspondence in dialect 
may teach, us how little veritable originality there can 
be among thinkers who are in the same stage, how a 
metaphysician of the thirteenth century and a meta- 
physician of the eighteenth hit on the same doctrine, 
and how the true classification of thinkers does not 
follow intervals of time, but is fixed by differences of 
method. It is impossible that in the constant play 
of circumstances and ideas in the minds of different 
thinkers, the same combinations of form and colour 
in a philosophic arrangement of such circumstances 
and ideas should not ever and again recur. Signal 
novelties in thought are as limited as signal inventions 
in architectural construction. It is only one of the 
great changes in method, that can remove the limits 
of the old combinations, by bringing new material and 
fundamentally altering the point of view. 

In the sixteenth century there were numerous 
writers who declared the right of subjects to depose 
a bad sovereign, but this position is to be distin- 
guished from Eousseau's doctrine. Thus if we turn 
to the great historic event of 1581, the rejection of 
the yoke of Spain by the Dutch, we find the Declara- 
tion of Independence running, 'that if a prince is 
appointed by God over the land, it is to protect them 
from harm, even as a shepherd to the guardianship of 
his flock. The subjects are not appointed by God for 
the behoof of the prince, but the prince for his sub- 
jects, without whom he is no prince.' This is ob- 
viously divine right, modified by a popular principle, 



144 ROUSSEAU. 

accepted to meet the exigencies of the occasion, and 
justify after the event a measure which was dictated 
by urgent need for practical relief. Such a notion of 
the social compact was still emphatically in the semi- 
patriarchal stage, and is as distinct as can be from the 
dogma of popular sovereignty, as Eousseau under- 
stood it. But it plainly marked a step on the way. 
It was the development of protestant principles, which 
produced and necessarily involved the extreme demo- 
cratic conclusion. Time was needed for their full 
expansion in this sense, but the result could only 
have been avoided by a suppression of the reforma- 
tion, and we therefore count it inevitable. Bodin 
(1577) had defined sovereignty as residing in the 
supreme legislative authority, without further inquiry 
as to the source or seat of that authority, though he 
admits the vague position which even Lewis xiv. 
did not deny, that the object of political society is the 
greatest good of every citizen or the whole state. In 
1603 a protestant professor of law in Germany, 
Althusen by name, published a treatise of Politics, in 
which the doctrine of the sovereignty of peoples was 
clearly formulated, to the. profound indignation both 
of Jesuits and of protestant jurists. 1 Eousseau men- 
tions his name ; 2 it does not appear that he read his 
rather uncommon treatise, but its teaching would 
probably have a place in the traditions of political 
theorizing current at Geneva, to the spirit of whose 

1 See Bayle's Diet., s. v. Althusiu*. 
3 Lettres de la Montayne, I. vi. 388. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 145 

government it was so congenial. Hooker, vindicating 
episcopacy against the democratic principles of the 
puritans, had still been led, apparently by way of the 
ever dominant idea of a law natural, to base civil 
government on the assent of the governed, and had 
laid down such propositions as these : ' Laws they are 
not, which public approbation hath not made so,' 
'Laws therefore human, of what kind soever, are 
available by consent,' and so on. 1 The views of the 
Ecclesiastical Polity were adopted by Locke, and 
became the foundation of the famous essay on Civil 
Grovernment, from which popular leaders in our own 
country drew all their weapons down to the outbreak of 
the French Eevolution. Grotius (1625) starting from 
the principle that the law of nature enjoins that we 
should stand by our agreements, then proceeded to 
assume either an express, or at any rate a tacit and 
implied, promise on the part of all who become mem- 
bers of a community, to obey the majority of the 
body, or a majority of those to whom authority has 
been delegated. 2 This is a unilateral view of the 
social contract, and omits the element of reciprocity 
which in Eousseau's idea was cardinal. 

Locke was Eousseau's most immediate inspirer, and 
the latter affirmed himself to have treated the same 



1 Eccles. Polity, Bk. i. ; bks. i. iv., 1594 ; bk. v., 1597 ; bks. vi. viii., 
1647, being forty-seven years after the author's death. 

2 Goguet (Origine des JLois, i. 22) dwells on tacit conventions, as a kind of 
engagement to which men commit themselves with extreme facility. He was 
thus rather near the true idea of the spontaneous origin and unconscious 
acceptance of early institutions. 

VOL. II. L 



146 ROUSSEAU. 

matters exactly on Locke's principles. Bousseau, 
however, exaggerated Locke's politics as greatly as 
Condillac exaggerated his metaphysics. There was 
the important difference that Locke's essay on Civil 
Government was the justification in theory, of a revo- 
lution which had already been accomplished in 
practice, while the Social Contract, tinged as it was 
by silent reference in the mind of the writer to 
Geneva, was yet a speculation in the air. The circum- 
stances under which it was written, gave to the pro- 
positions of Locke's piece a reserve and moderation 
which savour of a practical origin and a special case. 
They have not the wide scope and dogmatic air and 
literary precision of the corresponding propositions in 
Eousseau. We find in them none of those concise 
phrases which make fanatics. Eut the essential 
doctrine is there. The philosopher of the revolution 
of 1688 probably carried its principles further than 
most of those who helped in the revolution had any 
intention to carry them, when he said that i the legis- 
lature being only a fiduciary power to act for certain 
ends, there remains still in the people a supreme 
power to remove or alter the legislative.' 1 It may be 

1 Of Civil Government, Ch. xiii. See also Ch. xi. < This legislative is not 
only the supreme power of the commonwealth, but sacred and unalterable in 
the hands where the community have once placed it ; nor can any edict of 
anybody else, in what form soever conceived, or by what power soever backed, 
have the force and obligation of a law, which has not its sanction from that 
legislative which the public has chosen and appointed ; for without this the 
law could not have that which is absolutely necessary to its being a law the 
consent of the society ; over whom nobody can have a power to make laws 
but by their own consent, and by authority received from them.' If Rousseau 
had found no neater expression for his doctrine than this, the Social Contract 
would assuredly have been no explosive. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 147 

questioned how many of the peers of that day would 
have assented to the proposition that the people and 
did Locke mean by the people the electors of the 
House of Commons, or all males over twenty-one, or 
all householders paying rates ? could by any expres- 
sion of their will abolish the legislative power of the 
upper chamber, or put an end to the legislative and 
executive powers of the crown. But Locke's state- 
ments are direct enough, though he does not use so 
terse a label for his doctrine as Eousseau affixed to it. 
Again, besides the principle of popular sovereignty, 
Locke most likely gave Eousseau the idea of the origin 
of this sovereignty in the civil state in a pact or con- 
tract, which was represented as the foundation and 
first condition of the civil state. From this naturally 
flowed the connected theory, of a perpetual consent 
being implied as given by the people to each new law. 
We need not quote passages from Locke to demonstrate 
the substantial correspondence of assumption between 
him and the author of the Social Contract. They are 
found in every chapter. 1 Such principles were in- 
dispensable for the defence of a revolution like that 
of 1688, which was always carefully marked out by 
its promoters, as well as by its eloquent apologist and 
expositor a hundred years later, as above all things a 
revolution within the pale of the law or the constitu- 
tion. They represented the philosophic adjustment of 
popular ideas to the political changes wrought by 
shifting circumstances, as distinguished from the 

1 See especially Ch. viii. 

i2 



148 ROUSSEAU. 

biblical or Hebraic method of adjusting such ideas, 
which had prevailed in the contests of the previous 
generation. 

Yet there was in the midst of those contests one 
thinker of the first rank in intellectual power, who 
had constructed a genuine philosophy of government. 
Hobbes' s speculations did not fit in with the theory of 
either of the two bodies of combatants in the civil 
war. They were each in the theological order of 
ideas, and neither of them sought or was able to com- 
prehend the application of philosophic principles to 
their own case or to that of their adversaries. 1 Hebrew 
precedents and bible texts, on the one hand; pre- 
rogative of use, and high church doctrine, on the other. 
Between these, no space for the acceptance of a secular 
and rationalistic theory, covering the whole field of a 
social constitution. Now the influence of Hobbes 
upon Eousseau was very marked, and very singular. 
It resulted in a curious fusion between the premisses 
and the temper of Hobbes, and the conclusions of 
Locke, and this fusion produced that popular absolutism 
of which the Social Contract was the theoretical ex- 
pression, and Jacobin supremacy the practical mani- 
festation. Eousseau borrowed from Hobbes the true 
conception of sovereignty, and from Locke the true 
conception of the ultimate seat and original of 
authority, and of the two together he made the great 
image of the sovereign people. Strike the crowned 

1 Hence the antipathy of the clergy, catholic, episcopalian, and presbyterian, 
to which, as Austin has pointed out (Syst. of Jurisprudence, i. 288, n.), Hobbes 
mainly owes his bad repute. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 149 

head from that monstrous figure which is the frontis- 
piece of the Leviathan, and you have a frontispiece 
that will do excellently well for the Social Contract. 
Apart from a multitude of other obligations, good and 
bad, which Eousseau owed to Hobbes, as we shall 
point out, we may here mention that of the superior 
accuracy of the notion of law in the Social Contract 
over the notion of law in Montesquieu's work. The 
latter begins, as everybody knows, with a definition 
inextricably confused : l Laws are necessary relations 
flowing from the nature of things, and in this sense all 
beings have their laws ; divinity has its laws, the 
material world has its laws, the intelligences superior 
to men have their laws, the beasts have their laws, 
man has his laws. . . There is a primitive reason, and 
laws are the relations to be found between that and 
the different beings, and the relations of these dif- 
ferent beings among one another. 7 1 Eousseau at once 
put aside these divergent meanings, made the proper 
distinction between a law of nature and the imperative 
law of a state, and justly asserted that the one could 
teach us nothing worth knowing about the other. 2 
Hobbes' s phraseology is much less definite than this, 
and shows that he had not himself wholly shaken off 
the same confusion as reigned in Montesquieu's account 
a century later. Eut then Hobbes's account of the true 
meaning of sovereignty was so clear, firm, and compre- 
hensive, as easily to lead any fairly perspicuous student 
who followed him, to apply it to the true meaning 

1 Esprit des Zois, I. i. 2 Cont. Soc., II. vi. 50. 



150 ROUSSEAU. 

of law. And on this head of law not so much fault 
is to be found with Bousseau, as on the head of larger 
constitutional theory. He did not look long enough 
at given laws, and hence failed to seize all their dis- 
tinctive qualities; above all he only half saw, if he 
saw at all, that a law is a command and not a contract, 
because the true view was incompatible with his 
fundamental assumption of contract as the base of the 
social union. 1 But he did at all events grasp the 
quality of generality as belonging to laws proper, and 
separated them justly from what he calls decrees, 
and which we are now taught to name occasional or 
particular commands. 2 This is worth mentioning, 
because it shows that, in spite of his habits of intel- 
lectual laxity, Eousseau was capable, where he had a 
clear-headed master before him, of a very considerable 
degree of precision of thought, always, however, liable 
to fall into error or deficiency for want of abundant 
comparison with bodies of external fact. Let us now 
proceed to some of the central propositions of the 
Social Contract. 

1. The origin of society dates from the moment 
when the obstacles which impede the preservation of 
men in a state of nature, are too strong for such forces 
as each individual can employ in order to keep himself 
in that state. At this point, they can only save them- 
selves by aggregation. Problem : to find a form of 

1 Goguet has the merit of seeing distinctly that command is the essence of law. 

2 Cont. Soc., II. vi. 51 3. See Austin's Jurisprudence, L 95, etc.; also 
Leltres ecrites de la Montagne y I. vi. 380 1. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 151 

association which defends and protects with the whole 
common force the person and property of each asso- 
ciate, and by which, each uniting himself to all, still 
only obeys himself, and remains as free as he was 
before. Solution : a social compact reducible to these 
words, i Each of us places in common his person and 
his whole power under the supreme direction of the 
general will ; and we further receive each member as 
indivisible part of the whole.' This act of association 
constitutes a moral and collective body, a public 
person. 

The practical importance and the mischief of thus 
suffering society to repose on conventions which the 
human will had made, lay in the corollary that the 
human will was competent at any time to unmake 
them, and so to devise all possible changes that fell 
short of unmaking them. This was the root of the 
fatal hypothesis of the dictator, or divinely commis- 
sioned lawgiver. External circumstance and human 
nature alike were passive and infinitely pliable, the 
material out of which the legislator was to devise 
conventions at pleasure, without apprehension as to 
their suitableness either to the conditions of society 
among which they were to work, or to the passions 
and interests of those by whom they were to be carried 
out, and who were supposed to have given assent to 
them. It would be unjust to say that Eousseau 
actually faced this position and took the consequences. 
He expressly says in more places than one that the 
science of government is only a science of combina- 



1 52 ROUSSEAU. 

tions, applications, and exceptions, according to time, 
place, and circumstance. 1 But to base society on 
conventions is to impute an element of arbitrariness to 
these combinations and applications, irrespective of 
the limits inexorably fixed by the nature of things. 
The notion of compact is the main source of all the 
worst vagaries in Bousseau's political speculation. 

It is worth remarking in the history of opinion, that 
there was at this time in France a little knot of thinkers 
who were nearly in full possession of the true view 
of the limits set by the natural ordering of societies to 
the power of convention and the function of the legis- 
lators. Five years after the publication of the Social 
Contract, a remarkable book was written by one of 
the economic sect of the physiocrats, the later of whom, 
though specially concerned with the material interests 
of communities, very properly felt the necessity of 
connecting the discussion of wealth with the assump- 
tion of certain fundamental political conditions, because 
it is impossible to settle any question about wages or 
profits, for instance, until you have first settled whether 
you are assuming the principles of liberty and property. 
This writer with great consistency found the first 
essential of all social order in conformity of positive 
law and institution to those qualities of human nature, 
and their relations with those material instruments of 
life, which, and not convention, were the true origin, 
as they are the actual grounds, of the perpetuation of 

1 See, for instance, letter to Mirabeau (I' ami des hommes), July 26, 1767. 
Corr. y v. 179. The same letter contains his criticism on the good despot of 
the Economists. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 153 

our societies. 1 This was wiser than Bousseau's con- 
ception of the lawgiver as one who should change 
human nature, and take away from man the forces 
that are naturally his own, to replace them by others 
comparatively foreign to him. 2 He once wrote, in a 
letter about Biviere's book, that the great problem in 
politics, which might be compared with the quadrature 
of the circle in geometry, is to find a form of govern- 
ment which shall place law above man. 3 A more 
important problem, and not any less difficult for the 
political theorizer, is to mark the bounds at which the 
authority of the law is powerless or mischievous in 
attempting to control the egoistic or non-social parts of 
man. This problem Eousseau ignored, and that he 



1 rOrdre Naturel et Essentiel des SocieUs Politiques (1767). By Mercier de 
la Riviere. One episode in the life of Mercier de la Riviere is worth recounting, 
as closely connected with the subject we are discussing. Just as Corsicans 
and Poles applied to Rousseau, Catherine of Russia, in consequence of her 
admiration for La Riviere's book, summoned him to Russia to assist her in 
making laws. ' Sir,' said the czarina, ' could you point out to me the best 
means for the good government of a state ? ' ' Madame, there is only one 
way, and that is being just ; in other words, in keeping order and exacting 
obedience to the laws.' ' But on what base is it best to make the laws of an 
empire repose ? ' ' There is only one base, madame : the nature of things and 
of men.' ' Just so ; but when you wish to give laws to a people, what are the 
rules which indicate most surely such laws as are most suitable ? ' 'To give 
or make laws, madame, is a task that God has le.ft to none. Ah, who is the 
man that should think himself capable of dictating laws for beings that he 
does not know, or knows so ill ? And by what right can he impose laws on 
beings whom God has never placed in his hands ? ' 'To what, then, do you 
reduce the science of government ? ' 'To studying carefully, recognising, 
and setting forth, the laws which God has graven so manifestly in the very 
organization of men, when he called them into existence. To wish to go any 
further would be a great misfortune and a most destructive undertaking.' 
' Sir, I am very pleased to have heard what you have to say ; I wish you 
good day.' Quoted from Thiebault's Souvenirs de Berlin, in M. Daire's edition 
of the Physiocrates, ii. 432. 

2 Cont. Soc., II. vii. 3 Corr., v. 181. 



i 5 4 ROUSSEAU. 

should do so was only natural in one who believed 
that man had bound himself by a convention, strictly 
to suppress his egoistic and non-social parts, and who 
based all his speculation on this pact as against the 
force, or the paternal authority, or the will of a 
supreme being, in which other writers founded the 
social union. 

2. The body thus constituted by convention is the 
sovereign. Each citizen is a member of the sovereign, 
standing in a definite relation to individuals qua 
individuals ; he is also as an individual a member of the 
state and subject to the sovereign, of which from the first 
point of view he is a component element. The sovereign 
and the body politic are one and the same thing. 1 

Of the antecedents and* history of this doctrine 
enough has already been said. Its general truth as a 
description either of what is, or what ought to be and 
will be, demands an ampler discussion than there is any 
occasion to conduct here. "We need only point out its 
place as an intermediate dissolvent for which the time 
was most ripe, breaking up the feudal conception of 
political authority as a property of land-ownership, 
noble birth, and the like, and associating it widely 
and simply with the bare fact of participation in any 
form of citizenship in the social union. The later and 
higher idea of every share of political power as a 
function to be discharged for the good of the whole 
body, and not merely as a right to be enjoyed for the 
advantage of its possessor, was a form of thought to 

1 Cont. Sac., I. v., vi., vii. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 155 

which Eousseau did not rise. This does not lessen 
the effectiveness of the blow which his doctrine dealt 
to French feudalism, and which is its main title to 
commemoration in connection with his name. 

The social compact thus made is essentially differ- 
ent from the social compact which Hobbes described 
as the origin of what he calls commonwealths by 
institution, to distinguish them from commonwealths 
by acquisition, that is to say, states formed by con- 
quest or resting on hereditary rule. 'A common- 
wealth,' Hobbes says, < is said to be instituted when a 
multitude of men do agree and covenant, every one 
with every one, that to whatsoever man or assembly 
of men shall be given by the major part the right to 
present the person- of them all, that is to say, to be 
their representative ; every one . . shall authorise all 
the actions and judgments of that man or assembly of 
men, in the same manner as if they were his own, to 
the end to live peaceably among themselves, and be 
protected against other men.' l But Eousseau' s com- 
pact was an act of association among equals, who also 
remained equals. Hobbes's compact was an act of 
surrender on the part of the many to one or a number. 
The first was the constitution of civil society, the 
second was the erection of a government. As nobody 
now believes in the existence of any such compact in 
either one form or the other, it would be superfluous 
to inquire which of the two is the less inaccurate. 
All we need do is to point out that there was this 

1 Leviathan, II., Ch. xviii., Vol. iii. 159 (Moles worth's edition). 



156 ROUSSEAU. 

difference. Eousseau distinctly denied the existence 
of any element of contract in the erection of a govern- 
ment ; there is only one contract in the state, he said, 
and it is that of association. 1 Locke's notion of the 
compact which was the beginning of every political 
society, is indefinite on this point ; he speaks of it 
indifferently as an agreement of a body of free men 
to unite and incorporate into a society, and an agree- 
ment to set up a government. 2 Most of us would 
suppose the two processes to be as nearly identical as 
may be; Eousseau drew a distinction, and from his 
distinction he derived further differences. 

Here, we may remark, is the starting point in the his- 
tory of the ideas of the revolution, of one of the most 
prominent of them all, that of fraternity. If the whole 
structure of society rests on an act of partnership 
entered into by equals on behalf of themselves and 
their descendants for ever, the nature of the union is 
not what it would be, if the members of the union had 
only entered it to place their liberties at the feet of 
some superior power. Society in the one case is a 
covenant of subjection, in the other a covenant of 
social brotherhood. This impressed itself deeply on 
the feelings of men like Eobespierre, who were never 
so well pleased as when they could find for their sen- 
timentalism a covering of neat political logic. The 
same idea of association came presently to receive a still 
more remarkable and momentous extension, when it 
was translated from the language of mere government 

1 Cont. Soc., III. xvi. 2 Civil Government, Ch. viii. 99. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 157 

into that of the economic organization of communi- 
ties. Kousseau's conception went no further than 
political association, as distinct from subjection. 
Socialism, which came by and by to the front place, 
carried the idea to its fullest capacity, and presented 
all the relations of men with one another as fixed by 
the same bond. Men had entered the social union as 
brethren, equal, and co-operators, not merely for pur- 
poses of government, but for purposes of mutual suc- 
cour in all its aspects, including the most important 
of all, material production. They were not associated 
merely as equal participants in political sovereignty, 
but as equal participants in all the rest of the increase 
made to the means of human happiness by united 
action. Socialism is the transfer of the principle of 
fraternal association from politics, where Eousseau 
left it, to the wider sphere of industrial force. 

It is perhaps worth notice that another famous revolu- 
tionary term belongs to the same source. All the asso- 
ciates of this act of union, becoming members of the 
city, are as such to be called citizens, as participating 
in the sovereign authority. 1 The term was in fami- 
liar use enough among the French in their worst days, 
but it was Eousseau' s sanction which marked it in the 
new times with a sort of sacramental stamp. It came 
naturally to him, because it was the name of the first 
of the two classes which constituted the active portion 
of the republic of Geneva, and the only class whose 
members were eligible to the chief magistracies. 

1 I. vi. Especially the foot-note. 



158 ROUSSEAU. 

3. We next have a group of propositions setting 
forth the attributes of sovereignty. It is inalienable. 1 
This follows from the fact that sovereignty is the 
exercise of the general will, and that the collective 
being which constitutes the sovereign, can only be 
represented by itself. Power may be transmitted, 
but not will. If a people promises simply to obey, it 
dissolves itself by the very act ; the moment there is 
a master, there is no longer a people. This of course 
is no more than a consequence already contained in 
the original definition. Secondly, the sovereignty is 
indivisible. The publicists who split sovereignty into 
legislative power and executive power, into right of 
taxation, of peace and war, of judiciary, into home 
administration and dealings with foreign powers, are- 
like one who should divide a man into a number of 
bodies, one with eyes, another with arms, a third with 
feet, and nothing besides. All this comes of mistak- 
ing for parts of the sovereign authority, what are in 
truth only emanations from it. The rights that 
people take for parts of this sovereignty, are all subor- 
dinate to it, and always imply supreme wills to which 
these rights only give execution. 2 

These two propositions, which play such a part in 
the history of some of the episodes of the French 
Eevolution, contain no more than was contended for 
by Hobbes, and has been accepted in our own times 

1 Cont. Soc., II. i. 

2 II. ii. ' The sovereignty resides in the people, it is one and indivisible, 
imprescriptible, and inalienable.' Robespierre's Declaration des droits de 
Vhomme, 25. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 



J 59 



by Austin. When Hobbes says that i to the laws which 
the sovereign maketh, the sovereign is not subject, 
for if he were subject to the civil laws he were sub- 
ject to himself, which were not subjection but freedom,' 
his notion of sovereignty is exactly that expressed by 
Rousseau in his unexplained dogma of the inalienable- 
ness of sovereignty. So Rousseau means no more by 
the dogma that sovereignty is indivisible, than Austin 
meant when he declared of the doctrine that the 
legislative sovereign powers and the executive sove- 
reign powers belong in any society to distinct parties, 
that it is a supposition too palpably false to endure a 
moment's examination. * The way in which this 
account of the indivisibleness of sovereignty was 
understood during the revolution, twisted it into a 
condemnation of the dreaded idea of federalism. It 
might just as well have been interpreted to condemn 
alliances between nations ; for the properties of sove- 
reignty are clearly independent of the dimensions of 
the sovereign unit. Another effect of this doctrine 
was the rejection by the Constituent Assembly of the 
balanced parliamentary system, which the followers of 
Montesquieu would fain have introduced on the Eng- 
lish model. Whether that was an evil or a good, 
publicists will long continue to dispute. 

4. The general will of the sovereign upon an object 
of common interest is expressed in a law. Only the 
sovereign can possess this law-making power, because 
no one but the sovereign has the right of declaring 

1 Syst. of Jurisprudence, i. 256. 



160 ROUSSEAU. 

the general will. The legislative power cannot be 
exerted by delegation or representation. The 
English fancy that they are a free nation, but they 
are grievously mistaken. They are only free during 
the election of members of parliament ; the members 
once chosen, the people are slaves, nay, as people 
they have ceased to exist. 1 It is impossible for the 
sovereign to act, except when the people are assem- 
bled. Besides such extraordinary assemblies as un- 
foreseen events may call for, there must be fixed 
periodical meetings that nothing can interrupt or 
postpone. Do you call this chimerical? Then you 
have forgotten the Eoman comitia, as well as such 
gatherings of the people as those of the Macedonians 
and the Franks and most other nations in their 

1 Cont. Soc.y III. xv. 137. Tt was not long, however, before Rousseau found 
reason to alter his opinion in this respect. The champions of the Council at 
Geneva compared the droit negatif, in the exercise of which the Council had 
refused to listen to the representations of Rousseau's partisans (see above, p. 
103), to the right of veto possessed by the crown in Great Britain. Rousseau 
seized upon this egregious blunder, which confused the power of refusing 
assent to a proposed law, with the power of refusing justice under law already 
passed. He at once found illustrations of th,e difference, first in the case of 
the printers of No. 45 of the North Briton, who brought actions for false 
imprisonment (1763), and next in the proceedings against Wilkes at the same 
time. If Wilkes, said Rousseau, had written, printed, published, or said, one- 
fourth against the lesser Council at Geneva of what he said, wrote, printed, 
and published openly in London against the court and the government, he 
would have been heavily punished, and most likely put to death. And so 
forth, until he has proved very pungently how different degrees of freedom 
are enjoyed in Geneva and in England. Lettres ecrites de la Montagne, ix. 491 
500. When he wrote this he was unaware that the Triennial Act had long 
been replaced by the Septennial Act of the 1 Geo. I. On finding out, as he 
did afterwards, that a parliament could sit for seven years, he thought as 
meanly of our liberty as ever. Considerations stir legouvcrnement dePologne, Ch. 
vii. 253, 260. In his Projet de Constitution pour la Corse, p. 113, he says that 
' the English do not love liberty for itself, but because it is most favourable to 
money-making.' 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 161 

primitive times. What lias existed is certainly 
possible. 1 

It is very curious that Eousseau in this part of his 
subject should have contented himself with going 
back to Macedonia and Kome, instead of pointing to 
the sovereign states that have since become confede- 
rate with his native republic. A historian in our own 
time has described with an enthusiasm that equals 
that of the Social Contract, how he saw the sovereign 
people of Uri and the sovereign people of Appenzell 
discharge the duties of legislation and choice of exe- 
cutive, each in the majesty of its corporate person. 2 
That Eousseau was influenced by the free sovereignty 
of the states forming the confederation, as well as by 
that of his own city, we may well believe. Whether he 
was or not, it must always be counted a serious misfor- 
tune that a writer who was destined to exercise such 
power in a crisis of the history of a great nation, should 
have chosen his illustrations from a time and from so- 
cieties so remote, that the true conditions of their poli- 
tical system could not possibly, in the backward state 
of contemporary criticism of the past, be understood 
with any approach to reality, while there were, within 
a few leagues of his native place, communities where 
the system of a sovereign public in his own sense 
was actually alive and flourishing and at work, and 
from which the full meaning of his theories might 
have been practically gathered, and whatever useful 

1 III., xi., xii., andxiii. 

2 Mr. Freeman's Growth of the English Constitution, c. L 

VOL. II. M 



1 62 ROUSSEAU. 

lessons lay at the bottom of them have been made plain. 
As it was, it came to pass singularly enough that the 
effect of the Trench Eevolution was the suppression, 
happily only for a time, of the only governments in 
Europe where the doctrine of the favourite apostle 
of the Eevolution was a reality. The constitution of 
the Helvetic republic in 1798 was as bad a blow to 
the sovereignty of peoples in a true sense, as the old 
house of Austria or Charles of Burgundy could ever 
have dealt. That constitution, moreover, was directly 
opposed to the Social Contract in setting up what it 
called representative democracy, for representative 
democracy was just what Eousseau steadily maintained 
to be a nullity and a delusion. 

The only lesson which the Social Contract contained 
for a statesman bold enough to take into his hands 
the reconstruction of France, undoubtedly pointed in 
the direction of confederation. At one place, where 
he became sensible of the impotence which his assump- 
tion of a small state inflicted on his whole speculation, 
Eousseau said he would presently show how the good 
order of a small state might be united to the external 
power of a great people, and though he never did 
this, he hints in a foot-note that his plan belonged to 
the theory of confederations, of which the principles 
were still to be established. 1 When he gave advice 

1 Cont. Soc., III. xv. 140. A small manuscript containing his ideas on 
confederation was given by Rousseau to the count d'Antraigues (afterwards 
an emigre], who destroyed it in 1789, lest its arguments should be used to sap 
the royal authority. See extract from his pamphlet, prefixed to M. Auguis's 
edition of the Social Contract, pp. xxiii iv. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 163 

for the renovation of the wretched constitution of 
Poland, he insisted above all things that they should 
apply themselves to extend and perfect the system of 
federate governments, 'the only one that unites in 
itself all the advantages of great and small states.' * 
A very few years after the appearance of his book, the 
great American union of sovereign states arose to point 
this political moral. The French revolutionists missed 
the force alike of the practical example abroad, and of 
the theory of the book which they took for gospel at 
home. How far they were driven to this by the 
urgent pressure of foreign war, or whether they 
would have followed the same course without that 
interference, merely in obedience to the catholic and 
monarchic absolutism which had sunk so much deeper 
into French character than people have been willing 
to admit, we cannot tell. The fact remains that the 
Jacobins, Eousseau's immediate disciples, at once took 
up the chain of centralised authority where it had 
been broken off by the ruin of the monarchy. They 
caught at the letter of the dogma of a sovereign 
people, and lost its spirit. They missed^ the germ of 
truth in Eousseau's scheme, namely, that for order 
and freedom and just administration the unit ^of a 
state should not be too large to admit of the participa- 
tion of the persons concerned, in the management of 
their own public affairs. If they had realised this 
and applied it, either by transforming the old 
monarchy into a confederacy of sovereign provinces, 

1 Gouvernement de Pologne, v. 246. 
M2 



T 64 JIQUSSEAU. 

or by some less sweeping modification of the old 
centralised scheme of government, they might have 
saved France. 1 But, once more, men interpret a 
political treatise on principles which either come to 
them by tradition, or else spring suddenly up from 
roots of passion. 2 

5. The government is the minister of the sovereign. 
It is an intermediate body set up between sovereign 
and subjects for their mutual correspondence, charged 
with the execution of the laws and the maintenance 
of civil and political freedom. The members com- 
prising it are called magistrates or kings, and to the 
whole body so composed, whether of one or of more 
than one, is given the name of prince. If the whole 
power is centred in the hands of a single magistrate, 
from whom all the rest hold their authority, the 
government is called a monarchy. If there are more 
persons simply citizens than there are magistrates, 
this is an aristocracy. 3 If more citizen-magistrates 
than simple private citizens, that is a democracy. 

1 Of course no such modification as that proposed by Comte (Politique 
Positive, iv. 421) would come within the scope of the doctrine of the Social 
Contract. For each of the seventeen Intendances into which he divides France, 
is to be ruled by a chief, ' always appointed and removed by the central 
power.' There is no room for the sovereignty of the people here, even in 
things parochial. 

2 There was one extraordinary instance during the Revolution of attempt- 
ing to make popular government direct on Rousseau's principle, in the scheme 
(1790) of which Danton was a chief supporter, for reorganizing the muni- 
cipal administration of Paris. The assemblies of sections were to sit perma- 
nently ; their vote was to be taken on current questions ; and action was to 
follow the aggregate of their decrees. See Von Sybel's Hist. Fr. Bev., i. 275. 
M. Louis Blanc's History, Bk. III., ch. ii. 

3 This was also Bodin's definition of an aristocratic state ; ' si minor pars 
civium cseteris imperat.' 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 165 

The last government is as a general rule best fitted for 
small states, and the first for large ones- on the 
principle that the number of the supreme magistrates 
ought to be in the inverse ratio of that of the citizens. 
But there is a multitude of circumstances which may 
furnish reasons for exceptions to this general rule. 

This common definition of the three forms of 
governments according to the mere number of the 
participants in the chief magistracy, though adopted 
by Hobbes and other writers, is certainly inadequate 
and uninstructive, without some further qualifica- 
tion, such as Aristotle, for instance, furnishes, when 
he refers to the interests in which the government is' 
carried on, whether the interest of a small body or of 
the whole of the citizens. 1 Montesquieu's well-known 
division, though logically faulty, still has the merit 
of pointing to conditions of difference among forms of 
government, outside of and apart from the one fact of 
the number of the sovereign. To divide governments, 
as Montesquieu did, into republics, monarchies, and 
despotisms, was to use two principles of division, first 
the number of the sovereign, 'and next something 
else, namely, the differ ence between a constitutional 
and an absolute monarch. Then he returned to the 
first principle of division, and separated a republic 
into a government of all, which is a democracy, and a 
government by a part, which is aristocracy^ Still, to 
have introduced the element of law-abidingness in the 

1 Politics, III. vi. vii. 

2 Esprit des Lois, II. i. ii. 



1 66 ROUSSEAU. 

chief magistracy, whether of one or more, was to 
have called attention to the fact that no single distinc- 
tion is enough to furnish us with a conception of the 
real and vital differences which may exist between 
one form of government and another. 1 

The important fact about a government lies quite 
as much in the qualifying epithet which is to be 
affixed to any one of the three names, as in the name 
itself. We know nothing about a monarchy, until we 
have been told whether it is absolute or constitutional ; 
if absolute, whether it is administered in the interests 
of the realm, like that of Prussia under Frederick 
the Great, or in the interests of the ruler, like that of 
an Indian principality under a native prince ; if consti- 
tutional, whether the real power is aristocratic, as in 
Great Britain a hundred years ago, or plutocratic, as 
in Great Britain to-day, or popular, as it may be here a 
hundred years hence. And so with reference to each 
of the other two forms ; neither name gives us any in- 
struction, except of a merely negative kind, until it has 
been made precise by one or more explanatory epi- 
thets. What is the common quality of the old Eoman 
republic, the republics of the Swiss confederation, the 
republic of Venice, the American republic, the re- 
public of Mexico ? Plainly the word republic has no 

1 Kousseau gave the name of tyrant to a usurper of royal authority in a 
kingdom, and despot to a usurper of the sovereign authority (i.e., rvpavvoq in 
the Greek sense). The former might govern according to the laws, but the 
latter placed himself above the laws. (Cont. Soc., III. x.) This corresponded 
to Locke's distinction : ' As usurpation is the exercise of power which ano- 
ther hath a right to, so tyranny is the exercise of a power beyond right, which 
nobody can have a right to.' Civil Gov., Ch. xviii. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 167 

further effect beyond that of excluding the idea of a 
ruling dynasty. 

Eousseau is perhaps less open to this kind of criti- 
cism than other writers on political theory, for the 
reason that he distinguishes the constitution of the 
state from the constitution of the government. The 
first he settles definitely. The whole body of the 
people is to be sovereign, and to be endowed alone 
with what he conceived as the only genuinely legis- 
lative power. The only question which he considers 
open, is as to the form in which the delegated executive 
authority shall be organized. Democracy, the imme- 
diate government of all by all, he rejects as too 
perfect for men ; it requires a state so small that each 
citizen knows all the others, manners so simple that 
the business may be small and the mode of discussion 
easy, equality of rank and fortune so general as not to 
allow of the overriding of political equality by ma- 
terial superiority, and so forth. 1 Monarchy labours 
under a number of disadvantages which are tolerably 
obvious. ' One essential and inevitable defect, which 
must always place monarchic below republican govern- 
ment, is that in the latter the public voice hardly ever 
promotes to the first places any but capable and 
enlightened men who fill them with honour ; whereas 
those who get on in monarchies, are for the most part 
small busybodies, small knaves, small intriguers, in 
whom the puny talents which are the secret of reach- 
ing substantial posts in courts, only serve to show 

i III. iv. 



1 68 ROUSSEAU. 

their stupidity to the public as soon as they have made 
their way to the front. The people is far less likely 
to make a blunder in a choice of this sort, than the 
prince, and a man of true merit is nearly as rare in 
the ministry, as a fool at the head of the government 
of a republic.' l There remains aristocracy. Of this 
there are three sorts, natural, elective, and hereditary. 
The first can only thrive among primitive folk, while 
the third is the worst of all governments. The second 
is the best, for it is aristocracy properly so called. If 
men only acquire rule in virtue of election, then 
purity, enlightenment, experience, and all the other 
grounds of public esteem and preference, become so 
many new guarantees that the administration shall be 
wise and just. It is the best and most natural order 
that the wisest should govern the multitude, provided 
you are sure they will govern the multitude for its 
advantage, and not for their own. If aristocracy of 
this kind requires one or two virtues less than a 
popular executive, it also demands others which are 
peculiar to itself, such as moderation in the rich, and 
content in the poor. For this form comports with a 
certain inequality of fortune, for the reason that it is 
well that the administration of public affairs should be 
confided to those who are best able to give their whole 
time to it. At the same time it is of importance that 
an opposite choice should occasionally teach the people 
that in the merit of men there are more momentous 
reasons of preference than wealth. 2 

1 III. vi. 2 III. v. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 169 

Bousseau, as we have seen, had pronounced English 
liberty to be no liberty at all, save during the few 
days once in seven years when the elections to parlia- 
ment take place. Yet this scheme of an elective 
aristocracy was in truth a very near approach to the 
English form as it is theoretically presented in our 
own day, with a suffrage gradually becoming uni- 
versal. If the suffrage were universal, and if its 
exercise took place once a year, our system, in spite of 
the now obsolescent elements of hereditary aristocracy 
and nominal monarchy, would be as close a realisation 
of the scheme of the Social Contract as any repre- 
sentative system permits. If Bousseau had further 
developed his notions of confederation, the United 
States would most have resembled his type. 

6. What is to be the attitude of the state in respect 
of religion? Certainly not that prescribed by the 
policy of the middle ages. The separation of the 
spiritual from the temporal power, indicated by Jesus 
Christ, and developed by his followers in the course of 
many subsequent generations, was in Bousseau's eyes 
most mischievous, because it ended in the ^subordina- 
tion of the temporal power to the spiritual, which is 
incompatible with an efficient polity. Even the kings 
of England, though they style themselves heads of the 
church, are really its ministers and servants. 1 

The last allegation evinces Bousseau' s usual igno- 
rance of history, and need not be discussed, any more 
than his proposition on which he lays so much stress, 

1 Cont. Soc., IV. viii. 



1 7 o ROUSSEAU. 

that Christians cannot possibly be good soldiers, nor 
truly good citizens, because their hearts being fixed 
upon another world, they must necessarily be indif- 
ferent to the success or failure of such enterprises as 
they may take up in this. 1 In reading the Social Con- 
tract, and some other of the author's writings besides, 
we have constantly to interpret the direct, positive, 
categorical form of predication into something of this 
kind ' such and such consequences ought logically 
to follow from the meaning of the name, or the defini- 
tion of a principle, or from such and such motives.' The 
change of this moderate form of provisional assertion 
into the unconditional statement that such and such 
consequences have actually followed, constantly lands 
the author in propositions which any reader who tests 
them by an appeal to the experience of mankind, 
written and unwritten, at once discovers to be false. 
Eousseau himself took less trouble to verify his con- 
clusions by such an appeal to experience, than any 
writer that ever lived in a scientific age. The other 
remark to be made on the above section is that the 
rejection of the Christian or ecclesiastical division of 
the powers of the church and the powers of the state, 
is the strongest illustration that could be found of the 
debt of Eousseau' s conception of a state to the old 
pagan conception. It was the main characteristic of 
the polities which Christian monotheism and feudalism 
together succeeded in replacing, to recognise no such 
division as that between church and state, pope and 

1 Ib., pp. 197201. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 171 

emperor. Bousseau resumed the old conception. But 
he adjusted it in a certain degree to the spirit of his 
own time, and imposed certain philosophical limita- 
tions upon it. His scheme is as follows. 

Beligion, he says, in its relation to the state, may 
be considered as of three kinds. First, natural religion, 
without temple, altar, or rite, the true and pure 
theism of the natural conscience of man. Second, 
local, civil, or positive religion, with dogmas, rites, 
exercises ; a theology of a primitive people, exactly 
co- extensive with all the rights and all the duties of 
men. Third, a religion like the Christianity of the 
Eomish church, which gives men two sets of laws, 
two chiefs, two countries, submits them to contra- 
dictory duties, and prevents them from being able to 
be at once devout and patriotic. The last of these is 
so evidently pestilent, as to need no discussion. The 
second has the merit of teaching men to identify duty 
to their gods with duty to their country ; under this, 
to die for the land is martyrdom, to break its laws 
impiety, and to subject a culprit to public execration 
is to devote him to the anger of the gods. But it is 
bad, because it is at bottom a superstition, and because 
it makes a people sanguinary and intolerant. The 
first of all, which is now styled a Christian theism, 
having no special relation with the body politic, adds 
no force to the laws. There are many particular 
objections to Christianity flowing from the fact of its 
not being a kingdom of this world, and this above 
all, that Christianity only preaches servitude and 



172 ROUSSEAU. 

dependence. 1 What then is to be done ? The sove- 
reign must establish a purely civil profession of faith. 
It will consist of the following positive dogmas : the 
existence of a divinity, powerful, intelligent, benefi- 
cent, and foreseeing ; the life to come ; the happiness 
of the just, the chastisement of the wicked; the 
sanctity of the social contract and the laws. These 
articles of belief are imposed not as dogmas of religion 
exactly, but as sentiments of sociability. If any one 
declines to accept them, he ought to be exiled, not for 
being impious, but for being unsociable, incapable of 
sincere attachment to the laws, or of sacrificing his 
life to his duty. If any one, after publicly recognising 
these dogmas, carries himself as if he did not believe 
them, let him be punished by death, for he has com- 
mitted the worst of crimes, he has lied before the 
laws. 2 

Eousseau thus, unconsciously enough, brought to its 
climax that reaction against the absorption of the state 
in the church which had first taken a place in literature 
in the controversy between legists and canonists, and had 
found its most famous illustration in the De Monarchia 
of the divine poet of Catholicism. The division of two 
co-equal realms, one temporal, the other spiritual, was 
replaced in the Genevese thinker by what he admitted 



1 This is not unlike what De Tocqueville says somewhere, that Christianity 
bids you render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, but seems to dis- 
courage any inquiry whether Caesar is an usurper or a lawful ruler. 

2 Cont. .Soc., IV. viii. 203. As we have already seen, he had entreated 
Voltaire, of all men in the world, to draw up a civil profession of faith. See 
vol. i. 326. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 173 

to be c pure Hobbism.' This, the rigorous subordina- 
tion of the church to the state, was the end, so far as 
France went, of the speculative controversy which had 
occupied Europe for so many ages, as to the respective 
powers of pope and emperor, of positive law and law 
divine ; and the famous civil constitution of the clergy 
(1790), which was the expression of Eousseau's prin- 
ciple as formulated by his disciples in the Constituent 
Assembly, was the revolutionary conclusion to the 
world-wide dispute, whose most melodramatic episode 
had been the scene in the courtyard of Canossa. 

The memorable prescription, banishing all who 
should not believe in a god, or a future state, or in 
rewards and punishments for the deeds done in the 
body, and putting to death any who, after subscribing 
to the required profession, should seem no longer to 
hold it, has naturally created a very lively horror in a 
tolerant generation, some of whose finest spirits have 
rejected deliberately and finally the articles of belief, 
without which they could not have been suffered to 
exist in Eousseau's state. It seemed to contemporaries, 
who were enthusiastic above all things for humanity 
and infinite tolerance, these being the prizes of the long 
conflict which they hoped they were completing, to be 
a return to the horrors of the holy office. Men were 
as shocked as the modern philosopher is, when he 
finds the greatest of the followers of Socrates imposing 
in his latest piece the penalty of imprisonment for five 
years, to be followed in case of obduracy by death, on 
one who should not believe in the gods set up for the 



174 ROUSSEAU. 

state by the lawmaker. 1 And we can hardly comfort 
ourselves, as Milton did about Plato, who framed laws 
which no city ever yet received, and ' fed his fancy 
with making many edicts to his airy burgomasters, 
which they who otherwise admire him, wish had been 
rather buried and excused in the genial cups of an 
academic night-sitting.' 2 Eousseau's ideas fell among 
men who were most potent and corporeal burgo- 
masters. In the winter of 1793 two parties in Paris 
stood face to face ; the rationalistic, Yoltairean party 
of the commune, named improperly after Hebert, but 
whose best member was Chaumette, and the senti- 
mental, Eousseauite party, headed by Eobespierre. 
The first had industriously desecrated the churches, 
and consummated their revolt against the gods of the 
old time by the public worship of the goddess of 
reason, who was prematurely set up for deity of the 
new. Eobespierre retaliated with the mummeries 
of the festival of the supreme being, and protested 
against atheism as the crime of aristocrats. Presently 
the atheistic party succumbed. Chaumette was not 
directly implicated in the proceedings which led to 
their fall, but he was by and by accused of conspiring 
with Hebert, Clootz, and the rest, 'to destroy all 
notion of divinity and base the government of France 
on atheism. 7 ' They attack the immortality of the 
soul,' cried Saint Just, ' the thought which consoled 
Socrates in his dying moments, and their dream is to 

1 Plato's Laws, Bk. x. 909, etc. 

2 Areopagitica, p. 417. (Edit. 1867.) 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 



'75 



raise atheism, into a worship.' And this was the 
offence, technically and officially described, for which 
Chaumette and Clootz were sent to the guillotine 
(April, 179 i), strictly on the principle which had been 
laid down in the Social Contract, and accepted by 
Eobespierre. 1 

It would have been odd in any writer less possessed 
with the infallibility of his own dreams than Eousseau 
was, that he should not have seen the impossibility in 
anything like the existing conditions of human nature, 
of limiting the profession of civil faith to the three or 
four articles which happened to constitute his own 
belief. Having once granted the general position that 
a citizen may be required to profess some religious 
faith, there is no speculative principle, and there is no 
force in the world, which can fix any bound to the 
amount or kind of religious faith which the state has 
the right thus to exact. Eousseau said that a man 
was dangerous to the city who did not believe in god, 
a future state, and divine reward and retribution ; but 
Calvin thought a man dangerous who did not believe 
both that there is only one god, and also that there are 
three gods. And so Chaumette went to the scaffold, 
and Servetus to the stake, on the one common princi- 
ple that the civil magistrate is concerned with heresy. 
And Hebert was only following out the same doctrine 
in a mild and equitable manner, when he insisted on 
preventing the publication of a book in which the 

1 See a speech of his, which is Rousseau's ' civil faith ' done into rhetoric, 
given in M. Louis Blanc's Hist, de la Rev. JFran^aise, Bk. x. c. xiv. 



176 ROUSSEAU. 

author professed his belief in a god. A single step in 
the path of civil interference with opinion leads you 
the whole way. 

The history of the protestant churches is enough to 
show the pitiable futility of the proviso for religious 
tolerance with which Eousseau closed his exposition. 
' If there is no longer an exclusive national religion, 
then every creed ought to be tolerated which tolerates 
other creeds, so long as it contains nothing contrary to 
the duties of the citizen. But whoever dares to say, 
Out of the church, no salvation, ought to be banished 
from the state.' The reason for which Henry iv. 
embraced the Eoman religion namely, that in that 
he might be saved, in the opinion alike of protestants 
and catholics, whereas in the reformed faith, though 
he was saved according to protestants, yet according 
to catholics he was necessarily damned, ought to 
have made every honest man, and especially every 
prince, regret it. It was the more curious that Eous- 
seau did not see the futility of drawing the line of 
tolerance at any given set of dogmas, however simple 
and slight and acceptable to himself they might be, 
because he invited special admiration for D'Argenson's 
excellent maxim that ' in the republic everybody is 
perfectly free in what does not hurt others,' * a 
maxim which has very little significance and no value, 
unless we interpret it as giving entire liberty of 
opinion, because no opinion whatever can hurt others, 

1 Considerations sur le gouvernement ancien et present de la France (1764). 
Quoted by Eousseau from a manuscript copy. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 177 

until it manifests itself in act, including of course 
speech, which is a kind of act. Eousseau admitted 
that over and above the profession of civil faith, a 
citizen might hold what opinions he pleased, in entire 
freedom from the sovereign's cognisance or jurisdic- 
tion, < for as the sovereign has no competence in the 
other world, the fate of subjects in that is not his 
affair, provided they are good citizens in this.' But 
good citizenship consists in doing or forbearing from 
certain actions, and to punish on the inference that 
forbidden action is likely to follow from the rejection 
of a set of opinions, or to exact a test oath of adherence 
to such opinions on the same principle, is to concede 
the whole theory of civil intolerance, however little 
Eousseau may have realised the perfectly legitimate 
applications of his doctrine. It was an unconscious 
compromise. He was thinking of Calvin in practice 
and Hobbes in theory, and he was at the same time 
influenced by the moderate spirit of his time, and the 
comparatively reasonable character of his personal 
belief. He praised Hobbes as the only author who 
had seen the right remedy for the conflict of the spiri- 
tual and temporal jurisdictions, by proposing to unite 
the two heads of the eagle, and reducing all to political 
unity, without which never will either state or govern- 
ment be duly constituted. But Hobbes was consistent 
without flinching. He refused to set limits to the 
religious prescriptions which a sovereign might im- 
pose, for ' even when the civil sovereign is an infidel, 
every one of his own subjects that resisteth him, 

VOL. II. N 



178 ROUSSEAU. 

sinneth against the laws of God (for such are the 
laws of nature), and rejecteth the counsel of the 
apostles, that admonisheth all Christians to obey their 
princes. . . And for their faith, it is internal and 
invisible : they have the licence that ISTaaman had, and 
need not put themselves into danger for it; but if 
they do, they ought to expect their reward in heaven, 
and not complain of their lawful sovereign.' * All 
this flowed from the very idea and definition of sove- 
reignty, which Eousseau accepted from Hobbes, as we 
nave already seen. Such consequences, however, stated 
in these bold terms, must have been highly revolting 
to Rousseau, who could not assent to an exercise of 
sovereignty which might be atheistic, mahometan, or 
anything else unqualifiedly monstrous. He failed to 
see the folly of trying to unite the old notions of a- 
Christian commonwealth with what was fundamentally 
his own notion of a commonwealth after the ancient 
type. He stripped the pagan republics which he took 
for his model, of their national and official polytheism, 
and he put on in its stead a scanty remnant of theism 
slightly tinged with Christianity. Then he practically 
accepted Hobbes's audacious bidding to the man who 
should not be able to accept the state creed, to go 
courageously to martyrdom, and leave the land in 
peace. For the modern principle, which was con- 
tained in D'Argenson's saying previously quoted, that 
the civil power does best absolutely and unreservedly 
to ignore spirituals, he was not prepared either by his 

1 Leviathan t eh. xliiL 601. Also ch_ xliL 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 179 

emancipation from the theological ideas of his youth, 
or by his observation of the working and tendencies 
of systems, which involved the state in some more or 
less close relations with the church^ either as superior, 
equal, or subordinate. Every test is sure to insist on 
mental independence ending exactly where the specu- 
lative curiosity of the time is most intent to begin. 

Let us now shortly confront Eousseau's ideas with, 
some of the propositions belonging to another method 
of approaching the philosophy of government, that 
have for their key-note the conception of expediency 
or convenience, and are tested by their conformity 
to the observed and recorded experience of mankind. 
According to this method, the ground and origin, of 
society is not a compact, which never existed in any 
known case, and never was a condition of obligation 
either in primitive or developed societies, either be- 
tween subjects and sovereign, or between the equal 
members of a sovereign body, but an acceptance of 
conditions which first came into existence by reason of 
the sociability inherent in man, and were developed 
by man's spontaneous search after convenience. The 
statement that while the constitution of man is the 
work of nature, that of the state is the work of art, 1 
is as misleading as the opposite statement that govern- 
ments are not made, but grow, 2 and the truth lies 

1 Cont. Soc., III. xi. Borrowed from Hobbes, who said : ' Magnus ille 
Leviathan quse civitas appellatur, opificium artis est.' 

2 Mackintosh's. 

N2 



i8o ROUSSEAU. 

between them, in such propositions as that institutions 
owe their existence and development to deliberate 
human effort, working in accordance with circum- 
stances naturally fixed both in human character and 
in the external field of its activity. The obedience of 
the subject to the sovereign has its root not in con- 
tract but in force, the force of the sovereign to punish 
disobedience. A man does not consent to be put to 
death if he shall commit a murder, for the reason 
alleged by Eousseau, namely, as a means of protecting 
his own life against murder. 1 There is no consent in 
the transaction. Some person or persons, possessed of 
sovereign authority, promulgated a command that the 
subject should not commit murder, and appointed 
penalties for such commission, and it was not a ficti- 
tious assent to these penalties, but the fact that the 
sovereign was strong enough to enforce them, which 
made the command valid. 

Supposing a law to be passed in an assembly of the 
sovereign people by a majority ; what binds a member 
of the minority to obedience ? Bousseau's answer is 
this : When the law is proposed, the question put is 
not whether they approve or reject the proposition, 
but whether it is conformable to the general will : 
the general will appears from the votes : if the opinion 
contrary to my own wins the day, that only proves 
that I was mistaken, and that what I took for the 
general will was not really so. 2 We can scarcely 
imagine more nonsensical sophistry than this. The 

1 Cont. Soc., II. v. 2 IV. ii. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 181 

proper answer evidently is, that either experience or 
calculation has taught the citizens in a popular 
government that in the long run it is most expedient 
for the majority of votes to decide the law; in t 
other words, that the inconvenience to the minority of 
submitting to a law which they dislike, is less than 
the inconvenience of fighting to have their own way, 
or retiring to form another and separate community. 
The minority submit to obey laws which were made 
against their will, because they cannot avoid the 
necessity of undergoing more inconveniences than are 
involved in this submission. The same explanation 
partially covers what is unfortunately the more fre- 
quent case in the history of the race, the submission of 
the majority to the laws imposed Jby a minority of one 
or more. In both these cases, however, as in the 
general question of the source of our obedience to 
the laws, deliberate and conscious sense of conve- 
nience is as slight in its effect upon conduct here, as it 
is in the rest of the field of our moral, motives ; it is 
covered so thickly over and constantly neutralised by 
the multitudinous growths of use, by the many forms 
of fatalistic or ascetic religious sentiment, by physical 
apathy of race, and all other conditions that interpose 
to narrow or abrogate the authority of pure reason 
over human conduct. Rousseau, expounding his con- 
ception of a normal political state, was no doubt war- 
ranted in leaving these complicating conditions out of 
account, though to do so is to rob any treatise on 
government of much of its possible value. The same 



1 82 ROUSSEAU. 

excuse cannot warrant him in basing his political 
institutions upon a figment, instead of upon the sub- 
stantial ground of propositions about human nature, 
which the average of experience in given races and 
given stages of advancement has shown to be true 
within those limits. There are places in his writings 
where he reluctantly admits that men are only moved 
by their interests, and he does not even take care to 
qualify this sufficiently. 1 But throughout the Social 
Contract we seem to be contemplating the erection of 
a machine which is to work without reference to the 
only forces that can possibly impart movement to it. 

The consequence of this is that Eousseau gives us 
not the least help towards the solution of any of the 
problems of actual government, because these are 
naturally both suggested and guided by considerations 
of expediency and improvement. It is as if he had 
never really settled the ends for which government 
exists, beyond the construction of the symmetrical 
machine of government itself. He is a geometer, not 
a mechanician, or shall we say he is a mechanician, and 
not a biologist concerned with the conditions of a 
living organism. The analogy of the body politic to 
the body natural was as present to him as it had been 
to all other writers on society, but he failed to seize 
the only useful lessons which such an analogy might 
have taught him diversity of structure, differencing 
of function, development of strength by exercise, 
growth by nutrition all of which might have been 

1 For instance, Gouvernement de Pologne> ch.. xi. p. 305. And Ciorr., v. 180. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 183 

serviceably translated into the dialect of political 
science, and have bestowed on his conception of political 
society more of the features of reality. We see no 
room for the free play of divergent forces, the active 
rivalry of hostile interests, the regulated conflict of 
multifarious personal aims, which can never be extin- 
guished, except in moments of veritable crisis, by the 
most sincere attachment to the common causes of the 
land. Thus the modern question which is of such 
vital interest for all the foremost human societies, of 
the union of collective energy with the encouragement 
of individual freedom, is, if not wholly untouched, at 
least wholly unillumined by anything that Eousseau 
says. To tell us that a man on entering a society 
exchanges his natural liberty for civil liberty which 
is limited by the general will, 1 is to give us a phrase, 
where we seek a solution. To say that if it is the 
opposition of private interests which made the 
establishment of societies necessary, it is the accord of 
those interests which makes them possible, 2 is to utter 
a truth which feeds no practical curiosity. The opposi- 
tion of private interests remains, in spite of the yoke 
which their accord has imposed upon it, but which 
only controls and does not suppress such an opposition. 
What sort of control ? What degree ? What bounds ? 
So again let us consider the statement that the 
instant the government usurps the sovereignty, then 
the social pact is broken, and all the citizens, restored 
by right to their natural liberty, are forced but not 

1 Cont. Soc., I. viii. 2 Cont. Soc., II. i. 



1 84 ROUSSEAU. 

morally obliged to obey. 1 He began by telling his 
readers that man, though born free, is now everywhere 
in chains ; and therefore it would appear that in all 
existing cases the social pact has been broken, and the 
citizens living under the reign of force, are free to 
resume their natural liberty, if they are only strong 
enough to do so. This declaration of the general duty 
of rebellion no doubt had its share in generating that 
fervid eagerness that all other peoples should rise and 
throw off the yoke, which was one of the most astonish- 
ing, benevolent, and fatuous anxieties of the French 
during their revolution. That was not the worst 
quality of such a doctrine. It made government 
impossible, by basing the right or duty of resistance 
on a question that could not be reached by positive 
evidence, but must always be decided by an arbitrary 
interpretation of an arbitrarily imagined document. 
The moderate proposition that if a government is a bad 
one, and if the people are strong enough to overthrow 
it, and if their leaders have reason to suppose they 
can provide a less bad one in its place, supplies tests 
that are capable of application. Our own writers in 
favour of the doctrine of resistance partly based their 
arguments upon the historic instances of the old testa- 
ment, and it is one of the most striking contributions 
of protestantism to the cause of freedom, that it sent 

1 Co-nt. Soc., III. x. ' Let every individual who may usurp the sovereignty 
be instantly put to death by free men.' Robespierre's Declaration des droits 
de I'honime, 27. ' When the government violates the rights of the people, 
insurrection becomes for the people the most sacred of rights and the most 
indispensable of duties.' 35. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 185 

people in an admiring spirit to the history of the most 
rebellious nation that ever existed, and so provided 
them in Hebrew insurgency with a corrective for the 
too submissive political teaching of the gospel. But 
these writers have throughout a tacit appeal to expe- 
diency, as writers might always be expected to have, 
who were really meditating on the possibility of their 
principles being brought to the test of practice. There 
can be no evidence possible with a test so vague as 
the fact of the rupture of a compact, whose terms are 
authentically known to nobody concerned. Speak of 
bad laws and good, wise administration or unwise, 
just government or unjust, extravagant or economical, 
civically elevating or demoralising ; all these are 
questions which men may apply themselves to settle 
with knowledge, and with a more or less definite 
degree of assurance. But who can tell how he is to 
find out whether sovereignty has been usurped, and 
the social compact broken ? Was there a usurpation 
of sovereignty in France not many years ago, when 
the assumption of power by the prince was ratified by 
many millions of votes ? 

The same case, we are told, namely, breach of the 
social compact and restoration of natural liberty, 
occurs when the members of the government usurp 
separately the power which they ought only to exer- 
cise in a body. 1 Now this description applies very 
fairly to the famous episode in our constitutional 
history, connected with George the Third's first attack 

1 Cent. 8oc., III. x. 



1 86 ROUSSEAU. 

of madness in 1788. Parliament cannot lawfully 
begin business without a declaration of the cause of 
summons from the crown. On this occasion parlia- 
ment both met and deliberated without communication 
from the crown. "What was still more important was 
a vote of the parliament itself, authorising the passing 
of letters patent under the great seal for opening 
parliament by commission, and for giving assent to a 
Eegency bill. This was a distinct usurpation of regal 
authority. Two" members of the government (in 
Eousseau's sense of the term), namely the houses of 
parliament, usurped the power which they ought only 
to have exercised along with the crown. 1 The "Whigs 
denounced the proceeding as a fiction, a forgery, a 
phantom, but if they had been readers of the Social 
Contract, and if they had been bitten by its dogmatic 
temper, they would have declared the compact of 
union violated, and all British citizens free to presume 
their natural rights. Not even the bitter virulence of 
faction at that time could tempt any politician to take 
up such a line, though within half a dozen years 
each of the democratic factions in France had worked 
at the overthrow of every other in turn, on the very 
principle which Eousseau had formulated and Eobes- 
pierre had made familiar, that usurped authority is a 
valid reason for annihilating a government, no matter 
under what circumstances, nor how small the chance 
of replacing it by a better, nor how enormous the peril 

1 See May's Constitutional Hist, of England, ch. iii. ; and lord Stanhope's 
Life of Pitt, vol. II. ch. xii. 




WILLIAM PATLEY, D - I> 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 187 

to the national well-being in the process. The true 
opposite to so anarchic a doctrine is assuredly not that 
of passive obedience either to chamber or monarch, 
but the right and duty of throwing off any govern- 
ment which inflicts more disadvantages than it confers 
advantages. Eousseau's whole theory tends inevitably 
to substitute a long series of struggles after phrases 
and shadows in the new era, for the equally futile 
and equally bloody wars of dynastic succession which 
have been the great curse of the old, and men die 
for a phrase as they used to die for a family. 
The other theory, which all English politicians 
accept in their hearts, and all commanding French 
politicians seem in their hearts to reject, was 
first expounded in direct view of Eousseau's teaching 
by Paley ; * but of course the greatest, widest, and 
loftiest exposition of the bearings of expediency on 
government and its conditions, is to be found in the 
magnificent and immortal pieces of Burke, some of 
them suggested by absolutist violations of the doctrine 
in our own affairs, and some of them by anarchic 
violation of it in the affairs of France, after the seed 
sown by Eousseau had brought forth fruit. 

"We should, however, be false to our critical prin- 
ciple, if we did not recognise the historical effect of a 
speculation scientifically valueless. There has been 
no attempt to palliate either the shallowness or the 

1 In the 6th book of the Moral Philosophy (1785), ch. iii., and elsewhere. 
In the preface he refers to the effect which Rousseau's political theory was 
supposed to have had in the civil convulsions of Geneva, as one of the reasons 
which encouraged him to publish his own book. 



1 88 ROUSSEAU. 

practical miscliievousness of the Social Contract. 
But there is another side to its influence. It was the 
match which kindled revolutionary fire in generous 
breasts throughout Europe. Not in France merely, 
but in Germany as well, its phrases became the 
language of all who aspired after freedom. Schil- 
ler spoke of Eousseau as one who l converted chris- 
tians into human beings/ and the Robbers (1778) is as 
if it had been directly inspired by the doctrine that 
usurped sovereignty restores men to their natural 
rights. 1 Smaller men in that violent movement which 
seized all the youth of Germany at that time, followed 
the same lead, if they happened to have any feeling 
about the political condition of their enslaved coun- 
tries. There was alike in France and Germany a 
craving for a return to nature among the whole of the 
young generation. The Social Contract supplied a 
dialect for this longing on one side, just as the 
Emilius did on another. Such parts in it as people 
did not understand or did not like, they left out. 
They did not perceive its direction towards that ' per- 
fect Hobbism,' which the author declared to be the 
only practical alternative to a democracy so austere as 
to be intolerable. They grasped phrases about the 
sovereignty of the people, the freedom for which 
nature had destined man, the slavery to which tyrants 
and oppressors had brought him. Above all they 

1 The author of the Robbers was one of the first men, along with Washington, 
Franklin, and Tom Paine, who was honoured with the diploma of citizenship 
by the French revolutionists, in September, 1792. It was signed by Danton 
and Roland. 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 189 

were struck by the patriotism which shines so brightly 
in every page, like the fire on the altar of one of those 
ancient cities which had inspired the writer's ideal. 
In France, as we have already said, the patriotic flame 
seemed extinct. The ruinous disorder of the whole 
social system made the old love of country resemble 
love for a phantom, and so much of patriotic speech as 
survived was profoundly hollow. A man like Turgot 
even was not so much a patriot as a passionate lover of 
improvement, and with the whole school of which this 
great spirit was the noblest and strongest, a generous 
citizenship of the world had replaced the narrower 
sentiment which had inflamed antique heroism. Eous- 
seau's exaltation of the Greek and Roman types in all 
their concentration and intensity, touches mortals of 
commoner mould. His theory made the native land 
what it had been to the citizens of earlier date, a true 
centre of existence, round which all the interests of 
the community, all its pursuits, all its hopes, grouped 
themselves with entire singleness of convergence, just 
as religious faith is the centre of existence to a church 
that sincerely accepts it. It was the virile and 
patriotic energy thus evoked, which presently saved 
France from partition, and European civilisation from 
the crushing supremacy of powers even more dark 
and retrograde than the first French empire. 

We complete the estimate of the positive worth 
and tendencies of the Social Contract by adding to 
this, which was for the time the cardinal service, of 
rekindling the fire of patriotism, the rapid deduction 



1 90 ROUSSEAU. 

from the doctrine of the sovereignty of peoples of the 
great truth, that a nation with a civilised polity does 
not consist of an order or a caste, but of the great 
body of its members, the army of toilers who make 
the most painful of the sacrifices that are needed for 
the continuous nutrition of the social organization. 
As Condorcet put it, and he drew inspiration partly 
from the intellectual school of Voltaire, and partly 
from the social school of Eousseau, all institutions 
ought to have for their aim the physical, intellectual^ 
and moral amelioration of the poorest and most nume- 
rous class. 1 This is the people. Second, there gra- 
dually followed from the important place given by 
Eousseau to the idea of equal association, as at once 
the foundation and the enduring bond of a commu- 
nity, those schemes of Mutualism, and all the other 
shapes of collective action for a common social good, 
which have possessed such commanding attraction 
for the imagination of large classes of good men in 
France ever since. Hitherto these forms have been 
sterile and deceptive, and they must remain so, until 
the idea of special function has been raised to a level 
with that of united forces working together to a 
single end. 

In these ways the author of the Social Contract did 
involuntarily and unconsciously contribute to the 
growth of those new and progressive ideas, in which 

1 Rousseau's influence on Condorcet is seen in the latter's maxim, which has 
found such favour in the eyes of socialist writers, that * not only equality of 
right, but equality of fact, is the goal of the social art.' 



THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. 191 

for his own part he lacked all faith. Prae-Newtonians 
knew not the wonders of which Newton was to find 
the key, and we, weary of waiting for the master 
intelligence who may effect the final combination of 
moral and scientific ideas needed for a new social era, 
may be inclined to lend a half-complacent ear to the 
arid sophisters who assume that the last word of 
civilisation has been heard in existing arrangements. 
But we may perhaps take courage from history to 
hope that generations will come, to whom our system 
of distributing among a few the privileges and delights 
that are procured by the toil of the many, will seem 
just as wasteful, as morally hideous, and as scientific- 
ally 'indefensible, as that older system which impo- 
vejpshed and depopulated empires, that a despot or a 
caste might have no least wish ungratified, for which 
the lives or the treasure of others could suffice. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

EMILIUS. 

ONE whose most intense conviction was faith in 
the goodness of all things and creatures as they 
are first produced by nature, and so long as they 
remain unsophisticated by the hand and purpose of 
man, was in some degree bound to show a way by 
which this evil process of sophistication might .be 
brought to the lowest possible point, and the best of 
all natural creatures kept as near as possible to his 
high original. Eousseau, it is true, held in a sense 
of his own the doctrine of the fall of man, but that 
doctrine has never made people any more remiss in 
the search after a virtue, which if hopeless in strict 
logic, is still indispensable in actual life. And Eous- 
seau's way of believing that man had fallen, was so 
coloured at once by that expansion of sanguine 
emotion which marked his century, though he did his 
best to resist it, and by that necessity for repose in 
idyllic perfection of simplicity, which marked his own 
temperament, that enthusiasm for an imaginary 
human creature effectually shut out the dogma of his 
fatal depravation. l How difficult a thing it is,' 



EMILIUS. 193 

madame d'Epinay once said to him, 'to bring up a 
child.' ' Assuredly it is,' answered Bousseau; ' be- 
cause the father and mother are not made by nature 
to bring it up, nor the children to be brought up.' l 
This cynical speech can only have been an accidental 
outbreak of spleen, for it was a contradiction to his 
one constant opinion that nature is all good and 
bounteous, and that the inborn capacity of man in a 
normal condition for reaching true happiness knows 
no stint. 

In writing . Emilius, he sat down to consider what 
man is, and what can be made of him. Here, as in all 
the rest of his work, he only obeyed the tendencies of 
his time in choosing a theme. An age touched by 
the spirit of hope inevitably turns to the young ; for 
with the young lies fulfilment. Such epochs are ever 
pressing with the question, how is the future to be 
shaped ? Our answer depends on the theory of 
human disposition, and in these epochs the theory is 
always optimistic. Eousseau was saved, as so many 
thousands of men have been alike in conduct and 
speculation, by inconsistency, and not shrinking from 
two mutually contradictory trains of thought. Society 
is corrupt, and society is the work of man. Yet man 
who has engendered this corrupted birth, is good and 
whole. The strain in the argument may be pardoned 
for the hopefulness of the conclusion ; it brought 
Eousseau into harmony with the eager effort of the 
time to pour young character into finer mould, and 

1 Mem-, de mdme. d'Epinay, ii. 276 8. 
VOL. II. 



194 ROUSSEAU. 

made him the most powerful agent in giving to such 
efforts both fervour and elevation. "While others 
were content with the mere enunciation of maxims 
and precepts, he breathed into them the spirit of life, 
and enforced them with a vividness of faith that 
clothed education with the augustness and unction of 
religion. The training of the young soul to virtue 
was surrounded with something of the awful holiness 
of a sacrament; and those who laboured in this 
sanctified field, were exhorted to a constancy of 
devotion, and were promised a fulness of recompense, 
that raised them from the rank of drudges to place 
of highest honour among the ministers of nature. 

Everybody at this time was thinking about educa- 
tion, partly on account of the suppression of the 
Jesuits, the chief instructors of the time, and a great 
many people were writing about it. Madame 
d'Epinay wrote considerations upon the bringing up of 
the young. 1 Madame de Grafigriy did the same in a 
less grave shape. 2 She received letters from the pre- 
cociously sage Turgot, abounding in the same natural 
and sensible precepts which ten years later were com- 
mended with more glowing eloquence in the pages of 
Emilius. 3 Grimm had an elaborate scheme for a 
treatise on education. 4 Helvetius followed his explo- 
ration of the composition of the human mind, by a 
treatise on the training proper for the intellectual and 
moral faculties. 5 Education by these and other 

1 Lettres d mon Fils (1758), and Les Conversations d'Emilie (1783). 

2 Lettres Peruviennes. 3 (Eitv., ii. 78594. 
4 Corr. Lit., iii. 65. 5 See note to p. 206. 



EMILIUS.. 195 

writers was being conceived in a wider sense than had 
been known to ages controlled, by churchmen and 
collegians. It slowly came to be thought of in con- 
nection with the family. The improvement of ideas 
upon education was only one phase of the great 
general movement towards the restoration of the 
family, which was so striking a spectacle in France 
after the middle of the century. Education now 
came to comprehend the whole system of the re- 
lations between parents and their children, from 
earliest infancy to maturity. The direction of such 
wider feeling about these relations tended strongly 
towards an increased closeness in them, more inti- 
macy, and a more continuous suffusion of tenderness 
and long attachment. All this was part of the 
general revival of naturalism. People began to re- 
flect that nature was not likely to have designed 
infants to be suckled by other women than their own 
mothers, nor that they should be banished from the 
society of those who are most concerned in their well- 
being, from the cheerful hearth and wise affectionate 
converse of home, to the frigid and unamiable dis- 
cipline of colleges and convents, and the monition of 
strangers. 

Then the rising rebellion against the church and its 
faith perhaps contributed something towards a move- 
ment which, if it would not break the religious 
monopoly of instruction, must at least introduce the 
parent as a competitor with the priestly instructor for 
influence over the ideas, habits and affections of his 

o2 



196 ROUSSEAU. 

children. The rebellion was aimed against the spirit 
as well as the manner of the established system. The 
church had not fundamentally modified the signifi- 
cance of the dogma of the fall and depravity of man ; 
education was still conceived as a process of eradi- 
cation and suppression of the mystical old Adam. 
The new current flowed in -channels far away from 
this black folly of superstition. Men at length 
ventured once more to look at one another with free 
and generous gaze. The veil of the temple was rent, 
and the false mockeries of the shrine of the Hebrew 
divinity made plain to scornful eyes. People ceased 
to see one another as guilty victims cowering under a 
divine curse. They stood erect in consciousness of 
manhood. The palsied conception of man, with his 
large discourse of reason looking before and after, his 
lofty and majestic patience in search for new forms of 
beauty and new secrets of truth, his sense of the 
manifold sweetness and glory and awe of the universe, 
above all his infinite capacity of loyal pity and love 
for his comrades in the great struggle, and his high 
sorrow for his own wrong-doing, the palsied and 
crushing conception of this excellent and helpful 
being as a poor worm, writhing under the vindictive 
and meaningless anger of an omnipotent tyrant in 
the large heavens, only to be appeased by sacerdotal 
intervention, was fading back into those regions of 
night, whence the depth of human misery and the 
obscuration of human intelligence had once permitted 
its escape, to hang evilly over the western world for a 



EMILIUS. 197 

season. So vital a change in the point of view 
quickly touched the theory and art of the upbringing 
of the young. Education began to figure less as the 
suppression of the natural man, than his strengthen- 
ing and development ; less as a process of rooting out 
tares, more as the grateful tending of shoots abound- 
ing in promise of richness. What had been the most 
drearily mechanical of duties, was transformed into a 
task that surpassed all others in interest and hope. If 
man be born not bad but good, under no curse, but 
rather the bestower and receiver of many blessings, 
then the entire atmosphere of young life, in spite of the 
toil and the peril, is made cheerful with the sunshine 
and warmth of the great folded possibilities of excel- 
lence, happiness, and well-doing. 

i. 

Locke in education, as in metaphysics and in 
politics, was the pioneer of the French thought of this 
expansive time. In education there is less room for 
scientific originality. The sage of a parish, provided 
only she began her trade with an open and energetic 
mind, may here pass philosophers. Locke was nearly 
as sage, as homely, as real, as one of these strenuous 
women. -The honest plainness of certain of his pre- 
scriptions for the preservation of physical health 
perhaps keeps us somewhat too near the earth. His 
manner throughout is marked by the stout wisdom of 
the practical teacher, who is content to assume good 
sense in his hearers, and feels ho necessity for kin- 



198 ROUSSEAU. 

dling a blaze or raising a tempest. He gives us a 
practical manual for producing a healthy, instructed, 
upright, well-mannered, young English squire, who 
shall be rightly fitted to take his own life sensibly in 
hand, and procure from it a fair amount of wholesome 
satisfaction both for himself and the people with 
whom he is concerned. It is one of the most admir- 
able protests in the world against effeminacy and 
pedantry, and parents already moved by grave desire 
to do their duty prudently to their sons, will hardly 
find another book better suited to their ends. Besides 
Locke, we must also count Charron, and the amazing 
educator of Gargantua, and Montaigne before either, 
among the writers whom Eousseau had read, with that 
profit and increase which attends the dropping of the 
good ideas of other men into fertile minds. No man 
need be ashamed of failing to invent a whole set of 
new notions on such a subject as education, on which 
experience has naturally accumulated so much wise 
and unimprovable reflection. Eousseau at least in- 
vented new form, and that is well known to be often 
as great an exploit as the discovery of new matter. 

There is an immense class of natures, and those not 
the lowest, which the connection of duty with mere 
prudence does not carry far enough. They only stir 
when something has moved their feeling for the ideal, 
and raised the mechanical offices of the narrow day 
into association with the spaciousness and height of 
spiritual things. To these Eousseau came. For both 
the tenour and the wording of the most striking pre- 



EMILIUS. 199 

cepts of the Emilius, he owes much to Locke. Beading 
the two books together, we at once feel that Locke has 
furnished tl^e substance, and laid the foundations. But 
what was so realistic in him becomes blended in Bous- 
seau with all the power and richness and beauty of an 
ideal, that can move the most generous parts of human 
character. The details of education haye a largeness 
communicated to them, by being made to figure as the 
rudimentary processes of the noblest of natural con- 
structions. The child is treated as the miniature of 
humanity; it thus touches the whole sphere of our 
sympathies, warms our curiosity as to the composition 
of man's nature, and becomes the very eye and centre 
of moral and social aspirations. 

Accordingly Eousseau almost at once begins by 
elaborating his conception of the kind of human 
creature which it is worth while to take the trouble 
to rear, and the only kind which pure nature will 
help you in perfecting. Hence Emilius, besides being 
a manual for parents, contains the lines of a moral 
ideal of life and character for all others. The old 
thought of the Discourses revives in full vigour. The 
artifices of society, the perverting traditions of use, 
the feeble maxims of indolence, convention, helpless 
dependence on the aid or the approval of others, are 
routed at the first stroke. The old regimen of accu- 
mulated prejudice is replaced, in dealing alike with 
body and soul, by the new system of liberty and 
nature. In saying this we have already said that the 
exaltation of Spartan manners which runs through 



200 ROUSSEAU. 

Eousseau's other writings has vanished, and that 
every trace of the much- vaunted military and public 
training has yielded before the attractive thought of 
tender parents and a wisely ruled home. Public 
instruction, we learn, can now no longer exist, because 
there is no longer such a thing as country, and there- 
fore there can no longer be citizens. Only domestic 
education can now help us to rear the man according 
to nature, him who knows best among us how to bear 
the mingled good and ill of our life. Our whole 
wisdom consists in slavish prejudice, all our usages 
are subjection and constraint. The civil man is born, 
lives, and dies, a bondsman, from the hour when he is 
fastened in swaddling clothes, to that other hour when 
he is stitched up in his shroud. Eousseau, we easily 
perceive, has lost his passion for the rigorously ap- 
pointed discipline and minute control of the Lycurgean 
institutes. 

The artificial society of the time, with its aspirations 
after a return to nature, was moved to the most ener- 
getic enthusiasm by Eousseau' s famous exhortations 
to mothers to nourish their own little ones. Morelly, 
as we have seen, had already enjoined the adoption of 
this practice. 1 So too had Euffon. But Morelly's 
voice had no resonance, Buff on 7 s reasons were purely 
physical, and children were still sent out to nurse, 
until Eousseau' s more passionate moral entreaties 
awoke maternal conscience. 'Do these tender mothers, 7 
he exclaimed, ' who, when they have got rid of their 

1 See above, vol. i. p. 160. 




Q)W, 







EMILIUS. 201 

infants, surrender themselves gaily to all the diver- 
sions of the town, know what sort of usage the child 
in the village is receiving, fastened in his swad- 
dling band? At the least interruption that comes, 
they hang him up by a nail like a bundle of rags, and 
there the poor creature remains thus crucified, while 
the nurse goes about her affairs. Every one found in 
this position had a face of purple ; as the violent com- 
pression of the chest would not allow the blood to 
circulate, it all went to the head, and the victim was 
supposed to be very quiet, just because it had not 
strength enough to cry out.' 1 But in Eousseau, as in 
Beethoven, a harsh and rugged passage is nearly 
always followed by some piece of exquisite and touch- 
ing melody ; and the force of these indignant pictures 
was heightened and relieved by moving appeal to all 
the tender 'joys of maternal solicitude, and thoughts of 
all that. this solicitude could do for the happiness of 
the home, the father, and the young. The attrac- 
tion of domestic life is pronounced the best antidote 
to the ill living of the time. The bustle of children, 
which you now think so importunate, gradually be- 
comes delightful ; it brings father and mother nearer 
to one another ; and the lively animation of a family 
added to domestic cares, makes the dearest occupation 
of the wife, and the sweetest of all his amusements to 
the husband. If women will only once more become 
mothers again, men will very soon become fathers 
and husbands. 

1 Emib, I. 27. 



202 ROUSSEAU. 

The physical effect of this was not all wholesome. 
Kousseau's eloquence excited women to an inordinate 
pitch of enthusiasm for the duty of suckling their 
infants, but his contemptuous denunciation of the 
gaieties of Paris could not extinguish the love of 
amusement. So young mothers tried as well as they 
could to satisfy both desires, and their babes were 
brought to them at all unseasonable hours, while full 
of food and wine, or heated with dancing or play, and 
there received the nurture which, but for Eousseau, 
they would have drawn in more salutary sort from a 
healthy foster-mother in the country. This, however, 
was only an incidental drawback to a movement which 
was in its main lines full of excellent significance. 
The importance of giving freedom to the young limbs, 
of accustoming the body to rudeness and vicissitude of 
climate, of surrounding youth with light and cheerful- 
ness and air, and even a tiny detail such as the pro- 
priety of substituting for coral or ivory some soft 
substance against which the growing teeth might 
press a way through without irritation, all these 
matters are handled with a fervid reality of interest, 
that gives to the tedium of the nursery a genuine 
touch of the poetic. Swathings, bandages, leading- 
strings, are condemned with a warmth like that with 
which he had denounced comedy. 1 The city is held 
up to indignant reprobation as the gulf of infant life, 
just as it had been in his earlier pieces as the gulf of 
all the highest energies of the adult life. Every child 

4 l See also his diatribe against whalebone and tight-lacing for girls, V. 27. 



EMILIUS. 203 

ought to be born and nursed in the country, and it 
would be all the better if it remained in the country 
to the last day of its existence. You must accustom 
it little by little to the sight of disagreeable objects, 
such as toads and snakes ; also in the same gradual 
manner to the sound of alarming noises, beginning 
with snapping a cap in a pistol. If the infant cries 
from pain which you cannot remove, make no attempt 
to soothe it ; your caresses will not lessen the anguish 
of its colic, while the child will remember what it has 
to do in order to be coaxed and to get its own way. 
The nurse may amuse it by songs and lively cries, but 
she is not to din useless words into its ears ; the first 
articulations that come to it should be few, easy, dis- 
tinct, frequently repeated, and only referring to objects 
which the child may have shown to it. ' Our unlucky 
facility in cheating ourselves with words that we do 
not understand, begins earlier than we suppose.' Let 
there be no haste in inducing the child to speak arti- 
culately. The evil of precipitation in this respect is 
not that children use and hear words without sense, 
but that they use and hear them in a different sense 
from our own, without our perceiving it. Mistakes 
of this sort, committed thus early, have an influence, 
even after they are cured, over the turn of the mind 
for the rest of the creature's life. Hence it is a good 
thing to keep a child's vocabulary as limited as pos- 
sible, lest it should have more words than ideas, and 
should say more than it can possibly realise in thought* 1 

1 Emile, I. 93, eto. 



204 ROUSSEAU. 

In moral as in intellectual habits, the most perilous 
interval in human life is that between birth and the 
age of twelve. This is the time when errors and 
vices germ, without our having any instrument with 
which to pluck out the roots. The great secret is to 
make the early education purely negative ; a process 
of keeping the heart, naturally so good, clear of vice, 
and the intelligence, naturally so true, clear of error. 
Take for first, second, and third precept, to follow 
nature and leave her free to the performance of her 
own tasks. Until the age of reason, there can be no 
idea of moral beings or social relations. Therefore, 
says Eousseau, no moral discussion. Locke's maxim 
in favour of constantly reasoning with children was a 
mistake. Of all the faculties of man, reason, which is 
only a compound of the rest, is that which is latest 
in development, and yet it is this which we are to use 
to develope those which come earliest of all. Such a 
course is to begin at the end, and to turn the finished 
work into an instrument. 'If children understood 
reason, they would have no need of being brought 
up ; but in speaking to them in these early years 
a language which they do not comprehend, we 
accustom them to cheat themselves with words, to 
criticise what is said to them, to think themselves as 
wise as their masters, to become disputatious and 
mutinous ; and all that we fancy we obtain from them 
through reasonable motives, we never obtain really 
except through motives of greediness, or fear, or 
vanity, which we are obliged to join to our supposed 



EMILIUS. 205 

reason.' 1 If you forget that nature meant children 
to be children before growing into men, you only 
force a fruit that has neither ripeness nor savour, and 
must soon go bad; you will have youthful doctors 
and old infants. ' For my own part I would as lief 
require a child to be five feet high, as to have judg- 
ment at the age of ten.' 

To all this, however, there is certainly another side 
which Eousseau was too impetuous to see. Perfected 
reason is truly the tardiest of human endowments, 
but it can never be perfected at all unless the process 
be begun, and, within limits, the sooner the beginning 
is made, the earlier will be the ripening. To know 
the grounds of right conduct is, we admit, a 
different thing from feeling a disposition to practise 
it. But nobody will deny the expediency of an 
intelligent acquaintance with the reasons why one 
sort of conduct is bad and its opposite good, even 
if such an acquaintance can never become a substitute 
for the spontaneous action of thoroughly formed habit. 
For one thing, cases are constantly arising in a man's 
life that demand the exercise of reason, to settle the 
special application of principles which may have been 
acquired without knowledge of their rational founda- 
tion. In such cases, which are the critical and 
testing points of character, all depends upon the 
possession of a more or less justly trained intelli- 
gence, and the habit of using it. Now, as we have 

1 II. 134, followed by an entertaining parody of the ordinary kind of moral 
argumentation between a master and a child. 



206 ROUSSEAU. 

said, it is one of the great merits of the Emilius that 
it calls such attention to the early age at which 
mental influences begin to operate. Why should the 
gradual formation of the master habit of using the 
mind be~any exception ? 

Here, however, we are once more in contact with 
Rousseau's central idea, disparagement of the reason- 
ing faculty. Habit resting on sympathetic emotion, 
this is the key to his system of life ; and that it is so 
follows from the essential deficiency of that system, 
which was an absolute want of hope or belief in the 
course of human improvement. No one can place his 
faith in the possibility of improvement, unless he has 
faith also, either that it will be effected by supernatural 
interference, or else that it will follow from gradual 
advance in the strength of human intelligence, no 
less than from increased sociableness of purpose. The 
strong current opinion in Kousseau's time repu- 
diated supernatural interference, and expected all 
things from -a wider enlightenment. Hence followed 
the theory of education as mainly a process of intel- 
lectual modification, and the associated theory, of 
which Helvetius was the exponent, that character 
is wholly the result of immediate acquisition. 1 
Eousseau, on the contrary, insisted on inborn temper- 
ament, which was always good by hypothesis, as the 
foundation of character ; he made that its great force 

1 Broached in his book De Tesprit (1758), but more fully and directly 
developed inL'homme (1771). For Helvetius's way of dealing with Rousseau's 
position, see the 5th section of the latter work, which contains a list of Eous- 
seau's formally inconsistent propositions in this matter. 



EMILIUS. 207 

and stay, and therefore consistently besought all in- 
structors to disturb its free working as little as 
possible. This was in effect only another way of 
putting his constantly reappearing doctrine of the 
supremacy of emotion over reason, and of the mis- 
chievousness of intellectual argumentation. 

Though his dislike of the least attempt to intro- 
duce children to habits of argument as to the reasons 
of conduct, was in excess and was fraught with 
mischief, on the whole most persons will be disposed 
to agree that the mischief was less than that likely 
to result from the excess of his opponents in a 
contrary direction. 

Belief in the efficacy of preaching is the bane 
of educational systems, as indeed it is the bane of 
criticism, art, religious instruction, and so many other 
of the forms in which we seek to influence one 
another. Verbal lessons ought to be so deeply effec- 
tive, if only the will and the throng of various 
motives which guide it, instantly followed impression 
of a truth upon the intelligence. And they are, 
moreover, so easily communicated, saving the parent 
a life-time of anxious painstaking in shaping his own 
character, after such a pattern as shall silently draw 
all within its influence to pursuit of good and honour- 
able things. The most valuable of Bousseau's 
notions about education, though he by no means con- 
sistently adhered to them, was his urgent contempt 
for this fatuous substitution of spoken injunctions and 
prohibitions, for the deeper language of example,' and 



208 ROUSSEAU. 

the more living instruction of visible circumstance. 
The vast improvements that have since taken place in 
the theory and the art of education all over Europe, 
and of which he has the honour of being the first and 
most widely influential promoter, may all be traced to 
the spread of this wise principle, and its adoption in 
various forms. The change in the upbringing of the 
young exactly corresponds to the change in the treat- 
ment of the insane, and we may look back to the old 
system of endless catechisms, apophthegms, moral 
fables, and the rest of the paraphernalia of moral 
didactics, with the same horror with which we regard 
the gags, strait-waistcoats, chains, and dark cells, of 
poor mad people before the intervention of Pinel. 

It is clear now to everybody who has any opinion 
on this most important of all subjects, that sponta- 
neousness is the first quality in connection with right 
doing, which you can develope in the young, and this 
spontaneousness of habit is best secured by associating 
it with the approval of those to whom the child looks. 
Sympathy, in a word, is the true foundation from 
which to build up the structure of good habit ; the 
young should be led to practise the elementary parts 
of right conduct from the desire to please, because 
this is a securer basis than the conclusions of an 
embryo reason, applied to the most complex conditions 
of action, while the grounds on which action is justified 
or condemned, may be made plain in the fulness of 
time, when the understanding is better able to deal 
with the ideas and terms essential to the matter. You 



EMILIUS. 209 

have two aims to secure, each without sacrifice of the 
other first, that the child shall grow up with firm 
and promptly acting habit; second, that it shall retain 
respect for reason and an open mind. The latter may 
be acquired in the less immature years, while if the 
former is not acquired in the earlier times, a man 
grows up with a drifting unsettledness of will, that 
makes his life either vicious by quibbling sophistries, 
or helpless for want of ready conclusions. 

To this extent, though he put his thought into less 
definite shape than this, Eousseau was more right 
than the school whose doctrines he controverted. ' I 
know,' he said, ' that all these virtues by imitation 
are only apish virtues, and that no good action is 
morally good except when it is done as such, and not 
because others do it. But at an age when the heart 
is still without feeling, we must make children imitate 
the acts of which we desire to implant in them the 
habit, until they are able to perform them from clear 
perception and love of what is good.' 1 Perhaps, 
considering the mental conditions of the time, that 
part of the truth was more needed than the other 
part, namely, that we must also begin to implant the 
germs of this clear perception of what is good, as 
early as the soil is capable of holding them, and 
tnat is probably much earlier than people usually 
suppose. 

The first idea which is to be given to a child, little 
as we might expect such a^doctrine from the author of 

1 Emile, II. 171. 
VOL. II. P 



210 ROUSSEAU. 

the second Discourse, is declared to be that of pro- 
perty. And he can only acquire this idea by having 
something of his own. But how are we to teach him 
the significance of a thing being one's own ? It is a 
prime rule to attempt to teach nothing by a verbal 
lesson ; all instruction ought to be left to experience. 1 
Therefore you must contrive some piece of experience 
which shall bring this notion of property vividly into 
a child's mind ; the following for instance. Emilius 
is taken to a piece of garden ; his instructor digs and 
dresses the ground for him, and the boy takes posses- 
sion by sowing some beans. l "We come every day to 
water them, and see them come out of the ground 
with transports of joy. I add to this joy by saying, 
This belongs to you ; and then explaining this term, I 
let him feel that he has put into the ground his time, 
labour, trouble, his person in short ; that there is in 
this bit of ground something of himself which he may 
maintain against every comer, as he might withdraw his 
own arm from the hand of another man who would 
fain retain it in spite of him.' One day Emilius comes 
to his beloved garden, watering-pot in hand, and finds 
to his anguish and despair that all the beans have 
been plucked up, that the ground has been turned 
over, and that the spot is hardly recognisable. The gar- 
dener comes up, and explains with much warmth that 
he had sown the seed of a precious Maltese melon in 
this place long before Emilius had come with his 
trumpery beans, that therefore it was his land ; that 

i II. 141. 



EMILIUS. 211 

nobody touches the garden of his neighbour, in order 
that his own may remain untouched, and that if 
Emilius wants a piece of garden, he must pay for it 
by surrendering to the owner half the produce. 1 Thus, 
says Eousseau, the boy sees how the notion of pro- 
perty naturally goes back to the right of the first 
occupant as derived from labour. We should have 
thought it less troublesome, as it is certainly more 
important, to teach a boy the facts of property posi- 
tively and imperatively; and this rather elaborate 
ascent to origins seems an exaggerated form of that 
very vice of over-instructing the growing reason in 
abstractions, which Eousseau had condemned so short 
a time before. 

Again, there is the very strong objection to convey- 
ing lessons by artificially contrived incidents, that 
children are nearly always extremely acute in sus- 
pecting and discovering such contrivances. Yet 
Eousseau recurs to them over and over again, evi- 
dently taking delight in their ingenuity. Besides the 
illustration of the origin and significance of property, 
there is the complex fancy in which a juggler is made 
to combine instruction as to the properties of the 
magnet with certain severe moral truths. 2 He interests 
Emilius in astronomy and geography by a wonderful 
stratagem, in which the poor youth loses his way in a 
wood, is overpowered by hunger and weariness, and 
then is led on by his cunning tutor to a series of 
inferences from the position of the sun and so forth, 

1 Emile, II. 15660. 2 Emile, III. 33846. 

p 2 



212 ROUSSEAU. 

which, convince him that his home is just over the 
hedge, where it is duly found to be. 1 And here is 
the way in which the instructor proposes to stir 
activity of limb in the young Emilius. ' In walking 
with him of an afternoon, I used sometimes to put in 
my pocket two cakes of a sort he particularly liked ; 
we each of us ate one. One day he perceived that I 
had three cakes ; he could etsily have eaten six ; he 
promptly dispatches his own, to ask me for the third. 
Nay, I said to him, I could well eat it myself, or we 
would divide it, but I would rather see it made the 
prize of a running match between the two little boys 
there.' The little boys run their race, and the winner 
devours the cake. This and subsequent repetitions of 
the performance at first only amused Emilius, but he 
presently began to reflect that to run might be good 
for something, and perceiving that he also had two 
legs, he began privately to try how fast he could run. 
When he thought he was strong enough, he impor- 
tuned his tutor for the third cake, and on being 
refused, insisted on being allowed to compete for it. 
The habit of taking exercise was not the only advan- 
tage gained. The tutor resorted to a variety of further 
stratagems in order to induce the boy to find out and 
practise visual compass, and so forth. 2 If we consider, 
as we have said, first the readiness of children to 
suspect a stratagem wherever instruction is concerned, 
and next their resentment on discovering artifice of 
that kind, all this seems as little likely to be suc- 

* III. 358, etc. 2 II. 2637. 



EMILIUS. 213. 

cessful, as it is assuredly contrary to Eousseau's 
general doctrine of leaving circumstances to lead. 

In truth Eousseau's appreciation of the real nature 
of spontaneousness in the processes of education was 
essentially inadequate, and that it was so arose from a 
no less inadequate conception of the right influence 
upon the growing character, of the great principle of 
authority. His dread lest the child should eyer be 
conscious of the pressure of a will external to its own, 
constituted a fundamental weakness of his system. 
The child, we are told with endless repetition, ought 
always to be led to suppose that it is following its 
own judgment or impulses, and has only them and 
their consequences to consider. But Eousseau could 
not help seeing, as he meditated on the actual deve- 
lopment of his Emilius, that to leave him thus to the 
training of accident would necessarily end in very 
many fatal gaps and chasms. Yet the hand and will 
of the parent or the master could not be allowed to 
appear. The only alternative, therefore, was the secret 
preparation of artificial sets of circumstances, alike in 
work and in amusement. Jean Paul was wiser than 
Jean Jacques. * Let not the teacher after the work 
also order and regulate the games. It is decidedly 
better not to recognise or make any order in games, 
than to keep it up with difficulty and send the 
zephyrets of pleasure through artistic bellows and 
air-pumps to the little flowers.' l 

The spontaneousness which we ought to seek, does 

1 Levana, ch. iii. 54. 



214 ROUSSEAU. 

not consist in promptly willing this or that, inde- 
pendently of an authority imposed from without, but 
in a self-acting desire to do what is right under all 
its various conditions, including what the child finds 
pleasant to itself on the one hand, and what it has 
good reason to suppose will be pleasant to its parents 
on the other. * You must never,' Eousseau gravely 
warns us, ' inflict punishment upon children as punish- 
ment ; it must always fall upon them as a natural con- 
sequence of their ill behaviour.' 1 But why should 
one of the most closely following of all these conse- 
quences be dissembled or carefully hidden from sight, 
namely, the effect of ill behaviour upon the content- 
ment of the child's nearest friend? "Why are the 
effects of conduct upon the actor's own physical well- 
being to be the only effects honoured with the title of 
being natural ? Surely, while we leave to the young 
the widest freedom of choice, and even habitually 
invite them to decide for themselves between two 
lines of conduct, we are bound afterwards to state our 
approval or disapproval of their decision, so that on 
the next occasion they may take this anger or pleasure 
in others into proper account in their rough and hasty 
forecast, often less hasty than it seems, of the conse- 
quences of what they are about to do. One of the 
most important of educating influences is lost, if the 
young are not taught to place the feelings of others in 
a front place, when they think in their own simple 
way of what will happen to them, if they yield to a 

1 Ernik, II. 163. 



EMI LIU S. 215 

given impulse. Bousseau was quite right in insisting 
on practical experience of consequences as the only 
secure foundation for self-acting habit ; he was fatally 
wrong in mutilating this experience by the exclusion 
from it of the effects of perceiving, resisting, accepting, 
ignoring, all will and authority from without. The 
great, and in many respects so admirable, school of 
Bousseauite philanthropists, have always been feeble on 
this side, alike in the treatment of the young by their 
instructors, and the treatment of social offenders by a 
government. 

Again, consider the large group of excellent quali- 
ties which are associated with affectionate respect for 
a more fully informed authority. In a world where 
necessity stands for so much, it is no inconsiderable 
gain to have learnt the lesson of docility on easy 
terms in earliest days. If in another sense the will 
of each individual is all-powerful over his own 
destinies, it is best that this idea of firm purpose and 
a settled energy that will not be denied, should grow 
up in the young soul in connection with a riper 
wisdom and an ampler experience than its own ; for 
then when the time for independent action comes, 
the force of the association will continue. Finally, 
although none can be vicariously wise, none sage by 
proxy, nor any pay for the probation of another, 
yet is it not a puerile wastefulness to send forth the 
young all bare to the ordeal, while the armour of old 
experience and tempered judgment hangs idle on the 
wall ? Surely it is thus by accumulation of instruc- 



2i6 . ROUSSEAU. 

tion from generation to generation, that the area of 
right conduct in the world is extended, and such 
instruction must with youth be conveyed by military 
word of command, as often as by philosophical 
persuasion of its worth. Nor is the atmosphere of 
command other than bracing, even to those who are 
commanded. It is true that both tyrants and cravens 
may be bred in it ; the risk of this, however, is not 
less but greater, in that enervating atmosphere of self- 
regarding will, which Eousseau proposed to throw 
around the youth of his Emilius. If education is to be 
mainly conducted by force of example, it is assuredly a 
dreadful thing that the child is ever to have before its 
eyes as living type and practical exemplar, the pale 
figure of parents without passions, and without a will 
as to the conduct of those who are dependent on them. 
Even a slight excess of anger, impatience, and the 
spirit of command, would be less demoralising to the 
impressionable character, than the constant sight of a 
man artificially impassive. Housseau is perpetually 
calling upon men to try to lay aside their masks ; yet 
the model instructor whom he has created for us, is 
to be the most artfully and elaborately masked of all 
men, unless he happens to be naturally without blood 
and without physiognomy. 

Eousseau, then, while he put away the old methods 
which imprisoned the young spirit in injunctions and 
over-solicitous monitions, yet did none the less in his 
own scheme imprison it in a kind of hot-house, which 
with its regulated temperature and artificially con- 



EMI LIU S. 217 

triyed access of light and air, was in many respects as 
little the method of nature, that is to say gaye as 
little play for the spontaneous working and growth of 
the forces of nature in the youth's breast, as that 
regimen of the cloister which he so profoundly 
abhorred. Partly this was the result of a ludicrously 
shallow psychology. He repeats again and again that 
self-loye is the one quality in the youthful embryo of 
character, from which you haye to work. From this, 
he says, springs the desire of possessing pleasure and 
avoiding pain, the great fulcrum on which the lever 
of experience rests. Not only so, but from this same 
unslumbering quality of self-love you have to deve- 
lope regard for others. The child's first affection for 
his nurse is a result of the fact that she serves his 
comfort, and so down to his passion in later years for his 
mistress. Now this is not the place for a discussion as 
to the ultimate atom of the complex moral sentiments 
of men and women, nor for an examination of the 
question whether the faculty of sympathy has or has 
not an origin independent of self-love. However that 
may be, no one will deny that sympathy appears in good 
natures extremely early, and is susceptible of rapid 
cultivation from the very first. Here is the only 
adequate key to that education of the affections, from 
their rudimentary expansion in the nursery, until 
they include the complete range of all the objects 
proper to them, which Eousseau in some of its most 
important parts so strangely asks us to postpone until 
the age of tolerably mature reason, and which has 



218 ROUSSEAU. 

then to be promoted by various artificial means, 
instead of having grown slowly wider with the 
gradual widening of experience. 1 

One secret of Eousseau's omission of this, the most 
important of all educating agencies, from the earlier 
stages of the formation of character, was the fact which 
is patent enough in every page, that he was not 
animated by that singular tenderness and almost 
mystic affection for the young, which breathes through 
the writings of some of his German followers, of 
Eichter above all others, and which reveals to those 
who are sensible of it, the hold that may so easily be 
gained for all good purposes upon the eager sympathy 
of the youthful spirit. The instructor of Emilius 
speaks the words of a wise onlooker, sagely meditating 
on the ideal man, rather than of a parent who is living 
the life of his child through with him. Eousseau's 
interest in children, though perfectly sincere, was 
still aesthetic, moral, reasonable, rather than that pure 
flood of full-hearted feeling for them, which is per- 
haps seldom stirred except in those who have actually 
brought up children of their own. 2 

ii. 

Education being the art of preparing the young to 
grow into instruments of happiness for themselves 
and others, a writer who undertakes to speak about it 

1 See the first hundred pages of book iv. of Emile. 

2 The Ninth Promenade (IMveries, 309), which is a vindication of his love 
for the young, is an exquisite piece, but it has none of the yearnings of the 
bowels of tenderness. See above, vol. i. 126. 



EMILIUS. 219 

must naturally have some conception of the kind of 
happiness at which his art aims. "We have seen 
enough of Bousseau's own life to know what sort of 
ideal he would be likely to set up. _. It is a kind of 
healthier epicureanism, with enough stoicism to make 
happiness safe in case circumstances should frown. 
The man who has lived most, is not he who has 
counted most years, but he who has most felt life. 1 It 
is mere false wisdom to throw us incessantly out of 
ourselves, to count the present for nothing, ever to 
pursue without ceasing a future which flees in propor- 
tion as we advance, to try to transport ourselves from 
whence we are not, to some place where we shall never 
be. 2 He is happiest who suffers fewest pains, and 
he is most miserable who feels fewest pleasures. Then 
we have a half stoical strain. The felicity of man 
here below is only a negative state, to be measured by 
the more or less of the ills he undergoes. It is in the 
disproportion between desires and faculties, that our 
misery consists. Happiness, therefore, lies not in 
diminishing our desires, nor any more in extending 
our faculties, but in diminishing the excess of desire 
over faculty, and in bringing power and will into per- 
fect balance. 3 Excepting health, strength, respect for 
one's self, all the goods of this life reside in opinion : 
excepting bodily pain and remorse of conscience, all 
our ills are in imagination. Death is no evil ; it is 
only made so by half-knowledge and false wisdom. 
' Live according to nature, be patient, and drive away 

1 Emile, I. 23. II. 109. 3 II. 111. 



220 ROUSSEAU. 

physicians; you will not avoid death, but you will 
only feel it once, while they would bring it daily 
before your troubled imagination, and their false art, 
instead of prolonging your days, only hinders you 
from enjoying it. Suffer, die, or recover; but above 
all things live, up to your last hour.' It is foresight, 
constantly carrying us out of ourselves, that is the 
true source of our miseries. 1 man, confine thy 
existence within thyself, and thou wilt cease to be 
miserable. Thy liberty, thy power, reach exactly as 
far as thy natural forces, and no further : all the rest 
is slavery and illusion. The only man who has his 
own will, is he who does not need, in order to have it, 
the arms of another person at the end of his own. 2 

The training that follows from this is obvious. 
The instructor has carefully to distinguish true or 
natural need from the need which is only fancied, or 
which only comes from superabundance of life. Emi- 
lius, who is brought up in the country, has nothing in 
his room to distinguish it from that of a peasant. 3 If 
he is taken to a luxurious banquet, he is bidden, 
instead of heedlessly enjoying it, to reflect austerely 
how many hundreds or thousands of hands have been 
employed in preparing it. 4 His preference for gay 
colours in his clothes is to be consulted, because this 
is natural and becoming to his age, but the moment 
he prefers a stuff merely because it is rich, behold a 
creature sophisticated. 5 The curse of the world is 

1 II. 1137. 2 II. 121. 3 II. 143. 

4 III. 382. s n . 227. 



EMILIUS. 221 

inequality, and inequality springs from the multitude 
of wants, which cause us to be so much the more 
dependent. What makes man essentially good is to 
have few wants, and to abstain from comparing him- 
self with others ; what makes him essentially bad, is 
to have many wants, and to cling much to opinion. 1 
Hence, although Emilius happened to have both 
wealth and good birth, he is not brought up to be a 
gentleman, with the prejudices and helplessness and 
selfishness too naturally associated with that abused 
name. 

This cardinal doctrine of limitation of desire, with 
its corollary of self-sufficience, contains in itself the 
great maxim that Emilius and every one else must 
learn some trade. To wort is an indispensable duty 
in the social man. Eich or poor, powerful or weak, 
every idle citizen is a knave. And every boy must 
learn a real trade, a trade with his hands. It is not 
so much a matter of learning a craft for the sake of 
knowing one, as for the sake of conquering the preju- 
dices which despise it. Labour for glory, if you have 
not to labour from necessity. Lower yourself to the 
condition of the artisan, so as to be above your own. 
In order to reign in opinion, begin by reigning over 
it. All things well considered, the trade most to be 
preferred is that of carpenter ; it is clean, useful, and 
capable of being carried on in the house ; it demands 
address and diligence in the workman, and though the 
form of the work is determined by utility, elegance 

1 iv. 10. 



222 ROUSSEAU. 

and taste are still not excluded. 1 There are few 
prettier pictures than that where Sophie enters the 
workshop, and sees in amazement her young lover at 
the other end, in his white shirt-sleeves, his hair loosely 
fastened back, with a chisel in one hand and a mallet 
in the other, too intent upon his work to perceive 
even the approach of his mistress. 2 

When the revolution came, and princes and nobles 
wandered in indigent exile, the disciples of Eousseau 
pointed in unkind triumph to the advantage these 
unfortunate wretches would have had, if they had not 
been too puffed up with the vanity of feudalism, to follow 
the prudent example of Emilius in learning a craft. 
That Eousseau should have laid so much stress on 
the vicissitudes of fortune, which might cause even 
a king to be grateful one day that he had a trade at 
the end of his arms, is sometimes quoted as a proof 
of his foresight of troublous times. This, however, 
goes too far, because apart from the instances of 
such vicissitudes among the ancients, the king of 
Syracuse keeping school at Corinth, Alexander, son 
of Perseus, becoming a Eoman scrivener, he actually 
saw Charles Edward, the Stuart pretender, wandering 
from court to court in search of succour and receiving 
only rebuffs ; and he may well have known that after 
the troubles of 1738 a considerable number of the 
oligarchs of his native Geneva had gone into exile, 
rather than endure the humiliation of their party. 
Besides all this, the propriety of being able to earn 

1 EmiU> III. 394. 8 V. 199. 




PRINCE CHARLES STUART, 






EMILIUS. 223 

one's bread by some kind of toil that would be useful 
in even the simplest societies, flowed necessarily from 
every part of his doctrine of the aims of life and the 
worth of character. He did, however, say, i We 
approach a state of crisis and an age of revolutions,' 
which proved true, but he added too much when he 
pronounced it impossible that the great monarchies of 
Europe could have long to last. 1 And it is certain 
that the only one of the great monarchies which did 
actually fall, would have had a far better chance of 
surviving, if Lewis xvi. had been as expert in the 
trade of king, as he was in that of making locks 
and bolts. 

From this semi-stoical ideal there followed certain 
social notions, of which Eousseau had the distinction 
of being the most powerful propagator. As has so 
often been said, his contemporaries were willing to 
leave social questions alone, provided only the govern- 
ment would suffer the free expression of opinion in 
literature and science. Eousseau went deeper. His 
moral conception of individual life and character con- 
tained in itself a social conception, and he did not 



1 Emile, III. 392, and note. A still more remarkable passage, as far as it goes, 
is that in the Confessions (xi. 136): ' The disasters of an unsuccessful war, all 
of which came from the fault of the government, the incredible disorder of 
the finances, the continual dissensions of the administration, divided as it was 
among two or three ministers at open war with one another, and who for the 
sake of hurting one another dragged the kingdom into ruin ; the general dis- 
content of the people, and of all the orders of the state ; the obstinacy of a 
wrong-headed woman, who always sacrificing her better judgment, if indeed 
she had any, to her tastes, dismissed the most capable from office, to make 
room for her favourites .... all this prospect of a coming break-up 
made me think of seeking shelter elsewhere.' 



224 ROUSSEAU. 

shrink from boldly developing it. The rightly consti- 
tuted man suffices for himself and is free from pre- 
judices. He has arms, and knows how to use them ; 
he has his few wants, and knows how to satisfy them. 
Nurtured in the most absolute freedom, he can think 
of no worse ill than servitude. He attaches himself to 
the beauty which perishes not, limiting his desires to 
his condition, learning to lose whatever may be taken 
away from him, to place himself above events, and to 
detach his heart from loved objects without a pang. 1 
He pities miserable kings, who are the bondsmen of 
all that seems to obey them ; he pities false sages, who 
are fast bound in the chains of their empty renown ; 
he pities the silly rich, martyrs to their own ostenta- 
tion. 2 All his sympathies, therefore, naturally flow 
away from these, the great of the earth, to those who 
lead the stoic's life perforce. ' It is the common people 
who compose the human race ; what is not the people 
is hardly worth taking into account. Man is the same 
in all ranks ; that being so, the ranks which are most 
numerous, deserve most respect. Before one who 
thinks, all civil distinctions vanish: he marks the 
same passions and the same feelings in the clown, as in 
the man covered with reputation ; he can only distin- 
guish their speech, and a varnish more or less elaborately 
laid on. Study people of this humble condition ; 
you will perceive that under another sort of language, 
they have as much intelligence as you, and more good 
sense. Eespect your species : reflect that it is essen- 

1 V. 220. 2 IV. 85. 







/://'// 



EMILIUS. * 2 5 

tially made up of the collection of peoples ; that if 
every king and every philosopher were cut off from 
among them, they would scarcely be missed, and the 
world would go none the worse.' * As it is, the uni- 
versal spirit of the law in every country is invariably 
to favour the strong against the weak, and him who 
has, against him who has not. The many are sacrificed 
to the few ; the specious names of justice and subordi- 
nation serve only as instruments for violence and arms 
for iniquity ; the ostentatious orders who pretend to 
be useful to the others, are in truth only useful to 
themselves at the expense of the others. 2 

This was carrying on the work which had already 
been begun in the New Heloisa, as we have seen, but 
in the Emilius it is pushed with a gravity and a 
directness, that could not be imparted to the picture 
of a fanciful and arbitrarily chosen situation. The 
only writer who has approached Rousseau, so far as I 
know, in fulness and depth of expression in proclaim- 
ing the sorrows and wrongs of the poor blind crowd, 
who painfully drag along the ear of triumphant civili- 

1 Emile, IV. 38 9. Hence, we suppose, the famous reply to Lavoisier's 
request that his life might be spared from the guillotine for a fortnight, in 
order that he might complete some experiments, that the Republic has no 
need of chemists. 

2 IV. 65. Jefferson, who was American minister in France from 1784 to 
1789, and absorbed a great many of the ideas then afloat, writes in words that 
seem as if they were borrowed from Kousseau : ' I am convinced that those 
societies (as the Indians) which live without government, enjoy in their 
general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live 
under European governments. Among the former public opinion is in 
the state of law, and restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did any- 
where. Among the latte^ under pretence of governing, they have divided 
their nation into two classes, wolves and sheep. I do not exaggerate ; this is 
a true picture of Europe.' Tucker's Life of Jefferson, i. 255. 

VOL. II. Q 



226 ROUSSEAU. 

sation with its handful of occupants, is the author of 
the Book of the People. Lamennais even surpasses 
Eousseau in the profundity of his pathos ; his pictures 
of the life of hut and hovel are as sincere and as 
touching ; and there is in them, instead of the anger 
and bitterness of the older author, righteous as that 
was, a certain heroism of pity and devoted sublimity 
of complaint, which lift the soul up from resentment 
into divine moods of compassion and resolve, and 
stir us like a tale of noble action. 1 It was Rousseau, 
however, who first sounded the note of which the 
religion that had once been the champion and consoler 
of the common people, seemed long to have lost even 
the tradition. Yet the teaching was not constructive, 
because the ideal man was not made truly social. 
Emilius is brought up in something of the isolation of 
the imaginary savage of the state of nature. He 
marries,' and then he and his wife seem only fitted to 
lead a life of detachment from the interests of the 
world in which they are placed. Social or political 
education, that is the training which character receives 
from the medium in which it .grows, is left out of 
Account, and so is the correlative process of preparation 
for the various conditions and exigencies which belong 
to that medium, until it is too late to take its natural 

1 Lamennais was influenced by Rousseau throughout. In the Essay on 
Indifference he often appeals to him as the vindicator of the religious senti- 
ment (e.g., i. 21, 52, iv. 375, etc. Ed. 1837). The same influence is seen 
still more markedly in the Words of a lfetotw&(1836), when dogma had 
departed, and he was left with a kind of dual deisKt, thus being less estranged 
from Rousseau than in the first days (e.g., xix. *Tous naissent egaux,' etc. 
xxi., etc.). The Book of the People is thoroughly Rousseauite. 



EMILIUS. 227 

place in character. Nothing can be clumsier than 
the way in which Kousseau proposes to teach Emilius 
the existence and nature of his relations with his 
fellows. And the reason of this was that he had never 
himself in the course of his ruminations, willingly 
thought of Emilius as being in a condition of active 
social relation, a citizen of a state. 

in. 

There appear to be three dominant states of mind, 
with groups of faculties associated with each of them, 
which it is the business of the instructor firmly to 
establish in the character of the future man. The 
first is *a resolute and unflinching respect for truth ; 
for the conclusions, that is to say, of the scientific 
reason, comprehending also a constant anxiety to take 
all possible pains that such conclusions shall be rightly 
drawn. Connected with this is the discipline of the 
whole range of intellectual faculties, from the simple 
habit of correct observation, down to the highly com- 
plex habit of weighing and testing the value of 
evidence. This very important branch of early dis- 
cipline, Rousseau for reasons of his own which we 
have already often referred to, cared little about, and 
throws very little light upon, beyond one or two 
extremely sensible precepts of the negative kind, 
warning us against beginning too soon, and forcing an 
apparent progress too rapidly. The second funda- 
mental state in a rightly formed character is a deep 
feeling for things of the spirit which are unknown and 

Q2 



228 ROUSSEAU. 

incommensurable ; a sense of awe, mystery, sublimity, 
and the fateful bounds of life at its beginning and its 
end. Here is the religious side, and what Eousseau has 
to say of this we shall presently see. It is enough now 
to remark that Emilius was never to hear the name of 
a god or supreme being, until his reason was fairly 
ripened. The third state, which is at least as difficult 
to bring to healthy perfection as either of the other 
two, is a passion for justice. 

The little use which Eousseau made of this momen- 
tous much-embracing word, which names the highest 
peak of social virtue, is a very striking circumstance. 
The reason would seem to be that his sense of the 
relations of men with one another was not virile 
enough to comprehend the deep austerer lines which 
mark the brow of the benignant divinity of justice. 
In the one place in his writings where he speaks of 
justice freely, he shows a narrowness of idea, which 
was perhaps as much due to intellectual confusion, as 
to lack of moral robustness. He says excellently that 
1 love of the human race is nothing else in us but love 
of justice,' and that ' of all the virtues, justice is that 
which contributes most to the common good of men.' 
While enjoining the discipline of pity as one of the 
noblest of sentiments, he warns us against letting it 
degenerate into weakness, and insists that we should 
only surrender ourselves to it, when it accords with 
justice. 1 But that is all. "What constitutes justice, 
what is its standard, what its source, what its sanction, 

1 Emile, IV. 105. 



EMILIUS. 229 

whence the extraordinary holiness with which its 
name has come to be invested among the most highly 
civilised societies of men, we are never told, nor do 
we ever see that our teacher had seen the possibility 
of such questions being asked. If they had been pro- 
pounded to him he would, it is most likely, have 
fallen back upon the convenient mystery of the natural 
law, the current phrase of that time which was meant 
to embody a hypothetical experience of perfect human 
relations, in an expression of the widest generality. 
If so, this would have had to be impressed upon the 
mind of Emilius in the same way as other mysteries. 
As a matter of fact Emilius was led through pity up 
to humanity, or sociality in an imperfect signification, 
and there left without a further guide to define the 
marks of truly social conduct. 

This imperfection was a necessity, inseparable from 
Bousseau's tenacity in keeping society in the back- 
ground of the picture of life which he opened to his 
pupil. He said, indeed, < We must study society by 
men, and men by society ; those who would treat 
politics and morality apart, will never understand 
anything about either one or the other.' 1 This is 
profoundly true, but we hardly see in the morality 
which is designed for Emilius, the traces of political 
elements ; yet without some gradually unfolded pre- 
sentation of society as a whole, it is scarcely possible 
to implant the idea of justice with any hope of large 
fertility. You may begin at a very early time to 

i Emile, IV. 63. . 



230 ROUSSEAU. 

develope, even from the primitive quality of self-love, 
a notion of equity and a respect for it, but the vast 
conception of social justice can only find room in a 
character that has been made spacious by habitual 
contemplation of the height and breadth and close 
compactedness of the fabric of the relations that bind 
man to man, and of the share, integral or infinitesimally 
fractional, that each has in the happiness or woe of 
other souls. And this contemplation should begin, 
when we prepare the foundation of all the other 
maturer habits. Youth can hardly recognise too soon 
the enormous unresting machine which bears us 
ceaselessly along, because we can hardly learn too 
soon that its force and direction depend on the play of 
human motives, of which our own for good or evil 
form an inevitable part when the ripe years come. 
To one reared with the narrow care devoted to 
Emilius, or with the capacious negligence in which 
the majority are left to grow to manhood, the society 
on to which they are thrown is a moral wilderness, 
through which they make such way as they can, with 
egoism for their only trusty instrument, either in the 
form of a bludgeon, as with the most part, or in that 
of a delicately adjusted and fastidiously decorated 
compass, as with an Emilius, but in either case with- 
out perception that the gross outer contact of men 
with one another is transformed by worthiness of 
common aim and loyal faith in common excellences, 
into a thing beautiful and generous. It is our busi- 
ness to fix and root the habit of thinking of that 



EMILIUS. 231 

moral union, into which, as Kant has so admirably 
expressed it, the pathological necessities of situation 
that first compelled social concert, have been gradually 
transmuted. Instead of this, it is exactly the primitive 
pathological conditions, which a narrow theory of edu- 
cation brings first into prominence, as if knowledge of 
origins were indispensable to a right attachment to 
the transformed conditions of a maturer system. 

It has been said that Eousseau founds all morality 
upon personal interest, perhaps even more specially 
than Helvetius himself, 1 who was supposed to have 
revealed all the world's secret. The accusation is just. 
Emilius will enter adult life without the germs of 
that social conscience, which animates a man with all 
the associations of duty and right, of gratitude for the 
past and resolute hope for the future, in face of the 
great body of which he finds himself a part. *I 
observe,' says Housseau, i that in the modern ages, 
men have no hold upon one another save through 
force and interest, while the ancients on the other 
hand acted much more by persuasion and the affections 
of the soul.' 2 The reason was that with the ancients, 
supposing them to be the Greeks and Eomans, the 
social conscience was so much wider in its scope, than 
the comparatively narrow fragment of duty, which is 
supposed to come under the sacred power of conscience 
in the more complex and less closely contained organi- 
zation of a modern state. The neighbours to whom 
a man owed duty in those times, comprehended all the 

i M. Barante. 2 Emile, IV. 273. 



232 ROUSSEAU. 

members of his state ; the neighbours of the modem 
preacher of duty are either the few persons with 
whom each of us is brought into actual and palpable 
contact, or else the whole multitude of dwellers on 
the earth, a conception that for many ages to come 
will remain with the majority of men and women 
too yague to exert an energetic and concentrating 
influence upon action, and will lead them no further 
than a watery, uncoloured, and nerveless cosmopoli- 
tanism. 

What the young need to have taught to them in 
this too little cultivated region, is that they are born 
not mere atoms floating independent and apart for a 
season through a terraqueous medium, and sucking 
up as much more than their share of nourishment as 
they can seize ; nor citizens of the world with no 
more definite duty than to keep their feelings towards 
all their fellows in a steady simmer of bland com- 
placency ; but soldiers in a host, citizens of a polity 
whose boundaries are not set down in maps, members 
of a church the handwriting of whose ordinances is 
not in the hieroglyphs of idle mystery, nor its hope 
and recompense in the lands beyond death. They 
need to be taught that they owe a share of their 
energies to the great struggle which is in ceaseless 
progress in all societies in an endless variety of forms, 
between new truth and old prejudice, between love of 
self or class and solicitous passion for justice, between 
the obstructive indolence and inertia of the many and 
the generous mental activity of the few. This is the 



EMILIUS. 233 

sphere and definition of the social conscience. The 
good causes of enlightenment and justice in all lands, 
here is the church militant in which we should early 
seek to enrol the young, and the true state to which 
they should be taught that they owe the duties of 
active and arduous citizenship ; these the struggles, 
with which the modern instructor should associate 
those virtues of fortitude, tenacity, silent patience, 
outspoken energy, readiness to assert ourselves and 
readiness to efface ourselves, willingness to suffer and 
resolution to inflict suffering, which men of old knew 
how to show for their gods, or their sovereign, or 
even out of mere love of adventure, or the yet unwor- 
thier love of gain. But the ideal of Emilius was an 
ideal of quietism ; to possess his own soul in patience, 
with a suppressed intelligence, a suppressed sociality, 
without a single spark of generous emulation in the 
courses of strong-fibred virtue, or a single thrill of 
heroical pursuit after so much as one great forlorn 
cause. 

'If it once comes to him, in reading these parallels of 
the famous ancients, to desire to be another rather than 
liimself, were this other Socrates, were he Cato, you 
have missed the mark; he who begins to make himself 
a stranger to himself, is not long before he forgets 
himself altogether.' 1 But if a man only nurses the 
conception of his own personality, for the sake of 
keeping his own peace and self-contained comfort at a 
glow of easy warmth, assuredly the best thing that 

1 Emile, IV. 83. 



234 ROUSSEAU. 

can befall him is that he should perish, lest his 
example should infect others with the same base con- 
tagion. Excessive personality militant is often whole- 
some, excessive personality that only hugs itself is 
under all circumstances chief among unclean things. 
Thus even Kousseau's finest monument of moral 
enthusiasm is fatally tarnished by the cold damp 
breath of isolation, and the very book which contained 
so many elements of new life for a state, was at 
bottom the apotheosis of social despair. 

IV. 

The great agent in fostering the rise to vigour and 
uprightness of a social conscience, apart from the yet 
more powerful instrument of a strong and energetic 
public spirit at work around the growing character, 
must be found in the study of history rightly directed 
with a view to this end. It is here, in observing the 
long processes of time and appreciating the slowly ac- 
cumulating sum of endeavour, that the mind gradually 
comes to read the great lessons how close is the bond 
that links men together, and gradually begins to 
acquire the habit of considering what are the condi- 
tions of wise social activity, its limits, its objects, its 
rewards, what is the capacity of collective achieve- 
ment, and of what sort is the significance and purport 
of the small span of time that cuts off the yesterday 
of our society from its to-morrow. 

Eousseau had very rightly forbidden the teaching 
of history to young children, on the ground that the 



EM1LIUS. 235 

essence of history lies in the moral relations between 
the bare facts which it recounts, and that the terms 
and ideas of these relations are wholly beyond the 
intellectual grasp of the very young. 1 He might have 
based his objections equally well upon the impos- 
sibility of little children knowing the meaning of 
the multitude of descriptive terms which make up a 
historical manual, or realising the relations between 
events in bare point of time, although childhood may 
perhaps be a convenient period for some mechanical 
acquisition of dates. According to Eousseau, history 
was to appear very late in the educational course, 
when the youth was almost ready to enter the world. 
It was to be the finishing study, from which he should 
learn not sociality either in its scientific or its higher 
moral sense, but the composition of the heart of man, 
in a safer way than through actual intercourse with 
society. Society might make him either cynical or 
frivolous. History would bring him the same in- 
formation, without subjecting him to the same perils. 
In society you only hear the words of men ; to know 
man you must observe his actions, and actions are 
only unveiled in history. 2 This view is hardly worth 
discussing. The subject of history is not the heart of 
man, but the movements of societies. Moreover the 
oracles of history are entirely dumb to one who seeks 
from them maxims for the shaping of daily conduct, 



1 Emile, II. 185. See the previous page for some equally prudent observa- 
tions on the folly of teaching geography to little children. 

2 Emile, IV. 68. 



236 ROUSSEAU. 

or living instruction as to the motives, aims, caprices, 
capacities of self-restraint, self-sacrifice, and all the 
rest of the almost infinitely varying qualities that 
make up the characters of those with whom the 
occasions of life bring us into contact. For all these 
things we go for theory to the science of the laws of 
the formation of human character, and in practice to 
as wide an experience of the actual ways of the world 
ahout us, as circumstances will permit, or as we may 
choose to endure. 

It is true that at the close of the other part of his 
education, Emilius was to travel and there find the 
comment upon the completed circle of his studies. 1 
But excellent as travel is for some of the best of those 
who have the opportunity, still for many it is value- 
less for lack of the faculty of curiosity, and for the 
great majority it is impossible for lack of opportunity; 
therefore to trust so much as Eousseau did to the 
effect of travelling, is to leave a large chasm in 
education unbridged. 

It is interesting, however, to notice some of Eous- 
seau's notions about history as an instrument for 
conveying moral instruction, a few of them are so 
good, and others so characteristically narrow. i The 
worst historians for a young man,' he says, ' are those 
who judge. The facts, the facts ; then let him judge 
for himself. If the author's judgment is for ever 
guiding him, he is only seeing with the eye of another, 
and as soon as this eye fails him, he sees nothing.' 

1 V. 231, etc. 



EMILIUS. 23.7 

This is unquestionably in the right direction ; only, 
however, if we remember at the same time, first, that 
in those transactions which it is best worth while for 
the student to meditate upon, the mode in which the 
facts are chosen and presented, inevitably contains a 
more or less emphatic judgment upon them ; secondly, 
that the faculty of historical judgment comes not by 
the mere will to observe, without the discipline of many 
examples of wise reasoning from the recorded facts, 
and that in this, as in all other subjects, it is wasteful 
not to take advantage of the accumulation of tested 
judgment which our predecessors have left behind them. 
Modern history and Eousseau like many other 
persons who use the term, is not careful to mark its 
limits, though Bossuet's discourse might have taught 
him better is not fit for instruction, not only because 
it has no physiognomy, all our men being exactly like 
one another, but because our historians, intent on 
brilliance above all other things, think of nothing so 
much as painting highly coloured portraits, which for 
the most part represent nothing at all. 1 Of course 
such a judgment as this implies an ignorance alike of 
the ends and meaning of history, which, considering 
that he was living in the midst of a singular revival 
of historical study, is not easy to pardon. If we are 
to look only to perfection of form and arrangement, 
it may have been right for one living in the middle of 
the last century to place the ancients in the first rank 
without competitors. But the author of the Dis- 

1 iv. 71. 



238 ROUSSEAU. 

course upon literature and the arts might haye been 
expected to look beyond composition, and the contem- 
porary of Voltaire's Essai sur les Mceurs (1754 7) 
might have been expected to know that the profitable 
experience of the human race did not close with the 
fall of the Eoman republic. Among the ancient his- 
torians, he counted Thucydides to be the true model, 
because he reports facts without judging, and omits 
none of the circumstances proper for enabling us to 
judge of them for ourselves though how Eousseau 
knew what facts- Thucydides has omitted, I confess 
myself unable to divine. Then come Csesar's Com- 
mentaries and Xenophon's Eetreat of the Ten Thou- 
sand. The good Herodotus, without portraits and 
without maxims, but abounding in details the most 
capable of interesting and pleasing, would perhaps be 
the best of historians, if only these details did not 
so often degenerate into puerilities. Livy is unsuited 
to youth, because he is political and a rhetorician. 
Tacitus is the book of the old ; you must have learnt 
the art of reading facts, before you can be trusted 
with maxims. The whole instruction of youth ought 
to lie among particular rules. 1 

The drawback of histories such as those of Thucy- 
dides and Csesar, he admits to be that they dwell 
almost entirely on war, omitting the true life of 
nations, which belongs to the unwritten chronicles of 
peace. This leads him to the equally just reflection 
that historians, while recounting facts, omit the gradual 

1 IV. 72-3. 



EM1LIUS. 239 

and progressive causes which led to them. ( They often 
find in a battle lost or won the reason of a revolution, 
which even before the battle was already inevitable. 
War scarcely does more than bring into full light 
events determined by moral causes, which historians 
can seldom penetrate.' l He recognised that some of 
his contemporaries had turned their thoughts in this 
direction, and he would have been blind if he had not, 
but he doubted whether truth would gain by their 
industry, on account of the fury for systems which 
had seized them, and led them to look at things less 
as they are, than as they harmonize with preconceived 
schemes an objection not without strong foundation. 
A third complaint against the study which he began by 
recommending as a proper introduction to the know- 
ledge of man, is that it does not present men but 
actions, or at least men only in their parade costume 
and in certain chosen moments, and he justly re- 
proaches writers alike of history and biography, for 
omitting those trifling strokes and homely anecdotes, 
which reveal the true physiognomy of character. 
'Bemain then for ever, without bowels, without 
nature ; harden your hearts of cast iron in your 
trumpery decency, and make yourselves despicable by 
force of dignity.' 2 And so after all, by a common 
stroke of impetuous inconsistency, he forsakes history, 
and falls back upon the ancient biographies, because, 
all the low and familiar details being banished from 
modern style, however true and characteristic, men are 

1 EmHe t IV. 73. 2 IV. 77. 



240 ROUSSEAU. 

as elaborately tricked out by our authors in their 
private lives, as they were tricked out upon the stage 
of the world. 

y. 

As women are from the constitution of things the 
educators of us all at the most critical periods, and 
mainly of their own sex from the beginning to the end 
of education, the writer of the most imperfect treatise 
on this world-interesting subject can hardly avoid say- 
ing something on the upbringing of women. Such a 
writer may start from one of three points of view ; he 
may consider the woman as destined to be a wife, or a 
mother, or a human being ; as the companion of a 
man, as the rearer of the young, or as an independent 
personality, endowed with gifts, talents, possibilities, 
in less or greater number, and capable as in the case 
of men, of being trained to the worst or the best 
uses, or left to rust unused. Of course to every one 
who looks into life, each of these three ideals melts 
into the other two, and we can only think of them 
effectively as blended. Yet we test a writer's appre- 
ciation of the conditions of human progress by ob- 
serving the function which he makes most prominent. 
A man's whole thought of the worth and aim of 
womanhood depends upon the generosity and eleva- 
tion of the ideal which is silently present in his mind, 
while he is specially meditating the relations of woman 
as wife or as mother. Unless he is really capable of 
thinking of them as human beings, independently of 



EMILIUS. 241 

these two functions, lie is sure to have comparatively 
mean notions in connection with them even in respect 
of the functions which he makes paramount. 

Eousseau "breaks down here. The unsparing fashion 
in which he developed the theory of individualism in 
the case of Emilius, and insisted on man being allowed 
to grow into the man of nature, instead of the man of 
art and manufacture, might have led us to expect that 
when he came to speak of women, he would suffer 
equity and logic to have their way, and give equally 
free room in the two halves of the human race for 
the development of natural force and capacity. If, as 
he begins by saying, he wishes to bring up Emilius, 
not to be a merchant nor a physician nor a soldier 
nor to the practice of any other special calling, but to 
be first and above all a man, to whom the special inci- 
dents might be added, why should not Sophie too be 
brought up first and above all a human being with 
reason, emotions, interests, in whom the special qualifi- 
cations of wifehood and motherhood maybe developed in 
their due order ? Emilius is a man first, a husband and 
a father afterwards and secondarily. How can Sophie 
be a companion for him, and an instructor for their 
children during their tender years, unless she likewise 
has been left in the hands of nature, and had the same 
chances permitted to her as were given to her destined 
mate ? Again, the pictures of the New Heloisa would 
have led us to conceive the ideal of womanly function 
not so much in the wife, as in the house -mother, 
attached by esteem and sober affection to her hus- 

VOL. II. E, 



242 ROUSSEAU. 

band, but having for her chief functions to be the 
gentle guardian of her little ones, and the mild, firm, 
and prudent administrator of a cheerful and well- 
ordered household. In the last book of the Emilius, 
which treats of the education of girls, education is 
reduced within the compass of an even narrower ideal 
than this. We are confronted with the oriental con- 
ception of women. Every principle which has been 
followed in the education of Emilius, is reversed in the 
education of women. Opinion, which is the tomb of 
virtue among men, is among women its high throne. 
The whole education of women ought to be relative to 
men ; to please them, to be useful to them, to make 1 
themselves loved and honoured by them, to console 
them, to render their lives agreeable and sweet to 
them, these are the duties which ought to be taught 
to women from their childhood. Every girl ought to 
have the religion of her mother, and every wife that of 
her husband. Not being in a condition to judge for 
themselves, they ought to receive the decision of 
fathers and husbands as that of the church. And 
since authority is the rule of faith for women, it is 
not so much a matter of explaining to them the 
reasons for belief, as for expounding clearly to them 
what to believe. Although boys are not to hear of the 
idea of god until they are fifteen, because they are not 
in a condition to apprehend it, yet girls who are still 
less in a condition to apprehend it, are therefore to 
have it imparted to them at an earlier age. Woman is 
created to give way to man, and to suffer his injustice. 



EMILIUS. 243 

Her empire is an empire of gentleness, mildness, and 
complaisance. Her orders are caresses, and her threats 
are tears. Girls ought not only to be made laborious 
and vigilant ; they ought also very early to be accus- 
tomed to being thwarted and kept in restraint. This 
misfortune, if they feel it one, is inseparable from 
their sex, and if ever they attempt to escape from it, 
they will only suffer misfortunes still more cruel in 
consequence. 1 

After a series of oriental and obscurantist proposi- 
tions of this kind, it is of little purpose to tell us that 
women have more intelligence and men more genius ; 
that women observe, while men reason ; that men will 
philosophize better upon the human heart, while 
women will be more skilful in reading it. 2 And it is 
rather like a mockery to end the matter, by a fervid 
assurance, that in spite of prejudices that have their 
origin in the manners of the time, the enthusiasm for 
what is worthy and noble is no more foreign to women 
than it is to men, and that there is nothing which 
under the guidance of nature may not be obtained 
from them as well as from ourselves. 3 Finally there is 
a complete surrender of the obscurantist position in 
such a sentence as this : c I only know for either sex 
two really distinct classes j one the people who think, 
the other the people who do not think, and this dif- 
ference comes almost entirely from education. A man 
of the first of these classes ought not to marry into the 

i Emile, V. 22, 534, 101, 12832. 
2 Emile, V. 78. 3 V. 122. 

B2 



244 ROUSSEAU. 

other; for the greatest charm of companionship is 
wanting, when having a wife he is reduced to think 
by himself. It is only a cultivated spirit which pro- 
vides agreeable commerce, and 'tis a cheerless thing 
for a father of a family who loves his home, to be 
obliged to shut himself up within himself, and to have 
no one about him who understands him. Besides, how 
is a woman who has no habits of reflection to bring up 
her children?' 1 Nothing could be more excellently 
urged ; but how is a woman to have habits of reflec- 
tion, when she has been constantly brought up in 
habits of the closest mental bondage, trained always 
to consider her first business to be the pleasing of 
some man, and her instruments not reasonable per- 
suasion, but caressing and crying ? 

This pernicious nonsense was mainly due, like 
nearly all his most serious errors, to Eousseau's want 
of a conception of improvement in human affairs. If 
he had been filled with this conception, as Turgot, 
Condorcet, and others were, he would have been forced, 
as they were, to meditate upon changes in the educa- 
tion and the recognition accorded to women, as one of 
the first conditions of improvement. For lack of this, 
he contributed nothing to the most important branch 
of the subject which he had undertaken to treat. He 
was always taunting the champions of reigning 
systems of training for boys, with the vicious or feeble 
men whom he thought he saw on every hand around 
him. The same kind of answer obviously meets the 

1 V. 12930. 



EMILIUS. 245 

current idea, which he adopted with a few idyllic 
decorations of his own, of the type of the relations 
between men and women. That type practically 
reduces marriage in ninety-nine cases out of every 
hundred to a dolorous parody of a social partnership ; 
and it does more than any one other cause to keep 
societies back, because it prevents one half of the 
members of a society from cultivating all their natural 
energies ; so it produces a waste of helpful quality as 
immeasurable as it is deplorable, and besides rearing 
these creatures of mutilated faculty to be the intel- 
lectually demoralising companions of the remaining 
half of their own generation, makes them the mothers 
and the earliest and most influential instructors of the 
whole of the generation that comes after. 1 " Of course, 
if any one believes that the existing arrangements of 
a western community are the most successful that we 
can ever hope to bring into operation, we need not 
complain of Eousseau. If not, and if we believe that 
those arrangements are susceptible of being so altered 
as to add to the sum of human happiness to a degree 
which we are now unable to realise, then it is only rea- 
sonable to suppose that a considerable portion of the 
change will be effected in the hitherto neglected and 
subordinate half of the race, by providing them with 
some more self-respecting aim than giving pleasure to 
men, and some worthier instruments of success in life 



1 Well did Jean Paul say ' If we regard all life as an educational institu- 
tion, a circumnavigator of the world is less influenced by all the nations he 
has seen, than by his nurse.' Levana. 



246 ROUSSEAU. 

than tears and caresses. That re -constitution of the 
family which Rousseau and others among his contem- 
poraries rightly sought after as one of the most 
pressing needs of the time; was essentially impossible, 
so long as the typical woman was the adornment of a 
semi-philosophic seraglio, a sort of compromise be- 
tween the frowzy ideal of an English bourgeois, and 
the impertinent ideal of a Parisian gallant. The 
grievous mistake of Condorcet and others in defending 
the free gratification of sensual passion, as one of the 
conditions of happiness and making the most of our 
lives, 1 was not at bottom more fatal to the maintenance 
and order of the family, than Rousseau's enervating 
notion, of keeping women in strict intellectual and 
moral subjection, was fatal to the family as the true 
school of high and equal companionship, and the 
fruitful seed-ground of wise activities and new hopes 
for each fresh generation. 

This was one side of Rousseau's reactionary ten- 
dencies. Fortunately for the revolution of thirty years 
later, which illustrated the gallery of heroic women 
with some of its most splendid names, his power was 
in this respect neutralised by other stronger tendencies 
in the general spirit of the age. The aristocracy of 
sex was subjected to the same destructive criticism as 
the aristocracy of birth. The same feeling for justice 
which inspired the demand for freedom and equality 
of opportunity among men, led to the demand for the 

1 Tableau des Progres de V Esprit Humain. (Euv., vi. pp. 264, 5236, and 
elsewhere. [Ed. 18479.] 



EMILIUS. 247 

same freedom and equality of opportunity between 
men and women. If the reformers of the eighteenth 
century were eager in their intellectual curiosity, and 
ardent for truth and new knowledge, they were fully 
alive to the injustice of depriving half the race of all 
part and share in this glorious outburst of morning 
light, as they were fully alive to the addition which 
their own power of search and hope would receive, if 
ignorance and numbing indifference in their closest 
companions were replaced by the helpful and under- 
standing sympathy of fellow- workers. All this was 
part of the energy of the time which Rousseau 
disliked with undisguised bitterness. It broke incon- 
veniently in upon his quietist visions. He had no 
conception, with his sensuous brooding imagination 
never wholly purged of grossness, of that high and 
pure type of women, which French history so often 
produced in the seventeenth century, and who 
were not quite wanting towards the close of the 
eighteenth, a type in which devotion went with force, 
and austerity with sweetness, and divine candour and 
transparent innocence with energetic loyalty and in- 
tellectual uprightness and a firmly set will. Such 
thoughts were not for Rousseau, a dreamer led by his 
senses. Perhaps they are for none of us any more. 
When we turn to modern literature from the pages in 
which Fenelon speaks of the education of girls, who 
does not feel that the world has lost a sacred accent, 
that some ineffable essence has passed out from our 
hearts? We may have gained something in know- 



248 ROUSSEA U. 

ledge, in depth of analysis, but may be we do no ill in 
taking our gain with a sigh of far-off regret. 

The fifth book of Emilius is not a chapter on the 
education of women, but an idyll. We have already 
seen the circumstances under which Eousseau com- 
posed it, in a profound and delicious solitude, in the 
midst of woods and streams, with the fragrance of the 
orange-flower poured around him, and in continual 
ecstasy. 1 As an idyll it is delicious ; as a serious 
contribution to the hardest of problems it is naught. 
The sequel, by a stroke of matchless whimsicality, 
unless it be meant, as it perhaps may have been, for 
a piece of deep tragic irony, is the best refutation 
that Eousseau' s most energetic adversary could have 
desired, for the Sophie who has been educated on the 
oriental principle, has presently to confess a flagrant 
infidelity to the blameless Emilius, her lord. 2 

VI. 

Yet the sum of the merits of Emilius as a writing 
upon education is not to be lightly counted. Its value 
lies, as has been said of his romance, in the spirit 
which animates it, and communicates itself with vivid 
force to the reader. It is one of the seminal books in 
the history of literature, and of such books the worth 
resides less in the parts than in the whole. It touched 
the deeper things of character. It filled parents 
with a sense of the dignity and moment of their task. 
It cleared away the accumulation of clogging pre- 

1 See above, p. 9. 2 Emik et Sophie, i. 



EMILIUS. 249 

judices and obscure inveterate usage, which made 
education one of the dark formalistic arts ; and it 
admitted floods of light and air into the tightly closed 
nurseries and schoolrooms. It effected the substitu- 
tion of growth for mechanism. A strong current of 
manliness, wholesomeness, simplicity, self-reliance, 
was sent by it through Europe, while its eloquence 
was the most powerful adjuration ever addressed to 
parental affection to cherish the young life in all love 
and considerate solicitude. It was the veritable charter 
of youthful deliverance. The first immediate effect of 
Emilius in France was mainly on the religious side. 
It was the Christian religion that needed to be 
avenged, rather than education that needed to be 
amended, and the press overflowed with replies to 
that profession of faith which we shall consider in the 
next chapter. Still there was also an immense quan- 
tity of educational books and pamphlets, which is to 
be set down first to the suppression of the Jesuits, the 
great educating order, and the vacancy which they 
left, and next to the impulse given by the Emilius to a 
movement from which the book itself had originally 
been an outcome. 1 But why try to state the influence 
of Emilius on France in this way? To strike the 
account truly, would be to write the history of the 
first French Eevolution. 2 

In Germany Emilius had great power. There it 

1 For an account of some of these, see Grimm's Corr. Lit., iii. 211, 252, 
347, etc. Also Corr. Ined., p. 143. Also Diderot, (Euv., i. 537. 

2 For the early date at which Rousseau's power began to meet recognition, 
see D'Aleinbert to Voltaire, July 31, 1762. 



2 5 o ROUSSEAU. 

fell in with the extraordinary movement towards 
naturalness and freedom of which we have already 
spoken. 1 Herder wrote with enthusiasm to his then 
beloved Caroline of the ' divine Emilius,' but its in- 
fluence on him was wide and general, rather than 
specially educational, as it was sure to be, falling 
on a rich mind. Basedow (1723), that strange, 
restless, and most ill-regulated person, was seized with 
an almost phrenetic enthusiasm for Bousseau's educa- 
tional theories, translated them into German, and 
repeated them in his works over and over again with 
an incessant iteration. Lavater (1741 1801), who 
differed from Basedow in being a fervent Chris- 
tian of soft mystic faith, was thrown into company 
with him in 1774, and grew equally eager with him 
in the cause of reforming education in the Eousseauite 
sense. Pestalozzi (1746 1827), the most systematic, 
popular, and permanently successful of all the educa- 
tional reformers, borrowed his spirit and his principles 
mainly from the Emilius, though he gave larger 
extension and more intelligent exactitude to their 
application. Jean Paul the Unique, in the preface to 
his Levana, or -Doctrine of Education (1806), one of 

1 See above, p. 32, and p. 188. 

2 The suggestion of the speculations -with which Lavater's name is most 
commonly associated, is to be found in the Emilius. ' It is supposed that 
physiognomy is only a development of features already marked by nature. 
For my part, I should think that besides this development, the features of a 
man's countenance form themselves insensibly and take their expression from 
the frequent and habitual wearing into them of certain affections of the soul. 
These affections mark themselves in the countenance, nothing is more certain ; 
and when they grow into habits, they must leave durable impressions upon 
it.' IV. 49-50. 




. 



EMILIUS. 251 

the most excellent of all books on the subject, de- 
clares that among previous works to which he owes a 
debt, < first and last he names Eousseau's Emilius ; no 
preceding work can be compared to his ; in no pre- 
vious work on education was the ideal so richly 
combined with the actual/ and so forth. 1 

In our own country Emilius was translated as soon 
as it appeared, and must have been widely read, for a 
second version of the translation was called for in a 
very short time. So far as a cursory survey gives 
one a right to speak, its influence here in the field of 
education is not very perceptible. That subject did 
not yet, nor for some time to come, excite much active 
thought in England. Eousseau's speculations on 
society both in the Emilius and elsewhere seem to 
have attracted more attention. Eeference has already 
been made to Paley. 2 Adam Ferguson's celebrated 
Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767) has 
many allusions, direct and indirect, to Eousseau. 3 
Kames's Sketches of the History of Man (1774) 
abounds still more copiously in references to Emilius, 
sometimes to controvert its author, more often to cite 
him as an authority worthy of respect, and Eousseau's 
crude notions about women are cited with special 
acceptance. 4 Cowper was probably thinking of the 
Savoyard Yicar, when he wrote the energetic lines 
in the Task, beginning l Haste now, philosopher, and 

1 Author's Preface, x. 2 See above, p. 187. 

3 E.g. pp. 8, 198, 2045. 

4 E.g. Bk. I. 5, p. 279. 6, p. 406, 419, etc. (the portion concerning the 
female sex). 



252 ROUSSEAU. 

set him free,' scornfully defying the deist to rescue 
apostate man. 1 Nor should we omit what was counted 
so important a book in its day as Godwin's Enquiry 
concerning Political Justice (1793), which is perhaps 
more French in its spirit than any other work of 
equal consequence in our literature of politics, and in 
the composition of which the author was avowedly a 
student of Eousseau, as well as of the members of the 
materialistic school, though Godwin assuredly kept 
an independent judgment. 2 

In fine we may add that Emilius was the first 
expression of that democratic tendency in education, 
which political and other circumstances gradually 
made general alike in England, France, and Germany ; 
a tendency, that is, to look on education as a process 
concerning others besides the rich and the well-born. 
As has often been remarked, Ascham, Milton, Locke, 
Fenelon, busy themselves about the instruction of 
young gentlemen and gentlewomen. The rest of 
the world are supposed to be sufficiently provided 
for by the education of circumstance. Since the 
middle of the eighteenth century this monopolizing 
conception has vanished, along with and through the 
same general agencies as the corresponding conception 
of social monopoly. Eousseau enforced the production 



1 Vv. 670 703. We have already seen (above, p. 40, w.) that Cowper had 
read Emilius, and the mocking reference to the deist as ' an Orpheus and 
omnipotent in song,' coincides with Rousseau's comparison of the Savoyard 
Vicar to ' the divine Orpheus singing the first hymn ' (Em., IV. 205). 

2 For references to Rousseau in Godwin's Political Justice, see Pref., p. ix., 
Bk. I. ch. iv., III. ii., V. vii. xvi., etc. 



EMILIUS. 253 

of a natural and self-sufficing man as the object of 
education, and showed, or did his best to show, the 
infinite capacity of the young for that simple and 
natural cultivation. This easily and directly led 
people to reflect that such a capacity was not confined 
to the children of the rich, nor the hope of producing 
a natural and sufficing man narrowed to those who 
had every external motive placed around them for 
being neither natural nor self-sufficing. 

Voltaire pronounced Emilius a stupid romance, but 
admitted that it contained fifty pages which he would 
have bound in morocco. These, we may be sure, con- 
cerned religion in truth it was the Savoyard Yicar's 
profession of faith, which stirred France far more than 
the upbringing of the natural man in things temporal. 
Let us pass to that eloquent document which is in- 
serted in the middle of the Emilius, as the expression 
of the religious opinion that best befits the man of 
nature a document most hyperbolically counted by 
some French enthusiasts for the spiritualist philosophy 
and the religion of sentiment, as the noblest monument 
of the eighteenth century. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

TEE SAVOYARD VICAR. 

ITIHE band of dogmatic atheists who met round 
-L D'Holbach's dinner table, indulged a shallow and 
futile hope, if it was not an ungenerous one, when 
they expected the immediate advent of a generation 
with whom a humane and rational philosophy should 
displace, not merely the superstitions which had grown 
around the Christian dogma, but every root and frag- 
ment of theistic conception. A hope of this kind 
implied a singularly random idea, alike of the hold 
which Christianity had taken of the religious emotion 
in western Europe, and of the durableness of those 
conditions in human character, to which some belief in 
a deity, with a greater or fewer number of good attri- 
butes, brings solace and nourishment. A movement 
like that of Christianity does not pass through a group 
of societies, and leave no trace behind. It springs 
from many other sources besides that of adherence to 
the truth of its dogmas, and the stream of its influence 
must continue to flow, long after adherence to the 
letter has been confined to the least informed portions 
of a community. The encyclopedists knew that they 



THE SAVOYARD VICAR. 255 

had sapped religious dogma and shaken ecclesiastical 
organization. They forgot that religious sentiment on 
the one hand, and habit of respect for authority on the 
other, were left behind. They had convinced them- 
selves by a host of persuasive analogies that the 
universe is an automatic machine, and man only an 
industrious particle in the stupendous whole; that a 
final cause is not cognisable by our limited intelli- 
gence ; and that to make emotion in this or any other 
respect a test of objective truth and a ground of posi- 
tive belief, is to lower both truth and the reason which 
is its single arbiter. They forgot that imagination is 
as active in man as his reason, and that a craving for 
mental peace may become much stronger in most men, 
than passion for demonstrated truth. Christianity had 
given to this craving in western Europe a definite 
mould, which was not to be effaced in a day, and one 
or two of whose lines mark a permanent and noble 
acquisition to the highest forces of human nature. 
There will have to be wrought a profounder and 
more far-spreading modification than any which the 
French atheists could effect, before the debilitating 
influences of the old creed can be effaced, its elevating 
influences finally separated from them, and preserved 
in more beneficent form and in an association less 
questionable to the understanding. 

Neither a purely negative nor a direct attack can 
ever suffice. There must be a coincidence of many 
silently oppugnant forces, emotional, scientific, and 
material ; and there must be the slow steadfast growth 



256 ROUSSEAU. 

of some replacing faith, which shall retain all the 
elements of moral beauty that once gave life to the 
old belief that has disappeared, and must still possess 
a living force in the new. 

Here we find the good side of a religious reaction 
such as that which Rousseau led in the last century, 
and of which the Savoyard Vicar's profession of faith 
was the famous symbol. Evil as this reaction was in 
many respects, and above all in the check which it 
gave to the application of positive methods and con- 
ceptions to the most important group of our beliefs, 
yet it had what was the very signal merit under the 
circumstances of the time, of keeping the religious 
emotions alive in association with a tolerant, pure, 
lofty, and living set of articles of faith, instead of 
feeding them on the dead superstitions which were at 
the moment the only practical alternative. The deism 
of Eousseau could not in any case have acquired the 
force of the corresponding religious reaction in 
England which happened to take evangelical shape, 
because the former never acquired a compact and 
vigorous external organization, as the latter did, espe- 
cially in wesleyanism, the most remarkable of its 
developments. In truth the vague, fluid, purely sub- 
jective character of deism, disqualifies it from forming 
the doctrinal basis of any great objective and visible 
church, for it is at bottom the sublimation of indi- 
vidualism. But in itself it was a far less retrogressive, 
as well as a far less powerful, movement. It kept 
fewer of those dogmas which gradual change of intel- 



THE SAVOYARD VICAR. 257 

lectual climate had reduced to the condition of rank 
and pestilent superstitions. It preserved some of its 
own, which a still further extension of the same 
change is assuredly destined to reduce to the same 
condition, but along with them it cherished sentiments 
which the world will never willingly let die. 

Perhaps in the course of ages, when societies are far 
enough removed from the faith of to-day, to be able to 
judge it with a calm and amplitude that nobody now 
can pretend to, for lack of adequate length of perspec- 
tive if for no other reason, it may be seen that the one 
cardinal service of the Christian doctrine, which is of 
course to be distinguished from the services rendered 
to civilisation in early times by the Christian church, 
has been the contribution to the active intelligence of 
the west, of those moods of holiness, awe, reverence, 
and silent worship of an unseen not made with hands, 
which the christianizing Jews first brought from 
the east. Of the fabric which four centuries ago 
looked so stupendous and so enduring, with its mag- 
nificent whole and its minutely reticulated parts 
of belief and practice, this fundamental work, this 
gradual creation of a new temperament in the religious 
imagination of western Europe and the countries that 
take their mental direction from her, is the only por- 
tion that will remain distinctly visible, after all the 
rest has sunk into the repose of histories of opinion. 
Whether this be the case or not, the fact that these 
deeper moods are among the richest acquisitions of 
human nature, will not be denied either by those who 

VOL. II. S 



258 ROUSSEAU. 

think that Christianity associates them with objects 
destined permanently to awake them in their loftiest 
form, or by others who believe that these objects will 
slowly lose their hold, and that the deepest moods of 
which man is capable, must ultimately ally themselves 
with something still more purely spiritual than the 
anthropomorphized deities of the falling church. And 
if so, then Bousseau's deism, while intercepting the 
steady advance of the rationalistic assault, and divert- 
ing the current of renovating energy, still did some- 
thing to keep alive, in a more or less worthy shape, 
those parts of the slowly expiring monotheism which 
men have the best reasons for cherishing. 

Let us endeavour to characterise Eousseau's deism 
with as much precision as it allows. It was a special 
and graceful form of a doctrine which, though sus- 
ceptible alike in theory and in the practical history of 
religious thought of numberless wide varieties of sig- 
nificance, is commonly designated by the name of 
deism, without qualification. People constantly speak 
as if deism only came in with the eighteenth century. 
It would be impossible to name any century since the 
twelfth, in which distinct and abundant traces could 
not be found within the dominion of Christianity of a 
belief in a supernatural power apart from the supposed 
disclosure of it in a special revelation. 1 A preeter- 
christian deism, or the principle of natural religion, 

1 See Hallam's Literature of Europe, Ft. I. ch. ii. 64. Again (for the 16th 
century), Pt. II. ch. ii. 53. See also for mention of a sect of deists at Lyons 
about 1560, Bayle's Dictionary, s. v. Viret. 



THE SAVOYARD VICAR. 259 

was inevitably contained in the legal conception of a 
natural law, for how can we dissociate the idea of law 
from the idea of a definite lawgiver ? The very scho- 
lastic disputations themselves, by the sharpness and 
subtlety which they gave to the reasoning faculty, set 
men in search of novelties, and these novelties were 
not always of a kind which orthodox views of the 
Christian mysteries could have sanctioned. It has 
been said that religion is at the cradle of every nation, 
and philosophy at its grave ; it is at least true that 
the cradle of philosophy is the open grave of religion. 
"Wherever there is argumentation, there is sure to be 
scepticism. When people begin to reason, a shadow 
has already fallen across faith, though the reasoners 
might have shrunk with horror from knowledge of the 
goal of their work, and though centuries may elapse 
before the shadow deepens into eclipse. But the church 
was strong and alert in the times when free thought 
vainly tried to rear a dangerous head in Italy. With 
the protestant revolution came slowly a wider free- 
dom, while the prolonged and tempestuous discussion 
between the old church and the reformed bodies, as 
well as the manifold variations among those bodies at 
strife with one another, stimulated the growth of 
religious thought in many directions that tended away 
from the exclusive pretensions of Christianity to be 
the oracle of the divine spirit. The same feeling which 
thrust aside the sacerdotal interposition between the 
soul of man and its sovereign creator and inspirer, 
gradually worked towards the dethronement of me- 

s2 



260 ROUSSEAU. 

diators other than sacerdotal, in whom the moral 
timidity of a dark and stricken age had once sought 
shade from the too dazzling brightness of the all- 
powerful and the everlasting. The assertion of the 
rights and powers of the individual reason within the 
limits of the sacred documents, began in less than a 
hundred years to grow into an assertion of the same 
rights and powers beyond those limits, and the rejec- 
tion of tradition as a substitute for independent judg- 
ment, in interpreting or supplementing the records of 
revelation, gradually impaired the traditional authority 
of the records themselves, and of the central doctrines 
which all churches had in one shape or another agreed 
to accept. The Trinitarian controversy of the six- 
teenth century must have been a stealthy solvent. 
The deism of England in the eighteenth century, also, 
which Voltaire was the prime agent in introducing 
in its negative, colourless, and essentially futile shape 
into his own country, had its main effect as a process 
of dissolution. 

All this, however, down to the deistical movement 
which Eousseau found in progress at Geneva in 
1754, 1 was distinctly the outcome in a more or less 
marked way of a rationalising and philosophic spirit, 
and not of the religious spirit ; and the sceptical side 
of it with reference to revealed religion, predominated 
over the positive side of it with reference to natural 
religion. The wild pantheism of which there were 
one or two extraordinary outbursts during the latter 

1 See above, vol. i. pp. 230 3. 



THE SAVOYARD VICAR. 261 

part of the middle ages, to mark the mystical in- 
fluence which Platonic studies uhcorrected by science 
always exert over certain temperaments, had been 
full of religiosity, such as it was ; but these had all 
passed away with a swift flash. There were, indeed, 
mystics like the author of the immortal De Imitations , 
in whom the special qualities of Christian doctrine 
seem to have grown pale in a brighter flood of devout 
aspiration towards the perfections of a single being. 
13ut this was not the deism with which either Chris- 
tianity on the one side, or atheism on the other, had 
ever had to deal in France. Deism, in its formal 
acceptation, was either an idle piece of vaporous senti- 
mentality, as with such persons as madame d'Epinay, 
or else it was the first intellectual halting-place for 
spirits who had travelled out of the pale of the old 
dogmatic Christianity, and lacked strength for the 
continuance of their onward - journey. In the latter 
case, it was only another name either for the shrewd 
rough conviction of the man of the world, that his 
universe could not well be imagined to go on without 
a sort of constitutional monarch, reigning but not 
governing, keeping evil-doers in order by fear of 
eternal punishment, and lending a sacred countenance 
to the indispensable doctrines of property, the grada- 
tion of rank and station, and the other moral foun- 
dations of the social structure ; or else it was a name 
for a purely philosophic principle, not embraced with 
fervour as the basis of a religion, but accepted with 
decorous satisfaction as the alternative to a religion ; 



262 ROUSSEAU. 

not seized upon as the mainspring of spiritual life, but 
held up as a shield in a controversy. 

The deism which the Savoyard Yicar explained to 
Emilius in his profession of faith, was pitched in a 
very different tone from this. Though his conception 
of the deity was lightly fenced round with rational- 
istic supports of the usual kind, drawn from the 
evidences of will and intelligence in the vast machinery 
of the universe of which we are a part, yet it was 
essentially the product not of reason, but of emotional 
expansion, as every fundamental article of a faith that 
touches the hearts of many men must always be. The 
Savoyard Yicar did not believe that a god had made 
the great world, and rules it with majestic power 
and supreme justice, in the same way in which he 
believed that any two sides of a triangle are greater 
than the third side. That there is a mysterious being 
penetrating all creation with force, was not a proposi- 
tion to be demonstrated, but the poor description in 
words of an habitual mood going far deeper into life 
than words can ever carry us. Without for a single 
moment falling off into the wordy nullities of 
pantheism, he did not either for a single moment 
suffer his thought to stiffen and grow hard in the 
formal lines of a theological definition or a systematic 
credo. It remains firm enough to give the religious 
imagination consistency and a centre, yet luminous 
enough to give the spiritual faculty a vivifying 
consciousness of freedom and space. A creed is 
concerned with a number of affirmations, and is con- 



THE SAVOYARD VICAR. 263 

stantly held with honest strenuousness, by multitudes 
of men and women who are unfitted by natural tem- 
perament for knowing what the glow of religious 
emotion means to the human soul, for not every one 
that saith, Lord, lord, enters the kingdom of heaven. 
The Savoyard Yicar's profession of faith was not a 
creed, and so has few affirmations; it was a single 
doctrine, melted in a glow of contemplative transport. 
It is impossible to set about disproving it, for its 
exponent repeatedly warns his disciple against the 
idleness of logomachy, and insists that the existence 
of the divinity is traced upon every heart in letters 
that cannot be effaced, if we are only content to 
read them with lowliness and simplicity. You cannot 
demonstrate an emotion, nor prove an aspiration. 
How reason, asks the Savoyard Yicar, about that 
which we cannot conceive ? Conscience is the best of 
all casuists, and conscience affirms the presence of a 
being who moves the universe and ordains all things, 
to whom we give the name of god. 

1 To this name I join the ideas of intelligence, 
power, will, which I have united in one, and that of 
goodness, which is a necessary consequence flowing 
from them. But I do not know any the better for 
this the being to whom I have given the name ; he 
escapes equally from my senses and my understand- 
ing ; the more I think of him, the more I confound 
myself. I have full assurance that he exists, and that 
he exists by himself. I recognise my own being as 
subordinate to his, and all the things that are known 



264 ROUSSEAU. 

to me as being absolutely in the same case. I per- 
ceive god everywhere in his works ; I feel him in 
myself; I see him universally around me. But when 
I fain would seek where he is, what he is, of what 
substance, he glides away from me, and my troubled 
soul discerns nothing.' 1 

' Has he created matter, bodies, spirits, the world ? 
I cannot tell. The idea of creation is beyond my 
apprehension, but I know that he has formed the 
universe and all that exists, that he has made all, 
ordered all. God is eternal, no doubt ; but can my 
mind embrace the idea of eternity ? Why cheat my- 
self with words that bring no idea ? What I conceive 
is that he is before things, that he will be as long 
as they subsist, and that even after them he would 
be, if all were one day to come to an end. God is 
intelligent, but how ? Man is intelligent when he 
reasons, and the supreme intelligence has no need 
to reason ; for this there are neither premisses nor 
conclusions, there is not even proposition ; it is purely 
intuitive ; all truths are no more for it than a single 
idea, as all places are no more than a single point, 
and all times no more than a single moment. God is 
good ] what can be plainer ? But goodness in man is 
love of his fellows, and the goodness of god is the love 
of order. God is just ; but the justice of man is to 
render to each what belongs to him, and the justice of 
god to demand an account from each of what he has 
given to him.' 

1 JEmile, IV. 163. 



THE SAVOYARD VICAR. 265 

1 In fine, the more earnestly I strive to contemplate 
his infinite essence, the less do I conceive it. But it 
is, and that suffices me. The less I conceive it, the 
more I adore. I bow myself down, and say to him, 
being of beings, I am because thou art ; to medi- 
tate ceaselessly on thee by day and night, is to 
raise myself to my veritable source and fount. The 
worthiest use of my reason is to make itself as naught 
before thee. It is the ravishment of my soul, it is 
the solace of my weakness, to feel myself brought low 
before the awful majesty of thy greatness.' * 

Souls weary of the fierce mockeries that had so 
long been flying like fiery shafts against the far 
Jehovah of the Hebrews, and the silent Christ of the 
later doctors and dignitaries, and weary too of the 
orthodox demonstrations which did not demonstrate, 
and leaden refutations which could not refute, may well 
have turned with ardour to listen to this harmonious 
spiritual voice, sounding clear from a region towards 
which their hearts yearned with untold aspiration, 
but which the spirit of their time had shut off from 
them with brazen barriers. It was the elevation and 
expansion of man, as much as it was the restoration of 
a divinity. To realise this, one must turn to such a 
book as Helvetius's, which was supposed to reveal 
the whole inner machinery of the heart, and which 
did reveal a great deal of it with scientific skill, but 
was miserably inadequate in its conception of the 
forces which were to give it motion. Man was 

1 Emile, IV. 1835. 



266 ROUSSEAU. 

thought of as a singular piece of mechanism principally 
moved from without, not as a conscious organism, 
receiving nourishment and direction from the medium 
in which it is placed, but reacting with a life of its 
own from within. It was this free and energetic inner 
life of the individual, which the Savoyard Yicar 
restored to lawful recognition, and made once more 
the centre of that imaginative and spiritual existence, 
without which we live in a universe that has no sun 
by day nor any stars by night. A writer in whom 
learning has not extinguished enthusiasm, compares 
this to the advance made by Descartes, who had in 
like manner given certitude to -the soul by turning 
thought confidently inwards upon itself, and he de- 
clares that this is for the emancipation of sentiment, 
what the Discourse upon Method was for the emanci- 
pation of the understanding. 1 There is here a certain 
audacity of panegyric; still the fact that Eousseau 
chose to link the highest forms of man's ideal life 
with a fading projection of the lofty image which 
had been set up in older days, ought not to blind us 
to the excellent energies which, notwithstanding de- 
fect of association, such a vindication of the ideal was 
certain to quicken. And at least the lines of that high 
image were nobly traced. 

Yet who does not feel that it is a divinity for fair 
weather ? Eousseau with his fine sense of a proper 
and artistic setting, imagined the Savoyard Yicar as 

1 M. Henri Martin's Hist, de France, xvi. 101, where there is an interesting, 
but, as it seems to the present writer, hardly a successful attempt to bring the 
Savoyard Vicar's eloquence into scientific form. 



THE SA VOYARD VICAR. 267 

leading his youthful convert at break of a summer 
day to the top of a high hill, at whose feet the Po 
flowed between fertile banks ; in the distance the 
immense chain of the Alps crowned the landscape ; 
the rays of the rising sun projected long level shadows 
from the trees, the slopes, the houses, and accented 
with a thousand lines of light the most magnificent 
of panoramas. 1 This was the fitting suggestion, so 
serene, warm, pregnant with power and hope, and half 
mysterious, of the idea of godhead which the man of 
peace, after an interval of silent contemplation, pro- 
ceeded to expound. This idea is a finer conception, 
and of greater moral potency, than that of a grim chief 
justice of the universe, which criminal lawyers and 
others are trying to deck with the right official 
robes and to seat on the bench in our day ; or than 
that of a blood-smeared monster, as from some steam- 
ing shrine in old Mexico, which De Maistre called 
providence; or than that which asks us to bow 
down and worship god as f a stream of tendency. 7 
Eousseau's sentimental idea at least did not revolt 
moral sense ; it did not afflict the firmness of intelli- 
gence ; nor did it silence the diviner melodies of the 
soul beneath loudly diligent blows on the great. 
Benthamite drum. It recognised, contained, and 
partially satisfied the religious emotion, which these 
others either fail to do at all, or else do in a far un- 
worthier manner. Yet, once more, the heavens in 
which such a deity dwells are too high, his power is 

1 Emtte, IV. 135. 



268 ROUSSEAU. 

too impalpable, the mysterious air which he has 
poured around his being is too awful and impenetrable, 
for the rays from the sun of his majesty to reach more 
than a few contemplative spirits, and these only in 
their hours of tranquillity and expansion. The 
thought is too vague, too far, to bring comfort and 
refreshment to the mass of travailing men, or to 
invest duty with the stern ennobling quality of being 
done, 'if I have grace to use it so, As ever in my 
great taskmaster's eye.' 

The Savoyard Yicar was consistent with the sub- 
limity of his own conception. He meditated on the 
order of the universe, with a reverence too profound 
to allow him to mingle with his thoughts meaner 
desires as to the special relations of that order to him- 
self. * I penetrate all my faculties,' he said, ' with 
the divine essence of the author of the world ; I melt 
at the thought of his goodness, and bless all his gifts, 
but I do not pray to him. What should I ask of 
him ? That for me he should change the course of 
things, and in my favour work miracles ? Could I, 
who must love above all else the order established by 
his wisdom and upheld by his providence, presume to 
. wish such order troubled for my sake ? Nor do I ask 
of him the power of doing righteousness ; why ask for 
what he has given me ? Has he not bestowed on me 
conscience to love what is good, reason to ascertain it, 
freedom to choose it ? If I do ill, I have no excuse ; 
I do it because I will it. To pray to him to change 
my will, is to seek from him what he seeks from me ; 



THE SA VOYARD VICAR. 269 

it is to wish no longer to be human, it is to wish 
something other than what is, it is to wish disorder 
and evil.' 1 We may admire both the logical con- 
sistency of such self-denial, and the manliness which 
it would engender in the character that were strong 
enough to practise it, but a divinity who has conceded 
no right of petition is still further away from our 
lives than the divinities of more popular creeds. 

Even the fairest deism is of its essence a faith of 
egoism and complacency. It does not incorporate 
in the very heart of the religious emotion the pitiful- 
ness and sorrow which Christianity first clothed with 
associations of sanctity, and which can never hence- 
forth miss their place in any religious system to be 
accepted by men, because a religion that leaves them 
out, or thrusts them into a hidden corner, fails to 
comprehend at least one half, and that the most touch- 
ing and impressive half, of the most conspicuous facts 
of human life. Rousseau was fuller of the capacity 
of pity than ordinary men, and this pity was one of the 
deepest parts of himself ; yet it did not enter into 
the composition of his religious faith, and this shows 
that his religious faith, though entirely free from sus- 
picion of insincerity or ostentatious assumption, was 
like all deism, whether rationalistic or emotional, a 
kind of gratuitously adopted superfluity, not the satis- 
faction of a profound inner craving and resistless 
spiritual necessity. He speaks of the good and the 
wicked with the precision and assurance of the most 

1 Emile, IV. 204. 



270 ROUSSEAU. 

pharisaic theologian, and lie begins by asking of what 
concern it is to him whether the wicked are punished 
with eternal torment or not, though he concludes 
more graciously with the hope that in another state 
the wicked, delivered from their malignity, may enjoy 
a bliss no less than his own. 1 But the divine pitiful- 
ness which we owe to Christianity, and which will not 
be the less eagerly cherished by those who repudiate 
Christian tradition and doctrines, enjoins upon us that 
we should ask who are the wicked, and which is he 
that is without sin among us. Eousseau answered 
this glibly enough by some formula of metaphysics, 
now happily wearing swiftly out, about the human 
will having been left and constituted free by the 
creator of the world, and that man being the bad man, 
who abuses his freedom. Grace, fate, destiny, force of 
circumstances, are all so many names for the protests 
which the frank sense of fact in men has forced from 
them, against this miserably inadequate explanation of 
the foundations of moral responsibility. 

Whatever these foundations may be, the theories of 
grace and fate had at any rate the quality of connecting 
human conduct with the will of the gods. Bousseau's 
deism, severing the influence of the supreme being 
upon man, at the very moment when it could have 
saved him from the guilt that brings misery, that 

1 Emile, IV. 1812. In a letter to Vernes (Feb. 18, 1758. Corr., ii. 9) he 
expresses his suspicion that possibly the souls of the wicked may be annihilated 
at their death, and that being and feeling may prove the first reward of a 
good life. In this letter he asks also, with the same magnanimous security as 
the Savoyard Vicar, ' of what concern the destiny of the wicked can be to 
him.' 



THE SAVOYARD VICAR. 271 

is at the moment when conduct begins to follow 
the preponderant motives or the will, if we must 
call it so, did thus effectually cut off the most ad- 
mirable and fertile group of our sympathies from all 
direct connection with religious sentiment. Toiling 
as manfully as we may through the wilderness of 
seventy years, we are to reserve our deepest adoration 
for the being who has left us there, with no other 
solace than that he is good and just and all-powerful, 
and might have given us comfort and guidance if he 
would. This was virtually the form which Pelagius 
had tried to impose upon Christianity in the fifth 
century, and which the souls of men, thirsting for con- 
sciousness of an active divine presence, had then 
under the lead of Augustine so energetically cast 
away from them. The faith to which they clung, 
while rejecting this great heresy, though just as 
transcendental, still had the quality of satisfying a 
spiritual want, and it was even more readily to be 
accepted by the human intelligence, for it endowed 
the supreme power with the father's excellence of 
compassion, and presented for our reverence and 
gratitude and devotion a figure, who drew from men 
the highest love for the god whom they had not seen, 
along with, and by the same act as, the warmest pity 
and love for their brethren whom they had seen. 

The Savoyard Vicar's own position to Christianity 
was one of reverential scepticism. c The holiness of 
the gospel,' he said, 'is an argument that speaks to 
my heart and to which I should even be sorry to find 



272 ROUSSEAU. 

a good answer. Look at the books of the philosophers 
with all their pomp ; how puny they are by the side 
of that ! Is there here the tone of an enthusiast or 
an ambitious sectary ? What gentleness, what purity, 
in his manners, what touching grace in his teaching, 
what loftiness in his maxims ! Assuredly there was 
something more than human in such teaching, such 
a character, such a life, such a death. If the life and 
death of Socrates were those of a sage, the life and 
death of Jesus are those of a god. Shall we say that 
the history of the gospels is invented at pleasure ? 
My friend, that is not the fashion of invention ; and 
the facts about Socrates are less attested than the facts 
about Christ. 1 Yet with all that, this same gospel 
abounds in things incredible, which are repugnant to 
reason, and which it is impossible for any sensible 
man to conceive or admit. What are we to do in the 
midst of all these contradictions ? To be ever modest 
and circumspect, my son ; to respect in silence what one 
can neither reject nor understand, and to make one's 
self lowly before the great being who alone knows the 
truth.' 2 

' I regard all particular religions as so many salutary 
institutions, which prescribe in every country a uni- 
form manner of honouring god by public worship. I 
believe them all good, so long as men serve god fit- 

1 A similar disparagement of Socrates, in comparison with the Christ of the 
gospels, is to be found in the long letter of Jan. 15, 1769 (Cbrri, vi. 5960), to 
M. * * *, accompanied by a violent denigration of the Jews, conformably 
to the philosophic prejudice of the time. 

2 Entile, IV. 2412. 





S O 1' RATES 



THE SA VOYARD VICAR. 273 

tingly in them. The essential worship is the worship 
of the heart. God never rejects this homage, under 
whatever form it be offered to him. In other days I 
used to say mass with the levity which in time infects 
even the gravest things, when we do them too often. 
Since acquiring my new principles I celebrate it with 
more veneration ; I am overwhelmed by the majesty 
of the supreme being, by his presence, by the insuffi- 
ciency of the human mind, which conceives so little 
what pertains to its author. When I approach the 
moment of consecration, I collect myself for performing 
the act with all the feelings required by the church, 
and the majesty of the sacrament ; I strive to annihi- 
late my reason before the supreme intelligence, saying, 
"Who art thou, that thou shouldest measure infinite 
power ? ' * 

A creed like this, whatever else it may be, is 
plainly a powerful solvent of every system of ex- 
clusive dogma. If the one essential to true worship, 
the worship of the heart and the inner sentiment, be 
mystic adoration of an indefinable supreme, then 
creeds based upon books, prophecies, miracles, revela- 
tions, all fall alike into the second place among things 
that may be lawful and may be expedient, but that 
can never be exacted from men by a just god as indis- 
pensable to virtue in this world or bliss in the next. 
No better answer has ever been given to the exclusive 
pretensions of sect, Christian, Jewish, or mahometan, 
than that propounded by the Savoyard Yicar with 

1 Emtie, IV. 243. 

VOL. n. T 



274 ROUSSEAU. 

such energy, closeness, and most sarcastic fire. 1 It 
was turning an unexpected front upon the presump- 
tuousness of all varieties of theological infallibilists, 
to prove to them that if you insist upon acceptance of 
this -or that special revelation, over and above the 
dictates of natural religion, then you are bound not 
only to grant, but imperatively to enjoin upon all 
men a searching inquiry and comparison, that they 
may spare no pains in an affair of such momentous 
issue in proving to themselves that this, and none of 
the competing revelations, is the veritable message of 
eternal safety. ' Then no other study will be possible 
but that of religion : hardly shall one who has enjoyed 
the most robust health, employed his time and used 
his reason to best purpose, and lived the greatest 
number of years, hardly shall such an one in his 
extreme age be quite sure what to believe, and it will 
be a marvel if he finds out before he dies, in what 
faith he ought to have lived.' The superiority of the 
sceptical parts of the Savoyard Yicar's profession, as 
well as of those of the Letters from the Mountain to 
which we referred previously, 2 over the biting mock- 
eries which Voltaire had made the fashionable method 
of assault, lay in the fact that while the latter only 
revolted and irritated all serious temperaments to 
whom religion is a matter of honest concern, the 
former actually appealed to their religious sense in 
support of his doubts ; and the more intelligent and 
sincere this sense happened to be, the more surely 

1 Emile, TV. 21036. 2 See above, pp. 84, 100. 



THE SA VOYARD VICAR. 275 

would Bousseau's gravely urged objections dissolve 
the hard particles of dogmatic belief. His objections 
were on a moral level with the best side of the 
religion they oppugned, not like Yoltaire's, only on a 
level with its lowest side, which was the side pre- 
sented by the gross and repulsive obscurantism of the 
functionaries of the church. 

Unfortunately, Eousseau had placed in the hands of 
the partisans of every exclusive revelation an instru- 
ment which was quite enough to disperse all his 
objections to the winds, and which was the very 
instrument that defended his own cherished religion. 
If he was satisfied with replying to the atheist and 
the materialist, that he knew there was a supreme 
god, and that the soul must have here and hereafter 
an existence apart from the body, because he found 
these truths ineffaceably written upon his own heart, 
what could prevent the Christian or the mahometan 
from replying to Eousseau that the New Testament or 
the Koran was the special and final revelation from 
the supreme power to his creatures ? If you may 
appeal to the voice of the heart and the dictate of the 
inner sentiment in one case, why not in the other 
also ? A subjective test necessarily proves anything 
that any man desires, and the accident of the article 
proved appearing either reasonable or monstrous to 
other people, cannot have the least bearing on its 
efficacy or conclusiveness. 

The end of it all, therefore, is the final subordina- 
tion, if not at one point, yet at another, of reason 

T2 



276 ROUSSEAU. 

and love of truth to religious imagination and devout 
emotion. Such an end may or may not be desirable 
for the long spiritual and intellectual travail of the 
race. "We need not discuss the question, for whether 
desirable or undesirable, such an end is impossible. 
The pietist of whatever creed or temperament can no 
more in the long run succeed in stifling the reason in 
his fellow, than the materialists of the eighteenth cen- 
tury succeeded in quenching the lamp and silencing the 
harmonies of the religious sentiment. The rectitude 
of human intelligence, provided other conditions of 
general advance are not violently impeded, will ever 
in due season vindicate itself against the one, as the 
sense of awe and sublimity and of holy things 
beyond the reach of touch or taste, will ever make 
itself felt outside of the narrow demonstrations of the 
other. Until absolute freedom and lawful energy in 
the use of reason be conceded by those who claim 
full and unfettered expansion in the development 
of religious emotion, and until those who insist on 
searching after all forms of truth and giving them 
place and recognition when found, grant tolerance 
and respect to those who find their peace in vague 
and impetuous instincts of holiness, for so long we may 
be sure that the true base cannot be established for 
that nobler type of life, which an age distracted 
between thin ratiocination and thinner superstition 
may well look for, and look for in vain. 

Deism like the Savoyard Vicar's, opens no path for 
the future, because it makes no allowance for the 



THE SAVOYARD VICAR. 277 

growth of intellectual conviction, and binds up reli- 
gion with, mystery, with an object whose attributes 
can neither be conceived nor denned, with a being too 
all-embracing to be able to receive anything from us, 
too august, self-contained, remote, to be able to be- 
stow on us the humble gifts of which we have need. 
The temperature of thought is slowly, but without an 
instant's recoil, rising to a point when a mystery like 
this, definite enough to be imposed as a faith, but too 
indefinite to be grasped by understanding as a truth, 
melts away from the emotions of religion. Then those 
instincts of holiness, without which the world would 
Be to so many of its highest spirits the most dreary of 
exiles, will perhaps come to associate themselves not 
with unseen divinities, but with the long brotherhood 
of humanity seen and unseen. Here we shall move 
with an assurance that no scepticism and no advance 
of science can ever shake, because the benefactions 
which we have received from the strenuousness of 
human effort, can never be doubted, and each fresh 
acquisition in knowledge or goodness can only kindle 
new fervour. Those who have the religious imagina- 
tion struck by the awful procession of man from 
the region of impenetrable night, by his incessant 
struggle with the hardness of the material world, 
and his sublimer struggle with the hard world of his 
own egoistic passions, by the pain and sacrifice by 
which generation after generation has added some 
small piece to the temple of human freedom, or some 
new fragment to the ever incomplete sum of human- 



2? 8 ROUSSEAU. 

knowledge, or some fresh line to the types of strong or 
beautiful character, those who have an eye for all 
this, may indeed have no ecstasy and no terror, no 
heaven nor hell, in their religion, but they will have 
abundant moods of reverence, deep-seated gratitude, 
and sovereign pitifuhless. 

And such moods will not end in sterile exaltation, 
or the deathly chills of spiritual reaction. They will 
bring forth abundant fruit in new hope and invigo- 
rated endeavour. This devout contemplation of the ex- 
perience of the race, instead of raising a man into tha 
clouds, brings him into the closest, loftiest, and most 
conscious relations with his kind, to whom he owes all 
that is of value in his own life, and to whom he can 
repay his debt by maintaining the beneficent tradition 
of service, by cherishing honour for all the true and 
sage spirits that have shone upon the earth, and sorrow 
and reprobation for all the unworthier souls whose light 
has gone out in baseness. A man with this faith can 
have no foul spiritual pride, for there is no mysteriously 
accorded divine grace in which one may be a larger 
participant than another; he can have no incentives 
to that mutilation with which every branch of the 
church, from the oldest to the youngest and crudest, 
has in its degree afflicted and retarded mankind, 
because the key-note of his religion is the joyful 
energy of every faculty, practical, reflective, creative, 
contemplative, in pursuit of a visible common good ; 
and he can be plunged into no fatal and paralysing 
despair by any doctrine of mortal sin, because active 



THE SA VOYARD VICAR. 279 

faith in humanity, resting on recorded experience, 
discloses the many possibilities of moral recovery, and 
the work that may be done for men in the fragment 
of days, redeeming the contrite from their burdens by 
manful hope. If religion is our feeling about the 
highest forces that govern human destiny, then as it 
becomes more and more evident how much our destiny 
is shaped by the generation of the dead who have 
prepared the present, and by the purport of our 
hopes and the direction of our activity for the genera- 
tions that are to fill the future, the religious sentiment 
will more and more attach itself to the great unseen 
host of our fellows who have gone before us and who 
are to come affcer. Such a faith is no rag of meta- 
physic floating in the sunshine of sentimentalism, 
like Eousseau's. It rests on a positive base, which 
only becomes wider and firmer with the widening of 
experience and the augmentation of our skill in inter- 
preting it. Nor is it too transcendent for practical 
acceptance. One of the most scientific spirits of the 
eighteenth century, while each moment expecting the 
knock of the executioner at his door, found as reli- 
gious a solace as any early martyr had ever found in his 
barbarous mysteries, when he linked his own efforts 
for reason and freedom with the eternal chain of the 
destinies of man. ' This contemplation,' he wrote and 
felt, ' is for him a refuge into which the rancour of 
his persecutors can never follow him ; in which, living 
in thought with man reinstated in the rights and the 
dignity of his nature, he forgets man tormented and 



28o ROUSSEAU. 

corrupted by greed, by base fear, by envy ; it is here 
that he truly abides with his fellows, in an elysium 
that his reason has known how to create for itself, and 
that his love for humanity adorns with all purest 
delights.' l 

This, to the shame of those wavering souls who 
despair of progress at the first moment when it 
threatens to leave the path they have marked out for 
it, was written by a man. at the very close of his days, 
when every hope that he had ever cherished, seemed 
to one without the eye of faith to be extinguished in 
bloodshed, disorder, and barbarism. Eut there is a 
still happier season in the adolescence of generous 
natures that have been wisely fostered, when the 
horizons of the dawning life are suddenly lighted up 
with a glow of aspiration towards good and holy 
things. Commonly, alas, this priceless opportunity 
is lost in a fit of theological exaltation, which is 
gradually choked out by the dusty facts of life and 
moulders away into dry indifference. It would not be 
so, but far different, if the Savoyard Yicar instead of 
taking the youth to the mountain top, there to contem- 
plate that infinite unseen, which is in truth beyond 
contemplation by the limited faculties of man, were 
to associate those fine impulses of the early prime 
with the visible, intelligible, and still sublime possi- 
bilities of the human destiny, that imperial con- 
ception, which alone can shape an existence of 
entire proportion in all its parts, and leave no natural 

1 Condorcet's Progres de V esprit humain (1794) (Euv., vi. 276. 



THE SAVOYARD VICAR. 281 

energy of life idle or athirst. Do you ask for 
sanctions ? One whose conscience has been strength- 
ened from youth in this faith, can know no greater 
bitterness than the stain cast by wrong act or un- 
worthy thought on the high memories with which he 
has been used to walk, and the discord wrought in 
the hopes which haye become the ruling harmony of 
his days. 



CHAPTER XV. 

ENGLAND* 

rilHEEE is in an English collection a portrait of Jean 
J- Jacques, which was painted during his residence 
in this country by a provincial artist, and which, 
singular and displeasing as it is, yet lights up for us 
many a word and passage in Eousseau's life here and 
elsewhere, which the ordinary engravings and the trim 
self-complacency of the statue on the little island at 
Geneva, would leave very incomprehensible. It is 
almost as appalling in its realism as some of the dark 
pits that open before the reader of the Confessions. 
Hard struggles with objective difficulty and external 
obstacle wear deep furrows in the brow, and throw 
into the glance a solicitude, half penetrating and 
defiant, half dejected. When a man's hindrances 
have sprung up from within, and the ill-fought battle 
of his days has been with his own passions and 
morbid broodings and unchastened dreams, the eye 
and the facial lines that stamp character tell the story 
of that profound moral defeat, which is unlighted by the 
memories of resolute combat with evil and weakness, 

1 Jan. 1766 May, 1767. 



ENGLAND. 283 

and leaves only eternal desolation, and the misery that 
is formless. Our English artist has produced a vision 
from that prose Inferno which is made so populous 
in the modern epoch by impotence of will, and those 
who have seen the picture, may easily understand how 
largely the character of the original, at the time when 
it was painted, must have been pregnant with harassing 
confusion and distress. 

Four years before this, Hume, to whom lord Maris- 
chal had told the story of Eousseau's persecutions, 
had proffered his services, and declared his eagerness 
to help in finding a proper refuge for him in England. 
There had been an exchange of cordial letters, 1 and 
then the matter had lain quiet, until the impossi- 
bility of remaining longer in Neuchatel had once 
more set his friends on procuring a safe establishment 
for their rather difficult refugee. Eousseau' s appear- 
ance in Paris had created the keenest excitement. 
1 People may talk of ancient Greece as they please,' 
wrote Hume from Paris, ' but no nation was ever so 
proud of genius as this, and no person ever so much 
engaged their attention as Eousseau; Voltaire and 
everybody else are quite eclipsed by him.' Even his 
maid, Le Yasseur, who was declared very homely and 
very awkward, was more talked of than the princess of 
Morocco or the countess of Egmont, on account of her 
fidelity towards him. His very dog had a name and 
reputation in the world. 2 Eousseau is always said to 
have liked the stir which his presence created, but 

1 Streckeisen, ii. 275, etc. Corr., iii. a Burton, ii. 299. 



284 ROUSSEAU. 

whether this was so or not, he was very impatient to 
be away from it as soon as possible. 

In company with Hume, he left Paris in the second 
week of January, 1766. They crossed from Calais to 
Dover by night, in a passage that lasted twelve hours, 
Hume, as the orthodox may be glad to know, being 
extremely ill, while Bousseau cheerfully passed the 
whole night upon deck, taking no harm, though the 
seamen were almost frozen to death. 1 They reached 
London on the thirteenth of January, and the people 
of London showed nearly as lively an interest in the 
strange personage whom Hume had brought among 
them, as the people of Paris had done. A prince of the 
blood at once went to pay his respects to the Swiss 
philosopher. The crowd at the playhouse showed more 
curiosity when the stranger came in, than when the 
king and queen entered. Their majesties were as 
interested as their subjects, and could scarcely keep 



1 The materials for this chapter are taken from Rousseau's Correspondence, 
(Vols. iv. and v.,) and from Hume's letters to various persons, given in the 
second volume of Mr. Burton's Life of Hume. Everybody who takes an 
interest in Rousseau is indebted to Mr. Burton for the ample Documents which 
he has provided, though one cannot but regret the satire on Rousseau with 
which he intersperses them, and which is not always felicitous. For one 
instance, he implies (p. 295) that Rousseau invented the story given in the 
Confessions, of Hume's correcting the proofs of Wallace's book against him- 
self. The story may be true or not, but at any rate Rousseau had it very 
circumstantially from lord Marischal; see letter from lord M. to J. J. R., 
in Streckeisen, ii. 67. Again, such an expression as Rousseau's ' occasional 
attention to small matters' (p. 321) only shows that the writer has not read 
R.'s letters, which are indeed not worth reading, except by those who wish to 
have a right to speak about Rousseau's character. The numerous pamphlets 
on the quarrel between Hume and Rousseau, if I may judge from those of 
them which I have turned over, really shed no light on the matter, though 
they added much heat, now long extinct in most bosoms. For the journey 
see Corr., iv. 307; Burton, 304. 



ENGLAND. 285 

their eyes off the author of Emilius. George in., 
then in the heyday of his youth, was so pleased to 
have a foreigner of genius seeking shelter in his 
kingdom, that he readily acceded to Conway'B sug- 
gestion, prompted by Hume, that Eousseau should 
have a pension settled on him. The ever illustrious 
Burke, then just made member of Parliament, saw 
him nearly every day, and became persuaded that 
1 he entertained no principle either to influence his 
heart, or guide his understanding, but vanity.' l 
Hume, on the contrary, thought the best things of 
his client ; ' He has an excellent warm heart, and in 
conversation kindles often to a degree of heat which 
looks like inspiration: I love him much, and hope 
that I have some share in his affections.' c He is a very 
modest, mild, well-bred, gentle - spirited and warm- 
hearted man, as ever I knew in my life. He is also 
to appearance very sociable. I never saw a man who 
seems better calculated for good company, nor who 
seems to take more pleasure in it.' 'He is a very 
agreeable, amiable man ; but a great humourist. The 
philosophers of Paris foretold to me that I could not 
conduct him to Calais without a quarrel ; but I think 
I could live with him all my life in mutual friend- 
ship and esteem. I believe one great source of our 
concord is that neither he nor I are disputatious, 
which is not the case with any of them. They are 
also displeased with him, because they think he over- 
abounds in religion ; and it is indeed remarkable that 

1 Reflections on the French Revolution. 



286 ROUSSEAU. 

the philosopher of this age who has been most perse- 
cuted, is by far the most devout. 7 1 

"What the Scotch philosopher meant by calling his 
pupil a humourist, may perhaps be inferred from the 
story of the trouble he had in prevailing upon Eous- 
seau to go to the play, though Garrick had appointed 
a special occasion and set apart a special box for him. 
When the hour came, Eousseau declared that he could 
not leave his dog behind him. ' The first person,' he 
said, ' who opens the door, Sultan will run into the 
streets in search of me, and will be lost.' Hume told 
him to lock Sultan up in the room, and carry away 
the key in his pocket. This was done, but as they 
proceeded downstairs, the dog began to howl ; his 
master turned back, and avowed he had not resolu- 
tion to leave him in that condition. Hume, how- 
ever, caught him in his arms, told him that Mr. 
Garrick had dismissed another company in order to 
make room for him, that the king and queen were 
expecting to see him, and that without a better reason 
than Sultan's impatience it would be ridiculous to 
disappoint them. Thus, a little by reason, but more 
by force, he was carried off. 2 Such a story, whatever 
else we may think of it, shows at least a certain 
curious and not untouching simplicity. And singu- 
larity which made Eousseau like better to keep his 
dog company at home, than to be stared at by a stupid 
king and a gaping pit, was too private in its reward 
to be the result of that vanity and affectation with 

1 Burton, 304, 309, 310. 2 Burton, 309, n. 



ENGLAND. 287 

which he was taxed by men who lived in another 
sphere of motive. 

There was considerable trouble in settling Eous- 
seau. He was eager to leave London almost as soon 
as he arrived in it. Though pleased with the friendly 
reception which had been given him, he pronounced 
London to be as much devoted to idle gossip and 
frivolity as other capitals. He spent a few weeks in 
the house of a farmer at Chiswick, thought about 
fixing himself in the Isle of Wight, then in "Wales, 
then somewhere in our fair Surrey, whose scenery, 
one is glad to know, greatly attracted him. Finally 
arrangements were made by Hume with Mr. Daven- 
port for installing him in a house belonging to the 
latter, at Wootton, near Ashbourne in the Peak 
of Derbyshire. 1 Hither Eousseau proceeded with 
Theresa, at the end of March. Mr. Davenport was 
a gentleman of large property, 2 and as he seldom 
inhabited this solitary house, was very willing that 
Eousseau should take up his abode there without 
payment. This, however, wp what Eousseau' s inde- 
pendence could not brook, and he insisted that his 
entertainer should receive thirty pounds a year for 
the board of himself and Theresa. 3 So here he settled, 



1 Mr. Howitt has given an account of Rousseau's quarters at Wootton in his 
Visits to Remarkable Places. One or two aged peasants had some confused 
memory of ' old Ross-hall.' For Rousseau's own description, see his letter to 
mdme. de Luze, May 10, 1766. Corr., iv. 326. 

2 His lineal descendant in our day is a well-known memher of the House 
of Commons. 

3 Burton, 313. It has been stated that Rousseau never paid this ; at any 
rate when he fled, he left between thirty and forty pounds in Mr. Davenport's 



288 ROUSSEAU. 

in an extremely bitter climate, knowing no word of 
the language of the people about him, with no com- 
panionship but Theresa's, and with nothing to do but 
walk when the weather was fair, play the harpsichord 
when it rained, and brood over the incidents which 
had occurred to him since he had left Switzerland six 
months before. The first fruits of this unfortunate 
leisure were a bitter quarrel with Hume, one of the 
most famous and far resounding of all the quarrels of 
illustrious men, but one about which very little need 
now be said, so plain are the merits of it, and so 
entirely dead is all the significance that may ever 
have belonged to it. The incubation of his grievances 
began immediately after his arrival at Wootton, 1 but 
two months elapsed before they burst forth in full 
flame. 

The general charge against Hume was that he was 
a member of an accursed triumvirate, of which 
Voltaire and d'Alembert were the other partners, and 
the object of which was to blacken the character of 
Eousseau, and make his* life miserable. The particu- 
lar acts on which this belief was established were the 
following. 

1. While Eousseau was in Paris, there appeared a 
letter nominally addressed to him by the king of 
Prussia, and written in an ironical strain, which per- 
suaded Jean Jacques himself that it was the work of 

hands. See Davenport to Hume ; Burton, 367. Rousseau's accurate probity 
in affairs of money is absolutely unimpeachable. 
1 Corr., iv. 312, April 9, 1766. 



ENGLAND. 289 

Yoltaire. 1 Then lie suspected D'Alembert. It was 
really the composition of Horace Walpole, who was 
then in Paris. Now Hume was the friend of Wal- 
pole, and had given Eousseau a card of introduction 
to him, for the purpose of entrusting Walpole with 
the carriage of some papers. Although the false 
letter produced the liveliest amusement at Eousseau 7 s 
cost, first in Paris, then in London, Hume while 
feigning to be his warm friend and presenting him to 
the English public, never took any pains to tell the 
world that the piece was a forgery, nor did he break 
with its wicked author. 2 

2. When Eousseau assured Hume that D'Alembert 
was a cunning and dishonourable man, Hume denied 
it with an amazing heat, though he knew the latter 
to be Eousseau' s enemy. 3 3. Hume lived in London 
with the son of Tronchin, the Genevese surgeon, 
and the most mortal of all the foes of Jean Jacques. 4 

1 Here is a translation of this rather poor piece of sarcasm : ' My dear 
Jean Jacques, You have renounced Geneva, your native place. You 
have caused your expulsion from Switzerland, a country so extolled in your 
writings ; France has issued a warrant against you ; so do you come to me. I 
admire your talents ; I am amused by your dreamings, though let me tell you 
they absorb you too much and for too long. You must at length be sober and 
happy ; you have caused enough talk about yourself by oddities which in truth 
are hardly becoming a really great man. Prove to your enemies that you 
can now and then have common sense. That will annoy them and do you 
no harm. My states offer you a peaceful retreat. I wish you well, and will 
treat you well, if you will let me. But if you persist in refusing my help, do 
not reckon upon my telling any one that you did so. If you are bent on 
tormenting your spirit to find new misfortunes, choose whatever you like 
best. I am a king, and can procure them for you at your pleasure ; and what 
will rertainly never happen to you in respect of your enemies, I will cease to 
persecute you, as soon as you cease to take a pride in being persecuted. Your 
good friend, FREDERICK.' 

2 Corr. t iv. 313, 343, 388, 398. 3 Ib., 395. * Ib., 389, etc. 

VOL. II. U 



290 ROUSSEAU. 

4. When Bousseau first came to London, his recep- 
tion was a distinguished triumph for the victim of 
persecution from so many governments. England 
was proud of being his place of refuge, and justly 
vaunted the freedom of her laws and administration. 
Suddenly and for no assignable cause, the public tone 
changed, the newspapers either fell silent or else 
spoke unfavourably, and Eousseau was thought of 
no more. This must have been due to Hume, who 
had much influence among people of credit, and who 
went about boasting of the protection which he had 
procured for Jean Jacques in Paris. 1 5. Various small 
artifices for preventing Eousseau from making friends, 
for procuring opportunities of opening Bousseau's 
letters, and the like. 2 6. A violent satirical letter 
against Eousseau appeared in the English newspapers, 
with allusions which could only have been supplied 
by Hume. 7. On the first night after their departure 
from Paris, Eousseau, who occupied the same room 
with Hume, heard him call out several times in the 
middle of the night in the course of his dreams, with 
extreme vehemence, Je tiens Jean Jacques Rousseau, 
which words, in spite of the horribly sardonic tone of 
the dreamer, he interpreted favourably at the time, but 
which later events proved to have been full of malign 
significance. 3 8. Eousseau constantly found Hume 
eyeing him with a glance of sinister and diabolic 
import that filled him with an astonishing disquietude, 
though he did his best to combat it. On one of these 

1 Ib., 384. 2 Ib., 343, 344, 387, etc. 3 Ib., 346. 



ENGLAND. 291 

occasions lie was seized with, remorse, fell upon 
Hume's neck, embraced him warmly, and, suffocated 
with sobs and bathed in tears, cried out in broken 
accent, No, no, David Hume is no traitor, with many 
protests of affection ; but the phlegmatic Hume only 
returned his embrace with politeness, stroked him 
gently on the back, and repeated several times in a 
tranquil voice, Quoi, mon cher monsieur f Ehf mon cher 
monsieur ! Quoi done, mon cher monsieur. 1 9. Although 
for many weeks Eousseau had kept a firm silence to 
Hume, neglecting to answer letters that plainly called 
for answer, and marking his displeasure in other 
unmistakable ways, yet Hume had never sought any 
explanation of what must necessarily have struck 
him as so singular, but continued to write as if 
nothing had happened. "Was not this positive proof 
of a consciousness of perfidy ? 

Some years afterwards he substituted another shorter 
set of grievances, namely that Hume would not suffer 
Theresa to sit at table with him ; that he made a show 
of him ; and that Hume had an engraving executed 
of himself, which made him as beautiful as a cherub, 
while in another engraving, which was a pendant to 
his own, Jean Jacques was made as ugly as a bear. 2 

1 Ib., 390. A letter from Hume to Blair, long before the rupture overt, 
shows the former to have been by no means so phlegmatic on this occasion as 
he may have seemed. ' I hope,' he writes, ' you have not so bad an opinion 
of me as to think I was not melted on this occasion ; I assure you I kissed 
him and embraced him twenty times, with a plentiful effusion of tears. I 
think no scene of my life was ever more affecting.' Burton, ii. 315. The 
great doubters of the eighteenth century could without fear have accepted 
the test of the ancient saying, that men without tears are worth little. 

2 Bernardin de St. Pierre, (Euv., xii. 79. 

u2 



292 ROUSSEAU. 

It would be ridiculous for us to waste any time in 
discussing these charges. They are not open to 
serious examination, though it is astonishing to find 
writers in our own day who fully believe that Hume 
was a traitor, and behaved extremely basely to the 
unfortunate man whom he had inveigled over to a 
barbarous island. The only part of the indictment 
about which there could be the least doubt, was the 
possibility of Hume having been an accomplice in 
Walpole's very small pleasantry. Some of his 
friends in Paris suspected that he had had a hand 
in the supposed letter from the king of Prussia, 
Although the letter constituted no very malignant 
jest, and could not by a sensible man have been re- 
garded as furnishing just complaint against one who, 
like "Walpole, was merely an impudent stranger, yet 
if it could be shown that Hume had taken an active 
part either in the composition or the circulation 
of a spiteful bit -of satire upon one towards whom 
he was pretending a singular affection, then we 
should admit that he showed such a want of sense 
of the delicacy of friendship, as amounted to some- 
thing like treachery. But a letter from Walpole to 
Hume sets this doubt at rest. *I cannot be precise 
as to the time of my writing the king of Prussia's 

letter, but I not only suppressed the letter 

while you stayed there, out of delicacy to you, but 
it was the reason why, out of delicacy to myself, 
I did not go to see him as you often proposed to 
me, thinking it wrong to go and make a cordial 



ENGLAND. 293 

visit to a man, with a letter in my pocket to laugh 
at him.' l 

With this all else falls to the ground. It would 
be as unwise in us, as it was in Bousseau himself, 
to complicate the hypotheses. Men do not act 
without motives, and Hume could have no motive 
in entering into any plot against Bousseau, even if 
the rival philosophers in France might have- motives. 
We know the character of our David Hume perfectly 
well, and though it, was not faultless, its fault cer- 
tainly lay rather in an excessive desire to make the 
world comfortable for everybody, than in anything 
like purposeless malignity, of which he never had a 
trace. Moreover, all that befel Bousseau through 
Hume's agency was exceedingly to his advantage. 
Hume was not without vanity, and his letters show 
that he was -not displeased at the addition to his con- 
sequence, which came of his patronage of a man who 
was much talked about and much stared at. But, 
however this was, he did all for Bousseau that 
generosity and thoughtfulness could do. He was at 
great pains in establishing him ; he used his interest 
to procure for him the grant of. a pension from the 
king ; when Bousseau provisionally refused the pen- 
sion rather than owe anything to Hume, the latter, 
still ignorant of the suspicion that was blackening in 



1 Walpole's Letters, v. 7, ( Cunningham's edition). For other letters from 
this shrewd insufferable coxcomb on the same matter, see pp. 23 8. A cor- 
roboration of the statement that Hume knew nothing of the letter until he 
was in England, may be inferred from what he wrote to madame de Boufflers ; 
Burton, ii. -306, and n. 2. 



294 ROUSSEAU. 

Bousseau's mind, supposed that the refusal came from 
the fact of the pension being kept private, and at once 
took measures with the minister to procure the removal 
of the condition of privacy. Besides undeniable acts 
like these, the state of Hume's mind towards his curious 
ward is abundantly shown in his letters to all his most 
intimate friends, just as Bousseau's gratitude to him is 
to be read in all his early letters both to Hume and 
other persons. In the presence of such facts on the 
one side, and in the absence of any particle of intel- 
ligible evidence to neutralise them on the -other, to treat 
Eousseau's charges with gravity is hardly possible. 

If Hume had written back in a mild and con- 
ciliatory strain, there can be no doubt that the 
unfortunate victim of his own morbid imagination 
would, for a time at any rate, have been sobered and 
brought to a sense of his misconduct. Hume, how- 
ever, was incensed beyond control at what he very 
pardonably took for a masterpiece of atrocious in- 
gratitude. He reproached Eousseau in terms as harsh 
as those which Grimm had used nine years before. 
He wrote to all his friends, withdrawing the kindly 
words he had once used of Eousseau's character, and 
substituting in their place the most unfavourable he 
could find. He gave the philosophic circle in Paris 
exquisite delight by the confirmation which his story 
furnished of their own foresight, when they had 
warned him that he was taking a viper to his bosom. 
Finally, in spite of the advice of Adam Smith, of one 
of the greatest of men, Turgot, and of one of the 









ABAME SMITH,, 




ENGLAND. 295 

smallest, Horace Walpole, he published a succinct 
account of the quarrel, first in French, and then in 
English. This step was chiefly due to the advice of 
the clique of whom D'Alembert was the spokesman, 
though it is due to him to mention that he softened 
various expressions in Hume's narrative, which he 
pronounced too harsh. It may be true that a council 
of war never fights; a council of men of letters 
always does. The governing committee of a literary, 
philosophical, or theological clique, form the very 
worst advisers any man can have. 

Much must be forgiven to Hume, stung as he was 
by what appeared the most hateful ferocity in one on 
whom he had heaped acts of affection. Yet one 
would have been glad on behalf of human dignity, if 
he had suffered with firm silence petulant charges 
against which the consciousness of his own upright- 
ness should have been the only answer. That high 
pride, of which there is too little rather than too 
much in the world, and which saves men from waste 
of themselves and others in pitiful accusations, vindi- 
cations, retaliations, would have helped humane pity 
in preserving him from this poor quarrel. Long 
afterwards Eousseau said, c England, of which they 
paint such fine pictures in France, has so cheerless a 
climate ; my soul, wearied with so many shocks, was 
in a condition of such profound melancholy, that in 
all that passed I believe I committed many faults. 
But are they comparable to those of the enemies who 
persecuted me, supposing them even to have done no 



296 ROUSSEAU. 

more than published our private quarrels ? ' l An 
ampler contrition would have been more seemly in the 
first offender, but there is a measure of justice in his 
complaint. We need not, however, reproach the good 
Hume. Before six months were over, he admits that 
he is sometimes inclined to blame his publication, and 
always to regret it. 2 And his regret was not verbal 
merely. When Eousseau had returned to France, 
and was in danger of arrest, Hume was most urgent 
in entreating Turgot to use his influence with the 
government to protect the wretched wanderer, and 
Turgot' s answer shows both how sincere this humane 
interposition was, and how practically serviceable. 3 

Meanwhile there ensued a horrible fray in print. 
Pamphlets appeared in Paris and London in a cloud. 
The Succinct Exposure was followed by succinct 
rejoinders. Walpole officiously printed his own 
account of his own share in the matter. Boswell 
officiously wrote to the newspapers defending Eous- 
seau and attacking Walpole. King George followed 
the battle with intense curiosity. Hume with solemn 
formalities sent the documents to the British Museum. 
There was silence only in one place, and that was at 
Wootton. The unfortunate person who had done all 
the mischief, printed not a word. 

The most prompt and quite the least instructive of 
the remarks invariably made upon any one who has 
acted in an unusual manner, is that he must be mad. 

1 Bernardin de St. Pierre, CEuv., xii. 79. 

2 To Adam Smith. Burton, 380. 

3 Burton, 381. 



ENGLAND. 297 

This universal criticism upon the unwonted really 
tells us nothing, because the term may cover any 
state of mind from a warranted dissent from established 
custom, down to absolute dementia. Eousseau was 
called mad when he took to wearing plain clothes and 
living frugally. He was called mad when he quitted 
the town and went to live in the country. The same 
facile explanation covered his quarrel with importu- 
nate friends at the Hermitage. Voltaire called him 
mad for saying that if there were perfect harmony 
of taste and temperament between the king's daughter 
and the executioner's son y the pair ought to be allowed 
to marry. We who are not forced by conversational 
necessities to hurry to a judgment, may hesitate to 
take either taste for the country, or for frugal living, 
or even for democratic extravagances, as a mark of a 
disordered mind. The verdict that Eousseau was mad, 
stated in this general and trenchant way, is quite unin- 
teresting, and teaches us nothing. 1 That his conduct 
towards Hume was inconsistent with perfect mental 
soundness is quite plain. Instead of paying ourselves 
with phrases like monomania, it is more useful shortly 
to trace the conditions which prepared the way for 
mental derangement, because this is the only means of 



1 A very common but random opinion traces Bousseau's insanity to certain 
disagreeable habits avowed in the Confessions. They may have contributed 
in some small degree to depression of vital energies, though for <;hat matter 
Rousseau's strength and power of endurance were remarkable to the end. 
But they certainly did not produce a mental state in the least corresponding to 
that particular variety of insanity, which possesses definitely marked features. 
See a careful description of this variety in a paper contributed by Dr. Mauds- 
ley to^the Journal of Mental Science for July, 1868. 



298 ROUSSEAU. 

understanding either its nature, or the degree to which 
it extended. These conditions in Kousseau's case are 
perfectly simple and obvious to any one who recog- 
nises the principle, that the essential facts of such 
mental disorder as his must be sought not in the 
symptoms, but from the whole range of moral and 
intellectual constitution, acted on by physical states, 
and acting on them in turn. 

Eousseau was born with an organization of extreme 
sensibility. This predisposition was further deepened 
by the application in early youth of mental influences 
specially calculated to heighten juvenile sensibility. 
Corrective discipline from circumstance and from 
formal instruction was wholly absent, and thus the 
particular excess in his temperament became ever 
more and more exaggerated, and encroached at a 
rate of geometrical progression upon all the rest of 
his impulses and faculties; these, if he had been 
happily placed under some of the many forms of 
wholesome social pressure, would on the contrary 
have gradually reduced his sensibility to more 
normal proportion. When the vicious excess had 
decisively rooted itself in his character, he came to 
Paris, where it was irritated into further activity by 
the uncongeniality of the surrounding medium. Hence 
the growth of a marked unsociality, taking literary 
form in the Discourses, and practical form in his 
retirement from the town. The slow depravation of 
the affective life was hastened by solitude, by sensuous 
expansion, by the long musings of literary compo- 



ENGLAND. 299 

sition. Harsh, and unjust treatment prolonged for 
many months introduced a slight but genuinely mis- 
anthropic element of bitterness, into what had hitherto 
been an excess of feeling about himself, rather than 
any positive feeling of hostility or suspicion about 
others. Finally and perhaps above all else, he was 
the victim of tormenting bodily pain, and of sleep- 
lessness which resulted from it. The agitation and 
excitement of the journey to England, completed the 
sum of the conditions of disturbance, and as soon as ever 
he was settled at Wootton, and had leisure to brood over 
the incidents of the few weeks since his arrival in 
England, the disorder which had long been spreading 
through, his impulses and affections, suddenly but by 
a most natural sequence extended to the faculties of 
his intelligence, and he became the prey of delusion, 
a delusion which was not yet fixed, but which ulti- 
mately became so. 

( He has only felt during the whole course of his life,' 
wrote Hume sympathetically ; < and in this respect his 
sensibility rises to a pitch beyond what I have seen any 
example of ; but it still gives him a more acute feeling 
of pain than of pleasure. He is like a man who was 
stript not only of his clothes, but of his skin, and 
turned out in that situation to combat with the rude 
and boisterous elements.' * A morbid affective state of 
this kind and of such a degree of intensity, was the 
sure antecedent of a morbid intellectual state, general 
or partial, depressed or exalted. One who is the prey 

1 Burton, 314. 



300 ROUSSEAU. 

of unsound feelings, if they are only marked enough 
and persistent enough, naturally ends by a correspond- 
ingly unsound arrangement of all or some of his ideas 
to match, and the intelligence is seduced into finding 
supports in misconception of circumstances, for the 
misconception of human relation which had its root in 
disordered emotion. This completes the breach of cor- 
respondence between the man's nature and the external 
facts with which he has to deal, though the breach 
may not, and in Eousseau's case certainly did not, 
extend along the whole line of feeling and judgment. 
That some process of nervous degeneration was going 
on to produce such a perversion of the mental relations 
to the outer conditions of life, nobody holding the 
modern theories of the mind will be likely to deny ; 
nor that Eousseau's delusion about Hume's sinister 
feeling and designs, which was the first definite mani- 
festation of positive unsoundness in the sphere of the 
intelligence, was a last result of the gradual deve- 
lopment of an inherited predisposition to affective 
unsoundness, which unhappily for the man's history 
had never been counteracted either by a strenuous 
education, or -by the wholesome urgencies of life. 

"We have only to remember that with him, as 
with the rest of us, there was entire unity of nature, 
without cataclysm or marvel or inexplicable rupture of 
mental continuity. All the facts came in an order 
that might have been foretold ; they all lay together, 
with their foundations down in physical temperament ' 
the facts which made Eousseau's name renowned and 



ENGLAND. 301 

his influence a great force, along with those which 
made his life a scandal to others and a misery to him- 
self. The deepest root of moral disorder lies in an 
immoderate expectation of happiness, and this immo- 
derate unlawful expectation was the mark alike of his 
character and his work. The exaltation of emotion 
over intelligence was the secret of his most striking 
production ; the same exaltation, by gaining increased 
mastery over his whole existence, at length passed the 
limit of sanity and wrecked him. The tendency of 
the dominant side of a character towards diseased 
exaggeration is a fact of daily observation. The ruin 
which the excess of strong religious imagination works 
in natures without the quality of energetic objective 
reaction, was shown in the case of Kousseau's contem- 
porary, Cowper, whose delusions about the wrath of 
god were equally pitiable and equally a source of tor- 
ment to their victim, with Eousseau's delusions about 
the malignity of his mysterious plotters among men. 
We must call such a condition . unsound, but the 
important thing is to remember that this insanity 
was only a modification of certain specially marked 
tendencies of the sufferer's sanity. 

The desire to protect himself against the defamation 
of his enemies led him at this time to compose that 
account of his own life, which is probably the only 
one of his writings that continues to be generally read. 
He composed the first part of the Confessions during 
the autumn and winter of 1766. The idea of giving 
his memoirs to the public was an old one, originally 



302 ROUSSEAU. 

suggested by one of his publishers. To write 
memoirs of one's own life was one of the fancies of 
the time, but like all else, it became in Eousseau' s 
hand something more far-reaching and sincere than a 
passing fashion. Other people wrote polite histories 
of their outer lives, amply coloured with romantic 
decorations; Eousseau with unquailing veracity 
plunged into the inmost depths, hiding nothing that 
would be likely to make him either ridiculous or 
hateful in common opinion, and inventing nothing 
that could attract much sympathy or much admira- 
tion. Though, as has been pointed out already, the 
Confessions abound in small inaccuracies of date, 
hardly to be avoided by an oldish man in reference to 
the facts of his boyhood, whether a Eousseau or a 
Goethe, yet their substantial truthfulness is made 
more evident with every addition to our materials for 
testing them. When all the circumstances of Eous- 
seau's life are weighed, and when full account has 
been taken of his proved delinquencies, we yet per- 
ceive that he was at bottom a character as essentially 
sincere, truthful, careful of fact and reality, as is 
consistent with the general empire of sensation over 
untrained intelligence. 1 As for the egoism of the 
Confessions, it is hard to see how a man is to tell the 
story of his own life without egoism. And it may be 
worth adding that the self-feeling which comes to the 
surface and asserts itself, is in a great many cases far 

1 For an instructive and, as it appears to me, a trustworthy account of the 
temper iu which the Confessions were written, see the 4th of the 



ENGLAND. 303 

less vicious and debilitating than the same feeling 
nursed internally with troglodytish shyness. But 
Bousseau's egoism manifested itself perversely. This 
is true to a certain small extent, and one or two of 
the disclosures in the Confessions are in very 
nauseous matter, and are made, moreover, in a very 
nauseous manner. There are some vices whose gro- 
tesqueness stirs us more deeply than downright atro- 
cities, and we read of certain puerilities avowed by 
Bousseau, with a livelier impatience than old Cellini 
quickens in us, when he confesses to a horrible assas- 
sination. This morbid form of self- feeling is only less 
disgusting than the allied form which clothes itself in 
the phrases of religious exaltation. And there is not 
much of it. Blot out half a dozen pages from the 
Confessions, and the egoism is no more perverted than 
in the confessions of Augustin or of Cardan. 

These remarks are not made to extenuate Bous- 
seau' s faults, or to raise the popular estimate of 
his character, but simply in the interests of a greater 
precision of criticism, which in England has nearly 
always been of the most vulgar superficiality in 
respect to him, from the time of Horace "Walpole 
downwards. The Confessions, in their least agreeable 
parts, or rather especially in those parts, are the ex- 
pression, on a new side and in a peculiar way, of the 
same notion of the essential goodness of nature and 
the importance of understanding nature and restoring 
its reign, which inspired the Discourses and Emilius. 
< I would fain show to my fellows/ he began, ' a man 



304 ROUSSEAU. 

in all the truth of nature,' and he cannot be charged 
with any failure to keep his word. He despised 
opinion, and so was careless to observe whether or no 
this revelation of human nakedness was likely to add 
to the popular respect for nature and the natural man. 
After all, considering that literature is for the most 
part a hollow and pretentious phantasmagoria of mimic 
figures posing in breeches and peruke, we may try to 
forgive certain cruel blows to the dignified assump- 
tions, solemn words, and high heels of convention, in 
one who would not lie nor dissemble kinship with the 
fourfooted. Intense subjective preoccupations in 
markedly emotional natures all tend to come to the 
same end, and the distance from Bousseau's odious 
erotics to the glorified ecstasies of many a poor female 
saint is not far. In any case, let us know the facts 
about human nature, the pathological facts no less 
than the others; these are the first thing, and the 
second, and the third also. 

The exaltation of the opening page of the Confes- 
sions is shocking. No monk nor saint ever wrote 
anything more revolting in its blasphemous self- 
feeling. But the exaltation almost instantly became 
calm, when the course of the story necessarily drew 
him into dealings with objective facts, even muffled 
as they were by memory and imagination. The 
broodings over ,old reminiscence soothed him, the 
labour of composition occupied him, and he forgot, as 
the modern reader would never know from internal 
evidence, that he was preparing a vindication of his 



ENGLAND. 305 

life and character against the infamies with which 
Hume and others were supposed to be industriously 
denigrating them. He was on good terms with one 
or two of the great people in his neighbourhood, and 
kept up a gracious and social correspondence with 
them. He was greatly pleased by a compliment 
which was paid to him by the government, apparently 
through the interest of general Conway. The duty 
that had been paid upon certain boxes forwarded to 
Eousseau from Switzerland, was recouped by the 
treasury, 1 and the arrangements for the annual pension 
of one hundred pounds were concluded and accepted 
by him, after duly satisfying himself that Hume was 
not the indirect author of the benefaction. 2 The 
weather was the worst possible, but whenever it 
allowed him to go out of doors, he found delight 
in climbing the heights around him in search of 
curious mosses; for he had now come to think the 
discovery of a single new plant a hundred times more 
useful than to have the whole human race listening to 
your sermons for half a century. 3 { This indolent and 
contemplative life that you do not approve,' he wrote 
to the elder Mirabeau, ' and for which I pretend to 
make no excuses, becomes every day more delicious 
to me : to wander alone among the trees and rocks that 
surround my dwelling ; to muse or rather to extrava- 
gate at my ease, and as you say to stand gaping in 
the air ; when my brain gets too hot, to calm it by 

1 Letter to the Duke of Grafton, Feb. 27, 1767. Corr., v. 98 ; also 118. 

2 Corr., v. 133 ; also to general Conway (Mar. 26), p. 137, etc. 

3 Corr., v. 37. 

VOL. II. X 



3 ob ROUSSEAD. 

dissecting some moss or fern; in short to surrender 
myself without restraint to my phantasies, which, 
heaven be thanked, are all under my own control, 
all that is for me the height of enjoyment, to which I 
can imagine nothing superior in this world for a man 
of my age and in my condition.' l 

This contentment did not last long. The snow kept 
him indoors. The excitement of composition abated. 
Theresa harassed him by ignoble quarrels with the 
women in the kitchen. His delusions returned with 
greater force than before. He believed that the whole 
English nation was in a plot against him, that all his 
letters were opened before reaching London and 
before leaving it, that all his movements were closely 
watched, and that he was surrounded by unseen guards 
to prevent any attempt at escape. 2 At length these 
delusions got such complete mastery over him, that in 
a paroxysm of terror he fled away from "Wootton, 
leaving money, papers, and all else behind him. 
Nothing was heard of him for a fortnight, when Mr. 
Davenport received a letter from him dated at 
Spalding, in Lincolnshire. Mr. Davenport's conduct 
throughout was marked by a humanity and patience 
that do him the highest honour. He confesses him- 
self ' quite moved to read poor Bousseau's mournful 
epistle.' 'You shall see his letter,' he writes to 
Hume, ' the first opportunity ; but God help him, I 
can't for pity give a copy ; and 'tis so much mixed 

1 Corr., v. 88. 

2 See the letters to Du.Peyrou, of the 2nd and 4th of April, 1767. Corr., 
v. HO 7.. 



ENGLAND. 



307 



with his own poor little private concerns, that it 
would not be right in me to do it. 71 This is the 
generosity which makes Hume's impatience and that 
of his mischievous advisers in Paris appear so petty, 
for Eousseau had behaved quite as ill to Mr. Daven- 
port as he had done to Hume, and had received at 
least equal services from him. 2 The good man at 
once sent a servant to Spalding in search of his un- 
happy guest, but Eousseau had again disappeared. 
The parson of the parish had passed several hours of 
each day in his company, and had found him cheerful 
and good-humoured. He had had a blue coat made 
for himself, and had written a long letter to the lord 
chancellor, praying him to appoint a guard, at Eous- 
seau' s own expense, to escort him in safety out of the 
kingdom where enemies were plotting against his 
life. 3 He was next heard of at Dover (May 18), 
whence he wrote a letter to general Conway, setting 
forth his delusion in full form. 4 He is the victim of a 
plot ; the conspirators will not allow him to leave the 
island, lest he should divulge in other countries the 
outrages to which he has been subjected here; he 
perceives the sinister manoeuvres that will arrest him 
if he attempts to put his foot on board ship. But he 
warns them that his tragical disappearance cannot take 
place without creating inquiry. Still if general Con- 



1 Davenport to Hume; Burton, 367 71. 

2 J. J. E. to Davenport, Dec. 22, 1766, and April 30, 1767. Corr., v. 66, 152. 

3 Burton, 369, 375. 

4 Corr., v. 153. 

x2 



3o8 ROUSSEAU. 

way will only let him go, lie gives his word of honour 
that he will not publish a line of the memoirs he has 
written, nor ever divulge the wrongs which he has 
suffered in England. ' 1 see my last hour approach- 
ing,' he concluded I am determined, if necessary, 
to advance to meet it, and to perish or be free ; there 
is no longer any other alternative.' On the same 
evening on which he wrote this letter (about May 
20-22), the forlorn wretch took boat and landed at 
Calais, where he seems at once to have recovered his 
composure and right mind. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

THE END. 

T)EFOBE leaving England, Bousseau had received 
JJ more than one long and rambling letter from a 
man who was as unlike the rest of mankind as he 
was unlike them himself, the marquis of Mirabeau 
(1715-89); the violent, tyrannical, pedantic, humoristic 
sire of a more famous son. Perhaps we might say 
that Mirabeau and Bousseau were the two most 
singular originals then known to men, and Mirabeau's 
originality was in some respects the more salient of the 
two. There is less of the conventional tone of the 
eighteenth century Frenchman in him than in any 
other conspicuous man of the time, though like many 
other headstrong and despotic souls he picked up the 
current notions of philanthropy and human brother- 
hood. He really was by force of temperament that rebel 
against the narrowness, trimness, and moral formalism 
of the time, which Bousseau only claimed and attempted 
to be, with the secondary degree of success that 
follows vehemence without native strength. Mirabeau 
was a sort of Swift, who had strangely taken up- the 
trade of friendship for man and adopted the phrases 



3 io ROUSSEAU. 

of perfectibility ; while Rousseau was meant for a 
Fenelon, only lie became possessed of unclean devils. 

Mirabeau, like Jean Jacques himself, was so im- 
pressed by the marked tenour of contemporary 
feeling, its prudential didactics, its formulistie so- 
ciality, that .his native insurgency only found vent in 
private life, while in public he played pedagogue to 
the human Tace. Friend of Quesnai and orthodox 
economist as he was, he delighted in Rousseau's 
books : ' I know no morality that goes deeper than 
yours; it strikes like a thunderbolt, and advances 
with the steady assurance of truth, for you are always 
true, according to your notions for the moment.' 
He wrote to tell him so, but he told him at the same 
time at great length, and with a caustic humour and 
incoherency less academic than Rabelaisian, that he 
had behaved absurdly in his quarrel with Hume. 
Nothing more quaint than the appearance of a few of 
the sacramental phrases of the sect of the economists, 
floating in the midst of a copious stream of egoistic 
whimsicalities. He concludes with a diverting enu- 
meration of all his country seats and demesnes, with 
their respective advantages and disadvantages, and 
prays Rousseau to take up his residence in whichever 
of them may please him best. 1 

Immediately on landing at Calais Rousseau in- 
formed Mirabeau, who lost no time in conveying him 
stealthily, for the warrant of the parliament of Paris 
was still in force, to a house at Fleury. But Mira- 

1 Streckeisen, ii. 315 28. 



THE END. 311 

beau, to use his own account of himself, ' bore letters 
as a plum-tree bears plums,' and wrote to his guest 
with strange humoristic volubility, and droll imper- 
turbable temper, as one who knew his Jean Jacques. 
He exhorts him in many sheets to harden himself 
against excessive sensibility, to be less pusillanimous, 
to take society more lightly, as his own light estimate 
of its worth should lead him to do. i No doubt, its 
outside is a shifting surface-picture, nay even ridicu- 
lous, if you will; but if the irregular and ceaseless 
flight of butterflies wearies you in your walk, it is 
your own fault for looking continuously at what was 
only made to adorn and vary the scene. But how 
many social virtues, how much gentleness and con- 
siderateness, how many benevolent actions, remain at 
the bottom of it all.' l Enormous manifestoes of the 
doctrine of perfectibility were not in the least degree 
either soothing or interesting to Eousseau, and the 
thrusts of shrewd candour at his expense might 
touch his fancy on a single occasion, but not oftener. 
Two humourists are so seldom successful in amusing 
one another. Besides, Mirabeau insisted that Jean 
Jacques should read this or that of his books. Eous- 
seau answered that he would try, but warned him of 
the folly of it. 4 1 do not engage always to follow 
what you say, because it has always been painful to 
me to think, and fatiguing to follow the thoughts of 
other people, and at present I cannot do so at all.' 2 
Though they continued to be good friends, Eousseau 

1 Stieckeisi-n, ii. 337. 2 June 19, 1767. Corr. t v. 172. 



312 ROUSSEAU. 

only remained three or four weeks at Fleury. His old 
acquaintance at Montmorency, the prince of Conti, 
partly perhaps from contrition at the rather un- 
chivalrous fashion in which his great friends had 
hustled him away at the time of the decree of the 
parliament of Paris, offered him refuge at one of his 
country seats at Trye, near Gisors. Here he installed 
Eousseau under the name of Eenou, either to silence 
the indiscreet curiosity of neighbours, or to gratify a 
whim of Eousseau himself. 

Eousseau remained for a year (June, 3767 June, 
1768), composing the second part of the Confessions, 
in a condition of extreme mental confusion. Dusky 
phantoms walked with him once more. He knew the 
gardener, the servants, the neighbours, all to be in the 
pay of Hume, and that he was watched day and night 
with a view to his destruction. 1 He entirely gave up 
either reading or writing, save a very small number of 
letters, and he declared that to take up the pen even 
for these was like lifting a load of iron. The only 
interest he had was botany, and for this his passion 
became daily more intense. He appears to have been 
as contented as a child, so long as he could employ 
himself in long expeditions in search of new plants, in 
arranging a herbarium, in watching the growth of the 
germ of some rare seed which needed careful tending. 
But the story had once more the. same conclusion. He 
fled from Trye, as he had fled from "Wootton. He 
meant apparently to go to Chamberi, drawn by the 

1 Cbrr., v. 267, 375. 



THE END. 313 

deep magnetic force of old memories that seemed 
long extinct. But at Grenoble on his way thither he 
encountered a substantial grievance. A man alleged 
that he had lent Eousseau a few francs seven years 
previously. He was undoubtedly mistaken, and was 
fully convicted of his mistake by proper authorities, 
but Kousseau's correspondents suffered none the less 
for that. We all know when monomania seizes a 
man, how adroitly and how eagerly it colours every 
incident. The mistaken claim was proof demonstrative 
of that frightful and tenebrous conspiracy, which they 
might have thought a delusion hitherto, but which, 
alas, this showed to be only too tragically real ; and 
so on, through many pages of droning wretchedness. 1 
Then we find him at Bourgoin, where he spent some 
months in shabby taverns, and then many months 
more at Monquin, on adjoining uplands. 2 The 
estrangement from Theresa, of which enough has been 
said already, 3 was added to his other torments. He 
resolved, as so many of the self-tortured have done 
since, to go in search of happiness to the western 
lands beyond the Atlantic, where the elixir of bliss 
is thought by wearied easterns to be inexhaustible 
and assured. Almost in the same page he turns 
his face eastwards, and dreams of ending his days 
peacefully among the islands of the Grecian archi- 
pelago. Next he gravely not only designed, but 
actually took measures, to return to "Wootton. All 

1 Corr., v. 33081, 408, etc. 
2 Bourgoin, Aug. 1768 to March, 1769. Monquin, to July, 1770. 



Vol. i. ch. 4. 



314 ROUSSEAU. 

was no more than the momentary incoherent purpose 
of a sick man's dream, the weary distraction of one 
who had deliberately devoted himself to isolation from 
his fellows, without first sitting down carefully to 
count the cost, or to measure the inner resources 
which he possessed to meet the deadly strain that 
isolation puts on every one of a man's mental fibres. 
Geographical loneliness is to some a condition of their 
fullest strength, but most of the few who dare to make 
a moral solitude for themselves, find that they have 
assuredly not made peace. Such solitude, as Calvin 
said of the study of the apocalypse, either finds a man 
mad, or leaves him so. Not all can play the stoic 
who will, and it is still more certain that one who like 
Eousseau has lain down with the doctrine that in all 
things imaginable what he cannot do with pleasure, it is 
impossible for him to do at all, will end in a condition 
of profound impotence in respect to pleasure itself. 

In July, 1770, he made his way to Paris, and here 
he remained eight years longer, not without the 
introduction of a certain degree of order into his 
outer life, though the clouds of vague suspicion and 
distrust, half bitter, half mournful, hung heavily 
as ever upon his mind. The Dialogues, which he 
wrote at this period (1775-6) to vindicate his 
memory from the defamation that was to be launched 
in a dark torrent upon the world at the moment of 
his death, could not possibly have been written by a 
man in his right mind. Yet the best of the Musings, 
which were written still nearer the end, are master- 




JdtuiBnll semlp: 




PubUsTiedMarchl .1825, by Taylor fc He ssey, WaterLoo 



THE END. 315 

pieces in the style of contemplative prose. The third, 
the fifth, the seventh, especially abound in that even, 
full, mellow gravity of tone which is so rare in litera- 
ture, because the deep absorption of spirit which is 
its source, is so rare in life. They reveal Rousseau 
to us with a truth beyond that attained in any of 
his other pieces a mournful sombre figure, looming 
shadowily in the dark glow of sundown among 
sad and desolate places. There is nothing like them 
in the French tongue, which is the speech of the 
clear, the cheerful, or the august among men ; nothing 
like this sonorous plainsong, the strangely melodious 
expression in the music of prose of a darkened spirit 
which yet had imaginative visions of beatitude. 

It is interesting to look on one or two pictures of 
the last waste and obscure years of the man, whose 
words were at this time silently fermenting for good 
and for evil in many spirits a Schiller, a Herder, a 
Jeanne Phlipon, a Robespierre, a Gabriel Mirabeau, 
and many hundreds of those whose destiny was not 
to lead, but ingenuously to follow. Rousseau seems 
to have repulsed nearly all his ancient friends, and to 
have settled down with dogged resolve to his old 
trade of copying music. In summer he rose at five, 
copied music until half-past seven; munched his 
breakfast, arranging on paper during the process such 
plants as he had gathered the previous afternoon ; then 
he returned to his work, dined at half-past twelve, 
and went forth to take coffee at some public place. 



316 ROUSSEAU. 

He would not return from his walk until nightfall, 
and he retired at half-past ten. The pavements of 
Paris were hateful to him, because they tore his feet, 
and, said he, with significant antithesis, ' I am not 
afraid of death, but I dread pain.' He always found 
his way as fast as possible to one of the suburbs, 
and one of his greatest delights was to watch Mont 
Yalerien in the sunset. ' Atheists,' he said calunmi- 
ously, c do not love the country ; they like the 
environs of Paris, where you have all the pleasures 
of the city, good cheer, books, pretty women ; but 
if you take these things away, then they die of weari- 
ness,' which may have been true of some of the 
atheists, but certainly was not true of Diderot, for 
instance. The note of every bird held him attentive, 
and filled his mind with delicious images. A graceful 
story is told of two swallows who made a nest in 
Eousseau's sleeping-room, and hatched the eggs there. 
< 1 was no more than a doorkeeper for them,' he said, 
* for I kept opening the window for them every 
moment. They used to fly with a great stir round my 
head, until I had fulfilled the duties of the tacit con- 
vention between these swallows and me ' the notion 
of a social contract thus intruding even into the 
picturesque. 1 

In January, 1771, Bernardin de Saint Pierre, 
author of the ever famous Paul and Virginia (1788), 
finding himself at the Cape of Good Hope, wrote to 
a friend in France just previously to his return to 

1 DusauLx, p. 50. 



THE END. 317 

Europe, counting among other delights that of seeing 
two summers in one year. 1 Eousseau happened to see 
the letter, and expressed a desire to make the ac- 
quaintance of a man who in returning home should 
think of that as one of his chief pleasures. To this 
we owe the following pictures of an interior from 
Saint Pierre's hand. 

In the month of June in 1772, a friend having offered to take 
me to see J. J. R., he brought me t a house in the rue Platriere, 
nearly opposite to the Hotel de la Poste. We mounted to the fourth 
story. We knocked, and madame Rousseau opened the door. 
' Come in, gentlemen,' she said, ' you will find my husband,' We 
passed through a very small antechamber, where the household 
utensils were neatly arranged, and from that into a room where 
Jean Jacques was seated in an overcoat and a white cap, busy 
copying music. He rose with a smiling face, offered us chairs, 
and resumed his work, at the same time taking a part in conversa- 
tion. He was thin and of middle height. One shoulder struck 
me as rather higher than the other .... otherwise he was very 
well proportioned. He had a brown complexion, some colour on 
his cheek-bones, a good mouth, a well-made nose, a rounded and 
lofty brow, and eyes full of fire. The oblique lines falling from 
the nostrils to the extremity of the lips, and which mark a physi- 
ognomy, in his expressed great sensibility, and something even 
painful. One observed in his face three or four of the character- 
istics of melancholy the deep receding eyes and the elevation of 
the eyebrows ; you saw profound sadness in the wrinkles of the 
brow ; a keen and even caustic gaiety in a thousand little creases 
at the corners of the eyes, of which the orbits entirely disappeared 
when he laughed Near him was a spinette on which 

1 The life of Bernardin de St. Pierre (1737 1814) -was nearly as irregular 
as that of his friend and master, but his character was essentially crafty and 
selfish, like that of many sentimentalists of the first order. 



3i 8 ROUSSEAU. 

from time to time he tried an air. Two little beds of blue and 
white striped calico, a table, and a few chairs, made the stock 
of his furniture. On the walls hung a plan of the forest and park 
of Montmorency, where he had once lived, and an engraving of the 
king of England, his old benefactor. His wife was sitting mend- 
ing linen ; a canary sang in a cage hung from the ceiling ; sparrows 
came for crumbs on to the sills of the windows, which on the side 
of the street were open ; while in the window of the antechamber 
we noticed boxes and pots filled with plants such as it pleases nature 
to sow. There was in the whole effect of his little establishment 
an air of cleanness, peace, and simplicity, which was delightful. 

A few days after, Kousseau returned the visit. 
4 He wore a round wig, well powdered and curled, 
carrying a hat under his arm, and in a full suit of 
nankeen. His whole exterior was modest, but ex- 
tremely neat.' He expressed his passion for good 
coffee, saying that this and ice were the only two 
luxuries for which he cared. Saint Pierre happened 
to have brought some from the Isle of Bourbon, so 
on the following day he rashly sent Eousseau a small 
packet, which at first produced a polite letter of 
thanks ; but the day after the letter of thanks, came 
one of harsh protest against the ignominy of receiving 
presents which could not be returned, and bidding 
the unfortunate donor to choose between taking his 
coffee back or never seeing his new friend again. A 
fair bargain was ultimately arranged, Saint Pierre 
receiving in exchange for his coffee some curious root 
or other and a book on ichthyology. Immediately 
afterwards he went to dine with his sage. He arrived 
at eleven in the forenoon, and they conversed until 
half-past twelve. 



THE END. 319 

Then his wife laid the cloth. He took a bottle of wine, and 
as he put it on the table, asked whether we should have enough, 
or if I was fond of drinking. How many are there of us, said 
I. Three, he said, you, my wife, and me. Well, I went on, 
when I drink wine and am alone, I drink a good half bottle, and 

I drink a trifle more when I am with friends. In that case, he 
answered, we shall not have enough ; I must go down into the 
cellar. He brought up a second bottle. His wife served two 
dishes, one of small tarts, and another which was covered. He 
said, showing me the first, That is your dish and the other is mine. 

I 1 don't eat much pastry,' I said, ' but I hope to be allowed to 
taste what you have got.' ' Oh, they are both common,' he 
replied ; ' but most people don't care for this. 'Tis a Swiss dish ; 
a compound of lard, mutton, vegetables and chestnuts.' It was 
excellent. After these two dishes, we had slices of beef in salad ; 
then biscuits and cheese; after which his wife served the coffee. 

One morning when I was at his house I saw various domestics 
either coming for rolls of music, or bringing them to him to copy. 
He received them standing and uncovered. He said to some, ' The 
price is so much,' and received the money : to others, ' How soon 
must I return my copy ? ' * My mistress would like to have it 
back in a fortnight.' ' Oh, that's out of the question : I have work, 
I can't do it in less than three weeks.' I inquired why he did 
not take his talents to better market. * Ah,' he answered, 
4 there are two Rousseaus in the world : one rich, or who might 
have been if he had chosen ; a man capricious, singular, fantastic ; 
this is the Rousseau of the public ; the other is obliged to work 
for his living, the Rousseau whom you see.' l 

They often took long rambles together, and always 
got on most harmoniously, unless St. Pierre offered to 
pay for such refreshment as they might take, when a 
furious explosion was sure to follow. Here is one 
more picture, without explosion. 

1 (Euv., xii. 69, 73. 



320 ROUSSEAU. 

An Easter Monday Excursion to Mont Valerien. 

We made an appointment at a cafe in the Champs Elysees. In 
the morning we took some chocolate. The wind was westerly, 
and the air fresh. The sun was surrounded by white clouds, 
spread in masses over an azure sky. Reaching the bois de 
Boulogne by eight o'clock, Jean Jacques set to work botanizing. 
As he collected his little harvest, we kept walking along. We had 
gone through part of the wood, when in the midst of the solitude 
we perceived two young girls, one of whom was arranging the 
other's hair. [Reminded them of some verses of Virgil.] . . 

Arrived on the edge of the river, we crossed the ferry with a 
number of people whom devotion was taking to Mont Valerien. 
We climbed an uncommonly -stiff slope, and were hardly on the 
top before hunger overtook us and we began to think of dining. 
Rousseau then led the way towards a hermitage, where he knew 
we could make sure of hospitality. The brother who opened to 
us, conducted us to the chapel, where they were reciting the 
litanies of providence, which are extremely beautiful. . . When we 
had prayed, Jean Jacques said to me with genuine feeling : * Now 
I feel what is said in the gospel, Where several of you are gathered 
together in my name, there will I be in the midst of them. There 
is a sentiment of peace and comfort here that penetrates the soul.' 
I replied, ' If Fenelon were alive, you would be a Catholic/ 
* Ah,' said he, the tears in his eyes, ' if Fenelon were alive, I would 
seek to be his lackey that I might become his valet de chambre.' 

Presently we were introduced into the refectory ; we seated our- 
selves during the reading. The subject was the injustice of the 
complainings of men : God has brought him from nothing, he 
oweth him nothing. After the reading Rousseau said to me in a 
voice of deep emotion : Ah, how happy is the man who can 

believe We walked about for some time in the cloister 

and the gardens. They command an immense prospect. Paris in 
the distance reared her towers covered with light, and made a 
crown to the far-spreading landscape. The brightness of the view 
contrasted with the great leaden clouds that rolled after one 



THE END. 321 

another from the west, and seemed to fill the valley In 

the afternoon rain came on, as we approached the Porte Maillot. 
We took shelter along with a crowd of other holiday folk under 
some chestnut trees whose leaves were coming out. One of the 
waiters of a tavern perceiving Jean Jacques, rushed to him full of 
joy, exclaiming ' What, is it you, mon bonhomme? Why it is a 
whole age since we have seen you.' Rousseau replied cheerfully, 
' 'Tis because my wife has been ill, and I myself have been out of 
sorts.' * Mon pauvre bonhomme,' replied the lad, * you must not 
stop here ; come in, come in, and I will find room for you.' He 
hurried us along to a room upstairs, where in spite of the crowd 
he procured for us chairs and a table, and bread and wine. I said 
to Jean Jacques, He seems very familiar with you. He answered, 
Yes, we have known one another some years. We used to come 
here in fine weather, my wife and I, to eat a cutlet of an evening. i 

Things did not continue to go thus smoothly. One 
day St. Pierre went to see him, and was received 
without a word, and with stiff and gloomy mien. He 
tried to talk, but only got monosyllables ; he took up 
a book, and this drew a sarcasm which sent him forth 
from the room. For more than two months they did 
not meet. At length they had an accidental encounter 
at a street corner. Eousseau accosted St. Pierre, and 
with a gradually warming sensibility proceeded thus : 
' There are days when I want to be alone, and crave 
privacy. I come back from my solitary expeditions 
so calm and contented. There I have not been wanting 
to anybody, nor has anybody been wanting to me, J 
and so on. 2 He expressed this humour more pointedly 
on some other occasion, when he said that there were 

1 (Euv., xii. 104, etc. ; and also the Preambule de VArcadie t (Euv., vii. 645. 
2 St. Pierre, xii. 813. 

VOL. II. Y 



3 22 ROUSSEAU. 

times in which he fled from the eyes of men as from 
Parthian arrows. As one said, who knew from expe- 
rience, the fate of his most intimate friend depended 
on a word or a gesture. 1 Another of them declared 
that he knew Eousseau' s style of discarding a friend 
by letter so thoroughly, that he felt confident he could 
supply Rousseau's place in case of illness or absence. 2 
In much of this we suspect that the quarrel was per- 
fectly justified. Sociality meant a futile display before 
unworthy and condescending curiosity. < It is not I 
whom they care for,' he very truly said, < but public 
opinion and talk about me, without a thought of 
what real worth I may have.' Hence his stead- 
fast refusal to go out to dine or sup. The mere 
impertinence of the desire to see him was illustrated 
by some coxcombs who insisted with a famous actress 
of his acquaintance, that she should invite the strange 
philosopher to meet them. She was aware that no 
known force would persuade Eousseau to come, so 
dressed up her tailor as philosopher, bade him keep a 
silent tongue, and vanish suddenly without a word of 
farewell. The tailor was long philosophically silent, 
and by the time that wine had loosed his tongue, the 
rest of the company were too far gone to perceive 
that the supposed Eousseau was chattering vulgar 
nonsense. 3 "We can believe that with admirers of 
this stamp Eousseau was well pleased to let tailors or 

1 Dusaulx, p. 81. For his quarrel with Rousseau, see pp. 130, etc. 

2 Rulhieres in Dusaulx, p. 179. For a strange interview between Rul- 
hieres and Rousseau, see pp. 185 6. 

3 Musset-Pathay, i. 181. 



THE END, 323 

others stand in his place. There were some, how- 
ever, of a different sort, who flitted across his sight 
and then either vanished of their own accord, or were 
silently dismissed, from madame de Genlis up to 
Gretry and Gluck. With Gluck he seems to have 
quarrelled for setting his music to French words, 
when he must have known that Italian was the only 
tongue fit for music. 1 Yet it was remarked that no- 
one ever heard him speak ill of others.. His enemies^ 
the figures of his delusion, were vaguely; denounced in 
many dronings, hut they remained in dark shadow 
and were unnamed. "When Yoltaire paid 1 his famous- 
last visit to the capital (1778), some one thought of 
paying court to Eousseau by making a mock of the 
triumphal reception of the old warrior, but Eousseau 
harshly checked the detractor. It is true that in 
1770 1 he gave to some few of his acquaintances one 
or more readings of the Confessions, which contained 
much painful matter for many people still living, 
among the rest for madame d'Epinay. She wrote 
justifiably enough to the lieutenant of police, praying 
that all such readings might be prohibited,, and it is 
believed that they were so prohibited. 2 

In 1769, when Polish anarchy was at its height, as 
if to show at once how profound the anarchy was, and 
how profound the faith among many minds in the 

1 ibid. 

2 Musset-Pathay, i. 209. Rousseau forbade the publication of his Confes- 
sions before the year 1800. Notwithstanding this, printers procured copies 
surreptitiously, perhaps through Theresa, ever in need of money ; the first 
part was published three years, and the second part ten years, after his death, 
in 1781 and 1788 respectively. See Musset-Pathay, ii. 464. 

T2 



324. ROUSSEAU. 

power of the new French theories, an application was 
made to Mably to draw up a scheme for the renova- 
tion of distracted Poland. Mably 's notions won little 
esteem from the persons who had sought for them, 
and in 1771 a similar application was made to Rous- 
seau in his Parisian garret. He replied in the Consi- 
derations on the Government of Poland, which are 
written with a good deal of vigour of expression, but 
contain nothing that needs further discussion. He 
hinted to the Poles with some shrewdness that a cur- 
tailment of their territory by their neighbours was 
not far off, 1 and the prediction was rapidly fulfilled by 
the first partition of Poland in the following year. 

He was asked one day of what nation he had the 
highest opinion. He answered, the Spanish. The 
Spanish nation, he said, has a character; if it is not 
rich, it still preserves all its pride and self-respect in 
the midst of its poverty ; 'and it is animated by a 
single spirit, for it has not been scourged by the con- 
flicting opinions of philosophy. 2 

He was extremely poor for these last eight years of 
his life. He seems to have drawn the pension which 
George in. had settled on him, for not more than one 
year. "We do not know why he refused to receive it 
afterwards. A well-meaning friend, when the arrears 
amounted to between six and seven thousand francs, 

1 Ch. v. p. 246. Such a curtailment, he says, ' would no doubt he a great 
evil for the parts dismembered, but it would be a great advantage for the 
body of the nation.' He urged federation as the root of any solid improve- 
ment in their affairs. 

2 Bernardin de St. Pierre, xii. 37. Comte had a similar admiration for 
Spain, and for the same reason. 



THE END. 325 

applied for it on his behalf, and a draft for the money 
was sent. Eousseau gave the offender a vigorous 
rebuke for meddling in affairs that did not concern 
him, and the draft was destroyed. Other attempts to 
induce him to draw this money failed equally. 1 Yet 
he had only about fifty pounds a year to live on, 
together with the modest amount which he earned by 
copying music. 2 

The sting of indigence began to make itself felt to- 
wards 1777. His health became worse and he could 
not work. Theresa was waxing old, and could no 
longer attend to the small cares of the household. 
More than one person offered them shelter and pro- 
vision, and the old distractions as to a home in 
which to end his days began once more. At length 
M. Girardin prevailed upon him to come and live 
at Ermenonville, an estate of his some twenty miles 
from Paris. A dense cloud of obscure misery hangs 
over the last months of this forlorn existence. No 
tragedy had ever a fifth act so squalid. Theresa's 
character seems to have developed into something 
veritably bestial. Eousseau' s terrors of the designs 
of his enemies returned with great violence. He 
thought he was imprisoned, and he knew he had no 
means of escape. One day (July 2, 1778), suddenly 
and without a single warning symptom, all drew to 
an end, the sensations which had been the ruling part 
of his life were affected by pleasure and pain no more, 

1 Corancez, quoted in Musset-Pathay, i. 239. Also Corr., vi. 295. 

2 Corr., vi. 303. 



326 ROUSSEAU. 

the dusky phantoms all vanished into space, and he 
died. The surgeons reported that the cause of his 
death was apoplexy, but a suspicion has haunted 
the world -ever since, that he destroyed himself by a 
pistol-shot. We cannot tell. There is no inherent 
improbability in the fact of his having committed 
suicide. In the New Heloisa he had thrown the con- 
ditions which justified self-destruction, into a distinct 
formula. Fifteen years before, he declared that his 
own -case fell within the conditions he had prescribed, 
and that he was meditating action. 1 Only seven years 
before, he had implied that a man had the right to 
deliver himself of the burden of his own life, if its 
miseries were intolerable and irremediable. 2 This, 
however, counts for nothing in the absence of some 
kind of positive 'evidence, and of that there is just 
enough to leave the manner of his end a little doubt- 
ful. 3 Once more, we cannot tell. 

By the serene moon-rise of a summer night, his 



1 See above, pp. 16 7. 2 Corr.,.vi. 264. 

3 The case stands thus : 1. There was the certificate of five doctors, attest- 
ing that Rousseau had died of apoplexy. 2. The assertion of M. Girardin, in 
whose house he died, that. there was no hole in his head, nor poison in the 
stomach or viscera, nor other sign of self-destruction. 3. The assertion of 
Theresa to the same effect. On the other hand, we have the assertion of 
Corancez, that on his journey to Ermenonville on the day of Rousseau's 
burial a horse-master on the road had said, ' Who would have supposed that 
M. Rousseau would have destroyed himself?' and a variety of inferences 
from the wording of the certificate, and of Theresa's letter. Musset-Pathay 
believes in the suicide, and argued very mgeniously against MM. Girardin. 
But his arguments do not .go far beyond verbal ingenuity, showing that 
suicide was possible, and was consistent with the language of the documents, 
rather than adducing positive testimony. See vol. i. of his History, pp. 268, 
etc. The controversy was resumed as late as 1861, between the Figaro and 
the Monde Illustre. See also M. Jal's Diet. Grit, de Biog. et d'HisL, p. 1091. 



THE END. 327 

body was put under the ground on an island in the 
midst of a small lake, where poplars throw shadows 
over the still water, silently figuring the destiny of 
mortals. Here it remained for sixteen years. Then 
amid the roar of cannon, the crash of trumpet and 
drum, and the wild acclamations of a populace gone 
mad in exultation, terror, fury, the poor dust was 
transported to the national temple of great men. 



INDEX. 



Academies (French), local, i. 130. 
Academy of Dijon, Rousseau writes 
essays for, i. 131 ; French, prize 
essay against Rousseau's Discourse, 
i. 149, n. 
Actors, how regarded in France in 

Rousseau's time, i. 330. 
Althusen, teaches doctrine of sove- 
reignty of the people, ii. 144. 
America (U.S.), effects in, of the doc- 
trine of the equality of men, i. 
188. 

American colonists indebted in eight- 
eenth century to Rousseau's writings, 
i. 3. 
Anchorite, distinction between the old 

and the new, i. 241. 
Annecy, i. 33, 48 ; Rousseau's room at, 
i. 52 ; Rousseau's teachers at, i. 55 ; 
seminary at, i. 80. 

Aquinas, protest against juristical doc- 
trine of law being the pleasure of 
the prince, ii. 141, 142. 
Aristotle on Origin of Society, i. 180. 
Atheism, Rousseau's protest against, i. 
215 ; St. Lambert on, i. ib. n. ; Robes- 
pierre's protest against, ii. 174 ; 
Chaumette put to death for endea- 
vouring to base the government of 
France on, ii. 175. 
Augustine (of Hippo), ii. 271, 303. 
Austin, Henry, ii. 150, n. ; on Sove- 
reignty, ii. 159. 

Authors, difficulties of, in France in 
the eighteenth century, ii. 55-9. 

Baboauf, on the Revolution, ii. 121, n. 

Barbier, ii. 26. 

Basedow, his enthusiasm for Rousseau's 
educational theories, ii. 250. 

Beaumont de, archbishop of Paris, 
mandate against Rousseau issued by, 
ii. 80 ; argument from, ii. 84. 



Bernard, maiden name of Rousseau's 
mother, i. 9. 

Bienne, Rousseau driven to take refuge 
in island in lake of, ii. 107 ; his ac- 
count of, ii. 108-13. 

Bodin, on Government, ii. 144 ; his de- 
finition of an aristocratic state, ii. 
164, n. 

Bonaparte, Napoleon, ii. 99, . 

Bossuet, on Stage Plays, i. 331. 

Boswell, James, ii. 94 ; visits Rousseau, 
ii. 95, also ib. n. ; urged by Rousseau 
to visit Corsica, ii. 97 ; his letter to 
Rousseau, ii. 97, 98. 

Boufflers, madame de, ii. 5 ; ib. n. ; 
ii. 8. 

Bougainville (brother of the naviga- 
tor), i. 190, n. 

Brutus, how Rousseau came to be 
panegyrist of, i. 193. 

Buffon, ii. 200. 

Burke, ii. 138, 187. 

Burnet, bishop, on Genevese, i. 231. 

Burton, John Hill, his Life of Hume 
(on Rousseau), ii. 284, n. 

Byron, lord, antecedents of highest 
creative efforts, ii. 1 ; effect of nature 
upon, ii. 39 ; difference between 
and Rousseau, ii. 41. 

Galas, i. 318. 

Calvin, i. 4, 195 ; Rousseau on, as a 

legislator, ii. 129; and Servetus, ii. 

175 ; mentioned, ii. 177 ; on study of 

the apocalypse, 314. 
Candide, thought by Rousseau to be 

meant as a reply to him, i. 327. 
Cardan, ii. 303. 
Cato, how Rousseau came to be his 

panegyrist, i. 193. 
Chamberi, probable date of Rousseau's 

return to, i. 61, n. ; takes up his 

residence there, i. 67 ; effect on his 



330 



INDEX. 



mind of a French column of troops 
passing through, i. 70, 71 ; his illness 
at, ih. w. 

Channettes, Les, madame de Warens' 
residence, i. 71 ; present condition 
of, i. 72, 73, n. ; time spent there by 
Rousseau, ii. 92. 

Charron, ii. 198. 

Chateaubriand, influenced by Rous- 
seau, i. 4. 

Chatham, lord, ii. 90. 

Chaumette, ii. 174; guillotined on 
charge of endeavouring to establish 
atheism in France, ii. 175. 

Chesterfield, lord, ii. 15. 

Choiseul, ii. 55, 62, 70. 

Citizen, revolutionary use of word, de- 
rived from Rousseau, ii. 157. 

Civilization, variety of the origin and 
process of, i. 182 ; defects of, i. 185, 
186 ; one of the worst trials of, ii. 
99. 

Cobbett, ii. 41. 

Collier, Jeremy, on the English Stage, 
i. 331. 

Condillac, i. 93. 

Condorcet, i. 87, 155 ; -on Social Position 
of Women, i. 343 ; ' human perfecti- 
bility,' ii. 117; inspiration of, drawn 
from the school of Voltaire and 
Rousseau, ii. 190 ; belief of, in the 
improvement of humanity, ii. 245 ; 
grievous mistake of, "ii. 246. 

Confessions, the, not to be trusted for 
minute accuracy, i. 84, n. ; or for 
dates, i. 91, 92; first part written 
1766, ii. 301 ; their character, ii. 302, 
304 ; published surreptitiously, ii. 
323, n. ; readings from prohibited by 
police, ii. 323. 

Conti, prince of, ii. 4-6, 7, 116; re- 
ceives Rousseau at Trye, ii. 312. 

Contrat Social, i. 134. 

Corsica, struggles for independence of, 
ii. 96 ; Rousseau invited to legislate 
for, ii. 96, 97 ; bought by France, ii. 
99. 

Cowper, i. 19 ; ii. 39 ; on Rousseau, ii. 
40, w. ; lines in the Task, ii. 251, 
252; his delusions, ii. 301. 

Cynicism, Rousseau's assumption of, i. 
213. 

D'Aiguillon, ii. 70. 

D'Alembert, i. 87 ; on Society, i. 155 ; 
Voltaire's staunchest henchman, i. 
329 ; his article on Geneva, ib. ; on 
Stage Plays, i. 333, . ; on Position 
of Women in Society, i. 342; on 



Rousseau's letter on the Theatre, 
i. 343 ; suspected by Rousseau of 
having written the pretended letter 
from Frederick of Prussia, ii. 289 ; 
advises Hume to publish account of 
Rousseau's quarrel with him, ii. 295. 

D'Argenson, ii. 176. 

Dates of Rousseau's letters to be re- 
lied on, not those of the Confessions, 
i. 91. 

Davenport, Mr., provides Rousseau 
with a home at Wootton, ii. 287 ; 
his kindness to Rousseau, ii. 306, 
307. 

Deism, Rousseau's, ii. 258, 262-5, 266- 
70 ; that of others, ii. 260-62 ; short- 
comings of Rousseau's, ii. 269. 

Democracy defined, ii. 164 ; rejected 
by Rousseau, as too perfect for men, 
ii. 167. 

D'Epinay, madame, i. 200, 201, 212, 
214 ; gives the Hermitage to Rous- 
seau, i. 236, n. ; his quarrels with, i. 
278; his relations with, i. 283; 
journey to Geneva of, i. 290 ; squab- 
bles arising out of it, between, and 
Rousseau, Diderot, and Grimm, i. 
291-7; mentioned, ii. 7, 25, 193; 
wrote on education, ii. 194 ; applies 
to secretary of police to prohibit 
Rousseau's readings from his Con- 
fessions, ii. 323. 

D'Epinay, monsieur, i. 261 ; ii. 25. 

Descartes, i. 85, 232; ii. 266, 270. 

Deux Ponts, Due de, Rousseau's rude 
reply to, i. 213. 

D'-Holbach, i. 198 ; Rousseau's dislike 
of his materialistic friends, i. 230 ; 
ii. 37, 254. 

D'-Houdetot, madame, i. 262, 264-76 ; 
madame d'Epinay 's jealousy of, i. 
283 ; mentioned, ii. 7 ; offers Rous- 
seau a home in Normandy, ii. 115. 

Diderot, i. 62, 87, 131 ; tries to ma- 
nage' Rousseau, i. 219, 220 ; his do- 
mestic misconduct, i. 220 ; leader of 
the 'materialistic party, i. 230 ; on 
Solitary Life, i. 238 ; his active life, 
ib. ; without moral sensitiveness, i. 
269 ; -mentioned, i. 276, 278 ; ii. 8 ; 
his relations with Rousseau, i. 279 ; 
accused of pilfering Goldoni's new 
play, i. 281 ; his relations and con- 
tentions with Rousseau, i. 281-3 ; 
lectures Rousseau about madame 
d'Epinay, i. 291 ; visits Rousseau 
after his leaving the Hermitage, i. 
296; Rousseau's final breach with, 
i. 344; his criticism, and plays, ii. 



INDEX. 



33' 



34 ; his defects, ib. ; thrown into 
prison, ii. 55 ; his difficulties with 
the Encyclopaedists, ii. 56 ; his papers 
saved from the police "by Male- 
sherbes, ii. 60. 

Dijon, academy of, i. 131. 

Discourses, The, circumstances of the 
composition of the first Discourse, i. 
131-4; summary of it, i. 137-44; 
(disastrous effect of the progress of 
sciences and arts, i. 138, 139 ; error 
more dangerous, than truth useful, 
i. 139 ; uselessness of learning and 
art, i. 140, 141 ; terrible disorders 
caused in Europe by the art of 
printing, i. 142 ; two kinds of igno- 
rance, i. 143) ; the relation of this 
Discourse to Montaigne, i. 144 ; its 
one-sidedness and hollowness, i. 147 ; 
shown by Voltaire, i. 148 ; its posi- 
tive side, i. 148, 149 ; second Dis- 
course, origin of the Inequality of 
Man, i. 153 ; summary of it, i. 160- 
76 (state of nature, i. 161-4; 
Hobbes' mistake, i. 165-; what broke 
up the ' state of nature,' i. 168 ; its 
preferableness, i. 170, 171; origin of 
society and laws, i. 173 ; - l new state 
of nature,' i. 175, 176 ; main posi- 
tion of the Discourse, ib.) ; its utter 
inconclusiveness, i. 176 ; criticism on 
its method, ib. ; on its matter, i. 178 ; 
wanting in evidence, ib. ; further ob- 
jections to -it, i. 179; assumes uni- 
formity of process, i. 182 ; its un- 
scientific character, i. 183 ; its real 
importance, i. 184 ; its protest against 
the mockery of civilization, i. 185 ; 
equality of man, i. 187 ; different 
effects of this doctrine in France and 
the United States explained, i. 188, 
189 ; discovers a reaction against the 
historical method of Montesquieu, i. 
189; pecuniary results of, i. 202; 
Diderot's praise of first Discourse, i. 
206 ; Voltaire's acknowledgment of 
gift of second Discourse, i. 314 ; the, 
an attack on the general ordering 
of society, ii. 21 ; referred to, ii. 40. 

Drama, the, its proper effect, i. 334 ; 
what would be that of its introduc- 
tion into Geneva, i. 335 ; true answer 
to Kousseau's contentions, i. 336. 

Dramatic morality, i. 334. 

Drinkers, Rousseau's estimate of, i. 
338. 

Drunkenness, how esteemed in Swit- 
zerland and Naples, i. 338. 

Duclos, i. 212 ; ii. 60, 61. 



Duni, i. 299. 

Dupin, madame de, Rousseau secretary 

to, i. 117; her position in society, i. 

201 ; Rousseau's country life with, i. 

202; friend of the abbe de Saint 

Pierre, i. 251. 

Education, interest taken in, in France 
in Rousseau's time, ii. 194, 195 ; its 
new direction, ii. 196 ; Locke, the 
pioneer of, ii. 197, 198 ; Rousseau's 
special merit in connection with, ii. 
198 ; his views on (see Emilius, 
passim, as well as for general con- 
sideration of), what it is, ii. 218; 
plans of, of Locke and others, de- 
signed for the higher class, ii. 252; 
Rousseau's, for all, ii. 253. 

Smile, i. 134, 202. 

Emilius, character of,ii. 1, 2 ; particu- 
lars of the publication of, ii. 60, 61 ; 
effect of, on Rousseau's fortunes, ii. 
62 ; ordered to be burnt by public 
executioner at Paris, ii. 64 ; at Geneva, 
ii. 70 ; condemned by the Sorbonne, 
ii. 80; -supplied (as also did the 
Social Contract) dialect for the long- 
ing in France and Germany to re- 
turn to nature, ii. 188 ; substance of, 
furnished by Locke, ii. 199 ; exami- 
nation of, ii. 192-281 ; mischief pro- 
duced by its good advice, ii. 201,, 
202; training of young children, 
202-5 ; constantly reasoning with 
them, a mistake of Locke's, ii. 204 ; 
Rousseau's central idea, disparage- 
ment of the -reasoning faculty, ii. 
206-7 ; theories of education, ii. 206 ; 
practice better than precept, ii. 207, 
208 ; the idea of property, the first 
that Rousseau would have given to 
a child, ii. 210 ; modes of teaching, 
ii. 210, 211 ; futility of such methods, 
ii. 211-13 ; where Rousseau is right, 
and where wrong, ii. 215-18 ; effect 
of his own want of parental love, ii. 
218 ; teaches that everybody should 
learn a trade, ii. 221 ; no special 
foresight, ii. 222, 223 ; supremacy of 
the common people insisted upon, ii. 
224, 225 ; three dominant states of 
mind to be established by the in- 
structor, ii. 227, 228 ; Rousseau's in- 
complete notion of justice, ii. 228, 
229 ; ideal of Emilius, ii. 233 ; for- 
bids early teaching of history, ii. 
234, 235 ; disparages modern history, 
ii. 237 ; criticism on the old histo- 
rians, ii. 238 ; education of women, ii. 



332 



INDEX. 



240 ; Rousseau' s failure here, ii. 241- 
3 ; inconsistent with himself, ii. 243, 
244 ; worthlessness of his views, ii. 
248 ; real merits of the work, ib. ; its 
effect in Germany, ii. 249-51 ; not 
much effect on education in England, 
ii. 251 ; Emilius the first expression 
of democratic teaching in education, 
ii. 252 ; Eousseau's deism, ii. 256, 
258, 262-5, 268, 269, 276 ; its inade- 
quacy for the wants of men, ii. 266-9 ; 
his position towards Christianity, ii. 
271-3 ; real satisfaction of the reli- 
gious emotions, ii. 277-81. 

Encyclopaedia, The, D'Alembert's arti- 
cle on Geneva in, i. 230. 

Encyclopaedists, The Society of, con- 
firms Eousseau's religious faith, i. 
227 ; referred to, ii. 255. 

Evil, discussions on Rousseau's, Vol- 
taire's, and De Maistre's teachings 
concerning, i. 320-26 ; different effect 
of existence of, on Rousseau and 
Voltaire, i. 326. 

Fenelon, ii. 36, 247 ; Rousseau's vene- 
ration for, ii. 320. 

Ferguson, Adam, ii. 251. 

Filmer contends that a man is not 
naturally free, ii. 124. 

Foundling Hospital, Rousseau sends 
his children to the, i. 118. 

France, debt of, to Rousseau, i. 3 ; Rous- 
seau the one great religious writer 
of, in the eighteenth century, i. 25 ; 
his wanderings in the east of, i. 60, 
61 ; his fondness for, i. 71 ; establish- 
ment of local academies in, i. 130 ; 
decay in, of Greek literary studies, 
i. 145 ; effects in, of doctrine of 
equality of man, i. 188; effects in, 
of Montesquieu's ' Spirit of Law,' 
i. 189 ; amiability of, in the eight- 
eenth century, i. 193 ; effect of Rous- 
seau's writings in, i. 194 ; collective 
organization in, i. 229 ; St. Pierre's 
strictures on government of, i. 252 ; 
Rousseau on government of, i. 253 ; 
effect of Rousseau's spiritual ele- 
ment on, i. 313 ; patriotism wanting 
in, i. 340 ; difficulties of authorship 
in, ii. 64-9 ; buys Corsica from the 
Genoese, ii. 98 ; state of, after 1792, 
apparently favourable to the carry- 
ing out of Rousseau's political views, 
ii. 131, 132 ; in 1793, ii. 134 ; haunted 
by narrow and fervid minds, ii. 139. 

JFrancueil, Rousseau's patron, i. 97 ; 
grandfather of madame Georges 



Sand, i. 97, n. ; Rousseau's salary 
from,i. 117; country-house of , i. 202. 

Franklin, Benjamin, ii. 41. 

Frederick of Prussia, relations between, 
and Rousseau, ii. 71-4; "famous 
bull" of, ii. 88. 

Freeman on Growth of English Consti- 
tution, ii. 161. 

French, principles of, revolution, i. 1, 2; 
process and ideas of, i. 5 ; Rousseau 
of old, stock, i. 8 ; poetry, Rousseau 
on, i. 88, n. ; melody, i. 102, 103 ; 
academy, thesis for prize, i. 149, n. ; 
philosophers, i. 208 ; music, i. 298 ; 
music, its pretensions demolished by 
Rousseau, i. 302 ; ecclesiastics op- 
posed to the theatre, i. 330 ; stage, 
Rousseau on, 333 ; morals, depravity 
of, ii. 25, 26 ; Barbier on, ii. 26 ; 
thought, benefit or otherwise of re- 
volution on, ii. 53 ; history, evil side 
of, in Rousseau's time, ii. 54 ; the, 
indebted to Holland for freedom of 
the press, ii. 57 ; catholic and mo- 
narchic absolutism sunk deep into the 
character of the, ii. 163. 

French Convention, story of member 
of the, ii. 131, . 

Galuppi, effect of his music, i. 103. 

Geneva, i. 8 ; characteristics of its 
people, i. 9 ; Rousseau's visit to, i. 
91 ; influence of, on Rousseau, i. 
194-6 ; he revisits it in 1754, i. 225 ; 
turns Protestant again there, i. 227 ; 
religious opinion in, i. 230 (also n. 
231) ; Rousseau thinks of taking up 
his abode in, i. 234 ; Voltaire at, i. 
314 ; D'Alembert's article on, in En- 
cyclopaedia, i. 329 ; Rousseau's notions 
of effect of introducing the drama at, 
i. 335 ; council of, order public burn- 
ing of Emilius and the Social Con- 
tract, and arrest of the author if he 
came there, ii. 70 ; the only place 
where the Social Contract was ac- 
tually burnt, ib. n. ; Voltaire sus- 
pected to have had a hand in the 
matter, ii. 78 ; council of, divided 
into two camps by Rousseau's con- 
demnation, in 1762, ii. 99; Rousseau 
renounces his citizenship in, ii. 100 ; 
working of the republic, ii. 101. 

Genevese, bishop Burnet on, i. 231 ; 
Rousseau's distrust of, i. 235 ; his 
panegyric on, i. 336 ; manners of, 
according to Rousseau, i. 338 ; their 
complaint of it, i. 339. 

Genlis, madame de, ii. 323. 



INDEX. 



333 



Genoa, Rousseau in quarantine at, i. 
101 ; Corsica sold to France by, ii. 
99. 

Germany, sentimental movements in, 
ii. 32. 

Gibbon, Edward, at Lausanne, ii. 94. 

Girardin, St. Marc, on Rousseau, i. 108, 
n. ; on Rousseau's discussions, ii. 11, 
. ; offers Rousseau a home, ii. 325. 

Gluck, i. 298, 302 ; Rousseau quarrels 
with, for setting his music to French 
words, ii. 323. 

Goethe, i. 19. 

Goguet on Society, ii. 124, 125, n. ; on 
tacit conventions, ii. 145, n. ; on law, 
ii. 150, n. 

Goldoni, Diderot accused of pilfering 
his new play, i. 281. 

Gothic architecture denounced by Vol- 
taire and Turgot, i. 301. 

Gouvon, count, Rousseau servant to, 
i. 41. 

Government, disquisitions on, ii. 129- 
90 ; remarks on, ii. 129-38 ; early de- 
mocratic ideas of, ii. 141-3 ; Hobbes' 
philosophy of, ii. 148 ; Rousseau's 
science of, ii. 151, 152 ; De la Ri- 
viere's science of, ii. 153, n. ; federa- 
tion recommended by Rousseau to 
the Poles, ii. 163 ; three forms of 
government denned, ii. 164 ; defini- 
tion inadequate, ii. 165 ; Montes- 
quieu's definition, ib. ; Rousseau's 
distinction between tyrant and despot, 
ii. 166, n. ; his objection to demo- 
cracy, ii. 167 ; to monarchy, ii. 167, 
168 ; consideration of aristocracy, ii. 
168; his own scheme, ii. 169; Hoboes' 
' Passive Obedience,' ii. 177, 178 ; 
social conscience theory, ii. 179-82; 
government made impossible by 
Rousseau's doctrine of social con- 
tract, ii. 184-7 ; Burke on expediency 
in, ii. 187 ; what a civilized nation 
is, ii. 190 ; Jefferson on, ii. 225, n. 

Governments, earliest, how composed, 
i. 174. 

Grafigny, madame de, ii. 194. 

Gratitude, Rousseau on, ii. 14, 15 ; ex- 
planation of his want of, ii. 69. 

Greece, importance of history of, i. 
190, and n. ib. 

Greek ideas, influence of, in France in 
the eighteenth century, i. 145. 

Grenoble, i. 91. 

Gretry, i. 299, 302 ; ii. 323. 

Grimm, description of Rousseau by, i. 
213; Rousseau's quarrels with, 278, 
279 ; letter of, about Rousseau and 



Diderot, i. 282 ; relations of, with 
Rousseau, i. 285 ; some account of 
his life, i. 286 ; his conversation with 
madame d'Epinay, i. 287 ; criticism 
on Rousseau, i. 288 ; natural want 
of sympathy between the two, i. 
289; Rousseau's quarrel with, i. 
291-5 ; ii. 63, 194. 
Grotius, on Government, ii. 145. 

Hebert, ii. 174 ; prevents publication 
of a book in which the author pro- 
fessed his belief in a god, ii. 175. -i 

Helmholtz, i. 305. 

Helvetius, i. 198 ; ii. 63, 194, 206, ., 
231, 265. 

Herder, ii. 250 ; Rousseau's influence 
on, ii. 315. 

Hermitage, the, given to Rousseau by 
madame d'Epinay, i. 236 (also n. 
ib.) ; what his friends thought of it, 
i. 238 ; sale of, after the revolution, 
244, n. ; reasons for Rousseau's leav- 
ing, i. 295, . 

Hildebrand, i. 4. 

Hobbes, i. 142, 165 ; his < Philosophy 
of Government,' ii. 148 ; singular 
influence of, upon Rousseau, ii. 148, 
177 ; essential difference between 
his views and those of Rousseau, 
ii. 155 ; on Sovereignty, ii. 159 ; 
Rousseau's definition of the three 
forms of government adopted by, 
inadequate, ii. 165 ; would reduce 
spiritual and temporal jurisdiction to 
one political unity, ii. 177, 178. 

Holbachians, i. 344 ; ii. 2. 

Hooker, on Civil Government, ii. 145. 

Hotel St. Quentin, Rousseau at, i. 104. 

Hume, David, i. 62, 87 ; his deep-set 
sagacity, i. 157 ; ii. 6, 73 ; supected 
of tampering with Boswell's letter, 
ii. 95, n. ; on Boswell, ii. 98, n. ; his 
eagerness to find Rousseau a refuge 
in England, ii. 283, 284 ; his account 
of Rousseau, ii. 285 ; finds him a 
home at Wootton, ii. 287 ; Rousseau's 
quarrel with, ii. 288-91 (also 291, n.) ; 
his innocence of Walpole's letter, ii. 
292 ; his conduct in the quarrel, ii. 
294 ; saves Rousseau from arrest of 
French government, ii. 296 ; on 
Rousseau's sensitiveness, ii. 299. 

Imagination, Rousseau's, i. 254. 

Jacobins, the, Rousseau's Social Con- 
tract, their gospel, ii. 130, 131 ; their 
mistake, ii. 133; convenience to 



334 



INDEX. 



them of some of the maxims of the 
Social Contract, ii. 139 ; Jacobin su- 
premacy and Hobbism, ii. 148 ; how 
they might have saved France, ii. 
163, 164. 

Jansen, his propositions, i. 30. 

Jansenists, Rousseau's suspicions of, ii. 
62 ; mentioned, ii. 86. 

Jean Paul, ii. 213, 250. 

Jefferson, ii. 225, n. 

Jesuits, Rousseau's suspicions of the, 
ii. 61 ; the, and parliaments, ii. 63 ; 
movement against, ii. 62, 63 ; sup- 
pression of the, leads to increased 
thought about education, ii. 194. 

Johnson, Dr. S., ii. 15, 95. 

Kames, lord, ii. 251. 

Lamennais; influenced by Eousseau, ii. 
226. 

Language, origin of, i. 164. 

Latour, madame, ii. 18, 19 (also 19, n). 

Lavater favourable to education on 
Rousseau's plan, ii. 250 (also n. ib.). 

Lavoisier, reply to his request for a 
fortnight's respite, ii. 225, n. 

Law, not a contract, ii. 150. 

Lecouvreur, Adrienne, refused Chris- 
tian burial on account of her being 
an actress, i. 330. 

Leibnitz, i. 85; his optimism, i. 315; on 
the constitution of the uni verse, i. 318. 

Lessing, on Pope, i. 316, n. 

'Letters from the Mountain,' ii. 100, 
101 ; burned, by command, at Paris 
and the Hague, ii. 104. 

Liberty, English, Rousseau's notion of, 
ii. 160, n. 

Life, Rousseau's condemnation of the 
contemplative, i. 10 ; his idea of 
household, i. 40 ; easier for him to 
preach than for others to practise, i. 
42. 

Lisbon, earthquake of, Voltaire on, i. 
315 ; Rousseau's letter to Voltaire 
on, i. 319, 320. 

Locke, his Essay, i. 85 ; his notions, i. 
86 ; his influence upon Rousseau, ii. 
119, 123, 124 ; on Marriage, ii. 124 ; 
on Civil Government, ii. 145, 146, n., 
147 ; indefiniteness of his views, ii. 
156 ; the pioneer of French thought 
on education, ii. 197, 198 ; Rousseau's 
indebtedness to, ii. 199 ; his mistake 
in education, ii. 204 ; subjects of his 
theories, ii. 252. 

Lulli (music), i. 298. 

Luther, i. 4. 



Luxembourg, the duke of, gives Rous- 
seau a home, ii. 2-4, 9. 

Luxembourg, the marechale de, in vain 
seeks Rousseau's children, i. 125 : 
helps to get Emilius published, ii. 60, 
61, 65. 

Lycurgus, ii. 127, 129; influence of, 
upon Saint Just, ii. 131. 

Lyons, Rousseau a tutor at, i. 93-5. 

Mably, De, i. 93; his socialism, i.'190; 
applied to for scheme for the govern- 
ment of Poland, ii. 324. 

Maistre, De, i. 144; on Optimism, i. 321. 

Maitre, Le, teaches Rousseau music, i. 
56. 

Malebranche, i. 85. 

Malesherbes, Rousseau confesses his 
ungrateful nature to, ii. 14 ; his dis- 
honest advice to Rousseau, ii. 59 ; 
helps Diderot, ii. 60 ; and Rousseau in 
the publishing of Emilius, ii. 60, 61; 
endangered by it, ii. 65 ; asks Rous- 
seau to collect plants for him, ii. 74. 

Man, his specific distinction from other 
animals, i. 163 ; his state of nature, 
i. 163, 164 ; Hobbes wrong concern- 
ing this, i. 165; equality of, i. 187; 
effects of this doctrine in France 
and in the United States, i. 188 ; not 
naturally free, ii. 124. 

Mandeville, i. 165. 

Manners, Rousseau's, Marmontel, and 
Grimm on, i. 212, 213 ; Rousseau on 
Swiss, i. 337-9 ; depravity of French, 
in the eighteenth century, ii. 25, 26. 

Mnrischal, lord, friendship between, 
and Rousseau, ii. 76-8 ; account of, 
ii. 77, n. ; on Boswell, ii. 95. 

Marmontel, on Rousseau's manners, i. 
212, 213 ; on his success, ii. 2. 

Marriage, design of the New Heloisa 
to exalt, ii. 45-7, w. ib." 

Marsilio, of Padua, on Law, ii. 142. 

Men, inequality of, Rousseau's second 
Discourse (see Discourses), dedicated 
to the republic of Geneva, i. 196 ; 
how received there, i. 234. 

Mirabeau the elder, Rousseau's letter 
to, from Wootton, ii. 305, 306 ; his 
character, ii. 309-11 ; receives Rous- 
seau at Fleury, ii. 310. 

Mirabeau, Gabriel, Rousseau's influence 
on, ii. 315. 

Moliere (Misanthrope of), Rousseau's 
criticism on, i. 336 ; D'Alembert on, 
i. 337. 

Monarchy, Rousseau's objection to, ii. 
167. 



INDEX. 



335 



Montaigu, count de, avarice of, i. 99, 
100. 

Montaigne, Rousseau's obligations to, 
i. 144 ; influence of, on Rousseau, ii. 
198. 

Montesquieu, ' incomplete positivity ' 
of, i. 156, 157 ; on Government, i. 
158 ; effect of his Spirit of Laws on 
Rousseau, i. 189 ; confused definition 
of laws, ii. 149 ; balanced parlia- 
mentary system of, ii. 159 ; his defi- 
nition of forms of government, ii. 
165. 

Montmorency, Rousseau goes to live 
there, i. 296 ; his life at, ii. 3-8. 

Montpellier, i. 91. 

Morals, state of, in" France in the 
eighteenth century, ii. 26. 

Morellet, thrown into the Bastile, ii. 
55. 

Morelly, his indirect influence on 
Rousseau, i. 158 ; his socialistic 
theory, i. 158-60 ; his rules for or- 
ganizing a model community, i. 160, 
n. ; his terse exposition of inequality 
contrasted with that of Rousseau, L 
176; on primitive human nature, i. 
180, 181; his socialism, ii. 50; in- 
fluence of his ' model community ' 
upon St. Just, ii. 131, w.; advice to 
mothers, ii. 200. 

Metiers, Rousseau's home there, ii. 75 \ 
attends divine service at, ii. 88 ; life 
at, ii. 89, 90. 

Moultou (pastor of Motiers), his en- 
thusiasm for Rousseau, ii. 79. 

Music, Rousseau undertakes to teach, 
i. 59; Rousseau's opinion concerning 
Italian, i. 102, 103 ; effect of Ga- 
luppi's, i. 103 ; Rousseau earns his- 
living by copying, i. 204 ; ii. 315 ; 
Rameau's criticism on Rousseau's 
Muses Galantes, i. 217 ; French, i. 298 ; 
Rousseau's letter on, i. 300; Italian, 
denounced at Paris, ib. ; Rousseau 
utterly condemns French, i. 302 ; 
quarrels with Gluck for setting his, 
to French words, ii. 323. 

Musical notation, Rousseau's, i. 298 ; 
his Musical Dictionary, i. 303 ; his 
notation explained, i. 303-6 ; his 
system inapplicable to instruments, 
i. 306. 

Naples, drunkenness, how regarded in, 

i. 338. 
Narcisse, Rousseau's condemnation of 

his own comedy of, i. 222. 
Nature, Rousseau's love of, i. 242-7 ; ii. 



39 ; state of, Rousseau, Montesquieu, 
Voltaire, and Hume on, i. 156, 157, 
161-4 ; Rousseau's, in Second Dis- 
course, i. 178-83 ; his starting-point 
of right, and normal constitution of 
civil society, ii. 122. See State of 
Nature. 

Necker, ii. 52, 95, n. 

Neuchatel, Rousseau conducts a mu- 
sical piece there, i. 218 ; flight to 
principality of, by Rousseau, ii. 71 ; 
history of, ii. 71 r w. ; outbreak at, 
arising from religious controversy, 
ii. 88 ; preparations for driving Rous- 
seau out of, defeated by Frederick of 
Prussia, ib. ; clergy of, against Rous- 
seau, ii. 105. 

New Helo'isa, first conception of, 
i. 258 ; monument of Rousseau's 
fall, ii. 1 ; when completed and pub- 
lished, ii. 2 ; read aloud to the 
duchess de Luxembourg, ii. 3 ; letter 
on suicide in, ii. 16 ; effects upon 
Parisian ladies of reading the, ii. 
17, 18 ; criticism on, ii. 20-53 ; his 
scheme proposed in it, ii. 21-3; 
its story, ii. 23-4 ; its purity, con- 
trasted with contemporary and later 
French romances, ii. 25 ; its general 
effect, ii. 27 ; Rousseau absolutely 
without humour, ib. ; utter selfish- 
ness of hero of, ii. 29 ; its heroine, 
ii. 30 ; its popularity, ii. 31, 32 ; 
burlesque on it, ii. 31, n.; its vital 
defect, ii. 34 ; difference between 
Rousseau, Byron, and others, ii. 41 ; 
sumptuary details of the story, ii. 
43, 44 ; its democratic tendency, ii. 
48-50 ; the bearing of its teaching, 
ii. 53 ; hindrances to its circulation 
in France, ii. 55 ; Malesherbes' low 
moiality as to publishing, ii. 59. 

Optimism, of Pope and Leibnitz, i. 315, 
318 ; De Maistre on, i. 321 ; dis- 
cussed, i. 322-6. 

Origin of inequality among men,i. 153. 
See also Discourses. 

Paley, ii. 187, n. 

Palissot, ii. 55. 

Paris, Rousseau's first visit to, i. 60, 
61 ; his second, i. 95-8 ; third visit, i. 
104 ; effect in, of his first Discourse, i. 
137, n, ; opinions in, on religion, laws, 
&c., i. 194; 'mimic philosophy 
there, i. 199; society in, in Rous- 
seau's time, i. 209-14 ; his view of 
it,i. 216 ; composes there his ' Muses 



336 



INDEX. 



Galantes,' i. 217; returns to, from 
Geneva, i. 234; his belief of the 
unfitness of its people for political 
affairs, i. 254 ; goes to, in 1741, with 
his scheme of musical notation, i. 
298 ; effect there of his letter on 
music, i. 303 ; Eousseau's imaginary 
contrast between, and Geneva, i. 
337 ; Emilius ordered to be publicly 
burnt in, ii. 64 ; parliament of, order 
Letters from the Mountain ' to be 
burnt, ii. 104 ; also Voltaire's Philo- 
sophical Dictionary, ib. ; Danton's 
scheme for municipal administration 
of, ii. 164, n. ; two parties (those of 
Voltaire and of Rousseau) in, in 1793, 
ii. 174 ; excitement in, at Rousseau's 
appearance in 1765, ii. 283 ; he goes 
to live there in 1770, ii. 314 ; Vol- 
taire's last visit to, ii. 323. 

Paris, abbe, miracles at his tomb, ii. 85. 

Parisian frivolity, i. 199, 227, 337. 

Parliament and Jesuits, ii. 63. 

Pascal, i. 315; ii. 36. 

Passy, Rousseau composes the * Vil- 
lage Soothsayer ' at, i. 218. 

Paul, St., effect of, on western so- 
ciety, i. 4. 

Peasantry, French, oppression of, i. 
65, 66. 

Pedigree of Rousseau, i. 8, n. 

Pelagius, ii. 271. 

Peoples, sovereignty of, Rousseau not 
the inventor of doctrine of, ii. 141-3 ; 
taught by Althusen, ii. 144 ; con- 
stitution of Helvetic Republic in 
1798, a blow at, ii. 162. See Social 
Contract. 

Pergolese, i. 299. 

Pestalozzi indebted to Emilius, ii. 250. 

Philidor, i. 299. 

Philosophers, of Rousseau's time, con- 
tradicting each other, i. 85 ; Rous- 
seau's complaint of the, i. 208 ; war 
between the, and the priests, i. 
330 ; Rousseau's reactionary protest 
against, i. 336 ; troubles of, ii. 57 ; 
parliaments hostile to, ii. 63. 

Philosophy, Rousseau's disgust at 
mimic, at Paris, i. 199 ; drew him to 
the essential in religion, i. 227 ; Vol- 
taire's, no perfect, i. 321. 

Phlipon, Jean, Rousseau's influence 
on, i. 315. 

Plato, his republic, i. 120 ; his influence 
on Rousseau, i. 144, 145, 332, n. ; 
Milton on his Laws, ii. 174. 

Plays (stage), Rousseau's letter on, to 
D'Alembert, i. 329 ; his views of, i. 



331 ; Jeremy Collier and Bossueton, 
i. 331 ; in Geneva, i. 341, n. ; Rous- 
seau, Voltaire, and D'Alembert on, 
i. 341-3. 

Plutarch, Rousseau's love for, i. 12. 

Plutocracy, new, faults of, i. 201. 

Pompadour, madame de, and the 
Jesuits, ii. 62. 

Pontverre (priest) converts Rousseau 
to Romanism, i. 31-3. 

Pope, i. 223 ; his ' Essay on Man ' 
translated by Voltaire, i. 315 ; Berlin 
Academy and Lessing on it, i. 316, n. ; 
criticism on it by Rousseau, i. 318 ; 
its general position reproduced by 
Rousseau, i. 320. 

Popeliniere, M. de, i. 217. 

Positive knowledge, i. 76. 

Press, freedom of the, ii. 57. 

Prevost, abbe, i. 47. 

Private judgment, right of, ii. 102. 

Projet pour V Education, i. 94, n. 

Property, private, evils ascribed to, 
i. 159, 191 ; Robespierre disclaimed 
the intention of attacking, ii. 121, n. 

Protestant principles, effect of develop- 
ment of, ii. 144. 

Protestantism, its influence on Rous- 
seau, i. 228, 229 ; his conversion to, 
i. 228. 

Rameau on Rousseau's * Muses Ga- 
lantes,' i. 117, 217; mentioned, i. 298. 

Rationalism, i. 231, 232 ; influence of 
Descartes on, i. 232. 

Reason, De Saint Pierre's views of, 
i. 251. 

Reform, essential priority of social over 
political, ii. 43. 

Religion, simplification of, i. 6 ; ideas 
of, in Paris, i. 193, 194, 214, 215 ; 
Rousseau's view of, i. 227 ; doctrines 
of, in Geneva, 230-32, also n. ; cu- 
rious project concerning it, by Rous- 
seau, i. 326 ; separation of spiritual 
and temporal powers deemed mis- 
chievous by Rousseau, ii. 169 ; in its 
relation to the state may be consi- 
dered as of three kinds, ii. 171 ; duty 
of the sovereign to establish a civil 
confession of faith, ii. 172 ; positive 
dogmas of this, ib. ; Rousseau's 
'pure Hobbism,' ii. 173. See Sa- 
voyard Vicar (Emilius), ii. 254-281. 

Renou, Rousseau assumes name of, 
i. 127, ii. 312. 

Revelation, Christian, Rousseau's con- 
troversy on, with archbishop of 
Paris, ii. 84-7. 



INDEX. 



337 



Eeveries, Rousseau's relinquishing so- 
ciety, i. 207 ; description of his life 
in the Isle of St. Peter, in the, ii. 
108-13 ; their style, ii. 315. 

Revolution, French, principles of, i. 
1, 2 ; benefits of, or otherwise, ii. 
53 ; Baboauf on, ii. 121, n. ; the 
starting point in the history of its 
ideas, ii. 156. 

Revolutionary process and ideal, i. 5. 

Revolutionists, difference among, i. 3. 

Richardson (the novelist), ii. 24, 27. 

Richelieu's brief patronage of Rous- 
seau, i. 201, 308. 

Riviere, de la, origin of society, ii. 
152, 153 ; anecdote of, ii. 153, . 

Robecq, madame de, ii. 55. 

Robespierre, ii. 121, 131, 156, 158, n., 
174, 175; his 'sacred right of in- 
surrection,' ii. 184, . ; Rousseau's 
influence on, ii. 315. 

Rousseau, Didier, i. 8. 

Rousseau, Jean Baptiste, i. 60, . 

Rousseau, Jean Jacques, influence of 
his writings on France and the 
American colonists, i. 1-3 ; on 
Robespierre, Paine, and Chateau- 
briand, i. 4 ; his place as a leader, 
ib. ; starting-point of his mental 
habits, i. 5 ; personality of, ib. ; in- 
fluence on the common people, i. 7 ; 
his birth and ancestry, i. 8 ; pedi- 
gree, ib. n. ; parents, i. 9-11 ; influence 
upon him of his*father's character, 
i. 11, 12 ; his reading in childhood, 
i. 11-13; love of Plutarch, i. 12 ; 
early years, i. 13 ; sent to school at 
Bossey, i. 14; deterioration of his 
moral character there, i. 15 ; indig- 
nation at an unjust punishment, i. 
17, 18 ; leaves school, i. 20 ; youthful 
life at Geneva, i. 20, 21 ; his remarks 
on its character, i. 21 ; anecdotes of 
it, i. 22, 23 ; his leading error as to 
the education of the young, i. 24 ; 
religious training, i. 25 ; apprentice- 
ship, i. 25 ; boyish misdoings, i. 27 ; 
harshness of his master, i. 28 ; runs 
away, i. 29 ; received by the priest of 
Confignon, i. 31 ; sent to madame 
de Warens, i. 33 ; at Turin, i. 34 ; 
hypocritical conversion to Roman 
Catholicism, i. 35 ; motive, i. 36 ; re- 
gistry of his baptism, ib. n. ; his 
forlorn condition, i. 37 ; love of music, 
ib. ; becomes servant to madame de 
Vercellis, i. 38 ; his theft, lying, and 
excuses for it, i. 38-40 ; becomes 
servant to count of Gouvon, i. 41 ; 
VOL. II. 



dismissed, i. 42 ; returns to madame 
de Warens, i. 44; his tempera- 
ment, i. 45, 46 ; in training for the 
priesthood, but pronounced too stu- 
pid, i. 56 ; tries music, ib. ; shame- 
lessly abandons his companion, i. 57 ; 
goes to Frieburg, Neuchatel, and 
Paris, i. 58-60 ; conjectural chro- 
nology of his movements about this 
time, i. 61, n. ; love of vagabond life, 
i. 62-4 ; effect upon him of his inter- 
course with the poor, i. 66 ; becomes 
clerk to a land surveyor at Chamberi, 
i. 67 ; life there, i. 68-70 ; ill-health 
and retirement to Les Charmettes, 
i. 71 ; his latest recollection of 
this time, i. 73, 74 ; his ' form of 
worship,' i. 75 ; love of nature, i. 
75-9 ; notion of deity, i. 76 ; pecu- 
liar intellectual feebleness, i. 80 ; 
criticism on himself, i. 81 ; want of 
logic in his mental constitution, i. 
83 ; effect on him of Voltaire's 
' Letters on the English,' ib. ; self- 
training, i. 85 ; mistaken method of 
it, i. 86, 87 ; writes a comedy, i. 88 ; 
enjoyment of rural life at Les Char- 
mettes, i. 88, 89 ; robs madame de 
Warens, i. 90 ; leaves her, i. 91 ; 
discrepancy between dates of his let- 
ter and the 'Confessions,' i. 91 ; takes 
a tutorship at Lyons, i. 93; con- 
demns the practice of writing Latin, 
i. 94, n. ; resigns his tutorship, and 
goes to Paris, i. 95 ; reception there, 
i. 96-8; appointed secretary to 
French ambassador at Venice, i. 
98-100, 102 ; in quarantine at 
Genoa, i. 101 ; his estimate of 
French melody, i. 102 ; returns to 
Paris, i. 104 ; becomes acquainted 
with Theresa Le Vasseur, ib. ; his 
conduct criticised, i. 105-10 ; simple 
life, i. Ill ; letter to her, i. 114-16 ; 
his poverty, i. 117; becomes secretary 
to madame Dupin and her son-in- 
law, M. de Francueil, ib. ; sends his 
children to the foundling hospital, 
i. 118, 119; paltry excuses for the 
crime, i. 119-24 ; his pretended mar- 
riage under the name of Renou, i. 
127 ; his Discourses,' i. 130-92 
(see Discourses); writes essays for 
academy of Dijon, i. 131 ; origin 
of first essay, i. 131-4 ; his ' visions' 
for thirteen years, i. 136 ; evil effect 
upon himself of the first Discourse, 
ib. ; of it, the second Discourse, and 
the Social Contract upon Europe, ib. ; 



338 



INDEX. 



his own opinion of it, i. 137; in- 
fluence of Plato upon him, i. 144, 145 ; 
second Discourse,!. 153; his 'State 
of Nature,' i. 160 ; no evidence for 
it, i. 178; influence of Montesquieu 
on him, i. 189; inconsistency of his 
views, i. 192 ; influence of Geneva 
upon him, i. 194-6 ; his disgust at 
Parisian philosophers, i. 198, 199 ; 
the two sides of his character, i. 200 ; 
associates in Paris, ib. ; his income, 
i. 202, n. ; post of cashier, i. 203 ; 
throws it up, i. 204 ; determines to 
earn his living by copying music, 
i. 204 ; change of manners, i. 205, 
206 ; dislike of the manners of his 
time, i. 209 ; assumption of a seem- 
ing cynicism, i. 213; Grimm's re- 
buke of it, ib. ; Rousseau's protest 
against atheism, i. 214, 215 ; composes 
a musical interlude, the 'Village 
Soothsayer,' i. 218 ; his nervousness 
loses him the chance of a pension, i. 
219 ; his moral simplicity, i. 220-22 ; 
revisits Geneva, i. 222; re-conversion 
to Protestantism, i. 227 ; his friends 
at Geneva, i. 233 ; their effect upon 
him, i. 234 ; returns to Paris, ib. ; 
the Hermitage offered him by ma- 
dame d'Epinay, i. 236 (and ib. w.) ; 
retires to it against the protests of 
his friends, i. 238 ; his love of nature, 
i. 242, 244, 247 ; first days at the 
Hermitage, i. 243 ; rural delirium, 
i. 246 ; dislike of society, i. 248, 249 ; 
literary scheme, i. 249, 250 ; remarks 
on Saint Pierre, i. 253 ; violent 
mental crisis, i. 254 ; employs his 
illness in writing to Voltaire on Pro- 
vidence, i. 258 ; his intolerance of 
vice in others, i. 261 ; acquaintance 
with madame de Houdetot, i. 262-77 ; 
source of his irritability, i. 277-9 ; 
blind enthusiasm of his admirers, 
i. 279, also n. ib. ; quarrels with Di- 
derot, i. 280; Grimm's account of 
them, i. 282 ; quarrels with madame 
d'Epinay, i. 284, 295 ; relations with 
Grimm, i. 285 ; want of sympathy 
between the two, i. 288 ; declines to 
accompany madame d'Epinay to 
Geneva, i. 290 ; quarrels with Grimm, 
i. 291 ; leaves the Hermitage, i. 296; 
aims in music, i. 298 ; letter on 
French music, i. 300, 301 ; writes on 
music in the Encyclopaedia, i. 303 ; 
his Musical Dictionary, ib. ; scheme 
and principles of his now musical 
notation, ib. ; explained, i. 301, 30.) ; 



its practical value, i. 306 ; his mis- 
take, i. 306, 307 ; minor objections, 
i. 307 ; his temperament and ' Ge- 
nevan ' spirit, i. 309 ; compared with 
Voltaire, i. 310, 311; had a more 
spiritual element than Voltaire, i. 
312 ; its influence in France, i. 313 ; 
early relations with Voltaire, i. 314 ; 
letter to him on his poem on the 
earthquake at Lisbon, i. 318-20; 
reasons in a circle, i. 322, 323 ; 
continuation of argument against 
Voltaire, i. 323-6 ; curious notion 
about religion, i. 326 ; quarrels with 
Voltaire, i. 327 ; denounces him as a 
' trumpet of impiety,' ib. n. ; letter 
to D' Alembert on Stage Plays, i. 329, 
332 ; true answer to his theory, i. 
334 ; contrasts Paris and Geneva, i. 
337-9 ; his patriotism, i. 340 ; cen- 
sure of love as a poetic theme, i. 341 ; 
on Social Position of Women, i. 342 ; 
Voltaire and D'Alembert's criticism 
on his Letter on Stage Plays, i. 343 ; 
final break with Diderot, i. 344 ; an- 
tecedents of his highest creative 
efforts, ii. 1 ; friends at Montmorency, 
ii. 2 ; reads the New Helo'isa to the 
marechale de Luxembourg, ii. 3 ; 
unwillingness to receive gifts, ii. 5 ; 
his relations with the duke and 
duchess de Luxembourg, ii. 6 ; 
misunderstands the friendliness of 
madame de Boufflers, ii. 7 ; calm life 
at Montmorency, ii. 8 ; literary jea- 
lousy, ib. ; last of his peaceful days, 
ii. 9 ; advice to a young man against 
the contemplative life, ii. 10 ; of- 
fensive form of his 'good HMB* 
concerning persecution of protestants, 
ii. 11, 12 ; cause of his unwillingness 
to receive gifts, ii. 13, 14; owns 
his ungrateful nature, ii. 14 ; ill- 
humoured banter, ii. 15 ; his con- 
stant bodily suffering, ii. 16 ; thinks 
of suicide, ib. ; correspondence with 
the readers of the New Helo'isa, ii. 
17-19; the New Helo'isa, criticism 
on, ii. 20-53 (see New Heloisa) ; 
his publishing difficulties, ii. 56, 
58, 59 ; no taste for martyrdom, 
ii. 57 ; curious discussion between, 
and Malesherbes, ii. 59 ; indebted 
to Malesherbes in the publication 
of ' Emilius,' ii. 60, 61 ; sus- 
pects Jesuits, jansenists, and philo- 
sophers of plotting to crush the 
book, ii. 61, 62; himself count od 
nmong the latter, ii. 63 ; ' Emilius ' 



INDEX. 



339 



ordered to be burnt by public exe- 
cutioner, on the charge of irreligious 
tendency, and its author to be ar- 
rested, ii. 64 ; his flight, ii. 66 ; lite- 
rary composition on the journey to 
Switzerland, ii. 67 ; contrast between 
him and Voltaire, ii. 68 ; explanation 
of his ' natural ingratitude,' ii. 69 ; 
reaches the canton of Berne, and 
ordered to quit it, ii. 70, 71 ; * Emi- 
lius' and 'Social Contract' con- 
demned to be publicly burnt at Ge- 
neva, and author arrested if he came 
there, ii. 70 ; takes refuge at Motiers, 
in dominions of Frederick of Prus- 
sia, ii. 71 ; characteristic letters to 
the king, ii. 72, 74 ; declines pecu- 
niary help from him, ii. 73; his 
home and habits at Motiers, ii. 75-8 ; 
Voltaire supposed to have stirred up 
animosity against him at Geneva, ii. 
78 ; archbishop of Paris writes 
against him, ii. 80 ; his reply, and 
character as a controversialist, ii. 
80-7 ; life at Val de Travers (Mo- 
tiers), ii. 89-92 ; his generosity, ii. 
91 ; corresponds with the prince of 
Wiirtemberg on the education of the 
prince's daughter, ii. 92, 93 ; on 
Gibbon, ii. 94 ; visit from Boswell, 
ii. 95 ; invited to legislate for Cor- 
sica, ii. 96, 97 ; urges Boswell to go 
there, ii. 97 ; denounces its sale by 
the Genoese, ii. 99; renounces his 
citizenship of Geneva, ii. 100 ; his 

* Letters from the Mountain,' ii. 
100-3 ; the letters condemned to be 
burnt at Paris and the Hague, ii. 
104 ; libel upon, ib. ; religious diffi- 
culties with his pastor, ii. 105 ; ill- 
treatment of, in parish, ii. 106 ; 
obliged to leave it, ii. 107 ; his next 
retreat, ib. ; account in the Reveries 
of his short stay there, ii. 108-13 ; 
expelled by government of Berne, ii. 
114; makes an extraordinary re- 
quest to it, ii. 114, 115; difficulties 
in finding a home, ii. 115 ; short 
stay at Strasburg, ib. n. ; decides on 
going to England, ii. 116; his 'So- 
cial Contract,' and criticism on, 
ii. 117-91 (see Social Contract) ; 
scanty acquaintance with history, ii. 
126 ; its effects on his political writ- 
ings, ii. 127-33 ; his object in writing 

* Emilius,' ii. 193 ; his confession of 
faith, under the character of the 
Savoyard Vicar (see Emilius), ii. 
253-281 ; excitement caused by his 



appearance in Paris in 1765, ii. 283 ; 
leaves for England in company with 
Hume, ii. 284 ; reception in London, 
ii. 284, 285 ; George III. gives him 
a pension, ii. 285 ; his love for his 
dog, ii. 286 ; finds a home at Woot- 
ton, ii. 287 ; quarrels with Hume, ii. 
288 ; particulars in connection with 
it, ii. 289-296 ; his approaching in- 
sanity at this period, ii. 297 ; the 
preparatory conditions of it, ii. 
298-301 ; begins writing the Confes- 
sions, ii. 301 ; their character, ii. 
302-4 ; life at Wootton, ii. 305-6 ; 
sudden flight thence, ii. 306 ; kind- 
ness of Mr. Davenport, ii. 306, 307 ; 
his delusion, ii. 307, 308 ; returns 
to France, ii. 308 ; received at 
Fleury by the elder Mirabeau, ii. 
310 ; the prince of Conti next re- 
ceives him at Trye, ii. 312 ; com- 
poses the second part of the Con- 
fessions here, ib. ; delusion returns, 
ii. 312, 313 ; leaves Trye, and 
wanders about the country, ib. ; 
estrangement from Theresa, ii. 
313 ; goes to Paris, ii. 314 ; writes 
his Dialogues there, ib. ; again earns 
his living by copying music, ii. 315 ; 
daily life in, ii. 315, 316 ; Bernardin 
St. Pierre's account of him, ii. 
317-21 ; his veneration for Fenelon, 
ii. 320 ; his unsociality, ii. 322 ; 
checks a detractor of Voltaire, ii. 
323 ; draws up his Considerations on 
the Government of Poland, ii. 324 ; 
estimate of the Spanish, ib. ; his 
poverty, ii. 324, 325 ; accepts a home 
at Ermenonville from M. Girardin, 
ii. 325 ; his painful condition, ib. ; 
sudden death, ib. ; cause of it un- 
known, ii. 326 (see also n. ib.) ; his 
interment, ib. ; finally removed to 
Paris, ii. 327. 



Saint Beuve on Rousseau and madame 
d'Epinay, i. 285, n. ; on Rousseau, 
ii. 39. 

Saint Germain, M. de, Rousseau's let- 
ter to, i. 121. 

Saint Just, ii. 130, 131 ; his political 
regulations, ii. 131, n. ; base of his 
system, ii. 133 ; against the atheists, 
ii. 174, 175. 

Saint Lambert, i. 251 ; offers Rousseau 
a home in Lorraine, ii. 115. 

Saint Pierre, abbe de, Rousseau ar- 
ranges papers of, i. 251 ; his views 



340 



INDEX. 



concerning reason, ib. ; boldness of 
his observations, i. 252. 

Saint Pierre, Bernardin de, account of 
hia visit to Rousseau at Paris, ii. 
317-21. 

Sand, madarae G., i. 97, n. ; Savoy land- 
scape, i. 78, ??.; ancestry of, i. 118, w. 

Savages, code of morals of, i. 184, w. 

Savage state, advantages of, Rousseau's 
letter to Voltaire, i. 319. 

Savoy, priests of, proselytisers, i. 31, 
(also n. ib.). 

Savoyard Vicar, the, origin of character 
of, i. 56 ; ii. 254-281 (see Emilius). 

Schiller on Rousseau, ii. 188 (also n. 
ib.) ; Rousseau's influence on, ii. 315. 

Servetus, ii. 175. 

Simplification, the revolutionary pro- 
cess and ideal of, i. 5 ; in reference 
to Rousseau's music, i. 298. 

Social conscience, theory and defini- 
tion of, ii. 232 ; the great agent in 
fostering, ii. 234. 

Social Contract, the, ill effect of on 
Europe, i. 136 ; beginning of its 
composition, i. 183 ; ideas of, i. 194 ; 
its harmful dreams, i. 253 ; influence 
of, ii. 1 ; price of, and difficulties in 
publishing, ii. 58 ; ordered to be 
burnt at Geneva, ii. 70, 101 ; detailed 
criticism of, ii. 117-91 ; Rousseau 
diametrically opposed to the domi- 
nant belief of his day in human 
perfectibility, ii. 117, 118; object of 
the work, ii. 119; main position of 
the two Discourses given up in it, 
ib. ; influenced by Locke, ib. ; its 
uncritical, illogical principles, ii. 
122, 123 ; its impracticableness, 
ii. 126 ; nature of his illustrations, 
ii. 127-9 ; the * gospel of the Jaco- 
bins,' ii. 130, 131 ; the desperate 
absurdity of its assumptions gave it 
power in the circumstances of the 
times, ii. 134-8 ; some of its maxims 
very convenient for ruling Jacobins, 
ii. 139 ; its central conception, the 
sovereignty of peoples, ii. 141 ; 
Rousseau not its inventor, ii. 141-3 ; 
this to be distinguished from doctrine 
of right of subjects to depose princes, 
ii. 143 ; Social Contract idea of 
government, probably derived from 
Locke, ii. 147; falseness of it, ii. 
150 ; origin of society, ib. ; ill effects 
on Rousseau's political speculation, 
ii. 152 ; what constitutes the sove- 
reignty, ii. 154 ; Rousseau's Social 
Contract different from that of 



Hobbes, ii, 155 ; Locke's indefinite- 
ness on, ii. 156 ; attributes of sove- 
reignty, ii. 158 ; confederation, ii. 
161, 162 ; his distinction between 
tyrant and despot, ii. 166, n. ; distin- 
guishes constitution of the state from 
that of the government, ii. 167 ; 
scheme of an elective aristocracy, ii. 
168 ; similarity to the English form 
of government, ii. 169; the state in 
respect to religion, ib. ; habitually 
illogical form of his statements, ii. 
170; duty of sovereign to establish 
civil profession of faith, ii. 171 ; in- 
fringement of it to be punished, even 
by death, ii. 172 ; Rousseau's ' Hobb- 
ism," ii. 173 ; denial of his social 
compact theory, ii. 179, 180 ; futility 
of his disquisitions on, ii. 182, 183 ; 
his declaration of general duty of 
rebellion (arising out of the universal 
breach of social compact) considered, 
ii. 184 ; it makes government impos- 
sible, ib. ; he urges that usurped au- 
thority is another valid reason for 
rebellion, ii. 186 ; practical evils of 
this, ii. 187 ; historical effect of the 
Social Contract, ii. 188-90. 

Social quietism of some parts of New 
Heloisa, ii. 49. 

Socialism : Morelly, and de Mably, ii. 
60 ; what it is, ii. 157. 

Socialistic theory of Morelly, i. 158-60 
(also 160, .). 

Society, D'Alembert and Condorcet 
on, i. 155 ; Aristotle on, i. 180 ; 
D'Alembert's statements on, i. 180, 
n. ; Parisian, Rousseau on, i. 216 ; 
dislike of, i. 249 ; Rousseau's origin 
of, ii. 150 ; true grounds of, ii. 152, 
153. 

Socrates, i. 129, 140, 239; ii. 70, 272. 

Solitude, eighteenth century notions of, 
i. 238, 239. 

Solon, ii. 130. 

Sorbonne, the, condemns * Emilius,' ii. 
80. 

Spectator, the, Rousseau's liking for, 
i. 84. 

Spinoza, dangerous speculations of, i. 
142. 

Stael, madame de, i. 224, n. 

Stage players, how treated in France, 
i. 330. 

Stage plays (see Plays). 

' State of "Nature,' Rousseau's, i. 160, 
161 ; Hobbes on, i. 165 (see Nature). 

Suicide, Rousseau on, ii. 16 ; a mistake 
to pronounce him incapable of, ii. 1 7. 



INDEX. 



54' 



Switzerland, i. 338. 

Tacitus, i. 184. 

Theatre,. Rousseau's letter, objecting to 
the, i. 332 ; his error in the matter, 
i. 333. 

Theology, metaphysical, Descartes' in- 
fluence on, i. 232. 

Theresa (see Le Vasseur). 

Thought, school of, division "between 
rationalists and emotionalists, i. 344. 

Tonic Sol-fa notation, close correspond- 
ence of the, to Rousseau's system, i. 
305. 

Tronchin on Voltaire, i. 327, n., 328. 

Turgot, i. 87; his discourses at the 
Sorbonne in 1750, i. 154 ; the one 
* sane eminent Frenchman of eight- 
eenth century,' i. 208 ; his unselfish 
toil, i. 240 ; mentioned, ii. 189, 244, 
294. 

Turin, Rousseau at, i. 34-41 ; leaves it, 
i. 43 ; tries to learn Latin at, i. 80. 

Turretini and other rationalizers, i. 
232, 233 ; his works, ib. M. 

Universe, constitution of, discussion 
on, i. 318-26. 

Vagabond life, Rousseau's love of, i. 
62-4. 

Val de Travers, ii. 75 ; Rousseau's life 
in, ii. 89-92. 

Vasseur, Theresa Le, Rousseau's first 
acquaintance with, i. 104, 105, also 
n. ib. ; their life together, i. 108-10 ; 
well befriended, ii. 77, n. ; her evil 
character, ii. 325. 

Vauvenargues on 'emotional instinct,' 
ii. 33. 

Venice, Rousseau at, i. 98, 99, 103. 

Vercellis, madame de, Rousseau servant 
to, i. 38. 

Verdelin, madame de, her kindness to 
Theresa, ii. 77, . ; to Rousseau, ii. 
116, n. 

'Village Soothsayer, the' (Devin du 
Village] ,composed at Passy,perf ormed 
at Fontainebleau and Paris, i. 218 ; 
marked a revolution in French music, 
i. 298. 

Voltaire, i. 3, 19, 62 ; effect on Rous- 
seau of his Letters on the English, 
i. 83 ; spreads a derogatory report 
about Rousseau, i. 99, n. ; his 
' Princesse de Navarre,' i. 117; cri- 
ticism on Rousseau's first Discourse, 
i. 148 ; effect on his work of his 
common sense, i. 157 ; avoids the 



society of Paris, i. 208 ; his conver- 
sion to Romanism, i. 228 ; strictures 
on Homer and Shakspeare, i. 286 ; 
his position in the eighteenth cen- 
tury, i. 308 ; general difference be- 
tween, and Rousseau, i. 309 ; clung 
to the rationalistic school of his day, 
i. 312; on Rousseau's second Dis- 
course, i. 314 ; his poem on the earth- 
quake of Lisbon, i. 315, 316 ; his 
sympathy with suffering, i. 317, 318 ; 
entreated by Rousseau to draw up a 
civil profession of religious faith, i. 
326 ; denounced by Rousseau as a 
' trumpet of impiety,' i. 327, n. ; his 
satire and mockery irritated Rousseau, 
i. 328 ; what he was to his contempo- 
raries, i. 329 ; the great play -writer 
of the time, i. 330 ; his criticism of 
Rousseau's Letter on the Theatre, 
i. 343 ; his indignation at wrong, 
ii. 12 ; ridicule of the New Heloisa, ii. 
34, 35 ; less courageous than Rousseau, 
ii. 64 ; contrast between the two, ii. 
68, 73 ; supposed to have stirred up 
animosity at Geneva against Rous- 
seau, ii. 78 ; denies it, ii. 79 ; his 
notion of how the matter would end, 
ib. ; his fickleness, ii. 80 ; on Rous- 
seau's connection with Corsica, ii. 
98 ; his Philosophical Dictionary 
burnt by order at Paris, ii. 104 ; his 
opinion of ' Emilius,' ii. 253 ; prime 
agent in introducing English deism 
into France, ii. 260 ; suspected by 
Rousseau of having written the pre- 
tended letter from the King of Prus- 
sia, ii. 289 ; last visit to Paris, ii. 
323. 

Walking, Rousseau's love of, i. 62, 63. 

Walpole, Horace, writer of the pre- 
tended letter from the King of Prus- 
sia, ii. 289, n. ; advises Hume not to 
publish his account of Rousseau's 
quarrel with him, ii. 295. 

War arising out of the succession to 
the crown of Poland, i. 70. 

Warens, madame de, Rousseau's intro- 
duction to, i. 33 ; her personal appear- 
ance, ib. ; receives Rousseau into her 
house, i. 43 ; her ear^y life, i. 48, 49 ; 
character of, i. 50, 51, 53 ; goes to 
Paris, i. 58 ; receives Rousseau at 
Chamberi, and gets him employ- 
ment, i. 67 ; her household ; i. 68, 
69 ; removes to Les Charmettes, i. 
71 ; cultivates Rousseau's taste for 
letters, i. 84 ; Saint Louis, her patron 



342 



INDEX. 



saint, i. 88 ; robbed by Rousseau, i. 

90 ; declines to receive him again, i. 

91 ; revisited by Rousseau in 1754, 

i. 223 ; her death in poverty and 

wretchedness, i. 225, 226 (also n. 

226. 

Wesleyanism, ii. 256. 
Women, Condorcet on social position 

of, i. 342 ; d' Alembert and Condorcet 

on, i. 342, 343. 



Wootton, Rousseau's home at, ii. 287. 

World, divine government of, Rous- 
seau vindicates, i. 318. 

Wiirtemberg, correspondence between 
prince of, and Rousseau, on the 
education of the little princess, ii. 
92, 93 ; becomes reigning duke, ii. 
92, n. ; seeks (in vain) permission for 
Rousseau to live in Vienna, ii. 115. 



THE EM). 



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