By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: A Philosophical Dictionary, Volume 7
Author: Voltaire, 1694-1778
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Philosophical Dictionary, Volume 7" ***

at http://www.freeliterature.org (From images generously








  With Notes by Tobias Smollett, Revised and Modernized
     New Translations by William F. Fleming, and an
           Introduction by Oliver H.G. Leigh





  One hundred and sixty-eight designs, comprising reproductions
      of rare old engravings, steel plates, photogravures,
                    and curious fac-similes






    _ "Between two servants of Humanity, who appeared eighteen hundred
     years apart, there is a mysterious relation. * * * * Let us say it
     with a sentiment of profound respect: JESUS WEPT: VOLTAIRE SMILED.
     Of that divine tear and of that human smile is composed the
     sweetness of the present civilization."_

                                                    _VICTOR HUGO_.


  OLD ROUEN--frontispiece

[Illustration: Old Rouen.]

       *       *       *       *       *






       *       *       *       *       *


The history of Joseph, considering it merely as an object of curiosity
and literature, is one of the most precious monuments of antiquity which
has reached us. It appears to be the model of all the Oriental writers;
it is more affecting than the "Odyssey"; for a hero who pardons is more
touching than one who avenges.

We regard the Arabs as the first authors of these ingenious fictions,
which have passed into all languages; but I see among them no adventures
comparable to those of Joseph. Almost all in it is wonderful, and the
termination exacts tears of tenderness. He was a young man of sixteen
years of age, of whom his brothers were jealous; he is sold by them to a
caravan of Ishmaelite merchants, conducted into Egypt, and bought by a
eunuch of the king. This eunuch had a wife, which is not at all
extraordinary; the kislar aga, a perfect eunuch, has a seraglio at this
day at Constantinople; they left him some of his senses, and nature in
consequence is not altogether extinguished. No matter; the wife of
Potiphar falls in love with the young Joseph, who, faithful to his
master and benefactor, rejects the advances of this woman. She is
irritated at it, and accuses Joseph of attempting to seduce her. Such is
the history of Hippolytus and Phædra, of Bellerophon and Zenobia, of
Hebrus and Damasippa, of Myrtilus and Hippodamia, etc.

It is difficult to know which is the original of all these histories;
but among the ancient Arabian authors there is a tract relating to the
adventure of Joseph and Potiphar's wife, which is very ingenious. The
author supposes that Potiphar, uncertain between the assertions of his
wife and Joseph, regarded not Joseph's tunic, which his wife had torn as
a proof of the young man's outrage. There was a child in a cradle in his
wife's chamber; and Joseph said that she seized and tore his tunic in
the presence of this infant. Potiphar consulted the child, whose mind
was very advanced for its age. The child said to Potiphar: "See if the
tunic is torn behind or before; if before, it is a proof that Joseph
would embrace your wife by force, and that she defended herself; if
behind, it is a proof that your wife detained Joseph." Potiphar, thanks
to the genius of the child, recognized the innocence of his slave. It is
thus that this adventure is related in the Koran, after the Arabian
author. It informs us not to whom the infant belonged, who judged with
so much wit. If it was not a son of Potiphar, Joseph was not the first
whom this woman had seduced.

However that may be, according to Genesis, Joseph is put in prison,
where he finds himself in company with the butler and baker of the king
of Egypt. These two prisoners of state both dreamed one night. Joseph
explains their dreams; he predicted that in three days the butler would
be received again into favor, and that the baker would be hanged; which
failed not to happen.

Two years afterwards the king of Egypt also dreams, and his butler tells
him that there is a young Jew in prison who is the first man in the
world for the interpretation of dreams. The king causes the young man to
be brought to him, who foretells seven years of abundance and seven of

Let us here interrupt the thread of the history to remark, of what
prodigious antiquity is the interpretation of dreams. Jacob saw in a
dream the mysterious ladder at the top of which was God Himself. In a
dream he learned a method of multiplying his flocks, a method which
never succeeded with any but himself. Joseph himself had learned by a
dream that he should one day govern his brethren. Abimelech, a long time
before, had been warned in a dream, that Sarah was the wife of Abraham.

To return to Joseph: after explaining the dream of Pharaoh, he was made
first minister on the spot. We doubt if at present a king could be
found, even in Asia, who would bestow such an office in return for an
interpreted dream. Pharaoh espoused Joseph to a daughter of Potiphar. It
is said that this Potiphar was high-priest of Heliopolis; he was not
therefore the eunuch, his first master; or if it was the latter, he had
another title besides that of high-priest; and his wife had been a
mother more than once.

However, the famine happened, as Joseph had foretold; and Joseph, to
merit the good graces of his king, forced all the people to sell their
land to Pharaoh, and all the nation became slaves to procure corn. This
is apparently the origin of despotic power. It must be confessed, that
never king made a better bargain; but the people also should no less
bless the prime minister.

Finally, the father and brothers of Joseph had also need of corn, for
"the famine was sore in all lands." It is scarcely necessary to relate
here how Joseph received his brethren; how he pardoned and enriched
them. In this history is found all that constitutes an interesting epic
poem--exposition, plot, recognition, adventures, and the marvellous;
nothing is more strongly marked with the stamp of Oriental genius.

What the good man Jacob, the father of Joseph, answered to Pharaoh,
ought to strike all those who know how to read. "How old art thou?" said
the king to him. "The days of the years of my pilgrimage," said the old
man, "are an hundred and thirty years; few and evil have the days of the
years of my life been."


I never was in Judæa, thank God! and I never will go there. I have met
with men of all nations who have returned from it, and they have all of
them told me that the situation of Jerusalem is horrible; that all the
land round it is stony; that the mountains are bare; that the famous
river Jordan is not more than forty feet wide; that the only good spot
in the country is Jericho; in short, they all spoke of it as St. Jerome
did, who resided a long time in Bethlehem, and describes the country as
the refuse and rubbish of nature. He says that in summer the inhabitants
cannot get even water to drink. This country, however, must have
appeared to the Jews luxuriant and delightful, in comparison with the
deserts in which they originated. Were the wretched inhabitants of the
Landes to quit them for some of the mountains of Lampourdan, how would
they exult and delight in the change; and how would they hope eventually
to penetrate into the fine and fruitful districts of Languedoc, which
would be to them the land of promise!

Such is precisely the history of the Jews. Jericho and Jerusalem are
Toulouse and Montpellier, and the desert of Sinai is the country between
Bordeaux and Bayonne.

But if the God who conducted the Israelites wished to bestow upon them a
pleasant and fruitful land; if these wretched people had in fact dwelt
in Egypt, why did he not permit them to remain in Egypt? To this we are
answered only in the usual language of theology.

Judæa, it is said, was the promised land. God said to Abraham: "I will
give thee all the country between the river of Egypt and the Euphrates."

Alas! my friends, you never have had possession of those fertile banks
of the Euphrates and the Nile. You have only been duped and made fools
of. You have almost always been slaves. To promise and to perform, my
poor unfortunate fellows, are different things. There was an old rabbi
once among you, who, when reading your shrewd and sagacious prophecies,
announcing for you a land of milk and honey, remarked that you had been
promised more butter than bread. Be assured that were the great Turk
this very day to offer me the lordship (seigneurie) of Jerusalem, I
would positively decline it.

Frederick III., when he saw this detestable country, said, loudly enough
to be distinctly heard, that Moses must have been very ill-advised to
conduct his tribe of lepers to such a place as that. "Why," says
Frederick, did he not go to Naples? Adieu, my dear Jews; I am extremely
sorry that the promised land is the lost land.

                           By the Baron de Broukans.



Justice is often done at last. Two or three authors, either venal or
fanatical, eulogize the cruel and effeminate Constantine as if he had
been a god, and treat as an absolute miscreant the just, the wise, and
the great Julian. All other authors, copying from these, repeat both the
flattery and the calumny. They become almost an article of faith. At
length the age of sound criticism arrives; and at the end of fourteen
hundred years, enlightened men revise the cause which had been decided
by ignorance. In Constantine we see a man of successful ambition,
internally scoffing at things divine as well as human. He has the
insolence to pretend that God sent him a standard in the air to assure
him of victory. He imbrues himself in the blood of all his relations,
and is lulled to sleep in all the effeminacy of luxury; but he is a
Christian--he is canonized.

Julian is sober, chaste, disinterested, brave, and clement; but he is
not a Christian--he has long been considered a monster.

At the present day--after having compared facts, memorials and records,
the writings of Julian and those of his enemies--we are compelled to
acknowledge that, if he was not partial to Christianity, he was somewhat
excusable in hating a sect stained with the blood of all his family; and
that although he had been persecuted, imprisoned, exiled, and threatened
with death by the Galileans, under the reign of the cruel and sanguinary
Constantius, he never persecuted them, but on the contrary even pardoned
ten Christian soldiers who had conspired against his life. His letters
are read and admired: "The Galileans," says he, "under my predecessor,
suffered exile and imprisonment; and those who, according to the change
of circumstances, were called heretics, were reciprocally massacred in
their turn. I have called home their exiles, I have liberated their
prisoners, I have restored their property to those who were proscribed,
and have compelled them to live in peace; but such is the restless rage
of these Galileans that they deplore their inability any longer to
devour one another." What a letter! What a sentence, dictated by
philosophy, against persecuting fanaticism. Ten Christians conspiring
against his life, he detects and he pardons them. How extraordinary a
man! What dastardly fanatics must those be who attempt to throw disgrace
on his memory!

In short, on investigating facts with impartiality, we are obliged to
admit that Julian possessed all the qualities of Trajan, with the
exception of that depraved taste too long pardoned to the Greeks and
Romans; all the virtues of Cato, without either his obstinacy or
ill-humor; everything that deserves admiration in Julius Cæsar, and none
of his vices. He possessed the continence of Scipio. Finally, he was in
all respects equal to Marcus Aurelius, who was reputed the first of men.

There are none who will now venture to repeat, after that slanderer
Theodoret, that, in order to propitiate the gods, he sacrificed a woman
in the temple of Carres; none who will repeat any longer the story of
the death scene in which he is represented as throwing drops of blood
from his hand towards heaven, calling out to Jesus Christ: "Galilean,
thou hast conquered"; as if he had fought against Jesus in making war
upon the Persians; as if this philosopher, who died with such perfect
resignation, had with alarm and despair recognized Jesus; as if he had
believed that Jesus was in the air, and that the air was heaven! These
ridiculous absurdities of men, denominated fathers of the Church, are
happily no longer current and respected.

Still, however, the effect of ridicule was, it seems, to be tried
against him, as it was by the light and giddy citizens of Antioch. He is
reproached for his ill-combed beard and the manner of his walk. But you,
Mr. Abbé de la Bletterie, never saw him walk; you have, however, read
his letters and his laws, the monuments of his virtues. Of what
consequence was it, comparatively, that he had a slovenly beard and an
abrupt, headlong walk, while his heart was full of magnanimity and all
his steps tended to virtue!

One important fact remains to be examined at the present day. Julian is
reproached with attempting to falsify the prophecy of Jesus Christ, by
rebuilding the temple of Jerusalem. Fires, it is asserted, came out of
the earth and prevented the continuance of the work. It is said that
this was a miracle, and that this miracle did not convert Julian, nor
Alypius, the superintendent of the enterprise, nor any individual of the
imperial court; and upon this subject the Abbé de la Bletterie thus
expresses himself: "The emperor and the philosophers of his court
undoubtedly employed all their knowledge of natural philosophy to
deprive the Deity of the honor of so striking and impressive a prodigy.
Nature was always the favorite resource of unbelievers; but she serves
the cause of religion so very seasonably, that they might surely suspect
some collusion between them."

1. It is not true that it is said in the Gospel, that the Jewish temple
should not be rebuilt. The gospel of Matthew, which was evidently
written after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, prophesies,
certainly, that not one stone should remain upon another of the temple
of the Idumæan Herod; but no evangelist says that it shall never be
rebuilt. It is perfectly false that not one stone remained upon another
when Titus demolished it. All its foundations remained together, with
one entire wall and the tower Antonia.

2. Of what consequence could it be to the Supreme Being whether there
was a Jewish temple, a magazine, or a mosque, on the spot where the Jews
were in the habit of slaughtering bullocks and cows?

3. It is not ascertained whether it was from within the circuit of the
walls of the city, or from within that of the temple, that those fires
proceeded which burned the workmen. But it is not very obvious why the
Jews should burn the workmen of the emperor Julian, and not those of the
caliph Omar, who long afterwards built a mosque upon the ruins of the
temple; or those of the great Saladin who rebuilt the same mosque. Had
Jesus any particular predilection for the mosques of the Mussulmans?

4. Jesus, notwithstanding his having predicted that there would not
remain one stone upon another in Jerusalem, did not prevent the
rebuilding of that city.

5. Jesus predicted many things which God permitted never to come to
pass. He predicted the end of the world, and his coming in the clouds
with great power and majesty, before or about the end of the then
existing generation. The world, however, has lasted to the present
moment, and in all probability will last much longer.

6. If Julian had written an account of this miracle, I should say that
he had been imposed upon by a false and ridiculous report; I should
think that the Christians, his enemies, employed every artifice to
oppose his enterprise, that they themselves killed the workmen, and
excited and promoted the belief of their being destroyed by a miracle;
but Julian does not say a single word on the subject. The war against
the Persians at that time fully occupied his attention; he put off the
rebuilding of the temple to some other time, and he died before he was
able to commence the building.

7. This prodigy is related by Ammianus Marcellinus, who was a Pagan. It
is very possible that it may have been an interpolation of the
Christians. They have been charged with committing numberless others
which have been clearly proved.

But it is not the less probable that at a time when nothing was spoken
of but prodigies and stories of witchcraft, Ammianus Marcellinus may
have reported this fable on the faith of some credulous narrator. From
Titus Livius to de Thou, inclusively, all historians have been infected
with prodigies.

8. Contemporary authors relate that at the same period there was in
Syria a great convulsion of the earth, which in many places broke out in
conflagrations and swallowed up many cities. There was therefore more

9. If Jesus performed miracles, would it be in order to prevent the
rebuilding of a temple in which he had himself sacrificed, and in which
he was circumcised? Or would he not rather perform miracles to convert
to Christianity the various nations who at present ridicule it? Or
rather still, to render more humane, more kind, Christians themselves,
who, from Arius and Athanasius down to Roland and the Paladins of the
Cévennes, have shed torrents of human blood, and conducted themselves
nearly as might be expected from cannibals?

Hence I conclude that "nature" is not in "collusion", as La Bletterie
expresses it, with Christianity, but that La Bletterie is in collusion
with some old women's stories, one of those persons, as Julian phrases
it, "quibus cum stolidis aniculis negotium erat."

La Bletterie, after having done justice to some of Julian's virtues, yet
concludes the history of that great man by observing, that his death was
the effect of "divine vengeance". If that be the case, all the heroes
who have died young, from Alexander to Gustavus Adolphus, have, we must
infer, been punished by God. Julian died the noblest of deaths, in the
pursuit of his enemies, after many victories. Jovian, who succeeded him,
reigned a much shorter time than he did, and reigned in disgrace. I see
no divine vengeance in the matter; and I see in La Bletterie himself
nothing more than a disingenuous, dishonest declaimer. But where are the
men to be found who will dare to speak out?

Libanius the Stoic was one of these extraordinary men. He celebrated the
brave and clement Julian in the presence of Theodosius, the wholesale
murderer of the Thessalonians; but Le Beau and La Bletterie fear to
praise him in the hearing of their own puny parish officers.


Let any one suppose for a moment that Julian had abandoned false gods
for Christianity; then examine him as a man, a philosopher, and an
emperor; and let the examiner then point out the man whom he will
venture to prefer to him. If he had lived only ten years longer, there
is great probability that he would have given a different form to Europe
from that which it bears at present.

The Christian religion depended upon his life; the efforts which he made
for its destruction rendered his name execrable to the nations who have
embraced it. The Christian priests, who were his contemporaries, accuse
him of almost every crime, because he had committed what in their eyes
was the greatest of all--he had lowered and humiliated them. It is not
long since his name was never quoted without the epithet of apostate
attached to it; and it is perhaps one of the greatest achievements of
reason that he has at length ceased to be mentioned under so opprobrious
a designation. Who would imagine that in one of the "Mercuries of
Paris", for the year 1745, the author sharply rebukes a certain writer
for failing in the common courtesies of life, by calling this emperor
Julian "the apostate"? Not more than a hundred years ago the man that
would not have treated him as an apostate would himself have been
treated as an atheist.

What is very singular, and at the same time perfectly true, is that if
you put out of consideration the various disputes between Pagans and
Christians, in which this emperor was engaged; if you follow him neither
to the Christian churches nor idolatrous temples, but observe him
attentively in his own household, in camp, in battle, in his manners,
his conduct, and his writings, you will find him in every respect equal
to Marcus Aurelius.

Thus, the man who has been described as so abominable and execrable, is
perhaps the first, or at least the second of mankind. Always sober,
always temperate, indulging in no licentious pleasures, sleeping on a
mere bear's skin, devoting only a few hours, and even those with regret,
to sleep; dividing his time between study and business, generous,
susceptible of friendship, and an enemy to all pomp, and pride, and
ostentation. Had he been merely a private individual he must have
extorted universal admiration.

If we consider him in his military character, we see him constantly at
the head of his troops, establishing or restoring discipline without
rigor, beloved by his soldiers and at the same time restraining their
excesses, conducting his armies almost always on foot, and showing them
an example of enduring every species of hardship, ever victorious in all
his expeditions even to the last moments of his life, and at length
dying at the glorious crisis when the Persians were routed. His death
was that of a hero, and his last words were those of a philosopher: "I
submit," says he, "willingly to the eternal decrees of heaven, convinced
that he who is captivated with life, when his last hour is arrived, is
more weak and pusillanimous than he who would rush to voluntary death
when it is his duty still to live." He converses to the last moment on
the immortality of the soul; manifests no regrets, shows no weakness,
and speaks only of his submission to the decrees of Providence. Let it
be remembered that this is the death of an emperor at the age of
thirty-two, and let it be then decided whether his memory should be

As an emperor, we see him refusing the title of "Dominus," which
Constantine affected; relieving his people from difficulties,
diminishing taxes, encouraging the arts; reducing to the moderate amount
of seventy ounces each those presents in crowns of gold, which had
before been exacted from every city to the amount of three or four
hundred marks; promoting the strict and general observance of the laws;
restraining both his officers and ministers from oppression, and
preventing as much as possible all corruption.

Ten Christian soldiers conspire to assassinate him; they are discovered,
and Julian pardons them. The people of Antioch, who united insolence to
voluptuousness, offer him an insult; he revenges himself only like a man
of sense; and while he might have made them feel the weight of imperial
power, he merely makes them feel the superiority of his mind. Compare
with this conduct the executions which Theodosius (who was very near
being made a saint) exhibited in Antioch, and the ever dreadful and
memorable slaughter of all the inhabitants of Thessalonica, for an
offence of a somewhat similar description; and then decide between these
two celebrated characters.

Certain writers, called fathers of the Church--Gregory of Nazianzen, and
Theodoret--thought it incumbent on them to calumniate him, because he
had abandoned the Christian religion. They did not consider that it was
the triumph of that religion to prevail over so great a man, and even
over a sage, after having resisted tyrants. One of them says that he
took a barbarous vengeance on Antioch and filled it with blood. How
could a fact so public and atrocious escape the knowledge of all other
historians? It is perfectly known that he shed no blood at Antioch but
that of the victims sacrificed in the regular services of religion.
Another ventures to assert that before his death he threw some of his
own blood towards heaven, and exclaimed, "Galilean, thou hast
conquered." How could a tale so insipid and so improbable, even for a
moment obtain credit? Was it against the Christians that he was then
combating? and is such an act, are such expressions, in the slightest
degree characteristic of the man?

Minds of a somewhat superior order to those of Julian's detractors may
perhaps inquire, how it could occur that a statesman like him, a man of
so much intellect, a genuine philosopher, could quit the Christian
religion, in which he was educated, for Paganism, of which, it is almost
impossible not to suppose, he must have felt the folly and ridicule. It
might be inferred that if Julian yielded too much to the suggestions of
his reason against the mysteries of the Christian religion, he ought, at
least in all consistency, to have yielded more readily to the dictates
of the same reason, when more correctly and decidedly condemning the
fables of Paganism.

Perhaps, by attending a little to the progress of his life, and the
nature of his character, we may discover what it was that inspired him
with so strong an aversion to Christianity. The emperor Constantine, his
great-uncle, who had placed the new religion on the throne, was stained
by the murder of his wife, his son, his brother-in­law, his nephew, and
his father-in-law. The three children of Constantine began their bloody
and baleful reign, with murdering their uncle and their cousins. From
that time followed a series of civil wars and murders. The father, the
brother, and all the relations of Julian, and even Julian himself, were
marked down for destruction by Constantius, his uncle. He escaped this
general massacre, but the first years of his life were passed in exile,
and he at last owed the preservation of his life, his fortune, and the
title of Cæsar, only to Eusebia, the wife of his uncle Constantius, who,
after having had the cruelty to proscribe his infancy, had the
imprudence to appoint him Cæsar, and the still further and greater
imprudence of then persecuting him.

He was, in the first instance, a witness of the insolence with which a
certain bishop treated his benefactress Eusebia. He was called Leontius,
and was bishop of Tripoli. He sent information to the empress, "that he
would not visit her unless she would consent to receive him in a manner
corresponding to his episcopal dignity--that is, that she should advance
to receive him at the door, that she should receive his benediction in a
bending attitude, and that she should remain standing until he granted
her permission to be seated." The Pagan pontiffs were not in the habit
of treating princesses precisely in this manner, and such brutal
arrogance could not but make a deep impression on the mind of a young
man attached at once to philosophy and simplicity.

If he saw that he was in a Christian family, he saw, at the same time,
that he was in a family rendered distinguished by parricides; if he
looked at the court bishops, he perceived that they were at once
audacious and intriguing, and that all anathematized each other in turn.
The hostile parties of Arius and Athanasius filled the empire with
confusion and carnage; the Pagans, on the contrary, never had any
religious quarrels. It is natural therefore that Julian, who had been
educated, let it be remembered, by philosophic Pagans, should have
strengthened by their discourses the aversion he must necessarily have
felt in his heart for the Christian religion. It is not more
extraordinary to see Julian quit Christianity for false gods, than to
see Constantine quit false gods for Christianity. It is highly probable
that both changed for motives of state policy, and that this policy was
mixed up in the mind of Julian with the stern loftiness of a stoic soul.

The Pagan priests had no dogmas; they did not compel men to believe that
which was incredible; they required nothing but sacrifices, and even
sacrifices were not enjoined under rigorous penalties; they did not set
themselves up as the first order in the state, did not form a state
within a state, and did not mix in affairs of government. These might
well be considered motives to induce a man of Julian's character to
declare himself on their side; and if he had piqued himself upon being
nothing besides a Stoic, he would have had against him the priests of
both religions, and all the fanatics of each. The common people would
not at that time have endured a prince who was content simply with the
pure worship of a pure divinity and the strict observance of justice. It
was necessary to side with one of the opposing parties. We must
therefore believe that Julian submitted to the Pagan ceremonies, as the
majority of princes and great men attend the forms of worship in the
public temples. They are led thither by the people themselves, and are
often obliged to appear what in fact they are not; and to be in public
the first and greatest slaves of credulity. The Turkish sultan must
bless the name of Omar. The Persian sophi must bless the name of Ali.
Marcus Aurelius himself was initiated in the mysteries of Eleusis.

We ought not therefore to be surprised that Julian should have debased
his reason by condescending to the forms and usages of superstition; but
it is impossible not to feel indignant against Theodoret, as the only
historian who relates that he sacrificed a woman in the temple of the
moon at Carres. This infamous story must be classed with the absurd tale
of Ammianus, that the genius of the empire appeared to Julian before his
death, and with the other equally ridiculous one, that when Julian
attempted to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem, there came globes of fire
out of the earth, and consumed all the works and workmen without

_Iliacos intra muros peccatur et extra._--Horace, book i, ep. ii, 16.

Both Christians and Pagans equally, circulated fables concerning Julian;
but the fables of the Christians, who were his enemies, were filled with
calumny. Who could ever be induced to believe that a philosopher
sacrificed a woman to the moon, and tore out her entrails with his own
hands? Is such atrocity compatible with the character of a rigid Stoic?

He never put any Christians to death. He granted them no favors, but he
never persecuted them. He permitted them, like a just sovereign, to keep
their own property; and he wrote in opposition to them like a
philosopher. He forbade their teaching in the schools the profane
authors, whom they endeavored to decry--this was not persecuting them;
and he prevented them from tearing one another to pieces in their
outrageous hatred and quarrels--this was protecting them. They had in
fact therefore nothing with which they could reproach him, but with
having abandoned them, and with not being of their opinion. They found
means, however, of rendering execrable to posterity a prince, who, but
for his change of religion, would have been admired and beloved by all
the world.

Although we have already treated of Julian, under the article on
"Apostate"; although, following the example of every sage, we have
deplored the dreadful calamity he experienced in not being a Christian,
and have done justice elsewhere to his various excellences, we must
nevertheless say something more upon the subject.

We do this in consequence of an imposture equally absurd and atrocious,
which we casually met with in one of those petty dictionaries with which
France is now inundated, and which unfortunately are so easily compiled.
This dictionary of theology which I am now alluding to proceeds from an
ex-Jesuit, called Paulian, who repeats the story, so discredited and
absurd, that the emperor Julian, after being mortally wounded in a
battle with the Persians, threw some of his blood towards heaven,
exclaiming, "Galilean, thou hast conquered"--a fable which destroys
itself, as Julian was conqueror in the battle, and Jesus Christ
certainly was not the God of the Persians.

Paulian, notwithstanding, dares to assert that the fact is
incontestable. And upon what ground does he assert it? Upon the ground
of its being related by Theodoret, the author of so many distinguished
lies; and even this notorious writer himself relates it only as a vague
report; he uses the expression, "It is said." This story is worthy of
the calumniators who stated that Julian had sacrificed a woman to the
moon, and that after his death a large chest was found among his
movables filled with human heads.

This is not the only falsehood and calumny with which this ex-Jesuit
Paulian is chargeable. If these contemptible wretches knew what injury
they did to our holy religion, by endeavoring to support it by
imposture, and by the abominable abuse with which they assail the most
respectable characters, they would be less audacious and infuriated.
They care not, however, for supporting religion; what they want is to
gain money by their libels; and despairing of being read by persons of
sense, and taste, and fashion, they go on gathering and compiling
theological trash, in hopes that their productions will be adopted in
the seminaries.

We sincerely ask pardon of our well-informed and respectable readers for
introducing such names as those of the ex-Jesuits Paulian, Nonnotte, and
Patouillet; but after having trampled to death serpents, we shall
probably be excused for crushing fleas.


Who has given us the perception of just and unjust? God, who gave us a
brain and a heart. But when does our reason inform us that there are
such things as vice and virtue? Just at the same time it teaches us that
two and two make four. There is no innate knowledge, for the same reason
that there is no tree that bears leaves and fruit when it first starts
above the earth. There is nothing innate, or fully developed in the
first instance; but--we repeat here what we have often said--God causes
us to be born with organs, which, as they grow and become unfolded, make
us feel all that is necessary for our species to feel, for the
conservation of that species.

How is this continual mystery performed? Tell me, ye yellow inhabitants
of the Isles of Sunda, ye black Africans, ye beardless Indians; and
you--Plato, Cicero, and Epictetus. You all equally feel that it is
better to give the superfluity of your bread, your rice, or your manioc,
to the poor man who meekly requests it, than to kill him or scoop his
eyes out. It is evident to the whole world that a benefit is more
honorable to the performer than an outrage, that gentleness is
preferable to fury.

The only thing required, then, is to exercise our reason in
discriminating the various shades of what is right and wrong. Good and
evil are often neighbors; our passions confound them; who shall
enlighten and direct us? Ourselves, when we are calm and undisturbed.
Whoever has written on the subject of human duties, in all countries
throughout the world, has written well, because he wrote with reason.
All have said the same thing; Socrates and Epictetus, Confucius and
Cicero, Marcus Antoninus and Amurath II. had the same morality.

We would repeat every day to the whole of the human race: Morality is
uniform and invariable; it comes from God: dogmas are different; they
come from ourselves.

Jesus never taught any metaphysical dogmas; He wrote no theological
courses; He never said: I am consubstantial; I have two wills and two
natures with only one person. He left for the Cordeliers and the
Jacobins, who would appear twelve hundred years after Him, the delicate
and difficult topic of argument, whether His mother was conceived in
original sin. He never pronounced marriage to be the visible sign of a
thing invisible; He never said a word about concomitant grace; He
instituted neither monks nor inquisitors; He appointed nothing of what
we see at the present day.

God had given the knowledge of just and unjust, right and wrong,
throughout all the ages which preceded Christianity. God never changed
nor can change. The constitution of our souls, our principles of reason
and morality, will ever be the same. How is virtue promoted by
theological distinctions, by dogmas founded on those distinctions, by
persecutions founded on those dogmas? Nature, terrified and
horror-struck at all these barbarous inventions, calls aloud to all men:
Be just, and not persecuting sophists.

You read in the "_Zend-Avesta_," which is the summary of the laws of
Zoroaster, this admirable maxim: "When it is doubtful whether the action
you are about to perform is just or unjust, abstain from doing it." What
legislator ever spoke better? We have not here the system of "probable
opinions", invented by people who call themselves "the Society of


That "justice" is often extremely unjust, is not an observation merely
of the present day; "_summum jus, summa injuria_," is one of the most
ancient proverbs in existence. There are many dreadful ways of being
unjust; as, for example, that of racking the innocent Calas upon
equivocal evidence, and thus incurring the guilt of shedding innocent
blood by a too strong reliance on vain presumptions.

Another method of being unjust is condemning to execution a man who at
most deserves only three months' imprisonment; this species of injustice
is that of tyrants, and particularly of fanatics, who always become
tyrants whenever they obtain the power of doing mischief.

We cannot more completely demonstrate this truth than by the letter of a
celebrated barrister, written in 1766, to the marquis of Beccaria, one
of the most celebrated professors of jurisprudence, at this time, in

_Letter To The Marquis Of Beccaria, Professor Of Public Law At Milan, On
The Subject Of M. De Morangies, 1772._

Sir:--You are a teacher of laws in Italy, a country from which we derive
all laws except those which have been transmitted to us by our own
absurd and contradictory customs, the remains of that ancient barbarism,
the rust of which subsists to this day in one of the most flourishing
kingdoms of the earth.

Your book upon crimes and punishments opened the eyes of many of the
lawyers of Europe who had been brought up in absurd and inhuman usages;
and men began everywhere to blush at finding themselves still wearing
their ancient dress of savages.

Your opinion was requested on the dreadful execution to which two young
gentlemen, just out of their childhood, had been sentenced; one of whom,
having escaped the tortures he was destined to, has become a most
excellent officer in the service of the great king, while the other, who
had inspired the brightest hopes, died like a sage, by a horrible death,
without ostentation and without pusillanimity, surrounded by no less
than five executioners. These lads were accused of indecency in action
and words, a fault which three months' imprisonment would have
sufficiently punished, and which would have been infallibly corrected by
time. You replied, that their judges were assassins, and that all Europe
was of your opinion.

I consulted you on the cannibal sentences passed on Calas, on Sirven,
and Montbailli; and you anticipated the decrees which you afterwards
issued from the chief courts and officers of law in the kingdom, which
justified injured innocence and re-established the honor of the nation.

I at present consult you on a cause of a very different nature. It is at
once civil and criminal. It is the case of a man of quality, a
major-general in the army, who maintains alone his honor and fortune
against a whole family of poor and obscure citizens, and against an
immense multitude consisting of the dregs of the people, whose
execrations against him are echoed through the whole of France. The poor
family accuses the general officer of taking from it by fraud and
violence a hundred thousand crowns.

The general officer accuses these poor persons of trying to obtain from
him a hundred thousand crowns by means equally criminal. They complain
that they are not merely in danger of losing an immense property, which
they never appeared to possess, but also of being oppressed, insulted,
and beaten by the officers of justice, who compelled them to declare
themselves guilty and consent to their own ruin and punishment. The
general solemnly protests, that these imputations of fraud and violence
are atrocious calumnies. The advocates of the two parties contradict
each other on all the facts, on all the inductions, and even on all the
reasonings; their memorials are called tissues of falsehoods; and each
treats the adverse party as inconsistent and absurd,--an invariable
practice in every dispute.

When you have had the goodness, sir, to read their memorials, which I
have now the honor of sending to you, you will, I trust, permit me to
suggest the difficulties which I feel in this case; they are dictated by
perfect impartiality. I know neither of the parties, and neither of the
advocates; but having, in the course of four and twenty years, seen
calumny and injustice so often triumph, I may be permitted to endeavor
to penetrate the labyrinth in which these monsters unfortunately find

_Presumptions Against The Verron Family._

1. In the first place, there are four bills, payable to order, for a
hundred thousand crowns, drawn with perfect regularity by an officer
otherwise deeply involved in debt; they are payable for the benefit of a
woman of the name of Verron, who called herself the widow of a banker.
They are presented by her grandson, Du Jonquay, her heir, recently
admitted a doctor of laws, although he is ignorant even of orthography.
Is this enough? Yes, in an ordinary case it would be so; but if, in this
very extraordinary case, there is an extreme probability, that the
doctor of laws never did and never could carry the money which he
pretends to have delivered in his grandmother's name; if the
grandmother, who maintained herself with difficulty in a garret, by the
miserable occupation of pawnbroking, never could have been in the
possession of the hundred thousand crowns; if, in short, the grandson
and his mother have spontaneously confessed, and attested the written
confession by their actual signatures, that they attempted to rob the
general, and that he never received more than twelve hundred francs
instead of three hundred thousand livres;--in this case, is not the
cause sufficiently cleared up? Is not the public sufficiently able to
judge from these preliminaries?

2. I appeal to yourself, sir, whether it is probable that the poor widow
of a person unknown in society, who is said to have been a petty
stock-jobber, and not a banker, could be in possession of so
considerable a sum to lend, at an extreme risk, to an officer
notoriously in debt? The general, in short, contends, that this jobber,
the husband of the woman in question, died insolvent; that even his
inventory was never paid for; that this pretended banker was originally
a baker's boy in the household of the duke of Saint-Agnan, the French
ambassador in Spain; that he afterwards took up the profession of a
broker at Paris; and that he was compelled by M. Héraut, lieutenant of
police, to restore certain promissory notes, or bills of exchange, which
he had obtained from some young man by extortion;--such the fatality
impending over this wretched family from bills of exchange! Should all
these statements be proved, do you conceive it at all probable that this
family lent a hundred thousand crowns to an involved officer with whom
they were upon no terms of friendship or acquaintance?

3. Do you consider it probable, that the jobber's grandson, the doctor
of laws, should have gone on foot no less than five leagues, have made
twenty-six journeys, have mounted and descended three thousand steps,
all in the space of five hours, without any stopping, to carry
"secretly" twelve thousand four hundred and twenty-five louis d'or to a
man, to whom, on the following day, he publicly gives twelve hundred
francs? Does not such an account appear to be invented with an utter
deficiency of ingenuity, and even of common sense? Do those who believe
it appear to be sages? What can you think, then, of those who solemnly
affirm it without believing it?

4. Is it probable, that young Du Jonquay, the doctor of laws, and his
own mother, should have made and signed a declaration, upon oath, before
a superior judge, that this whole account was false, that they had never
carried the gold, and that they were confessed rogues, if in fact they
had not been such, and if grief and remorse had not extorted this
confession of their crime? And when they afterwards say, that they had
made this confession before the commissary, only because they had
previously been assaulted and beaten at the house of a proctor, would
such an excuse be deemed by you reasonable or absurd?

Can anything be clearer than that, if this doctor of laws had really
been assaulted and beaten in any other house on account of this cause,
he should have demanded justice of the commissary for this violence,
instead of freely signing, together with his mother, that they were both
guilty of a crime which they had not committed?

Would it be admissible for them to say: We signed our condemnation
because we thought that the general had bought over against us all the
police officers and all the chief judges?

Can good sense listen for a moment to such arguments? Would any one have
dared to suggest such even in the days of our barbarism, when we had
neither laws, nor manners, nor cultivated reason?

If I may credit the very circumstantial memorials of the general, the
Verrons, when put in prison upon his accusation, at first persisted in
the confession of their crime. They wrote two letters to the person whom
they had made the depositary of the bills extorted from the general;
they were terrified at the contemplation of their guilt, which they saw
might conduct them to the galleys or to the gibbet. They afterwards gain
more firmness and confidence. The persons with whom they were to divide
the fruit of their villainy encourage and support them; and the
attractions of the vast sum in their contemplation seduce, hurry, and
urge them on to persevere in the original charge. They call in to their
assistance all the dark frauds and pettifogging chicanery to which they
can gain access, to clear them from a crime which they had themselves
actually admitted. They avail themselves with dexterity of the
distresses to which the involved officer was occasionally reduced, to
give a color of probability to his attempting the re-establishment of
his affairs by the robbery or theft of a hundred thousand crowns. They
rouse the commiseration of the populace, which at Paris is easily
stimulated and frenzied. They appeal successfully for compassion to the
members of the bar, who make it a point of indispensable duty to employ
their eloquence in their behalf, and to support the weak against the
powerful, the people against the nobility. The clearest case becomes in
time the most obscure. A simple cause, which the police magistrate would
have terminated in four days, goes on increasing for more than a whole
year by the mire and filth introduced into it through the numberless
channels of chicanery, interest, and party spirit. You will perceive
that the whole of this statement is a summary of memorials or documents
that appeared in this celebrated cause.

_Presumptions In Favor Of The Verron Family_.

We shall consider the defence of the grandmother, the mother, and the
grandson (doctor of laws), against these strong presumptions.

1. The hundred thousand crowns (or very nearly that sum), which it is
pretended the widow Verron never was possessed of, were formerly made
over to her by her husband, in trust, together with the silver plate.
This deposit was "secretly" brought to her six months after her
husband's death, by a man of the name of Chotard. She placed them out,
and always "secretly", with a notary called Gilet, who restored them to
her, still "secretly", in 1760. She had therefore, in fact, the hundred
thousand crowns which her adversary pretends she never possessed.

2. She died in extreme old age, while the cause was going on,
protesting, after receiving the sacrament, that these hundred thousand
crowns were carried in gold to the general officer by her grandson, in
twenty-six journeys on foot, on Sept. 23, 1771.

3. It is not at all probable, that an officer accustomed to borrowing,
and broken down in circumstances, should have given bills payable to
order for the sum of three hundred thousand livres, to a person unknown
to him, unless he had actually received that sum.

4. There are witnesses who saw counted out and ranged in order the bags
filled with this gold, and who saw the doctor of laws carry it to the
general on foot, under his great coat, in twenty-six journeys, occupying
the space of five hours. And he made these twenty-six astonishing
journeys merely to satisfy the general, who had particularly requested

5. The doctor of laws adds: "Our grandmother and ourselves lived, it is
true, in a garret, and we lent a little money upon pledges; but we lived
so merely upon a principle of judicious economy; the object was to buy
for me the office of a counsellor of parliament, at a time when the
magistracy was purchasable. It is true that my three sisters gain their
subsistence by needle-work and embroidery; the reason of which was, that
my grandmother kept all her property for me. It is true that I have kept
company only with procuresses, coachmen, and lackeys: I acknowledge that
I speak and that I write in their style; but I might not on that account
be less worthy of becoming a magistrate, by making, after all, a good
use of my time."

6. All worthy persons have commiserated our misfortune. M. Aubourg, a
farmer-general, as respectable as any in Paris, has generously taken our
side, and his voice has obtained for us that of the public.

This defence appears in some part of it plausible. Their adversary
refutes it in the following manner:

_Arguments Of The Major-General Against Those Of The Verron Family_.

1. The story of the deposit must be considered by every man of sense as
equally false and ridiculous with that of the six-and-twenty journeys on
foot. If the poor jobber, the husband of the old woman, had intended to
give at his death so much money to his wife, he might have done it in a
direct way from hand to hand, without the intervention of a third

If he had been possessed of the pretended silver plate, one-half of it
must have belonged to the wife, as equal owner of their united goods.
She would not have remained quiet for the space of six months, in a
paltry lodging of two hundred francs a year, without reclaiming her
plate, and exerting her utmost efforts to obtain her right. Chotard
also, the alleged friend of her husband and herself, would not have
suffered her to remain for six long months in a state of such great
indigence and anxiety.

There was, in reality, a person of the name of Chotard; but he was a man
ruined by debts and debauchery; a fraudulent bankrupt who embezzled
forty thousand crowns from the tax office of the farmers-general in
which he held a situation, and who is not likely to have given up a
hundred thousand crowns to the grandmother of the doctor in laws.

The widow Verron pretends, that she employed her money at interest,
always it appears in secrecy, with a notary of the name of Gilet, but no
trace of this fact can be found in the office of that notary.

She declares, that this notary returned her the money, still secretly,
in the year 1760: he was at that time dead.

If all these facts be true, it must be admitted that the cause of Du
Jonquay and the Verrons, built on a foundation of such ridiculous lies,
must inevitably fall to the ground.

2. The will of widow Verron, made half an hour before her death, with
death and the name of God on her lips, is, to all appearance, in itself
a respectable and even pious document. But if it be really in the number
of those pious things which are every day observed to be merely
instrumental to crime--if this lender upon pledges, while recommending
her soul to God, manifestly lied to God, what importance or weight can
the document bring with it? Is it not rather the strongest proof of
imposture and villainy?

The old woman had always been made to state, while the suit was carried
on in her name, that she possessed only this sum of one hundred thousand
crowns which it was intended to rob her of; that she never had more than
that sum; and yet, behold! in her will she mentions five hundred
thousand livres of her property! Here are two hundred thousand francs
more than any one expected, and here is the widow Verron convicted out
of her own mouth. Thus, in this singular cause, does the at once
atrocious and ridiculous imposture of the family break out on every
side, during the woman's life, and even when she is within the grasp of

3. It is probable, and it is even in evidence, that the general would
not trust his bills for a hundred thousand crowns to a doctor of whom he
knew little or nothing, without having an acknowledgment from him. He
did, however, commit this inadvertence, which is the fault of an
unsuspecting and noble heart; he was led astray by the youth, by the
candor, by the apparent generosity of a man not more than twenty-seven
years of age, who was on the point of being raised to the magistracy,
who actually, upon an urgent occasion, lent him twelve hundred francs,
and who promised in the course of a few days to obtain for him, from an
opulent company, the sum of a hundred thousand crowns. Here is the knot
and difficulty of the cause. We must strictly examine whether it be
probable, that a man, who is admitted to have received nearly a hundred
thousand crowns in gold, should on the very morning after, come in great
haste, as for a most indispensable occasion, to the man who the evening
before had advanced him twelve thousand four hundred and twenty-five
louis d'or.

There is not the slightest probability of his doing so. It is still less
probable, as we have already observed, that a man of distinction, a
general officer, and the father of a family, in return for the
invaluable and almost unprecedented kindness of lending him a hundred
thousand crowns, should, instead of the sincerest gratitude to his
benefactor, absolutely endeavor to get him hanged; and this on the part
of a man who had nothing more to do than to await quietly the distant
expirations of the periods of payment; who was under no temptation, in
order to gain time, to commit such a profligate and atrocious villainy,
and who had never in fact committed any villainy at all. Surely it is
more natural to think that the man, whose grandfather was a
pettifogging, paltry jobber, and whose grandmother was a wretched lender
of small sums upon the pledges of absolute misery, should have availed
himself of the blind confidence of an unsuspecting soldier, to extort
from him a hundred thousand crowns, and that he promised to divide this
sum with the depraved and abominable accomplices of his baseness.

4. There are witnesses who depose in favor of Du Jonquay and widow
Verron. Let us consider who those witnesses are, and what they depose.

In the first place, there is a woman of the name of Tourtera, a broker,
who supported the widow in her peddling, insignificant concern of
pawnbroking, and who has been five times in the hospital in consequence
of the scandalous impurities of her life; which can be proved with the
utmost ease.

There is a coachman called Gilbert, who, sometimes firm, at other times
trembling in his wickedness, declared to a lady of the name of Petit, in
the presence of six persons, that he had been suborned by Du Jonquay. He
subsequently inquired of many other persons, whether he should yet be in
time to retract, and reiterated expressions of this nature before

Setting aside, however, what has been stated of Gilbert's disposition to
retract, it is very possible that he might be deceived, and may not be
chargeable with falsehood and perjury. It is possible, that he might see
money at the pawnbroker's, and that he might be told, and might believe,
that three hundred thousand livres were there. Nothing is more dangerous
in many persons than a quick and heated imagination, which actually
makes men think that they have seen what it was absolutely impossible
for them to see.

Then comes a man of the name of Aubriot, a godson of the procuress
Tourtera, and completely under her guidance. He deposes, that he saw, in
one of the streets of Paris, on Sept. 23, 1771, Doctor Du Jonquay in his
great coat, carrying bags.

Surely there is here no conclusive proof that the doctor on that day
made twenty-six journeys on foot, and travelled over five leagues of
ground, to deliver "secretly" twelve thousand four hundred and
twenty-five louis d'or, even admitting all that this testimony states to
be true. It appears clear, that Du Jonquay went this journey to the
general, and that he spoke to him; and it appears probable, that he
deceived him; but it is not clear that Aubriot saw him go and return
thirteen times in one morning. It is still less clear, that this witness
could at that time see so many circumstances occurring in the street, as
he was actually laboring under a disorder which there is no necessity to
name, and on that very day underwent for it the severe operation of
medicine, with his legs tottering, his head swelled, and his tongue
hanging half out of his mouth. This was not precisely the moment for
running into the street to see sights. Would his friend Du Jonquay have
said to him: Come and risk your life, to see me traverse a distance of
five leagues loaded with gold: I am going to deliver the whole fortune
of my family, secretly, to a man overwhelmed with debts; I wish to have,
privately, as a witness, a person of your character? This is not
exceedingly probable. The surgeon who applied the medicine to the
witness Aubriot on this occasion, states that he was by no means in a
situation to go out; and the son of the surgeon, in his interrogatory,
refers the case to the academy of surgery.

But even admitting that a man of a particularly robust constitution
could have gone out and taken some turns in the street in this
disgraceful and dreadful situation, what could it have signified to the
point in question? Did he see Du Jonquay make twenty-six journeys
between his garret and the general's hotel? Did he see twelve thousand
four hundred and twenty-five louis d'or carried by him? Was any
individual whatever a witness to this prodigy well worthy the "Thousand
and One Nights"? Most certainly not; no person whatever. What is the
amount, then, of all his evidence on the subject?

5. That the daughter of Mrs. Verron, in her garret, may have sometimes
borrowed small sums on pledges; that Mrs. Verron may have lent them, in
order to obtain and save a profit, to make her grandson a counsellor of
parliament, has nothing at all to do with the substance of the case in
question. In defiance of all this, it will ever be evident, that this
magistrate by anticipation did not traverse the five leagues to carry to
the general the hundred thousand crowns, and that the general never
received them.

6. A person named Aubourg comes forward, not merely as a witness, but as
a protector and benefactor of oppressed innocence. The advocates of the
Verron family extol this man as a citizen of rare and intrepid virtue.
He became feelingly alive to the misfortunes of Doctor Du Jonquay, his
mother, and grandmother, although he had no acquaintance with them; and
offered them his credit and his purse, without any other object than
that of assisting persecuted merit.

Upon examination it is found, that this hero of disinterested
benevolence is a contemptible wretch who began the world as a lackey,
was then successively an upholsterer, a broker, and a bankrupt, and is
now, like Mrs. Verron and Tourtera, by profession a pawnbroker. He flies
to the assistance of persons of his own profession. The woman Tourtera,
in the first place, gave him twenty-five louis d'or, to interest his
probity and kindness in assisting a desolate family. The generous
Aubourg had the greatness of soul to make an agreement with the old
grandmother, almost when she was dying, by which she gives him fifteen
thousand crowns, on condition of his undertaking to defray the expenses
of the cause. He even takes the precaution to have this bargain noticed
and confirmed in the will, dictated, or pretended to be dictated, by
this old widow of the jobber on her death-bed. This respectable and
venerable man then hopes one day to divide with some of the witnesses
the spoils that are to be obtained from the general. It is the
magnanimous heart of Aubourg that has formed this disinterested scheme;
it is he who has conducted the cause which he seems to have taken up as
a patrimony. He believed the bills payable to order would infallibly be
paid. He is in fact a receiver who participates in the plunder effected
by robbers, and who appropriates the better part to himself.

Such are the replies of the general: I neither subtract from them nor
add to them--I simply state them. I have thus explained to you, sir, the
whole substance of the cause, and stated all the strongest arguments on
both sides.

I request your opinion of the sentence which ought to be pronounced, if
matters should remain in the same state, if the truth cannot be
irrevocably obtained from one or other of the parties, and made to
appear perfectly without a cloud.

The reasons of the general officer are thus far convincing. Natural
equity is on his side. This natural equity, which God has established in
the hearts of all men, is the basis of all law. Ought we to destroy this
foundation of all justice, by sentencing a man to pay a hundred thousand
crowns which he does not appear to owe?

He drew bills for a hundred thousand crowns, in the vain hope that he
should receive the money; he negotiated with a young man whom he did not
know, just as he would have done with the banker of the king or of the
empress-queen. Should his bills have more validity than his reasons? A
man certainly cannot owe what he has not received. Bills, policies,
bonds, always imply that the corresponding sums have been delivered and
had; but if there is evidence that no money has been had and delivered,
there can be no obligation to return or pay any. If there is writing
against writing, document against document, the last dated cancels the
former ones. But in the present case the last writing is that of Du
Jonquay and his mother, and it states that the opposite party in the
cause never received from them a hundred thousand crowns, and that they
are cheats and impostors.

What! because they have disavowed the truth of their confession, which
they state to have been made in consequence of their having received a
blow or an assault, shall another man's property be adjudged to them?

I will suppose for a moment (what is by no means probable), that the
judges, bound down by forms, will sentence the general to pay what in
fact he does not owe;--will they not in this case destroy his reputation
as well as his fortune? Will not all who have sided against him in this
most singular adventure, charge him with calumniously accusing his
adversaries of a crime of which he is himself guilty? He will lose his
honor, in their estimation, in losing his property. He will never be
acquitted but in the judgments of those who examine profoundly. The
number of these is always small. Where are the men to be found who have
leisure, attention, capacity, impartiality, to consider anxiously every
aspect and bearing of a cause in which they are not themselves
interested? They judge in the same way as our ancient parliament judged
of books--that is, without reading them.

You, sir, are fully acquainted with this, and know that men generally
judge of everything by prejudice, hearsay, and chance. No one reflects
that the cause of a citizen ought to interest the whole body of
citizens, and that we may ourselves have to endure in despair the same
fate which we perceive, with eyes and feelings of indifference, falling
heavily upon him. We write and comment every day upon the judgments
passed by the senate of Rome and the areopagus of Athens; but we think
not for a moment of what passes before our own tribunals.

You, sir, who comprehend all Europe in your researches and decisions,
will, I sincerely hope, deign to communicate to me a portion of your
light. It is possible, certainly, that the formalities and chicanery
connected with law proceedings, and with which I am little conversant,
may occasion to the general the loss of the cause in court; but it
appears to me that he must gain it at the tribunal of an enlightened
public, that awful and accurate judge who pronounces after deep
investigation, and who is the final disposer of character.


King, _basileus, tyrannos, rex, dux, imperator, melch, baal, bel,
pharaoh, eli, shadai, adonai, shak, sophi, padisha, bogdan, chazan, kan,
krall, kong, könig, etc._--all expressions which signify the same
office, but which convey very different ideas.

In Greece, neither "_basileus_" nor "_tyrannos_" ever conveyed the idea
of absolute power. He who was able obtained this power, but it was
always obtained against the inclination of the people.

It is clear, that among the Romans kings were not despotic. The last
Tarquin deserved to be expelled, and was so. We have no proof that the
petty chiefs of Italy were ever able, at their pleasure, to present a
bowstring to the first man of the state, as is now done to a vile Turk
in his seraglio, and like barbarous slaves, still more imbecile, suffer
him to use it without complaint.

There was no king on this side the Alps, and in the North, at the time
we became acquainted with this large quarter of the world. The Cimbri,
who marched towards Italy, and who were exterminated by Marius, were
like famished wolves, who issued from those forests with their females
and whelps. As to a crowned head among these animals, or orders on the
part of a secretary of state, of a grand butler, of a chancellor--any
notion of arbitrary taxes, commissaries, fiscal edicts, etc.--they knew
no more of any of these than of the vespers and the opera.

It is certain that gold and silver, coined and uncoined, form an
admirable means of placing him who has them not, in the power of him who
has found out the secret of accumulation. It is for the latter alone to
possess great officers, guards, cooks, girls, women, jailers, almoners,
pages, and soldiers.

It would be very difficult to insure obedience with nothing to bestow
but sheep and sheep-skins. It is also very likely, after all the
revolutions of our globe, that it was the art of working metals which
originally made kings, as it is the art of casting cannon which now
maintains them.

Cæsar was right when he said, that with gold we may procure men, and
with men acquire gold.

This secret had been known for ages in Asia and Egypt, where the princes
and the priests shared the benefit between them.

The prince said to the priest: Take this gold, and in return uphold my
power, and prophesy in my favor; I will be anointed, and thou shalt
anoint me; constitute oracles, manufacture miracles; thou shalt be well
paid for thy labor, provided that I am always master. The priest, thus
obtaining land and wealth, prophesies for himself, makes the oracles
speak for himself, chases the sovereign from the throne, and very often
takes his place. Such is the history of the shotim of Egypt, the magi of
Persia, the soothsayers of Babylon, the chazin of Syria (if I mistake
the name it amounts to little)--all which holy persons sought to rule.
Wars between the throne and the altar have in fact existed in all
countries, even among the miserable Jews.

We, inhabitants of the temperate zone of Europe, have known this well
for a dozen centuries. Our minds not being so temperate as our climate,
we well know what it has cost us. Gold and silver form so entirely the
_primum mobile_ of the holy connection between sovereignty and religion,
that many of our kings still send it to Rome, where it is seized and
shared by priests as soon as it arrives.

When, in this eternal conflict for dominion, leaders have become
powerful, each has exhibited his pre-eminence in a mode of his own. It
was a crime to spit in the presence of the king of the Medes. The earth
must be stricken nine times by the forehead in the presence of the
emperor of China. A king of England imagines that he cannot take a glass
of beer unless it be presented on the knees. Another king will have his
right foot saluted, and all will take the money of their people. In some
countries the krall, or chazin, is allowed an income, as in Poland,
Sweden, and Great Britain. In others, a piece of paper is sufficient for
his treasury to obtain all that it requires.

Since we write upon the rights of the people, on taxation, on customs,
etc., let us endeavor, by profound reasoning, to establish the novel
maxim, that a shepherd ought to shear his sheep, and not to flay them.

As to the due limits of the prerogatives of kings, and of the liberty of
the people, I recommend you to examine that question at your ease in
some hotel in the town of Amsterdam.


I ask pardon of young ladies and gentlemen, for they will not find here
what they may possibly expect. This article is only for learned and
serious people, and will suit very few of them.

There is too much of kissing in the comedies of the time of Molière. The
valets are always requesting kisses from the waiting-women, which is
exceedingly flat and disagreeable, especially when the actors are ugly
and must necessarily exhibit against the grain.

If the reader is fond of kisses, let him peruse the "Pastor Fido": there
is an entire chorus which treats only of kisses, and the piece itself is
founded only on a kiss which Mirtillo one day bestows on the fair
Amaryllis, in a game at blindman's buff--"_un bacio molto saporito._"

In a chapter on kissing by John de la Casa, archbishop of Benevento, he
says, that people may kiss from the head to the foot. He complains,
however, of long noses, and recommends ladies who possess such to have
lovers with short ones.

To kiss was the ordinary manner of salutation throughout all antiquity.
Plutarch relates, that the conspirators, before they killed Cæsar,
kissed his face, his hands, and his bosom. Tacitus observes, that when
his father-in-law, Agricola, returned to Rome, Domitian kissed him
coldly, said nothing to him, and left him disregarded in the surrounding
crowd. An inferior, who could not aspire to kiss his superior, kissed
his own hand, and the latter returned the salute in a similar manner, if
he thought proper.

The kiss was ever used in the worship of the gods. Job, in his parable,
which is possibly the oldest of our known books, says that he had not
adored the sun and moon like the other Arabs, or suffered his mouth to
kiss his hand to them.

In the West there remains of this civility only the simple and innocent
practice yet taught in country places to children--that of kissing their
right hands in return for a sugar-plum.

It is horrible to betray while saluting; the assassination of Cæsar is
thereby rendered much more odious. It is unnecessary to add, that the
kiss of Judas has become a proverb.

Joab, one of the captains of David, being jealous of Amasa, another
captain, said to him, "Art thou in health, my brother?" and took him by
the beard with his right hand to kiss him, while with the other he drew
his sword and smote him so that his bowels were "shed upon the ground".

We know not of any kissing in the other assassinations so frequent among
the Jews, except possibly the kisses given by Judith to the captain
Holofernes, before she cut off his head in his bed; but no mention is
made of them, and therefore the fact is only to be regarded as probable.

In Shakespeare's tragedy of "Othello", the hero, who is a Moor, gives
two kisses to his wife before he strangles her. This appears abominable
to orderly persons, but the partisans of Shakespeare say, that it is a
fine specimen of nature, especially in a Moor.

When John Galeas Sforza was assassinated in the cathedral of Milan, on
St. Stephen's day; the two Medicis, in the church of Reparata; Admiral
Coligni, the prince of Orange, Marshal d'Ancre, the brothers De Witt,
and so many others, there was at least no kissing.

Among the ancients there was something, I know not what, symbolical and
sacred attached to the kiss, since the statues of the gods were kissed,
as also their beards, when the sculptors represented them with beards.
The initiated kissed one another in the mysteries of Ceres, in sign of

The first Christians, male and female, kissed with the mouth at their
Agapæ, or love-feasts. They bestowed the holy kiss, the kiss of peace,
the brotherly and sisterly kiss, "_hagion philema._" This custom, lasted
for four centuries, and was finally abolished in distrust of the
consequences. It was this custom, these kisses of peace, these
love-feasts, these appellations of brother and sister, which drew on the
Christians, while little known, those imputations of debauchery bestowed
upon them by the priests of Jupiter and the priestesses of Vesta. We
read in Petronius and in other authors, that the dissolute called one
another brother and sister; and it was thought, that among Christians
the same licentiousness was intended. They innocently gave occasion for
the scandal upon themselves.

In the commencement, seventeen different Christian societies existed, as
there had been nine among the Jews, including the two kinds of
Samaritans. Those bodies which considered themselves the most orthodox
accused the others of inconceivable impurities. The term "gnostic", at
first so honorable, and which signifies the learned, enlightened, pure,
became an epithet of horror and of contempt, and a reproach of heresy.
St. Epiphanius, in the third century, pretended that the males and
females at first tickled each other, and at length proceeded to
lascivious kisses, judging of the degree of faith in each other by the
warmth of them. A Christian husband in presenting his wife to a
newly-initiated member, would exhort her to receive him, as above
stated, and was always obeyed.

We dare not repeat, in our chaste language, all that Epiphanius adds in
Greek. We shall simply observe, that this saint was probably a little
imposed upon, that he suffered himself to be transported by his zeal,
and that all the heretics were not execrable debauchees. The sect of
pietists, wishing to imitate the early Christians, at present bestow on
each other kisses of peace, on departing from their assemblies, and also
call one another brother and sister. The ancient ceremony was a kiss
with the lips, and the pietists have carefully preserved it.

There was no other manner of saluting the ladies in France, Italy,
Germany, and England. The cardinals enjoyed the privilege of kissing the
lips of queens, even in Spain, though--what is singular--not in France,
where the ladies have always had more liberties than elsewhere; but
every country has its ceremonies, and there is no custom so general but
chance may have produced an exception. It was an incivility, a rudeness,
in receiving the first visit of a nobleman, if a lady did not kiss his
lips--no matter about his mustaches. "It is an unpleasant custom," says
Montaigne, "and offensive to the ladies to have to offer their lips to
the three valets in his suite, however repulsive." This custom is,
however, the most ancient in the world.

If it is disagreeable to a young and pretty mouth to glue itself to one
which is old and ugly, there is also great danger in the junction of
fresh and vermilion lips of the age of twenty to twenty-five--a truth
which has finally abolished the ceremony of kissing in mysteries and
love-feasts. Hence also the seclusion of women throughout the East, who
kiss only their fathers and brothers--a custom long ago introduced into
Spain by the Arabs.

Attend to the danger: there is a nerve which runs from the mouth to the
heart, and thence lower still, which produces in the kiss an exquisitely
dangerous sensation. Virtue may suffer from a prolonged and ardent kiss
between two young pietists of the age of eighteen.

It is remarkable that mankind, and turtles, and pigeons alone practise
kissing; hence the Latin word "_columbatim_", which our language cannot

We cannot decorously dwell longer on this interesting subject, although
Montaigne says, "It should be spoken of without reserve; we boldly speak
of killing, wounding, and betraying, while on this point we dare only


That laughter is the sign of joy, as tears are of grief, is doubted by
no one that ever laughed. They who seek for metaphysical causes of
laughter are not mirthful, while they who are aware that laughter draws
the zygomatic muscle backwards towards the ears, are doubtless very
learned. Other animals have this muscle as well as ourselves, yet never
laugh any more than they shed tears. The stag, to be sure, drops
moisture from its eyes when in the extremity of distress, as does a dog
dissected alive; but they weep not for their mistresses or friends, as
we do. They break not out like us into fits of laughter at the sight of
anything droll. Man is the only animal which laughs and weeps.

As we weep only when we are afflicted, and laugh only when we are gay,
certain reasoners have pretended that laughter springs from pride, and
that we deem ourselves superior to that which we laugh at. It is true
that man, who is a risible animal, is also a proud one; but it is not
pride which produces laughter. A child who laughs heartily, is not merry
because he regards himself as superior to those who excite his mirth;
nor, laughing when he is tickled, is he to be held guilty of the mortal
sin of pride. I was eleven years of age when I read to myself, for the
first time, the "Amphitryon" of Molière, and laughed until I nearly fell
backward. Was this pride? We are seldom proud when alone. Was it pride
which caused the master of the golden ass to laugh when he saw the ass
eat his supper? He who laughs is joyful at the moment, and is prompted
by no other cause.

It is not all joy which produces laughter: the greatest enjoyments are
serious. The pleasures of love, ambition, or avarice, make nobody laugh.

Laughter may sometimes extend to convulsions; it is even said that
persons may die of laughter. I can scarcely believe it; but certainly
there are more who die of grief.

Violent emotions, which sometimes move to tears and sometimes to the
appearance of laughter, no doubt distort the muscles of the mouth; this,
however, is not genuine laughter, but a convulsion and a pain. The tears
may sometimes be genuine, because the object is suffering, but laughter
is not. It must have another name, and be called the "_risus
sardonicus_"--sardonic smile.

The malicious smile, the "_perfidum ridens_," is another thing; being
the joy which is excited by the humiliation of another. The grin,
"_cachinnus_," is bestowed on those who promise wonders and perform
absurdities; it is nearer to hooting than to laughter. Our pride derides
the vanity which would impose upon us. They hoot our friend Fréron in
"The Scotchwoman", rather than laugh at him. I love to speak of friend
Fréron, as in that case I laugh unequivocally.


B. What is natural law?

A. The instinct by which we feel justice.

B. What do you call just and unjust?

A. That which appears so to the whole world.

B. The world is made up of a great many heads. It is said that at
Lacedæmon thieves were applauded, while at Athens they were condemned to
the mines.

A. That is all a mere abuse of words, mere logomachy and ambiguity.
Theft was impossible at Sparta, where all property was common. What you
call theft was the punishment of avarice.

B. It was forbidden for a man to marry his sister at Rome. Among the
Egyptians, the Athenians, and even the Jews, a man was permitted to
marry his sister by the father's side. It is not without regret that I
cite the small and wretched nation of the Jews, who certainly ought
never to be considered as a rule for any person, and who--setting aside
religion--were never anything better than an ignorant, fanatical, and
plundering horde. According to their books, however, the young Tamar,
before she was violated by her brother Ammon, addressed him in these
words: "I pray thee, my brother, do not so foolishly, but ask me in
marriage of my father: he will not refuse thee."

A. All these cases amount to mere laws of convention, arbitrary usages,
transient modes. What is essential remains ever the same. Point out to
me any country where it would be deemed respectable or decent to plunder
me of the fruits of my labor, to break a solemn promise, to tell an
injurious lie, to slander, murder, or poison, to be ungrateful to a
benefactor, or to beat a father or mother presenting food to you.

B. Have you forgotten that Jean Jacques, one of the fathers of the
modern Church, has said that the first person who dared to enclose and
cultivate a piece of ground was an enemy of the human race; that he
ought to be exterminated; and that the fruits of the earth belonged to
all, and the land to none? Have we not already examined this
proposition, so beautiful in itself, and so conducive to the happiness
of society?

A. Who is this Jean Jacques? It is certainly not John the Baptist, nor
John the Evangelist, nor James the Greater, nor James the Less; he must
inevitably be some witling of a Hun, to write such abominable
impertinence, or some ill-conditioned, malicious "_bufo magro_," who is
never more happy than when sneering at what all the rest of the world
deem most valuable and sacred. For, instead of damaging and spoiling the
estate of a wise and industrious neighbor, he had only to imitate him,
and induce every head of a family to follow his example, in order to
form in a short time a most flourishing and happy village. The author of
the passage quoted seems to me a thoroughly unsocial animal.

B. You are of opinion, then, that by insulting and plundering the good
man, for surrounding his garden and farmyard with a quick-set hedge, he
has offended against natural law.

A. Yes, most certainly; there is, I must repeat, a natural law; and it
consists in neither doing ill to another, nor rejoicing at it, when from
any cause whatsoever it befalls him.

B. I conceive that man neither loves ill nor does it with any other view
than to his own advantage. But so many men are urged on to obtain
advantage to themselves by the injury of another; revenge is a passion
of such violence; there are examples of it so terrible and fatal; and
ambition, more terrible and fatal still, has so drenched the world with
blood; that when I survey the frightful picture, I am tempted to
confess, that a man is a being truly diabolical. I may certainly
possess, deeply rooted in my heart, the notion of what is just and
unjust; but an Attila, whom St. Leon extols and pays his court to; a
Phocas, whom St. Gregory flatters with the most abject meanness;
Alexander VI., polluted by so many incests, murders, and poisonings, and
with whom the feeble Louis XII., commonly called "the Good," enters into
the most strict and base alliance; a Cromwell, whose protection Cardinal
Mazarin eagerly solicits, and to gratify whom he expels from France the
heirs of Charles I., cousins-german of Louis XIV.--these, and a thousand
similar examples, easily to be found in the records of history, totally
disturb and derange my ideas, and I no longer know what I am doing or
where I am.

A. Well; but should the knowledge that storms are coming prevent our
enjoying the beautiful sunshine and gentle and fragrant gales of the
present day? Did the earthquake that destroyed half the city of Lisbon
prevent your making a very pleasant journey from Madrid? If Attila was a
bandit, and Cardinal Mazarin a knave, are there not some princes and
ministers respectable and amiable men? Has it not been remarked, that in
the war of 1701, the Council of Louis XIV. consisted of some of the most
virtuous of mankind--the duke of Beauvilliers, the Marquis de Torcy,
Marshal Villars, and finally Chamillard, who was not indeed considered a
very able but still an honorable man? Does not the idea of just and
unjust still exist? It is in fact on this that all laws are founded. The
Greeks call laws "the daughters of heaven", which means simply, the
daughters of nature. Have you no laws in your country?

B. Yes; some good, and others bad.

A. Where could you have taken the idea of them, but from the notions of
natural law which every well-constructed mind has within itself? They
must have been derived from these or nothing.

B. You are right; there is a natural law, but it is still more natural
to many people to forget or neglect it.

A. It is natural also to be one-eyed, humpbacked, lame, deformed, and
sickly; but we prefer persons well made and healthy.

B. Why are there so many one-eyed and deformed minds?

A. Hush! Consult, however, the article on "Omnipotence."


He who says that the Salic law was written with a pen from the wing of a
two-headed eagle, by Pharamond's almoner, on the back of the patent
containing Constantine's donation, was not, perhaps, very much mistaken.

It is, say the doughty lawyers, the fundamental law of the French
Empire. The great Jerome Bignon, in his book on "The Excellence of
France," says that this law is derived from natural law, according to
the great Aristotle, because "in families it was the father who
governed, and no dower was given to daughters, as we read in relation to
the father, mother, and brothers of Rebecca."

He asserts that the kingdom of France is so excellent that it has
religiously preserved this law, recommended both by Aristotle and the
Old Testament. And to prove this excellence of France, he observes also,
that the emperor Julian thought the wine of Surêne admirable.

But in order to demonstrate the excellence of the Salic law, he refers
to Froissart, according to whom the twelve peers of France said that
"the kingdom of France is of such high nobility that it never ought to
pass in succession to a female."

It must be acknowledged that this decision is not a little uncivil to
Spain, England, Naples, and Hungary, and more than all the rest to
Russia, which has seen on its throne four empresses in succession.

The kingdom of France is of great nobility; no doubt it is; but those of
Spain, of Mexico, and Peru are also of great nobility, and there is
great nobility also in Russia.

It has been alleged that Sacred Scripture says the lilies neither toil
nor spin; and thence it has been inferred that women ought not to reign
in France. This certainly is another instance of powerful reasoning; but
it has been forgotten that the leopards, which are--it is hard to say
why--the arms of England, spin no more than the lilies which are--it is
equally hard to say why--the arms of France. In a word, the circumstance
that lilies have never been seen to spin does not absolutely demonstrate
the exclusion of females from the throne to have been a fundamental law
of the Gauls.

_Of Fundamental Laws_.

The fundamental law of every country is, that if people are desirous of
having bread, they must sow corn; that if they wish for clothing, they
must cultivate flax and hemp; that every owner of a field should have
the uncontrolled management and dominion over it, whether that owner be
male or female; that the half-barbarous Gaul should kill as many as ever
he can of the wholly barbarous Franks, when they come from the banks of
the Main, which they have not the skill and industry to cultivate, to
carry off his harvests and flocks; without doing which the Gaul would
either become a serf of the Frank, or be assassinated by him.

It is upon this foundation that an edifice is well supported. One man
builds upon a rock, and his house stands firm; another on the sands, and
it falls to the ground. But a fundamental law, arising from the
fluctuating inclinations of men, and yet at the same time irrevocable,
is a contradiction in terms, a mere creature of imagination, a chimera,
an absurdity; the power that makes the laws can change them. The Golden
Bull was called "the fundamental law of the empire." It was ordained
that there should never be more than seven Teutonic electors, for the
very satisfactory and decisive reason that a certain Jewish chandelier
had had no more than seven branches, and that there are no more than
seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. This fundamental law had the epithet
"eternal" applied to it by the all-powerful authority and infallible
knowledge of Charles IV. God, however, did not think fit to allow of
this assumption of "eternal" in Charles's parchments. He permitted other
German emperors, out of their all-powerful authority and infallible
knowledge, to add two branches to the chandelier, and two presents to
the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Accordingly the electors are now
nine in number.

It was a very fundamental law that the disciples of the Lord Jesus
should possess no private property, but have all things in common. There
was afterwards a law that the bishops of Rome should be rich, and that
the people should choose them. The last fundamental law is, that they
are sovereigns, and elected by a small number of men clothed in scarlet,
and constituting a society absolutely unknown in the time of Jesus. If
the emperor, king of the Romans, always august, was sovereign master of
Rome in fact, as he is according to the style of his patents and
heraldry, the pope would be his grand almoner, until some other law,
forever irrevocable, was announced, to be destroyed in its turn by some
succeeding one.

I will suppose--what may very possibly and naturally happen--that an
emperor of Germany may have no issue but an only daughter, and that he
may be a quiet, worthy man, understanding nothing about war. I will
suppose that if Catherine II. does not destroy the Turkish Empire, which
she has severely shaken in the very year in which I am now writing my
reverie (the year 1771), the Turk will come and invade this good prince,
notwithstanding his' being cherished and beloved by all his nine
electors; that his daughter puts herself at the head of the troops with
two young electors deeply enamored of her; that she beats the Ottomans,
as Deborah beat General Sisera, and his three hundred thousand soldiers,
and his three thousand chariots of war, in a little rocky plain at the
foot of Mount Tabor; that this warlike princess drives the Mussulman
even beyond Adrianople; that her father dies through joy at her success,
or from any other cause; that the two lovers of the princess induce
their seven colleagues to crown her empress, and that all the princes of
the empire, and all the cities give their consent to it; what, in this
case, becomes of the fundamental and eternal law which enacts that the
holy Roman Empire cannot possibly pass from the lance to the distaff,
that the two-headed eagle cannot spin, and that it is impossible to sit
on the imperial throne without breeches? The old and absurd law would be
derided, and the heroic empress reign at once in safety and in glory.

_How The Salic Law Came To Be Established._

We cannot contest the custom which has indeed passed into law, that
decides against daughters inheriting the crown in France while there
remains any male of the royal blood. This question has been long
determined, and the seal of antiquity has been put to the decision. Had
it been expressly brought from heaven, it could not be more revered by
the French nation than it is. It certainly does not exactly correspond
with the gallant courtesy of the nation; but the fact is, that it was in
strict and rigorous observance before the nation was ever distinguished
for its gallant courtesy.

The president Hénault repeats, in his "Chronicle," what had been stated
at random before him, that Clovis digested the Salic law in 511, the
very year in which he died. I am very well disposed to believe that he
actually did digest this law, and that he knew how to read and write,
just as I am to believe that he was only fifteen years old when he
undertook the conquest of the Gauls; but I do sincerely wish that any
one would show me in the library of St.-Germain-des-Prés, or of St.
Martin, the original document of the Salic law actually signed Clovis,
or Clodovic, or Hildovic; from that we should at least learn his real
name, which nobody at present knows.

We have two editions of this Salic law; one by a person by the name of
Herold, the other by Francis Pithou; and these are different, which is
by no means a favorable presumption. When the text of a law is given
differently in two documents, it is not only evident that one of the two
is false, but it is highly probable that they are both so. No custom or
usage of the Franks was written in our early times, and it would be
excessively strange that the law of the Salii should have been so. This
law, moreover, is in Latin, and it does not seem at all probable that,
in the swamps between Suabia and Batavia, Clovis, or his predecessors,
should speak Latin.

It is supposed that this law has reference to the kings of France; and
yet all the learned are agreed that the Sicambri, the Franks, and the
Salii, had no kings, nor indeed any hereditary chiefs.

The title of the Salic law begins with these words: "_In Christi
nomine_"--"In the name of Christ." It was therefore made out of the
Salic territory, as Christ was no more known by these barbarians than by
the rest of Germany and all the countries of the North.

This law is stated to have been drawn up by four distinguished lawyers
of the Frank nation; these, in Herold's edition, are called Vuisogast,
Arogast, Salegast, and Vuindogast. In Pithou's edition, the names are
somewhat different. It has been unluckily discovered that these names
are the old names, somewhat disguised, of certain cantons of Germany.

In whatever period this law was framed in bad Latin, we find, in the
article relating to allodial or freehold lands, "that no part of Salic
land can be inherited by women." It is clear that this pretended law was
by no means followed. In the first place, it appears from the formulæ of
Marculphus that a father might leave his allodial land to his daughter,
renouncing "a certain Salic law which is impious and abominable."

Secondly, if this law be applied to fiefs, it is evident that the
English kings, who were not of the Norman race, obtained all their great
fiefs in France only through daughters.

Thirdly, it is alleged to be necessary that a fief should be possessed
by a man, because he was able as well as bound to fight for his lord;
this itself shows that the law could not be understood to affect the
rights to the throne. All feudal lords might fight just as well for a
queen as for a king. A queen was not obliged to follow the practice so
long in use, to put on a cuirass, and cover her limbs with armor, and
set off trotting against the enemy upon a carthorse.

It is certain, therefore, that the Salic law could have no reference to
the crown, neither in connection with allodial lands, nor feudal holding
and service.

Mézeray says, "The imbecility of the sex precludes their reigning."
Mézeray speaks here like a man neither of sense nor politeness. History
positively and repeatedly falsifies his assertion. Queen Anne of
England, who humbled Louis XIV.; the empress-queen of Hungary, who
resisted King Louis XV., Frederick the Great, the elector of Bavaria,
and various other princes; Elizabeth of England, who was the strength
and support of our great Henry; the empress of Russia, of whom we have
spoken already; all these decidedly show that Mézeray is not more
correct than he is courteous in his observation. He could scarcely help
knowing that Queen Blanche was in fact the reigning monarch under the
name of her son; as Anne of Brittany was under that of Louis XII.

Velly, the last writer of the history of France, and who on that very
account ought to be the best, as he possessed all the accumulated
materials of his predecessors, did not, however, always know how to turn
his advantages to the best account. He inveighs with bitterness against
the judicious and profound Rapin de Thoyras, and attempts to prove to
him that no princess ever succeeded to the crown while any males
remained who were capable of succeeding. That we all know perfectly
well, and Thoyras never said the contrary.

In that long age of barbarism, when the only concern of Europe was to
commit usurpations and to sustain them, it must be acknowledged that
kings, being often chiefs of banditti or warriors armed against those
banditti, it was not possible to be subject to the government of a
woman. Whoever was in possession of a great warhorse would engage in the
work of rapine and murder only under the standard of a man mounted upon
a great horse like himself. A buckler of oxhide served for a throne. The
caliphs governed by the Koran, the popes were deemed to govern by the
Gospel. The South saw no woman reign before Joan of Naples, who was
indebted for her crown entirely to the affection of the people for King
Robert, her grandfather, and to their hatred of Andrew, her husband.
This Andrew was in reality of royal blood, but had been born in Hungary,
at that time in a state of barbarism. He disgusted the Neapolitans by
his gross manners, intemperance, and drunkenness. The amiable king
Robert was obliged to depart from immemorial usage, and declare Joan
alone sovereign by his will, which was approved by the nation.

In the North we see no queen reigning in her own right before Margaret
of Waldemar, who governed for some months in her own name about the year

Spain had no queen in her own right before the able Isabella in 1461. In
England the cruel and bigoted Mary, daughter of Henry VIII., was the
first woman who inherited the throne, as the weak and criminal Mary
Stuart was in Scotland in the sixteenth century. The immense territory
of Russia had no female sovereign before the widow of Peter the Great.

The whole of Europe, and indeed I might say the whole world, was
governed by warriors in the time when Philip de Valois supported his
right against Edward III. This right of a male who succeeded to a male,
seemed the law of all nations. "You are grandson of Philip the Fair,"
said Valois to his competitor, "but as my right would be superior to
that of the mother, it must be still more decidedly superior to that of
the son. Your mother, in fact, could not communicate a right which she
did not possess."

It was therefore perfectly recognized in France that a prince of the
blood royal, although in the remotest possible degree, should be heir to
the crown in exclusion even of the daughter of the king. It is a law on
which there is now not the slightest dispute whatever. Other nations
have, since the full and universal recognition of this principle among
ourselves, adjudged the throne to princesses. But France has still
observed its ancient usage. Time has conferred on this usage the force
of the most sacred of laws. At what time the Salic law was framed or
interpreted is not of the slightest consequence; it does exist, it is
respectable, it is useful; and its utility has rendered it sacred.

_Examination Whether Daughters Are In All Cases Deprived Of Every
Species Of Inheritance By This Salic Law._

I have already bestowed the empire on a daughter in defiance of the
Golden Bull. I shall have no difficulty in conferring on a daughter the
kingdom of France. I have a better right to dispose of this realm than
Pope Julian II., who deprived Louis XII. of it, and transferred it by
his own single authority to the emperor Maximilian. I am better
authorized to plead in behalf of the daughters of the house of France,
than Pope Gregory XIII. and Cordelier Sextus-Quintus were to exclude
from the throne our princes of the blood, under the pretence actually
urged by these excellent priests, that Henry IV. and the princes of
Condé were a "bastard and detestable race" of Bourbon--refined and holy
words, which deserve ever to be remembered in order to keep alive the
conviction of all we owe to the bishops of Rome. I may give my vote in
the states-general, and no pope certainly can have any suffrage on it. I
therefore give my vote without hesitation, some three or four hundred
years from the present time, to a daughter of France, then the only
descendant remaining in a direct line from Hugh Capet. I constitute her
queen, provided she shall have been well educated, have a sound
understanding, and be no bigot. I interpret in her favor that law which
declares "_que fille ne doit mie succéder_"--that a daughter must in no
case come to her succession. I understand by the words, that she must in
no case succeed as long as there shall be any male. But on failure of
males, I prove that the kingdom belongs to her by nature, which ordains
it, and for the benefit of the nation.

I invite all good Frenchmen to show the same respect as myself for the
blood of so many kings. I consider this as the only method of preventing
factions which would dismember the state. I propose that she shall reign
in her own right, and that she shall be married to some amiable and
respectable prince, who shall assume her name and arms, and who, in his
own right, shall possess some territory which shall be annexed to
France; as we have seen Maria Theresa of Hungary united in marriage to
Francis, duke of Lorraine, the most excellent prince in the world.

What Celt will refuse to acknowledge her, unless we should discover some
other beautiful and accomplished princess of the issue of Charlemagne,
whose family was expelled by Hugh Capet, notwithstanding the Salic law?
or unless indeed we should find a princess fairer and more accomplished
still, an unquestionable descendant from Clovis, whose family was before
expelled by Pepin, his own domestic, notwithstanding, be it again
remembered, the Salic law.

I shall certainly find no involved and difficult intrigues necessary to
obtain the consecration of my royal heroine at Rheims, or Chartres, or
in the chapel of the Louvre--for either would effectually answer the
purpose; or even to dispense with any consecration at all. For monarchs
reign as well when not consecrated as when consecrated. The kings and
queens of Spain observe no such ceremony.

Among all the families of the king's secretaries, no person will be
found to dispute the throne with this Capetian princess. The most
illustrious houses are so jealous of each other that they would
infinitely prefer obeying the daughter of kings to being under the
government of one of their equals.

Recognized by the whole of France, she will receive the homage of all
her subjects with a grace and majesty which will induce them to love as
much as they revere her; and all the poets will compose verses in her


The following notes were found among the papers of a lawyer, and are
perhaps deserving some consideration:

That no ecclesiastical law should be of any force until it has received
the express sanction of government. It was upon this principle that
Athens and Rome were never involved in religious quarrels.

These quarrels fall to the lot of those nations only that have never
been civilized, or that have afterwards been again reduced to barbarism.

That the magistrate alone should have authority to prohibit labor on
festivals, because it does not become priests to forbid men to cultivate
their fields.

That everything relating to marriages depends solely upon the
magistrate, and that the priests should be confined to the august
function of blessing them.

That lending money at interest is purely an object of the civil law, as
that alone presides over commerce.

That all ecclesiastical persons should be, in all cases whatever, under
the perfect control of the government, because they are subjects of the

That men should never be so disgracefully ridiculous as to pay to a
foreign priest the first year's revenue of an estate, conferred by
citizens upon a priest who is their fellow-citizen.

That no priest should possess authority to deprive a citizen even of the
smallest of his privileges, under the pretence that that citizen is a
sinner; because the priest, himself a sinner, ought to pray for sinners,
and not to judge them.

That magistrates, cultivators, and priests, should alike contribute to
the expenses of the state, because all alike belong to the state.

That there should be only one system of weights and measures, and

That the punishment of criminals should be rendered useful. A man that
is hanged is no longer useful; but a man condemned to the public works
is still serviceable to his country, and a living lecture against crime.

That the whole law should be clear, uniform, and precise; to interpret
it is almost always to corrupt it.

That nothing should be held infamous but vice.

That taxes should be imposed always in just proportion.

That law should never be in contradiction to usage; for, if the usage is
good, the law is worth nothing.



It is difficult to point out a single nation living under a system of
good laws. This is not attributable merely to the circumstance that laws
are the productions of men, for men have produced works of great utility
and excellence; and those who invented and brought to perfection the
various arts of life were capable of devising a respectable code of
jurisprudence. But laws have proceeded, in almost every state, from the
interest of the legislator, from the urgency of the moment, from
ignorance, and from superstition, and have accordingly been made at
random, and irregularly, just in the same manner in which cities have
been built. Take a view of Paris, and observe the contrast between that
quarter of it where the fish-market (Halles) is situated, the St.
Pierre-aux-bœufs, the streets Brisemiche and Pet-au-diable and the
beauty and splendor of the Louvre and the Tuileries. This is a correct
image of our laws.

It was only after London had been reduced to ashes that it became at all
fit to be inhabited. The streets, after that catastrophe, were widened
and straightened. If you are desirous of having good laws, burn those
which you have at present, and make fresh ones.

The Romans were without fixed laws for the space of three hundred years;
they were obliged to go and request some from the Athenians, who gave
them such bad ones that they were almost all of them soon abrogated. How
could Athens itself be in possession of a judicious and complete system?
That of Draco was necessarily abolished, and that of Solon soon expired.

Our customary or common law of Paris is interpreted differently by
four-and-twenty commentaries, which decidedly proves, the same number of
times, that it is ill conceived. It is in contradiction to a hundred and
forty other usages, all having the force of law in the same nation, and
all in contradiction to each other. There are therefore, in a single
department in Europe, between the Alps and the Pyrenees, more than forty
distinct small populations, who call themselves fellow-countrymen, but
who are in reality as much strangers to one another as Tonquin is to
Cochin China.

It is the same in all provinces of Spain. It is in Germany much worse.
No one there knows what are the rights of the chief or of the members.
The inhabitant of the banks of the Elbe is connected with the cultivator
of Suabia only in speaking nearly the same language, which, it must be
admitted, is rather an unpolished and coarse one.

The English nation has more uniformity; but having extricated itself
from servitude and barbarism only by occasional efforts, by fits and
convulsive starts, and having even in its state of freedom retained many
laws formerly promulgated, either by the great tyrants who contended in
rivalship for the throne, or the petty tyrants who seized upon the power
and honors of the prelacy, it has formed altogether a body of laws of
great vigor and efficacy, but which still exhibit many bruises and
wounds, very clumsily patched and plastered.

The intellect of Europe has made greater progress within the last
hundred years than the whole world had done before since the days of
Brahma, Fohi, Zoroaster, and the Thaut of Egypt. What then is the cause
that legislation has made so little?

After the fifth century, we were all savages. Such are the revolutions
which take place on the globe; brigands pillaging and cultivators
pillaged made up the masses of mankind from the recesses of the Baltic
Sea to the Strait of Gibraltar; and when the Arabs made their appearance
in the South, the desolation of ravage and confusion was universal.

In our department of Europe, the small number, being composed of daring
and ignorant men, used to conquest and completely armed for battle, and
the greater number, composed of ignorant, unarmed slaves, scarcely any
one of either class knowing how to read or write--not even Charlemagne
himself--it happened very naturally that the Roman Church, with its pen
and ceremonies, obtained the guidance and government of those who passed
their life on horseback with their lances couched and the morion on
their heads.

The descendants of the Sicambri, the Burgundians, the Ostrogoths,
Visigoths, Lombards, Heruli, etc., felt the necessity of something in
the shape of laws. They sought for them where they were to be found. The
bishops of Rome knew how to make them in Latin. The barbarians received
them with greater respect in consequence of not understanding them. The
decretals of the popes, some genuine, others most impudently forged,
became the code of the new governors, "_regas_"; lords, "_leus_"; and
barons, who had appropriated the lands. They were the wolves who
suffered themselves to be chained up by the foxes. They retained their
ferocity, but it was subjugated by credulity and the fear which
credulity naturally produces. Gradually Europe, with the exception of
Greece and what still belonged to the Eastern Empire, became subjected
to the dominion of Rome, and the poet's verse might be again applied as
correctly as before: _Romanos rerum dominos gentemque togatam._--Æneid,
i, 286.

     The subject world shall Rome's dominion own,
     And prostrate shall adore the nation of the gown.

Almost all treaties being accompanied by the sign of the cross, and by
an oath which was frequently administered over some relics, everything
was thus brought within the jurisdiction of the Church. Rome, as
metropolitan, was supreme judge in causes, from the Cimbrian Chersonesus
to Gascony; and a thousand feudal lords, uniting their own peculiar
usages with the canon law, produced in the result that monstrous
jurisprudence of which there at present exist so many remains. Which
would have been better--no laws at all, or such as these?

It was beneficial to an empire of more vast extent than that of Rome to
remain for a long time in a state of chaos; for, as every valuable
institution was still to be formed, it was easier to build a new edifice
than to repair one whose ruins were looked upon as sacred.

The legislatrix of the North, in 1767, collected deputies from all the
provinces which contained about twelve hundred thousand square leagues.
There were Pagans, Mahometans of the sect of Ali, and others of the sect
of Omar, and about twelve different sects of Christians. Every law was
distinctly proposed to this new synod; and if it appeared conformable to
the interest of all the provinces, it then received the sanction of the
empress and the nation.

The first law that was brought forward and carried, was a law of
toleration, that the Greek priest might never forget that the Latin
priest was his fellow-man; that the Mussulman might bear with his Pagan
brother; and that the Roman Catholic might not be tempted to sacrifice
his brother Presbyterian.

The empress wrote with her own hand, in this grand council of
legislation, "Among so many different creeds, the most injurious error
would be intolerance."

It is now unanimously agreed that there is in a state only one
authority; that the proper expressions to be used are, "civil power,"
and "ecclesiastical discipline"; and that the allegory of the two swords
is a dogma of discord.

She began with emancipating the serfs of her own particular domain. She
emancipated all those of the ecclesiastical domains. She might thus be
said to have created men out of slaves.

The prelates and monks were paid out of the public treasury. Punishments
were proportioned to crimes, and the punishments were of a useful
character; offenders were for the greater part condemned to labor on
public works, as the dead man can be of no service to the living.

The torture was abolished, because it punishes a man before he is known
to be guilty; because the Romans never put any to the torture but their
slaves; and because torture tends to saving the guilty and destroying
the innocent.

This important business had proceeded thus far, when Mustapha III., the
son of Mahmoud, obliged the empress to suspend her code and proceed to


I have attempted to discover some ray of light in the mythological times
of China which precede Fohi, but I have attempted in vain.

At the period, however, in which Fohi flourished, which was about three
thousand years before the new and common era of our northwestern part of
the world, I perceive wise and mild laws already established by a
beneficent sovereign. The ancient books of the Five Kings, consecrated
by the respect of so many ages, treat of the institution of agriculture,
of pastoral economy, of domestic economy, of that simple astronomy which
regulates the different seasons, and of the music which, by different
modulations, summoned men to their respective occupations. Fohi
flourished, beyond dispute, more than five thousand years ago. We may
therefore form some judgment of the great antiquity of an immense
population, thus instructed by an emperor on every topic that could
contribute to their happiness. In the laws of that monarch I see nothing
but what is mild, useful and amiable.

I was afterwards induced to inspect the code of a small nation, or
horde, which arrived about two thousand years after the period of which
we have been speaking, from a frightful desert on the banks of the river
Jordan, in a country enclosed and bristled with peaked mountains. These
laws have been transmitted to ourselves, and are daily held up to us as
the model of wisdom. The following are a few of them:

"Not to eat the pelican, nor the ossifrage, nor the griffin, nor the
ixion, nor the eel, nor the hare, because the hare ruminates, and has
not its foot cloven."

"Against men sleeping with their wives during certain periodical
affections, under pain of death to both of the offending parties."

"To exterminate without pity all the unfortunate inhabitants of the land
of Canaan, who were not even acquainted with them; to slaughter the
whole; to massacre all, men and women, old men, children, and animals,
for the greater glory of God."

"To sacrifice to the Lord whatever any man shall have devoted as an
anathema to the Lord, and to slay it without power of ransom."

"To burn widows who, not being able to be married again to their
brothers-in-law, had otherwise consoled themselves on the highway or
elsewhere," etc.

A Jesuit, who was formerly a missionary among the cannibals, at the time
when Canada still belonged to the king of France, related to me that
once, as he was explaining these Jewish laws to his neophytes, a little
impudent Frenchman, who was present at the catechising, cried out, "They
are the laws of cannibals." One of the Indians replied to him, "You are
to know, Mr. Flippant, that we are people of some decency and kindness.
We never had among us any such laws; and if we had not some kindness and
decency, we should treat you as an inhabitant of Canaan, in order to
teach you civil language."

It appears upon a comparison of the code of the Chinese with that of the
Hebrews, that laws naturally follow the manners of the people who make
them. If vultures and doves had laws, they would undoubtedly be of a
very different character.


Sheep live in society very mildly and agreeably; their character passes
for being a very gentle one, because we do not see the prodigious
quantity of animals devoured by them. We may, however, conceive that
they eat them very innocently and without knowing it, just as we do when
we eat Sassenage cheese. The republic of sheep is a faithful image of
the age of gold.

A hen-roost exhibits the most perfect representation of monarchy. There
is no king comparable to a cock. If he marches haughtily and fiercely in
the midst of his people, it is not out of vanity. If the enemy is
advancing, he does not content himself with issuing an order to his
subjects to go and be killed for him, in virtue of his unfailing
knowledge and resistless power; he goes in person himself, ranges his
young troops behind him, and fights to the last gasp. If he conquers, it
is himself who sings the "_Te Deum._" In his civil or domestic life,
there is nothing so gallant, so respectable, and so disinterested.
Whether he has in his royal beak a grain of corn or a grub-worm, he
bestows it on the first of his female subjects that comes within his
presence. In short, Solomon in his harem was not to be compared to a
cock in a farm-yard.

If it be true that bees are governed by a queen to whom all her subjects
make love, that is a more perfect government still.

Ants are considered as constituting an excellent democracy. This is
superior to every other state, as all are, in consequence of such a
constitution, on terms of equality, and every individual is employed for
the happiness of all. The republic of beavers is superior even to that
of ants; at least, if we may judge by their performances in masonry.

Monkeys are more like merry-andrews than a regularly governed people;
they do not appear associated under fixed and fundamental laws, like the
species previously noticed.

We resemble monkeys more than any other animals in the talent of
imitation, in the levity of our ideas, and in that inconstancy which has
always prevented our having uniform and durable laws.

When nature formed our species, and imparted to us a certain portion of
instinct, self-love for our own preservation, benevolence for the safety
and comfort of others, love which is common to every class of animal
being, and the inexplicable gift of combining more ideas than all the
inferior animals together--after bestowing on us this outfit she said to
us: "Go, and do the best you can."

There is not a good code of laws in any single country. The reason is
obvious: laws have been made for particular purposes, according to time,
place, exigencies, and not with general and systematic views.

When the exigencies upon which laws were founded are changed or removed,
the laws themselves become ridiculous. Thus the law which forbade eating
pork and drinking wine was perfectly reasonable in Arabia, where pork
and wine are injurious; but at Constantinople it is absurd.

The law which confers the whole fief or landed property on the eldest
son, is a very good one in a time of general anarchy and pillage. The
eldest is then the commander of the castle, which sooner or later will
be attacked by brigands; the younger brothers will be his chief
officers, and the laborers his soldiers. All that is to be apprehended
is that the younger brother may assassinate or poison the elder, his
liege lord, in order to become himself the master of the premises; but
such instances are uncommon, because nature has so combined our
instincts and passions, that we feel a stronger horror against
assassinating our elder brother, than we feel a desire to succeed to his
authority and estate. But this law, which was suitable enough to the
owners of the gloomy, secluded, and turreted mansions, in the days of
Chilperic, is detestable when the case relates wholly to the division of
family property in a civilized and well-governed city.

To the disgrace of mankind, the laws of play or gaming are, it is well
known, the only ones that are throughout just, clear, inviolable, and
carried into impartial and perfect execution. Why is the Indian who laid
down the laws of a game of chess willingly and promptly obeyed all over
the world, while the decretals of the popes, for example, are at present
an object of horror and contempt? The reason is, that the inventor of
chess combined everything with caution and exactness for the
satisfaction of the players, and that the popes in their decretals
looked solely to their own advantage. The Indian was desirous at once of
exercising the minds of men and furnishing them with amusement; the
popes were desirous of debasing and brutifying them. Accordingly, the
game of chess has remained substantially the same for upwards of five
thousand years, and is common to all the inhabitants of the earth; while
the decretals are known only at Spoleto, Orvieto, and Loretto, and are
there secretly despised even by the most shallow and contemptible of the


During the reigns of Vespasian and Titus, when the Romans were
disembowelling the Jews, a rich Israelite fled with all the gold he had
accumulated by his occupation as a usurer, and conveyed to Ezion-Geber
the whole of his family, which consisted of his wife, then far advanced
in years, a son, and a daughter; he had in his train two eunuchs, one of
whom acted as a cook, and the other as a laborer and vine-dresser; and a
pious Essenian, who knew the Pentateuch completely by heart, acted as
his almoner. All these embarked at the port of Ezion-Geber, traversed
the sea commonly called Red, although it is far from being so, and
entered the Persian Gulf to go in search of the land of Ophir, without
knowing where it was. A dreadful tempest soon after this came on, which
drove the Hebrew family towards the coast of India; and the vessel was
wrecked on one of the Maldive islands now called Padrabranca, but which
was at that time uninhabited.

The old usurer and his wife were drowned; the son and daughter, the two
eunuchs, and the almoner were saved. They took as much of the provisions
out of the wreck as they were able; erected for themselves little cabins
on the island, and lived there with considerable convenience and
comfort. You are aware that the island of Padrabranca is within five
degrees of the line, and that it furnishes the largest cocoanuts and the
best pineapples in the world; it was pleasant to have such a lovely
asylum at a time when the favorite people of God were elsewhere exposed
to persecution and massacre; but the Essenian could not refrain from
tears when he reflected, that perhaps those on that happy island were
the only Jews remaining on the earth, and that the seed of Abraham was
to be annihilated.

"Its restoration depends entirely upon you," said the young Jew; "marry
my sister." "I would willingly," said the almoner, "but it is against
the law. I am an Essenian; I have made a vow never to marry; the law
enjoins the strictest observance of a vow; the Jewish race may come to
an end, if it must be so; but I will certainly not marry your sister in
order to prevent it, beautiful and amiable as I admit she is."

"My two eunuchs," resumed the Jew, "can be of no service in this affair;
I will therefore marry her myself, if you have no objection; and you
shall bestow the usual marriage benediction."

"I had a hundred times rather be disembowelled by the Roman soldiers,"
said the almoner, "than to be instrumental to your committing incest;
were she your sister by the father's side only, the law would allow of
your marriage; but as she is your sister by the same mother, such a
marriage would be abominable."

"I can readily admit," returned the young man, "that it would be a crime
at Jerusalem, where I might see many other young women, one of whom I
might marry; but in the isle of Padrabranca, where I see nothing but
cocoanuts, pineapples, and oysters, I consider the case to be very

The Jew accordingly married his sister, and had a daughter by her,
notwithstanding all the protestations of the Essenian; and this was the
only offspring of a marriage which one of them thought very legitimate,
and the other absolutely abominable.

After the expiration of fourteen years, the mother died; and the father
said to the almoner, "Have you at length got rid of your old prejudices?
Will you marry my daughter?" "God preserve me from it," said the
Essenian. "Then," said the father, "I will marry her myself, come what
will of it; for I cannot bear that the seed of Abraham should be totally
annihilated." The Essenian, struck with inexpressible horror, would
dwell no longer with a man who thus violated and defiled the law, and
fled. The new-married man loudly called after him, saying, "Stay here,
my friend. I am observing the law of nature, and doing good to my
country; do not abandon your friends." The other suffered him to call,
and continue to call, in vain; his head was full of the law; and he
stopped not till he had reached, by swimming, another island.

This was the large island of Attola, highly populous and civilized; as
soon as he landed he was made a slave. He complained bitterly of the
inhospitable manner in which he had been received; he was told that such
was the law, and that, ever since the island had been very nearly
surprised and taken by the inhabitants of that of Ada, it had been
wisely enacted that all strangers landing at Attola should be made
slaves. "It is impossible that can ever be a law," said the Essenian,
"for it is not in the Pentateuch." He was told in reply, that it was to
be found in the digest of the country; and he remained a slave:
fortunately he had a kind and wealthy master, who treated him very well,
and to whom he became strongly attached.

Some murderers once came to the house in which he lived, to kill his
master and carry off his treasure. They inquired of the slaves if he was
at home, and had much money there. "We assure you, on our oaths," said
the slaves, "that he is not at home." But the Essenian said: "The law
does not allow lying; I swear to you that he is at home, and that he has
a great deal of money." The master was, in consequence, robbed and
murdered; the slaves accused the Essenian, before the judges, of having
betrayed his master. The Essenian said, that he would tell no lies, and
that nothing in the world should induce him to tell one; and he was

This history was related to me, with many similar ones, on the last
voyage I made from India to France. When I arrived, I went to Versailles
on business, and saw in the street a beautiful woman, followed by many
others who were also beautiful. "Who is that beautiful woman?" said I to
the barrister who had accompanied me; for I had a cause then depending
before the Parliament of Paris about some dresses that I had had made in
India, and I was desirous of having my counsel as much with me as
possible. "She is the daughter of the king," said he, "she is amiable
and beneficent; it is a great pity that, in no case or circumstance
whatever, such a woman as that can become queen of France." "What!" I
replied, "if we had the misfortune to lose all her relations and the
princes of the blood--which God forbid--would not she, in that case,
succeed to the throne of her father?" "No," said the counsellor; "the
Salic law expressly forbids it." "And who made this Salic law?" said I
to the counsellor. "I do not at all know," said he; "but it is
pretended, that among an ancient people called the Salii, who were
unable either to read or write, there existed a written law, which
enacted, that in the Salic territory a daughter should not inherit any
freehold." "And I," said I to him, "I abolish that law; you assure me
that this princess is amiable and beneficent; she would, therefore,
should the calamity occur of her being the last existing personage of
royal blood, have an incontestable right to the crown: my mother
inherited from her father; and in the case supposed, I am resolved that
this princess shall inherit from hers."

On the ensuing day, my suit was decided in one of the chambers of
parliament, and I lost everything by a single vote; my counsellor told
me, that in another chamber I should have gained everything by a single
vote. "That is a very curious circumstance," said I: "at that rate each
chamber proceeds by a different law." "That is just the case," said he:
"there are twenty-five commentaries on the common law of Paris: that is
to say, it is proved five and twenty times over, that the common law of
Paris is equivocal; and if there had been five and twenty chambers of
judges, there would be just as many different systems of jurisprudence.
We have a province," continued he, "fifteen leagues distant from Paris,
called Normandy, where the judgment in your cause would have been very
different from what it was here." This statement excited in me a strong
desire to see Normandy; and I accordingly went thither with one of my
brothers. At the first inn, we met with a young man who was almost in a
state of despair. I inquired of him what was his misfortune; he told me
it was having an elder brother. "Where," said I, "can be the great
calamity of having an elder brother? The brother I have is my elder, and
yet we live very happily together." "Alas! sir," said he to me, "the law
of this place gives everything to the elder brother, and of course
leaves nothing for the younger ones." "That," said I, "is enough,
indeed, to disturb and distress you; among us everything is divided
equally; and yet, sometimes, brothers have no great affection for one

These little adventures occasioned me to make some observations, which
of course were very ingenious and profound, upon the subject of laws;
and I easily perceived that it was with them as it is with our garments:
I must wear a doliman at Constantinople, and a coat at Paris.

"If all human laws," said I, "are matters of convention, nothing is
necessary but to make a good bargain." The citizens of Delhi and Agra
say that they have made a very bad one with Tamerlane: those of London
congratulate themselves on having made a very good one with King William
of Orange. A citizen of London once said to me: "Laws are made by
necessity, and observed through force." I asked him if force did not
also occasionally make laws, and if William, the bastard and conqueror,
had not chosen simply to issue his orders without condescending to make
any convention or bargain with the English at all. "True," said he, "it
was so: we were oxen at that time; William brought us under the yoke,
and drove us with a goad; since that period we have been metamorphosed
into men; the horns, however, remain with us still, and we use them as
weapons against every man who attempts making us work for him and not
for ourselves."

With my mind full of all these reflections, I could not help feeling a
sensible gratification in thinking, that there exists a natural law
entirely independent of all human conventions: The fruit of my labor
ought to be my own: I am bound to honor my father and mother: I have no
right over the life of my neighbor, nor has my neighbor over mine, etc.
But when I considered, that from Chedorlaomer to Mentzel, colonel of
hussars, every one kills and plunders his neighbor according to law, and
with his patent in his pocket, I was greatly distressed.

I was told that laws existed even among robbers, and that there were
laws also in war. I asked what were the laws of war. "They are," said
some one, "to hang up a brave officer for maintaining a weak post
without cannon; to hang a prisoner, if the enemy have hanged any of
yours; to ravage with fire and sword those villages which shall not have
delivered up their means of subsistence by an appointed day, agreeably
to the commands of the gracious sovereign of the vicinage." "Good," said
I, "that is the true spirit of laws." After acquiring a good deal of
information, I found that there existed some wise laws, by which a
shepherd is condemned to nine years' imprisonment and labor in the
galleys, for having given his sheep a little foreign salt. My neighbor
was ruined by a suit on account of two oaks belonging to him, which he
had cut down in his wood, because he had omitted a mere form of
technicality with which it was almost impossible that he should have
been acquainted; his wife died, in consequence, in misery; and his son
is languishing out a painful existence. I admit that these laws are
just, although their execution is a little severe; but I must
acknowledge I am no friend to laws which authorize a hundred thousand
neighbors loyally to set about cutting one another's throats. It appears
to me that the greater part of mankind have received from nature a
sufficient portion of what is called common sense for making laws, but
that the whole world has not justice enough to make good laws.

Simple and tranquil cultivators, collected from every part of the world,
would easily agree that every one should be free to sell the superfluity
of his own corn to his neighbor, and that every law contrary to it is
both inhuman and absurd; that the value of money, being the
representative of commodities, ought no more to be tampered with than
the produce of the earth; that the father of a family should be master
in his own house; that religion should collect men together, to unite
them in kindness and friendship, and not to make them fanatics and
persecutors; and that those who labor ought not to be deprived of the
fruits of their labor, to endow superstition and idleness. In the course
of an hour, thirty laws of this description, all of a nature beneficial
to mankind, would be unanimously agreed to.

But let Tamerlane arrive and subjugate India, and you will then see
nothing but arbitrary laws. One will oppress and grind down a whole
province, merely to enrich one of Tamerlane's collectors of revenue;
another will screw up to the crime of high treason, speaking
contemptuously of the mistress of a rajah's chief valet; a third will
extort from the farmer a moiety of his harvest, and dispute with him the
right to the remainder; in short, there will be laws by which a Tartar
sergeant will be authorized to seize your children in the cradle--to
make one, who is robust, a soldier--to convert another, who is weak,
into a eunuch--and thus to leave the father and mother without
assistance and without consolation.

But which would be preferable, being Tamerlane's dog or his subject? It
is evident that the condition of his dog would be by far the better one.


It would be admirable, if from all the books upon laws by Bodin, Hobbes,
Grotius, Puffendorf, Montesquieu, Barbeyrac, and Burlamaqui, some
general law was adopted by the whole of the tribunals of Europe upon
succession, contracts, revenue offences, etc. But neither the citations
of Grotius, nor those of Puffendorf, nor those of the "Spirit of Laws,"
have ever led to a sentence in the Châtelet of Paris or the Old Bailey
of London. We weary ourselves with Grotius, pass some agreeable moments
with Montesquieu; but if process be deemed advisable, we run to our

It has been said that the letter kills, but that in the spirit there is
life. It is decidedly the contrary in the book of Montesquieu; the
spirit is diffusive, and the letter teaches nothing.

_False Citations In The "Spirit Of Laws", And False Consequences Drawn
From Them By The Author._

It is observed, that "the English, to favor liberty, have abstracted all
the intermediate powers which formed part of their constitution."

On the contrary, they have preserved the Upper House, and the greater
part of the jurisdictions which stand between the crown and the people.

"The establishment of a vizier in a despotic state is a fundamental

[Illustration: Montesquieu.]

A judicious critic has remarked that this is as much as to say that the
office of the mayors of the palace was a fundamental office. Constantine
was highly despotic, yet had no grand vizier. Louis XIV. was less
despotic, and had no first minister. The popes are sufficiently
despotic, and yet seldom possess them.

"The sale of employments is good in monarchical states, because it makes
it the profession of persons of family to undertake employments, which
they would not fulfil from disinterested motives alone."

Is it Montesquieu who writes these odious lines? What! because the vices
of Francis I. deranged the public finances, must we sell to ignorant
young men the right of deciding upon the honor, fortune, and lives of
the people? What! is it good in a monarchy, that the office of
magistrate should become a family provision? If this infamy was
salutary, some other country would have adopted it as well as France;
but there is not another monarchy on earth which has merited the
opprobrium. This monstrous anomaly sprang from the prodigality of a
ruined and spendthrift monarch, and the vanity of certain citizens whose
fathers possessed money; and the wretched abuse has always been weakly
attacked, because it was felt that reimbursement would be difficult. It
would be a thousand times better, said a great jurisconsult, to sell the
treasure of all the convents, and the plate of all the churches, than to
sell justice. When Francis I. seized the silver grating of St. Martin,
he did harm to no one; St. Martin complained not, and parted very easily
with his screen; but to sell the place of judge, and at the same time
make the judge swear that he has not bought it, is a base sacrilege.

Let us complain that Montesquieu has dishonored his work by such
paradoxes--but at the same time let us pardon him. His uncle purchased
the office of a provincial president, and bequeathed it to him. Human
nature is to be recognized in everything, and there are none of us
without weakness.

"Behold how industriously the Muscovite government seeks to emerge from

Is it in abolishing the patriarchate and the active militia of the
strelitzes; in being the absolute master of the troops, of the revenue,
and of the church, of which the functionaries are paid from the public
treasury alone? or is it proved by making laws to render that power as
sacred as it is mighty? It is melancholy, that in so many citations and
so many maxims, the contrary of what is asserted should be almost always
the truth.

"The luxury of those who possess the necessaries of life only, will be
zero; the luxury of those who possess as much again, will be equal to
one; of those who possess double the means of the latter, three; and so

The latter will possess three times the excess beyond the necessaries of
life; but it by no means follows that he will possess three times as
many luxuries; for he may be thrice as avaricious, or may employ the
superfluity in commerce, or in portions to his daughters. These
propositions are not affairs of arithmetic, and such calculations are
miserable quackery.

"The Samnites had a fine custom, which must have produced admirable
results. The young man declared the most worthy chose a wife where he
pleased; he who had the next number of suffrages in his favor followed,
and so on throughout."

The author has mistaken the Sunites, a people of Scythia, for the
Samnites, in the neighborhood of Rome. He quotes a fragment of Nicholas
de Demas, preserved by Stobæus: but is the said Nicholas a sufficient
authority? This fine custom would moreover be very injurious in a
well-governed country; for if the judges should be deceived in the young
man declared the most worthy; if the female selected should not like
him; or if he were objectionable in the eyes of the girl's parents, very
fatal results might follow.

"On reading the admirable work of Tacitus on the manners of the Germans,
it will be seen that it is from them the English drew the idea of their
political government. That admirable system originated in the woods."

The houses of peers and of commons, and the English courts of law and
equity, found in the woods! Who would have supposed it? Without doubt,
the English owe their squadrons and their commerce to the manners of the
Germans; and the sermons of Tillotson to those pious German sorcerers
who sacrificed their prisoners, and judged of their success in war by
the manner in which the blood flowed. We must believe, also, that the
English are indebted for their fine manufactures to the laudable
practice of the Germans, who, as Tacitus observers, preferred robbery to

"Aristotle ranked among monarchies the governments both of Persia and
Lacedæmon; but who cannot perceive that the one was a despotism, the
other a republic?"

Who, on the contrary, cannot perceive that Lacedæmon had a single king
for four hundred years, and two kings until the extinction of the
Heraclidæ, a period of about a thousand years? We know that no king was
despotic of right, not even in Persia; but every bold and dissembling
prince who amasses money, becomes despotic in a little time, either in
Persia or Lacedæmon; and, therefore, Aristotle distinguishes every state
possessing perpetual and hereditary chiefs, from republics.

"People of warm climates are timid, like old men; those of cold
countries are courageous, like young ones."

We should take great care how general propositions escape us. No one has
ever been able to make a Laplander or an Esquimaux warlike, while the
Arabs in fourscore years conquered a territory which exceeded that of
the whole Roman Empire. This maxim of M. Montesquieu is equally
erroneous with all the rest on the subject of climate.

"Louis XIII. was extremely averse to passing a law which made the
negroes of the French colonies slaves; but when he was given to
understand that it was the most certain way of converting them, he

Where did the author pick up this anecdote? The first arrangement for
the treatment of the negroes was made in 1673, thirty years after the
death of Louis XIII. This resembles the refusal of Francis I. to listen
to the project of Christopher Columbus, who had discovered the Antilles
before Francis I. was born.

"The Romans never exhibited any jealousy on the score of commerce. It
was as a rival, not as a commercial nation, that they attacked

It was both as a warlike and as a commercial nation, as the learned Huet
proves in his "Commerce of the Ancients," when he shows that the Romans
were addicted to commerce a long time before the first Punic war.

"The sterility of the territory of Athens established a popular
government there, and the fertility of that of Lacedæmon an aristocratic

Whence this chimera? From enslaved Athens we still derive cotton, silk,
rice, corn, oil, and skins; and from the country of Lacedæmon nothing.
Athens was twenty times richer than Lacedæmon. With respect to the
comparative fertility of the soil, it is necessary to visit those
countries to appreciate it; but the form of a government is never
attributed to the greater or less fertility. Venice had very little corn
when her nobles governed. Genoa is assuredly not fertile, and yet is an
aristocracy. Geneva is a more popular state, and has not the means of
existing a fortnight upon its own productions. Sweden, which is equally
poor, has for a long time submitted to the yoke of a monarchy; while
fertile Poland is aristocratic. I cannot conceive how general rules can
be established, which may be falsified upon the slightest appeal to

"In Europe, empires have never been able to exist." Yet the Roman Empire
existed for five hundred years, and that of the Turks has maintained
itself since the year 1453.

"The duration of the great empires of Asia is principally owing to the
prevalence of vast plains." M. Montesquieu forgets the mountains which
cross Natolia and Syria, Caucasus, Taurus, Ararat, Imaus, and others,
the ramifications of which extend throughout Asia.

       *       *       *       *       *

After thus convincing ourselves that errors abound in the "Spirit of
Laws"; after everybody is satisfied that this work wants method, and
possesses neither plan nor order, it is proper to inquire into that
which really forms its merit, and which has led to its great reputation.

In the first place, it is written with great wit, while the authors of
all the other books on this subject are tedious. It was on this account
that a lady, who possessed as much wit as Montesquieu, observed, that
his book was "_l'esprit sur les lois_." It can never be more correctly

A still stronger reason is that the book exhibits grand views, attacks
tyranny, superstition, and grinding taxation--three things which mankind
detest. The author consoles slaves in lamenting their fetters, and the
slaves in return applaud him.

One of the most bitter and absurd of his enemies, who contributed most
by his rage to exalt the name of Montesquieu throughout Europe, was the
journalist of the Convulsionaries. He called him a Spinozist and deist;
that is to say, he accused him at the same time of not believing in God
and of believing in God alone.

He reproaches him with his esteem for Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and
the Stoics; and for not loving Jansenists--the Abbé de St. Cyran and
Father Quesnel. He asserts that he has committed an unpardonable crime
in calling Bayle a great man.

He pretends that the "Spirit of Laws" is one of those monstrous works
with which France has been inundated since the Bull _Unigenitus_, which
has corrupted the consciences of all people.

This tatterdemalion from his garret, deriving at least three hundred per
cent. from his ecclesiastical gazette, declaimed like a fool against
interest upon money at the legal rate. He was seconded by some pedants
of his own sort; and the whole concluded in their resembling the slaves
placed at the foot of the statue of Louis XIV.; they are crushed, and
gnaw their own flesh in revenge.

Montesquieu was almost always in error with the learned, because he was
not learned; but he was always right against the fanatics and promoters
of slavery. Europe owes him eternal gratitude.



Our questions on Lent will merely regard the police. It appeared useful
to have a time in the year in which we should eat fewer oxen, calves,
lambs, and poultry. Young fowls and pigeons are not ready in February
and March, the time in which Lent falls; and it is good to cease the
carnage for some weeks in countries in which pastures are not so fertile
as those of England and Holland.

The magistrates of police have very wisely ordered that meat should be a
little dearer at Paris during this time, and that the profit should be
given to the hospitals. It is an almost insensible tribute paid by
luxury and gluttony to indigence; for it is the rich who are not able to
keep Lent--the poor fast all the year.

There are very few farming men who eat meat once a month. If they ate of
it every day, there would not be enough for the most flourishing
kingdom. Twenty millions of pounds of meat a day would make seven
thousand three hundred millions of pounds a year. This calculation is

The small number of the rich, financiers, prelates, principal
magistrates, great lords, and great ladies who condescend to have maigre
served at their tables, fast during six weeks on soles, salmon, turbots,
sturgeons, etc.

One of our most famous financiers had couriers, who for a hundred crowns
brought him fresh sea fish every day to Paris. This expense supported
the couriers, the dealers who sold the horses, the fishermen who
furnished the fish, the makers of nets, constructors of boats, and the
druggists from whom were procured the refined spices which give to a
fish a taste superior to that of meat. Lucullus could not have kept Lent
more voluptuously.

It should further be remarked that fresh sea fish, in coming to Paris,
pays a considerable tax. The secretaries of the rich, their valets de
chambre, ladies' maids, and stewards, partake of the dessert of
Crœsus, and fast as deliciously as he.

It is not the same with the poor; not only if for four sous they partake
of a small portion of tough mutton do they commit a great sin, but they
seek in vain for this miserable aliment. What do they therefore feed
upon? Chestnuts, rye bread, the cheeses which they have pressed from the
milk of their cows, goats or sheep, and some few of the eggs of their

There are churches which forbid them the eggs and the milk. What then
remains for them to eat? Nothing. They consent to fast; but they consent
not to die. It is absolutely necessary that they should live, if it be
only to cultivate the lands of the fat rectors and lazy monks.

We therefore ask, if it belongs not to the magistrates of the police of
the kingdom, charged with watching over the health of the inhabitants,
to give them permission to eat the cheeses which their own hands have
formed, and the eggs which their fowls have laid?

It appears that milk, eggs, cheese, and all which can nourish the
farmer, are regulated by the police, and not by a religious rule.

We hear not that Jesus Christ forbade omelets to His apostles; He said
to them: "Eat such things as are set before you."

The Holy Church has ordained Lent, but in quality of the Church it
commands it only to the heart; it can inflict spiritual pains alone; it
cannot as formerly burn a poor man, who, having only some rusty bacon,
put a slice of it on a piece of black bread the day after Shrove

Sometimes in the provinces the pastors go beyond their duty, and
forgetting the rights of the magistracy, undertake to go among the
innkeepers and cooks, to see if they have not some ounces of meat in
their saucepans, some old fowls on their hooks, or some eggs in a
cupboard; for eggs are forbidden in Lent. They intimidate the poor
people, and proceed to violence towards the unfortunates, who know not
that it belongs alone to the magistracy to interfere. It is an odious
and punishable inquisition.

The magistrates alone can be rightly informed of the more or less
abundant provisions required by the poor people of the provinces. The
clergy have occupations more sublime. Should it not therefore belong to
the magistrates to regulate what the people eat in Lent? Who should pry
into the legal consumption of a country if not the police of that


Did the first who were advised to fast put themselves under this regimen
by order of the physician, for indigestion? The want of appetite which
we feel in grief--was it the first origin of fast-days prescribed in
melancholy religions?

Did the Jews take the custom of fasting from the Egyptians, all of whose
rites they imitated, including flagellation and the scape-goat? Why
fasted Jesus for forty days in the desert, where He was tempted by the
devil--by the "Chathbull"? St. Matthew remarks that after this Lent He
was hungry; He was therefore not hungry during the fast.

Why, in days of abstinence, does the Roman Church consider it a crime to
eat terrestrial animals, and a good work to be served with soles and
salmon? The rich Papist who shall have five hundred francs' worth of
fish upon his table shall be saved, and the poor wretch dying with
hunger, who shall have eaten four sous' worth of salt pork, shall be

Why must we ask permission of the bishop to eat eggs? If a king ordered
his people never to eat eggs, would he not be thought the most
ridiculous of tyrants? How strange the aversion of bishops to omelets!

Can we believe that among Papists there have been tribunals imbecile,
dull, and barbarous enough to condemn to death poor citizens, who had no
other crimes than that of having eaten of horseflesh in Lent? The fact
is but too true; I have in my hands a sentence of this kind. What
renders it still more strange is that the judges who passed such
sentences believed themselves superior to the Iroquois.

Foolish and cruel priests, to whom do you order Lent? Is it to the rich?
they take good care to observe it. Is it to the poor? they keep Lent all
the year. The unhappy peasant scarcely ever eats meat, and has not
wherewithal to buy fish. Fools that you are, when will you correct your
absurd laws?


This article relates to two powerful divinities, one ancient and the
other modern, which have reigned in our hemisphere. The reverend father
Dom Calmet, a great antiquarian, that is, a great compiler of what was
said in former times and what is repeated at the present day, has
confounded lues with leprosy. He maintains that it was the lues with
which the worthy Job was afflicted, and he supposes, after a confident
and arrogant commentator of the name of Pineida, that the lues and
leprosy are precisely the same disorder. Calmet is not a physician,
neither is he a reasoner, but he is a citer of authorities; and in his
vocation of commentator, citations are always substituted for reasons.
When Astruc, in his history of lues, quotes authorities that the
disorder came in fact from San Domingo, and that the Spaniards brought
it from America, his citations are somewhat more conclusive.

There are two circumstances which, in my opinion, prove that lues
originated in America; the first is, the multitude of authors, both
medical and surgical, of the sixteenth century, who attest the fact; and
the second is, the silence of all the physicians and all the poets of
antiquity, who never were acquainted with this disease, and never had
even a name for it. I here speak of the silence of physicians and of
poets as equally demonstrative. The former, beginning with Hippocrates,
would not have failed to describe this malady, to state its symptoms, to
apply to it a name, and suggest some remedy. The poets, equally as
malicious and sarcastic as physicians are studious and investigative,
would have detailed in their satires, with minute particularity, all the
symptoms and consequences of this dreadful disorder; you do not find,
however, a single verse in Horace or Catullus, in Martial or Juvenal,
which has the slightest reference to lues, although they expatiate on
all the effects of debauchery with the utmost freedom and delight.

It is very certain that smallpox was not known to the Romans before the
sixth century; that the American lues was not introduced into Europe
until the fifteenth century; and that leprosy is as different from those
two maladies, as palsy from St. Guy's or St. Vitus' dance.

Leprosy was a scabious disease of a dreadful character. The Jews were
more subject to it than any other people living in hot climates, because
they had neither linen, nor domestic baths. These people were so
negligent of cleanliness and the decencies of life that their
legislators were obliged to make a law to compel them even to wash their

All that we gained in the end by engaging in the crusades, was leprosy;
and of all that we had taken, that was the only thing that remained with
us. It was necessary everywhere to build lazarettos, in which to confine
the unfortunate victims of a disease at once pestilential and incurable.

Leprosy, as well as fanaticism and usury, had been a distinguishing
characteristic of the Jews. These wretched people having no physicians,
the priests took upon themselves the management and regulation of
leprosy, and made it a concern of religion. This has occasioned some
indiscreet and profane critics to remark that the Jews were no better
than a nation of savages under the direction of their jugglers. Their
priests in fact never cured leprosy, but they cut off from society those
who were infected by it, and thus acquired a power of the greatest
importance. Every man laboring under this disease was imprisoned, like a
thief or a robber; and thus a woman who was desirous of getting rid of
her husband had only to secure the sanction of the priest, and the
unfortunate husband was shut up--it was the "_lettre de cachet_" of the
day. The Jews and those by whom they were governed were so ignorant that
they imagined the moth-holes in garments, and the mildew upon walls, to
be the effects of leprosy. They actually conceived their houses and
clothes to have leprosy; thus the people themselves, and their very rags
and hovels, were all brought under the rod of the priesthood.

One proof that, at the time of the first introduction of the lues, there
was no connection between that disorder and leprosy, is that the few
lepers that remained at the conclusion of the fifteenth century were
offended at any kind of comparison between themselves and those who were
affected by lues.

Some of the persons thus affected were in the first instance sent to the
hospital for lepers, but were received by them with indignation. The
lepers presented a petition to be separated from them; as persons
imprisoned for debt or affairs of honor claim a right not to be
confounded with the common herd of criminals.

We have already observed that the Parliament of Paris, on March 6, 1496,
issued an order, by which all persons laboring under lues, unless they
were citizens of Paris, were enjoined to depart within twenty-four
hours, under pain of being hanged. This order was neither Christian,
legal, nor judicious; but it proves that lues was regarded as a new
plague which had nothing in common with leprosy; as lepers were not
hanged for residing in Paris, while those afflicted by lues were so.

Men may bring the leprosy on themselves by their uncleanliness and
filth, just as is done by a species of animals to which the very lowest
of the vulgar may too naturally be compared; but with respect to lues,
it was a present made to America by nature. We have already reproached
this same nature, at once so kind and so malicious, so sagacious and yet
so blind, with defeating her own object by thus poisoning the source of
life; and we still sincerely regret that we have found no solution of
this dreadful difficulty.

We have seen elsewhere that man in general, one with another, or (as it
is expressed) on the average, does not live above two-and-twenty years;
and during these two-and-twenty years he is liable to two-and-twenty
thousand evils, many of which are incurable.

Yet even in this dreadful state men still strut and figure on the stage
of life; they make love at the hazard of destruction; and intrigue,
carry on war, and form projects, just as if they were to live in luxury
and delight for a thousand ages.


In the barbarous times when the Franks, Germans, Bretons, Lombards, and
Spanish Mozarabians knew neither how to read nor write, we instituted
schools and universities almost entirely composed of ecclesiastics, who,
knowing only their own jargon, taught this jargon to those who would
learn it. Academies were not founded until long after; the latter have
despised the follies of the schools, but they have not always dared to
oppose them, because there are follies which we respect when they are
attached to respectable things.

Men of letters who have rendered the most service to the small number of
thinking beings scattered over the earth are isolated scholars, true
sages shut up in their closets, who have neither publicly disputed in
the universities, nor said things by halves in the academies; and such
have almost all been persecuted. Our miserable race is so created that
those who walk in the beaten path always throw stones at those who would
show them a new one.

Montesquieu says that the Scythians put out the eyes of their slaves
that they might be more attentive to the making of their butter. It is
thus that the Inquisition acts, and almost every one is blinded in the
countries in which this monster reigns. In England people have had two
eyes for more than a hundred years. The French are beginning to open one
eye--but sometimes men in place will not even permit us to be one-eyed.

These miserable statesmen are like Doctor Balouard of the Italian
comedy, who will only be served by the fool Harlequin, and who fears to
have too penetrating a servant.

Compose odes in praise of Lord Superbus Fatus, madrigals for his
mistress; dedicate a book of geography to his porter, and you will be
well received. Enlighten men, and you will be crushed.

Descartes is obliged to quit his country; Gassendi is calumniated;
Arnaud passes his days in exile; all the philosophers are treated as the
prophets were among the Jews.

Who would believe that in the eighteenth century, a philosopher has been
dragged before the secular tribunals, and treated as impious by
reasoning theologians, for having said that men could not practise the
arts if they had no hands? I expect that they will soon condemn to the
galleys the first who shall have the insolence to say that a man could
not think if he had no head; for a learned bachelor will say to him, the
soul is a pure spirit, the head is only matter; God can place the soul
in the heel as well as in the brain; therefore I denounce you as a

The great misfortune of a man of letters is not perhaps being the object
of the jealousy of his brothers, the victim of cabals, and the contempt
of the powerful of the world--it is being judged by fools. Fools
sometimes go very far, particularly when fanaticism is joined to folly,
and folly to the spirit of vengeance. Further, the great misfortune of a
man of letters is generally to hold to nothing. A citizen buys a little
situation, and is maintained by his fellow-citizens. If any injustice is
done to him, he soon finds defenders. The literary man is without aid;
he resembles the flying fish; if he rises a little, the birds devour
him; if he dives, the fishes eat him up. Every public man pays tribute
to malignity; but he is repaid in deniers and honors.


Small, offensive books are termed libels. These books are usually small,
because the authors, having few reasons to give, and usually writing not
to inform, but mislead, if they are desirous of being read, must
necessarily be brief. Names are rarely used on these occasions, for
assassins fear being detected in the employment of forbidden weapons.

In the time of the League and the Fronde, political libels abounded.
Every dispute in England produces hundreds; and a library might be
formed of those written against Louis XIV.

We have had theological libels for sixteen hundred years; and what is
worse, these are esteemed holy by the vulgar. Only see how St. Jerome
treats Rufinus and Vigilantius. The latest libels are those of the
Molinists and Jansenists, which amount to thousands. Of all this mass
there remains only "The Provincial Letters."

Men of letters may dispute the number of their libels with the
theologians. Boileau and Fontenelle, who attacked one another with
epigrams, both said that their chambers would not contain the libels
with which they had been assailed. All these disappear like the leaves
in autumn. Some people have maintained that anything offensive written
against a neighbor is a libel.

According to them, the railing attacks which the prophets occasionally
sang to the kings of Israel, were defamatory libels to excite the people
to rise up against them. As the populace, however, read but little
anywhere, it is believed that these half-disclosed satires never did any
great harm. Sedition is produced by speaking to assemblies of the
people, rather than by writing for them. For this reason, one of the
first things done by Queen Elizabeth of England on her accession, was to
order that for six months no one should preach without express

The "Anti-Cato" of Cæsar was a libel, but Cæsar did more harm to Cato by
the battle of Pharsalia, than by his "Diatribes". The "Philippics" of
Cicero were libels, but the proscriptions of the Triumvirs were far more
terrible libels.

St. Cyril and St. Gregory Nazianzen compiled libels against the emperor
Julian, but they were so generous as not to publish them until after his

Nothing resembles libels more than certain manifestoes of sovereigns.
The secretaries of the sultan Mustapha made a libel of his declaration
of war. God has punished them for it; but the same spirit which animated
Cæsar, Cicero, and the secretaries of Mustapha, reigns in all the
reptiles who spin libels in their garrets. "_Natura est semper sibi
consona._" Who would believe that the souls of Garasse, Nonnotte,
Paulian, Fréron, and he of Langliviet, calling himself La Beaumelle,
were in this respect of the same temper as those of Cæsar, Cicero, St.
Cyril, and of the secretary of the grand seignior? Nothing is, however,
more certain.


Either I am much deceived, or Locke has very well defined liberty to be
"power". I am still further deceived, or Collins, a celebrated
magistrate of London, is the only philosopher who has profoundly
developed this idea, while Clarke has only answered him as a theologian.
Of all that has been written in France on liberty, the following little
dialogue has appeared to me the most comprehensive:

A. A battery of cannon is discharged at our ears; have you the liberty
to hear it, or not to hear it, as you please?

B. Undoubtedly I cannot hinder myself from hearing it.

A. Are you willing that these cannon shall take off your head and those
of your wife and daughter who walk with you?

B. What a question! I cannot, at least while I am in my right senses,
wish such a thing; it is impossible.

A. Good; you necessarily hear these cannon, and you necessarily wish not
for the death of yourself and your family by a discharge from them. You
have neither the power of not hearing it, nor the power of wishing to
remain here.

B. That is clear.

A. You have, I perceive, advanced thirty paces to be out of the reach of
the cannon; you have had the power of walking these few steps with me.

B. That is also very clear.

A. And if you had been paralytic, you could not have avoided being
exposed to this battery; you would necessarily have heard, and received
a wound from the cannon; and you would have as necessarily died.

B. Nothing is more true.

A. In what then consists your liberty, if not in the power that your
body has acquired of performing that which from absolute necessity your
will requires?

B. You embarrass me. Liberty then is nothing more than the power of
doing what I wish?

A. Reflect; and see whether liberty can be understood otherwise.

B. In this case, my hunting dog is as free as myself; he has necessarily
the will to run when he sees a hare; and the power of running, if there
is nothing the matter with his legs. I have therefore nothing above my
dog; you reduce me to the state of the beasts.

A. These are poor sophisms, and they are poor sophists who have
instructed you. You are unwilling to be free like your dog. Do you not
eat, sleep, and propagate like him, and nearly in the same attitudes?
Would you smell otherwise than by your nose? Why would you possess
liberty differently from your dog?

B. But I have a soul which reasons, and my dog scarcely reasons at all.
He has nothing beyond simple ideas, while I have a thousand metaphysical

A. Well, you are a thousand times more free than he is; you have a
thousand times more power of thinking than he has; but still you are not
free in any other manner than your dog is free.

B. What! am I not free to will what I like?

A. What do you understand by that?

B. I understand what all the world understands. Is it not every day said
that the will is free?

A. An adage is not a reason; explain yourself better.

B. I understand that I am free to will as I please.

A. With your permission, that is nonsense; see you not that it is
ridiculous to say--I will will? Consequently, you necessarily will the
ideas only which are presented to you. Will you be married, yes or no?

B. Suppose I answer that I will neither the one nor the other.

A. In that case you would answer like him who said: Some believe
Cardinal Mazarin dead, others believe him living; I believe neither the
one nor the other.

B. Well, I will marry!

A. Aye, that is an answer. Why will you marry?

B. Because I am in love with a young, beautiful, sweet, well-educated,
rich girl, who sings very well, whose parents are very honest people,
and I flatter myself that I am beloved by her and welcome to the family.

A. There is a reason. You see that you cannot will without a motive. I
declare to you that you are free to marry, that is to say, that you have
the power of signing the contract, keeping the wedding, and sleeping
with your wife.

B. How! I cannot will without a motive? Then what will become of the
other proverb--"_Sit pro ratione voluntas_"--my will is my reason--I
will because I will?

A. It is an absurd one, my dear friend; you would then have an effect
without a cause.

B. What! when I play at odd or even, have I a reason for choosing even
rather than odd?

A. Undoubtedly.

B. And what is the reason, if you please?

A. It is, that the idea of even is presented to your mind rather than
the opposite idea. It would be extraordinary if there were cases in
which we will because there is a motive, and others in which we will
without one. When you would marry, you evidently perceive the
predominant reason for it; you perceive it not when you play at odd or
even, and yet there must be one.

B. Therefore, once more, I am not free.

A. Your will is not free, but your actions are. You are free to act when
you have the power of acting.

B. But all the books that I have read on the liberty of indifference--

A. What do you understand by the liberty of indifference?

B. I understand spitting on the right or the left hand--sleeping on the
right or left side--walking up and down four times or five.

A. That would be a pleasant liberty, truly! God would have made you a
fine present, much to boast of, certainly! What use to you would be a
power which could only be exercised on such futile occasions? But in
truth it is ridiculous to suppose the will of willing to spit on the
right or left. Not only is the will of willing absurd, but it is certain
that several little circumstances determine these acts which you call
indifferent. You are no more free in these acts than in others. Yet you
are free at all times, and in all places, when you can do what you wish
to do.

B. I suspect that you are right. I will think upon it.


Towards the year 1707, the time at which the English gained the battle
of Saragossa, protected Portugal, and for some time gave a king to
Spain, Lord Boldmind, a general officer who had been wounded, was at the
waters of Barèges. He there met with Count Medroso, who having fallen
from his horse behind the baggage, at a league and a half from the field
of battle, also came to take the waters. He was a familiar of the
Inquisition, while Lord Boldmind was only familiar in conversation. One
day after their wine, he held this dialogue with Medroso:


--You are then the sergeant of the Dominicans? You exercise a villainous


--It is true; but I would rather be their servant than their victim, and
I have preferred the unhappiness of burning my neighbor to that of being
roasted myself.


--What a horrible alternative! You were a hundred times happier under
the yoke of the Moors, who freely suffered you to abide in all your
superstitions, and conquerors as they were, arrogated not to themselves
the strange right of sending souls to hell.


--What would you have? It is not permitted us either to write, speak, or
even to think. If we speak, it is easy to misinterpret our words, and
still more our writings; and as we cannot be condemned in an
_auto-da-fé_ for our secret thoughts, we are menaced with being burned
eternally by the order of God himself, if we think not like the
Jacobins. They have persuaded the government that if we had common sense
the entire state would be in combustion, and the nation become the most
miserable upon earth.


--Do you believe that we English who cover the seas with vessels, and
who go to gain battles for you in the south of Europe, can be so
unhappy? Do you perceive that the Dutch, who have ravished from you
almost all your discoveries in India, and who at present are ranked as
your protectors, are cursed of God for having given entire liberty to
the press, and for making commerce of the thoughts of men? Has the Roman
Empire been less powerful because Tullius Cicero has written with


--Who is this Tullius Cicero? I have never heard his name pronounced at
St. Hermandad.


--He was a bachelor of the university of Rome, who wrote that which he
thought, like Julius Cæsar, Marcus Aurelius, Titus Lucretius Carus,
Plinius, Seneca, and other sages.


--I know none of them; but I am told that the Catholic religion,
Biscayan and Roman, is lost if we begin to think.


--It is not for you to believe it; for you are sure that your religion
is divine, and that the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. If that
is the case, nothing will ever destroy it.


--No; but it may be reduced to very little; and it is through having
thought, that Sweden, Denmark, all your island, and the half of Germany
groan under the frightful misfortune of not being subjects of the pope.
It is even said that, if men continue to follow their false lights, they
will soon have merely the simple adoration of God and of virtue. If the
gates of hell ever prevail so far, what will become of the holy office?


--If the first Christians had not the liberty of thought, does it not
follow that there would have been no Christianity?


--I understand you not.


--I readily believe it. I would say, that if Tiberius and the first
emperors had fostered Jacobins, they would have hindered the first
Christians from having pens and ink; and had it not been a long time
permitted in the Roman Empire to think freely, it would be impossible
for the Christians to establish their dogmas. If, therefore,
Christianity was only formed by liberty of opinion, by what
contradiction, by what injustice, would you now destroy the liberty on
which alone it is founded?

When some affair of interest is proposed to us, do we not examine it for
a long time before we conclude upon it? What interest in the world is so
great as our eternal happiness or misery? There are a hundred religions
on earth which all condemn us if we believe your dogmas, which _they
_call impious and absurd; why, therefore, not examine these dogmas?


--How can I examine them? I am not a Jacobin.


--You are a man, and that is sufficient.


--Alas! you are more of a man than I am.


--You have only to teach yourself to think; you are born with a mind,
you are a bird in the cage of the Inquisition, the holy office has
clipped your wings, but they will grow again. He who knows not geometry
can learn it: all men can instruct themselves. Is it not shameful to put
your soul into the hands of those to whom you would not intrust your
money? Dare to think for yourself.


--It is said that if the world thought for itself, it would produce
strange confusion.


--Quite the contrary. When we assist at a spectacle, every one freely
tells his opinion of it, and the public peace is not thereby disturbed;
but if some insolent protector of a poet would force all people of taste
to proclaim that to be good which appears to them bad, blows would
follow, and the two parties would throw apples of discord at one
another's heads, as once happened at London. Tyrants over mind have
caused a part of the misfortunes of the world. We are happy in England
only because every one freely enjoys the right of speaking his opinion.


--We are all very tranquil at Lisbon, where no person dares speak his.


--You are tranquil, but you are not happy: it is the tranquillity of
galley-slaves, who row in cadence and in silence.


--You believe, then, that my soul is at the galleys?


--Yes, and I would deliver it.


--But if I find myself well at the galleys?


--Why, then, you deserve to be there.


What harm can the prediction of Jean Jacques do to Russia? Any? We allow
him to explain it in a mystical, typical, allegorical sense, according
to custom. The nations which will destroy the Russians will possess the
belles-lettres, mathematics, wit, and politeness, which degrade man and
pervert nature.

From five to six thousand pamphlets have been printed in Holland against
Louis XIV., none of which contributed to make him lose the battles of
Blenheim, Turin, and Ramillies.

In general, we have as natural a right to make use of our pens as our
language, at our peril, risk, and fortune. I know many books which
fatigue, but I know of none which have done real evil. Theologians, or
pretended politicians, cry: "Religion is destroyed, the government is
lost, if you print certain truths or certain paradoxes. Never attempt to
think, till you have demanded permission from a monk or an officer. It
is against good order for a man to think for himself. Homer, Plato,
Cicero, Virgil, Pliny, Horace, never published anything but with the
approbation of the doctors of the Sorbonne and of the holy Inquisition."

"See into what horrible decay the liberty of the press brought England
and Holland. It is true that they possess the commerce of the whole
world, and that England is victorious on sea and land; but it is merely
a false greatness, a false opulence: they hasten with long strides to
their ruin. An enlightened people cannot exist."

None can reason more justly, my friends; but let us see, if you please,
what state has been lost by a book. The most dangerous, the most
pernicious of all, is that of Spinoza. Not only in the character of a
Jew he attacks the New Testament, but in the character of a scholar he
ruins the Old; his system of atheism is a thousand times better composed
and reasoned than those of Straton and of Epicurus. We have need of the
most profound sagacity to answer to the arguments by which he endeavors
to prove that one substance cannot form another.

Like yourself, I detest this book, which I perhaps understand better
than you, and to which you have very badly replied; but have you
discovered that this book has changed the face of the world? Has any
preacher lost a florin of his income by the publication of the works of
Spinoza? Is there a bishop whose rents have diminished? On the contrary,
their revenues have doubled since his time: all the ill is reduced to a
small number of peaceable readers, who have examined the arguments of
Spinoza in their closets, and have written for or against them works but
little known.

For yourselves, it is of little consequence to have caused to be printed
"_ad usum Delphini,_" the atheism of Lucretius--as you have already been
reproached with doing--no trouble, no scandal, has ensued from it: so
leave Spinoza to live in peace in Holland. Lucretius was left in repose
at Rome.

But if there appears among you any new book, the ideas of which shock
your own--supposing you have any--or of which the author may be of a
party contrary to yours--or what is worse, of which the author may not
be of any party at all--then you cry out Fire! and let all be noise,
scandal, and uproar in your small corner of the earth. There is an
abominable man who has printed that if we had no hands we could not make
shoes nor stockings. Devotees cry out, furred doctors assemble, alarms
multiply from college to college, from house to house, and why? For five
or six pages, about which there no longer will be a question at the end
of three months. Does a book displease you? refute it. Does it tire you?
read it not.

Oh! say you to me, the books of Luther and Calvin have destroyed the
Roman Catholic religion in one-half of Europe? Why say not also, that
the books of the patriarch Photius have destroyed this Roman religion in
Asia, Africa, Greece, and Russia?

You deceive yourself very grossly, when you think that you have been
ruined by books. The empire of Russia is two thousand leagues in extent,
and there are not six men who are aware of the points disputed by the
Greek and Latin Church. If the monk Luther, John Calvin, and the vicar
Zuinglius had been content with writing, Rome would yet subjugate all
the states that it has lost; but these people and their adherents ran
from town to town, from house to house, exciting the women, and were
maintained by princes. Fury, which tormented Amata, and which, according
to Virgil, whipped her like a top, was not more turbulent. Know, that
one enthusiastic, factious, ignorant, supple, vehement Capuchin, the
emissary of some ambitious monks, preaching, confessing, communicating,
and caballing, will much sooner overthrow a province than a hundred
authors can enlighten it. It was not the Koran which caused Mahomet to
succeed: it was Mahomet who caused the success of the Koran.

No! Rome has not been vanquished by books; it has been so by having
caused Europe to revolt at its rapacity; by the public sale of
indulgences; for having insulted men, and wishing to govern them like
domestic animals; for having abused its power to such an extent that it
is astonishing a single village remains to it. Henry VIII., Elizabeth,
the duke of Saxe, the landgrave of Hesse, the princes of Orange, the
Condés and Colignys, have done all, and books nothing. Trumpets have
never gained battles, nor caused any walls to fall except those of

You fear books, as certain small cantons fear violins. Let us read, and
let us dance--these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.


The following passage is found in the "_Système de la Nature,_" London
edition, page 84: "We ought to define _life_, before we reason
concerning _soul_; but I hold it to be impossible to do so."

On the contrary, I think a definition of life quite possible. Life is
organization with the faculty of sensation. Thus all animals are said to
live. Life is attributed to plants, only by a species of metaphor or
catachresis. They are organized and vegetate; but being incapable of
sensation, do not properly possess life.

We may, however, live without actual sensation; for we feel nothing in a
complete apoplexy, in a lethargy, or in a sound sleep without dreams;
but yet possess the capacity of sensation. Many persons, it is too well
known, have been buried alive, like Roman vestals, and it is what
happens after every battle, especially in cold countries. A soldier lies
without motion, and breathless, who, if he were duly assisted, might
recover; but to settle the matter speedily, they bury him.

What is this capacity of sensation? Formerly, life and soul meant the
same thing, and the one was no better understood than the other; at
bottom, is it more understood at present?

In the sacred books of the Jews, soul is always used for life.

"_Dixit etiam Deus, producant aquæ reptile animæ viventis._" (And God
said, let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature which
hath a living soul.)

"_Creavit Deus cete grandia, et omnem animam viventem, atque motabilem
quam produxerant aquæ._ (And God created great dragons (_tannitiim_),
and every living soul that moveth, which the waters brought forth.) It
is difficult to explain the creation of these watery dragons, but such
is the text, and it is for us to submit to it.

"_Producat terra animam viventem in genere suo, jumenta et reptilia._"
(Let the earth produce the living soul after its kind, cattle and
creeping things.)

"_Et in quibus est anima vivens, ad vescendum._" (And to everything
wherein there is a living soul [every green herb], for meat.)

"_Et inspiravit in faciem ejus spiraculum vitæ, et factus est homo in
animam viventem._" (And breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,
and man became a living soul.)

"_Sanguinem enim animarum vestrarum requiram de manu cunctarum betiarum,
et de manu hominis,_" etc. (I shall require back your souls from the
hands of man and beast.)

Souls here evidently signify lives. The sacred text certainly did not
mean that beasts had swallowed the souls of men, but their blood, which
is their life; and as to the hands given by this text to beasts, it
signifies their claws.

In short, more than two hundred passages may be quoted in which the soul
is used for the life, both of beasts and man; but not one which explains
either life or soul.

If life be the faculty of sensation, whence this faculty? In reply to
this question, all the learned quote systems, and these systems are
destructive of one another. But why the anxiety to ascertain the source
of sensation? It is as difficult to conceive the power which binds all
things to a common centre as to conceive the cause of animal sensation.
The direction of the needle towards the pole, the paths of comets, and a
thousand other phenomena are equally incomprehensible.

Properties of matter exist, the principle of which will never be known
to us; and that of sensation, without which there cannot be life, is
among the number.

Is it possible to live without experiencing sensation? No. An infant
which dies in a lethargy that has lasted from its birth has existed, but
not lived.

Let us imagine an idiot unable to form complex ideas, but who possesses
sensation; he certainly lives without thinking, forming simple ideas
from his sensations. Thought, therefore, is not necessary to life, since
this idiot has lived without thinking.

Hence, certain thinkers _think _that thought is not of the essence of
man. They maintain that many idiots who think not, are men; and so
decidedly men as to produce other men, without the power of constructing
a single argument.

The doctors who maintain the essentiality of thought, reply that these
idiots have certain ideas from their sensation. Bold reasoners rejoin,
that a well-taught mind possesses more consecutive ideas, and is very
superior to these idiots, whence has sprung a grand dispute upon the
soul, of which we shall speak--possibly at too great a length--in the
article on "Soul."


There are so many kinds of love, that in order to define it, we scarcely
know which to direct our attention to. Some boldly apply the name of
"love" to a caprice of a few days, a connection without attachment,
passion without affection, the affectations of cicisbeism, a cold usage,
a romantic fancy, a taste speedily followed by a distaste. They apply
the name to a thousand chimeras.

Should any philosophers be inclined profoundly to investigate a subject
in itself so little philosophical, they may recur to the banquet of
Plato, in which Socrates, the decent and honorable lover of Alcibiades
and Agathon, converses with them on the metaphysics of love.

Lucretius speaks of it more as a natural philosopher; and Virgil follows
the example of Lucretius. "_Amor omnibus idem._"

It is the embroidery of imagination on the stuff of nature. If you wish
to form an idea of love, look at the sparrows in your garden; behold
your doves; contemplate the bull when introduced to the heifer; look at
that powerful and spirited horse which two of your grooms are conducting
to the mare that quietly awaits him, and is evidently pleased at his
approach; observe the flashing of his eyes, notice the strength and
loudness of his neighings, the boundings, the curvetings, the ears
erect, the mouth opening with convulsive gaspings, the distended
nostrils, the breath of fire, the raised and waving mane, and the
impetuous movement with which he rushes towards the object which nature
has destined for him; do not, however, be jealous of his happiness; but
reflect on the advantages of the human species; they afford ample
compensation in love for all those which nature has conferred on mere
animals--strength, beauty, lightness, and rapidity.

There are some classes, however, even of animals totally unacquainted
with sexual association. Fishes are destitute of this enjoyment. The
female deposits her millions of eggs on the slime of the waters, and the
male that meets them passes over them and communicates the vital
principle, never consorting with, or perhaps even perceiving the female
to whom they belong.

The greater part of those animals which copulate are sensible of the
enjoyment only by a single sense; and when appetite is satisfied, the
whole is over. No animal, besides man, is acquainted with embraces; his
whole frame is susceptible; his lips particularly experience a delight
which never wearies, and which is exclusively the portion of his
species; finally, he can surrender himself at all seasons to the
endearments of love, while mere animals possess only limited periods. If
you reflect on these high pre-eminences, you will readily join in the
earl of Rochester's remark, that love would impel a whole nation of
atheists to worship the divinity.

As men have been endowed with the talent of perfecting whatever nature
has bestowed upon them, they have accordingly perfected the gift of
love. Cleanliness, personal attention, and regard to health render the
frame more sensitive, and consequently increase its capacity of
gratification. All the other amiable and valuable sentiments enter
afterwards into that of love, like the metals which amalgamate with
gold; friendship and esteem readily fly to its support; and talents both
of body and of mind are new and strengthening bonds.

     _Nam facit ipsa suis interdum femina factis,_
     _Morigerisque modis, et mundo corpore cultu_
     _Ut facile insuescat secum vir degere vitam._
                                     --LUCRETIUS, iv, 1275.

Self-love, above all, draws closer all these various ties. Men pride
themselves in the choice they have made; and the numberless illusions
that crowd around constitute the ornament of the work, of which the
foundation is so firmly laid by nature.

Such are the advantages possessed by man above the various tribes of
animals. But, if he enjoys delights of which they are ignorant, howe
many vexations and disgusts, on the other hand, is he exposed to, from
which they are free! The most dreadful of these is occasioned by
nature's having poisoned the pleasures of love and sources of life over
three-quarters of the world by a terrible disease, to which man alone is
subject; nor is it with this pestilence as with various other maladies,
which are the natural consequences of excess. It was not introduced into
the world by debauchery. The Phrynes and Laises, the Floras and
Messalinas, were never attacked by it. It originated in islands where
mankind dwelt together in innocence, and has thence been spread
throughout the Old World.

If nature could in any instance be accused of despising her own work,
thwarting her own plan, and counteracting her own views, it would be in
this detestable scourge which has polluted the earth with horror and
shame. And can this, then, be the best of all possible worlds? What! if
Cæsar and Antony and Octavius never had this disease, was it not
possible to prevent Francis the First from dying of it? No, it is said;
things were so ordered all for the best; I am disposed to believe it;
but it is unfortunate for those to whom Rabelais has dedicated his book.

Erotic philosophers have frequently discussed the question, whether
Héloïse could truly love Abélard after he became a monk and mutilated?
One of these states much wronged the other.

Be comforted, however, Abélard, you were really beloved; imagination
comes in aid of the heart. Men feel a pleasure in remaining at table,
although they can no longer eat. Is it love? is it simply recollection?
is it friendship? It is a something compounded of all these. It is a
confused feeling, resembling the fantastic passions which the dead
retained in the Elysian Fields. The heroes who while living had shone in
the chariot races, guided imaginary chariots after death. Héloïse lived
with you on illusions and supplements. She sometimes caressed you, and
with so much the more pleasure as, after vowing at Paraclet that she
would love you no more, her caresses were become more precious to her in
proportion as they had become more culpable. A woman can never form a
passion for a eunuch, but she may retain her passion for her lover after
his becoming one, if he still remains amiable.

The case is different with respect to a lover grown old in the service;
the external appearance is no longer the same; wrinkles affright,
grizzly eyebrows repel, decaying teeth disgust, infirmities drive away;
all that can be done or expected is to have the virtue of being a
patient and kind nurse, and bearing with the man that was once beloved,
all which amounts to--burying the dead.


The disputes that have occurred about the love of God have kindled as
much hatred as any theological quarrel. The Jesuits and Jansenists have
been contending for a hundred years as to which party loved God in the
most suitable and appropriate manner, and which should at the same time
most completely harass and torment their neighbor.

When the author of "Telemachus," who was in high reputation at the court
of Louis XIV., recommended men to love God in a manner which did not
happen to coincide with that of the author of the "Funeral Orations",
the latter, who was a complete master of the weapons of controversy,
declared open war against him, and procured his condemnation in the
ancient city of Romulus, where God was the very object most loved, after
domination, ease, luxury, pleasure, and money.

If Madame Guyon had been acquainted with the story of the good old
woman, who brought a chafingdish to burn paradise, and a pitcher of
water to extinguish hell, that God might be loved for Himself alone, she
would not perhaps have written so much as she did. She must inevitably
have felt that she could herself never say anything better than that;
but she loved God and nonsense so sincerely that she was imprisoned for
four months, on account of her affectionate attachment; treatment
decidedly rigorous and unjust. Why punish as a criminal a woman whose
only offence was composing verse in the style of the Abbé Cotin, and
prose in the taste of the popular favorite Punchinello? It is strange
that the author of "Telemachus" and the frigid loves of Eucharis should
have said in his "Maxims of Saints," after the blessed Francis de Sales:
"I have scarcely any desires; but, were I to be born again, I should not
have any at all. If God came to me, I would also go to Him; if it were
not His will to come to me, I would stay where I was, and not go to

His whole work turns upon this proposition. Francis de Sales was not
condemned, but Fénelon was. Why should that have been? the reason is,
that Francis de Sales had not a bitter enemy at the court of Turin, and
that Fénelon had one at Versailles.

The most sensible thing that was written upon this mystical controversy
is to be found perhaps in Boileau's satire, On the Love of God, although
that is certainly by no means his best work.

     _Qui fait exactement ce que, ma loi commande, A pour_
     _moi, dit ce Dieu, l'amour que je demande._
                                          --EP. xii. 99.

     Attend exactly to my law's command,
     Such, says this God, the worship I demand.

If we must pass from the thorns of theology to those of philosophy,
which are not so long and are less piercing, it seems clear that an
object may be loved by any one without any reference to self, without
any mixture of interested self-love. We cannot compare divine things to
earthly ones, or the love of God to any other love. We have an infinity
of steps to mount above our grovelling human inclinations before we can
reach that sublime love. Since, however, we have nothing to rest upon
except the earth, let us draw our comparisons from that. We view some
masterpiece of art, in painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry, or
eloquence; we hear a piece of music that absolutely enchants our ears
and souls; we admire it, we love it, without any return of the slightest
advantage to ourselves from this attachment; it is a pure and refined
feeling; we proceed sometimes so far as to entertain veneration or
friendship for the author; and were he present should cordially embrace

This is almost the only way in which we can explain our profound
admiration and the impulses of our heart towards the eternal architect
of the world. We survey the work with an astonishment made up of respect
and a sense of our own nothingness, and our heart warms and rises as
much as possible towards the divine artificer.

But what is this feeling? A something vague and indeterminate--an
impression that has no connection with our ordinary affections. A soul
more susceptible than another, more withdrawn from worldly business and
cares, may be so affected by the spectacle of nature as to feel the most
ardent as well as pious aspirations towards the eternal Lord who formed
it. Could such an amiable affection of the mind, could so powerful a
charm, so strong an evidence of feeling, incur censure? Was it possible
in reality to condemn the affectionate and grateful disposition of the
archbishop of Cambray? Notwithstanding the expressions of St. Francis de
Sales, above given, he adhered steadily to this assertion, that the
author may be loved merely and simply for the beauty of his works. With
what heresy could he be reproached? The extravagances of style of a lady
of Montargis, and a few unguarded expressions of his own, were not a
little injurious to him.

Where was the harm that he had done? Nothing at present is known about
the matter. This dispute, like numberless others, is completely
annihilated. Were every dogmatist to say to himself: A few years hence
no one will care a straw for my dogmas, there would be far less
dogmatizing in the world than there is! Ah! Louis the Fourteenth! Louis
the Fourteenth! when two men of genius had departed so far from the
natural scope and direction of their talents, as to write the most
obscure and tiresome works ever written in your dominions, how much
better would it have been to have left them to their own wranglings!

     _Pour finir tous ces débats-là,_
     _Tu n'avais qu'à les laisser faire._
     To end debates in such a tone
     'Twas but to leave the men alone.

It is observable under all the articles of morality and history, by what
an invisible chain, by what unknown springs, all the ideas that disturb
our minds and all the events that poison our days are bound together and
brought to co-operate in the formation of our destinies. Fénelon dies in
exile in consequence of holding two or three mystical conversations with
a pious but fanciful woman. Cardinal Bouillon, nephew of the great
Turenne, is persecuted in consequence of not himself persecuting at Rome
the archbishop of Cambray, his friend: he is compelled to quit France,
and he also loses his whole fortune.

By a like chain of causes and effects, the son of a solicitor at Vire
detects, in a dozen of obscure phrases of a book printed at Amsterdam,
what is sufficient to fill all the dungeons of France with victims; and
at length, from the depth of those dungeons arises a cry for redress and
vengeance, the echo of which lays prostrate on the earth an able and
tyrannical society which had been established by an ignorant madman.


If the love called Socratic and Platonic is only a becoming sentiment,
it is to be applauded; if an unnatural license, we must blush for

It is as certain as the knowledge of antiquity can well be, that
Socratic love was not an infamous passion. It is the word "love" which
has deceived the world. Those called the lovers of a young man were
precisely such as among us are called the minions of our
princes--honorable youths attached to the education of a child of
distinction, partaking of the same studies and the same military
exercises--a warlike and correct custom, which has been perverted into
nocturnal feasts and midnight orgies.

The company of lovers instituted by Laius was an invincible troop of
young warriors, bound by oath each to preserve the life of any other at
the expense of his own. Ancient discipline never exhibited anything more

Sextus Empiricus and others have boldly affirmed that this vice was
recommended by the laws of Persia. Let them cite the text of such a law;
let them exhibit the code of the Persians; and if such an abomination be
even found there, still I would disbelieve it, and maintain that the
thing was not true, because it is impossible. No; it is not in human
nature to make a law which contradicts and outrages nature itself--a law
which would annihilate mankind, if it were literally observed. Moreover,
I will show you the ancient law of the Persians as given in the
"Sadder." It says, in article or gate 9, that the greatest sin must not
be committed. It is in vain that a modern writer seeks to justify Sextus
Empiricus and pederasty. The laws of Zoroaster, with which he is
unacquainted, incontrovertibly prove that this vice was never
recommended to the Persians. It might as well be said that it is
recommended to the Turks. They boldly practise it, but their laws
condemn it.

How many persons have mistaken shameful practices, which are only
tolerated in a country, for its laws. Sextus Empiricus, who doubted
everything, should have doubted this piece of jurisprudence. If he had
lived in our days, and witnessed the proceedings of two or three young
Jesuits with their pupils, would he have been justified in the assertion
that such practices were permitted by the institutes of Ignatius Loyola?

It will be permitted to me here to allude to the Socratic love of the
reverend father Polycarp, a Carmelite, who was driven away from the
small town of Gex in 1771, in which place he taught religion and Latin
to about a dozen scholars. He was at once their confessor, tutor, and
something more. Few have had more occupations, spiritual and temporal.
All was discovered; and he retired into Switzerland, a country very
distant from Greece.

The monks charged with the education of youth have always exhibited a
little of this tendency, which is a necessary consequence of the
celibacy to which the poor men are condemned.

This vice was so common at Rome that it was impossible to punish a crime
which almost every one committed. Octavius Augustus, that murderer,
debauchee, and coward, who exiled Ovid, thought it right in Virgil to
sing the charms of Alexis. Horace, his other poetical favorite,
constructed small odes on Ligurinus; and this same Horace, who praised
Augustus for reforming manners, speak in his satires in much the same
way of both boys and girls. Yet the ancient law "_Scantinia,_" which
forbade pederasty, always existed, and was put in force by the emperor
Philip, who drove away from Rome the boys who made a profession of it.
If, however, Rome had witty and licentious students, like Petronius, it
had also such preceptors as Quintilian; and attend to the precautions he
lays down in his chapter of "The Preceptor," in order to preserve the
purity of early youth. "_Cavendum non solum crimine turpitudinis, sed
etiam suspicione._" We must not only beware of a shameful crime but even
of the suspicion of it. To conclude, I firmly believe that no civilized
nation ever existed which made formal laws against morals.

_Observations By Another Hand._

We may be permitted to make a few additional reflections on an odious
and disgusting subject, which however, unfortunately, forms a part of
the history of opinions and manners.

This offence may be traced to the remotest periods of civilization.
Greek and Roman history in particular allows us not to doubt it. It was
common before people formed regular societies, and were governed by
written laws.

The latter fact is the reason that the laws have treated it with so much
indulgence. Severe laws cannot be proposed to a free people against a
vice, whatever it may be, which is common and habitual. For a long time
many of the German nations had written laws which admitted of
composition and murder. Solon contented himself with forbidding these
odious practices between the citizens and slaves. The Athenians might
perceive the policy of this interdiction, and submit to it; especially
as it operated against the slaves only, and was enacted to prevent them
from corrupting the young free men. Fathers of families, however lax
their morals, had no motive to oppose it.

The severity of the manners of women in Greece, the use of public baths,
and the passion for games in which men appeared altogether naked,
fostered this turpitude, notwithstanding the progress of society and
morals. Lycurgus, by allowing more liberty to the women, and by certain
other institutions, succeeded in rendering this vice less common in
Sparta than in the other towns of Greece.

When the manners of a people become less rustic, as they improve in
arts, luxury, and riches, if they retain their former vices, they at
least endeavor to veil them. Christian morality, by attaching shame to
connections between unmarried people, by rendering marriage
indissoluble, and proscribing concubinage by ecclesiastical censures,
has rendered adultery common. Every sort of voluptuousness having been
equally made sinful, that species is naturally preferred which is
necessarily the most secret; and thus, by a singular contradiction,
absolute crimes are often made more frequent, more tolerated, and less
shameful in public opinion, than simple weaknesses. When the western
nations began a course of refinement, they sought to conceal adultery
under the veil of what is called gallantry. Then men loudly avowed a
passion in which it was presumed the women did not share. The lovers
dared demand nothing; and it was only after more than ten years of pure
love, of combats and victories at tournaments that a cavalier might hope
to discover a moment of weakness in the object of his adoration. There
remains a sufficient number of records of these times to convince us
that the state of manners fostered this species of hypocrisy. It was
similar among the Greeks, when they had become polished. Connections
between males were not shameful; young people united themselves to each
other by oaths, but it was to live and die for their country. It was
usual for a person of ripe age to attach himself to a young man in a
state of adolescence, ostensibly to form, instruct, and guide him; and
the passion which mingled in these friendships was a sort of love--but
still innocent love. Such was the veil with which public decency
concealed vices which general opinion tolerated.

In short, in the same manner as chivalric gallantry is often made a
theme for eulogy in modern society, as proper to elevate the soul and
inspire courage, was it common among the Greeks to eulogize that love
which attached citizens to each other.

Plato said that the Thebans acted laudably in adopting it, because it
was necessary to polish their manners, supply greater energy to their
souls and to their spirits, which were benumbed by the nature of their
climate. We perceive by this, that a virtuous friendship alone was
treated of by Plato. Thus, when a Christian prince proclaimed a
tournament, at which every one appeared in the colors of his mistress,
it was with the laudable intention of exciting emulation among its
knights, and to soften manners; it was not adultery, but gallantry, that
he would encourage within his dominions. In Athens, according to Plato,
they set bounds to their toleration. In monarchical states, it was
politic to prevent these attachments between men, but in republics they
materially tended to prevent the double establishment of tyranny. In the
sacrifice of a citizen, a tyrant knew not whose vengeance he might arm
against himself, and was liable, without ceasing, to witness
conspiracies grow out of the resolutions which this ambiguous affection
produced among men.

In the meantime, in spite of ideas so remote from our sentiments and
manners, this practice was regarded as very shameful among the Greeks,
every time it was exhibited without the excuse of friendship or
political ties. When Philip of Macedon saw extended on the field of
battle of Chæronea, the soldiers who composed the sacred battalion or
band of friends at Thebes, all killed in the ranks in which they had
combated: "I will never believe," he exclaimed, "that such brave men
have committed or suffered anything shameful." This expression from a
man himself soiled with this infamy furnishes an indisputable proof of
the general opinion of Greece.

At Rome, this opinion was still stronger. Many Greek heroes, regarded as
virtuous men, have been supposed addicted to the vice; but among the
Romans it was never attributed to any of those characters in whom great
virtue was acknowledged. It only seems, that with these two nations no
idea of crime or even dishonor was attached to it unless carried to
excess, which renders even a passion for women disgraceful.

Pederasty is rare among us, and would be unknown, but for the defects of
public education.

Montesquieu pretends that it prevails in certain Mahometan nations, in
consequence of the facility of possessing women. In our opinion, for
"facility" we should read difficulty.



In a country where all the inhabitants went bare-footed, could luxury be
imputed to the first man who made a pair of shoes for himself? Or
rather, was he not a man of sense and industry?

Is it not just the same with him who procured the first shirt? With
respect to the man who had it washed and ironed, I consider him as an
absolute genius, abundant in resources, and qualified to govern a state.
Those however who were not used to wear clean shirts, considered him as
a rich, effeminate coxcomb who was likely to corrupt the nation.

"Beware of luxury," said Cato to the Romans; "you have conquered the
province of Phasis, but never eat any pheasants. You have subjugated the
country in which cotton grows; still however continue to sleep on the
bare ground. You have plundered the gold, and silver, and jewels of
innumerable nations, but never become such fools as to use them. After
taking everything, remain destitute of everything. Highway robbers
should be virtuous and free."

Lucullus replied, "You should rather wish, my good friend, that Crassus,
and Pompey, and Cæsar, and myself should spend all that we have taken in
luxury. Great robbers must fight about the division of the spoil; but
Rome will inevitably be enslaved, and it will be enslaved by one or
other of us much more speedily, and much more securely, if we place that
value upon money that you do, than if we spend it in superfluities and
pleasures. Wish that Pompey and Cæsar may so far impoverish themselves
as not to have money enough to pay the armies."

Not long since a Norwegian was upbraiding a Dutchman with luxury. "Where
now," says he, "are the happy times when a merchant, quitting Amsterdam
for the great Indies, left a quarter of smoked beef in his kitchen and
found it untouched on his return? Where are your wooden spoons and iron
forks? Is it not shameful for a sensible Dutchman to sleep in a bed of

"Go to Batavia," replied the Amsterdammer; "gain, as I have done, ten
tons of gold; and then see if you have not some inclination to be well
clothed, well fed, and well lodged."

Since this conversation, twenty volumes have been written about luxury,
and these books have neither increased nor diminished it.


Luxury has been declaimed against for the space of two thousand years,
both in verse and prose; and yet it has been always liked.

What has not been said of the Romans? When, in the earlier periods of
their history, these banditti ravaged and carried off their neighbor's
harvests; when, in order to augment their own wretched village, they
destroyed the poor villages of the Volsci and Samnites, they were, we
are told, men disinterested and virtuous. They could not as yet, be it
remembered, carry away gold, and silver; and jewels, because the towns
which they sacked and plundered had none; nor did their woods and swamps
produce partridges or pheasants; yet people, forsooth, extol their

When, by a succession of violences, they had pillaged and robbed every
country from the recesses of the Adriatic to the Euphrates, and had
sense enough to enjoy the fruit of their rapine; when they cultivated
the arts, and tasted all the pleasures of life, and communicated them
also to the nations which they conquered; then, we are told, they ceased
to be wise and good.

All such declamations tend just to prove this--that a robber ought not
to eat the dinner he has taken, nor wear the habit he has stolen, nor
ornament his finger with the ring he has plundered from another. All
this, it is said, should be thrown into the river, in order to live like
good people; but how much better would it be to say, never rob--it is
your duty not to rob? Condemn the brigands when they plunder; but do not
treat them as fools or madmen for enjoying their plunder. After a number
of English sailors have obtained their prize money for the capture of
Pondicherry, or Havana, can they be blamed for purchasing a little
pleasure in London, in return for the labor and pain they have suffered
in the uncongenial climes of Asia or America?

The declaimers we have mentioned would wish men to bury the riches that
might be accumulated by the fortune of war, or by agriculture, commerce,
and industry in general. They cite Lacedæmon; why do they not also cite
the republic of San Marino? What benefit did Sparta do to Greece? Had
she ever a Demosthenes, a Sophocles, an Apelles, or a Phidias? The
luxury of Athens formed great men of every description. Sparta had
certainly some great captains, but even these in a smaller number than
other cities. But allowing that a small republic like Lacedæmon may
maintain its poverty, men uniformly die, whether they are in want of
everything, or enjoying the various means of rendering life agreeable.
The savage of Canada subsists and attains old age, as well as the
English citizen who has fifty thousand guineas a year. But who will ever
compare the country of the Iroquois to England?

Let the republic of Ragusa and the canton of Zug enact sumptuary laws;
they are right in so doing. The poor must not expend beyond their means;
but I have somewhere read, that if partially injurious, luxury benefits
a great nation upon the whole.

     _Sachez surtout que le luxe enrichit_
     _Un grand état, s'il en perd un petit._

If by luxury you mean excess, we know that excess is universally
pernicious, in abstinence as well as gluttony, in parsimony or
profusion. I know not how it has happened, that in my own village, where
the soil is poor and meagre, the imposts heavy, and the prohibition
against a man's exporting the corn he has himself sown and reaped,
intolerable, there is hardly a single cultivator who is not well
clothed, and who has not an ample supply of warmth and food. Should this
cultivator go to plough in his best clothes and with his hair dressed
and powdered, there would in that case exist the greatest and most
absurd luxury; but were a wealthy citizen of Paris or London to appear
at the play in the dress of this peasant, he would exhibit the grossest
and most ridiculous parsimony.

     _Est modus in rebus, sunt certi denique fines,_
     _Quos ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum._
                          --HORACE, i. sat. i. v. 106.

     Some certain mean in all things may be found,
     To mark our virtues, and our vices, bound.

On the invention of scissors, which are certainly not of the very
highest antiquity, what was not said of those who pared their nails and
cut off some of their hair that was hanging down over their noses? They
were undoubtedly considered as prodigals and coxcombs, who bought at an
extravagant price an instrument just calculated to spoil the work of the
Creator. What an enormous sin to pare the horn which God Himself made to
grow at our fingers' ends! It was absolutely an insult to the Divine
Being Himself. When shirts and socks were invented, it was far worse. It
is well known with what wrath and indignation the old counsellors, who
had never worn socks, exclaimed against the young magistrates who
encouraged so dreadful and fatal a luxury.


What is madness? To have erroneous perceptions, and to reason correctly
from them? Let the wisest man, if he would understand madness, attend to
the succession of his ideas while he dreams. If he be troubled with
indigestion during the night, a thousand incoherent ideas torment him;
it seems as if nature punished him for having taken too much food, or
for having injudiciously selected it, by supplying involuntary
conceptions; for we think but little during sleep, except when annoyed
by a bad digestion. Unquiet dreams are in reality a transient madness.

Madness is a malady which necessarily hinders a man from thinking and
acting like other men. Not being able to manage property, the madman is
withheld from it; incapable of ideas suitable to society, he is shut out
from it; if he be dangerous, he is confined altogether; and if he be
furious, they bind him. Sometimes he is cured by baths, by bleeding, and
by regimen.

This man is not, however, deprived of ideas; he frequently possesses
them like other men, and often when he sleeps. We might inquire how the
spiritual and immortal soul, lodged in his brain, receives all its ideas
correctly and distinctly, without the capacity of judgment. It perceives
objects, as the souls of Aristotle, of Plato, of Locke, and of Newton,
perceived them. It hears the same sounds, and possesses the same sense
of feeling--how therefore, receiving impressions like the wisest, does
the soul of the madman connect them extravagantly, and prove unable to
disperse them?

If this simple and eternal substance enjoys the same properties as the
souls which are lodged in the sagest brains, it ought to reason like
them. Why does it not? If my madman sees a thing red, while the wise men
see it blue; if when my sages hear music, my madman hears the braying of
an ass; if when they attend a sermon, he imagines himself to be
listening to a comedy; if when they understand yes, he understands no;
then I conceive clearly that his soul ought to think contrary to theirs.
But my madman having the same perceptions as they have, there is no
apparent reason why his soul, having received all the necessary
materials, cannot make a proper use of them. It is pure, they say, and
subject to no infirmity; behold it provided with all the necessary
assistance; nothing which passes in the body can change its essence; yet
it is shut up in a close carriage, and conveyed to Charenton.

This reflection may lead us to suspect that the faculty of thought,
bestowed by God upon man, is subject to derangement like the other
senses. A madman is an invalid whose brain is diseased, while the gouty
man is one who suffers in his feet and hands. People think by means of
the brain, and walk on their feet, without knowing anything of the
source of either this incomprehensible power of walking, or the equally
incomprehensible power of thinking; besides, the gout may be in the
head, instead of the feet. In short, after a thousand arguments, faith
alone can convince us of the possibility of a simple and immaterial
substance liable to disease.

The learned may say to the madman: "My friend, although deprived of
common sense, thy soul is as pure, as spiritual, and as immortal, as our
own; but our souls are happily lodged, and thine not so. The windows of
its dwelling are closed; it wants air, and is stifled."

The madman, in a lucid interval, will reply to them: "My friends, you
beg the question, as usual. My windows are as wide open as your own,
since I can perceive the same objects and listen to the same sounds. It
necessarily follows that my soul makes a bad use of my senses; or that
my soul is a vitiated sense, a depraved faculty. In a word, either my
soul is itself diseased, or I have no soul."

One of the doctors may reply: "My brother, God has possibly created
foolish souls, as well as wise ones."

The madman will answer: "If I believed what you say, I should be a still
greater madman than I am. Have the kindness, you who know so much, to
tell me why I am mad?"

Supposing the doctors to retain a little sense, they would say: "We know
nothing about the matter."

Neither are they more able to comprehend how a brain possesses regular
ideas, and makes a due use of them. They call themselves sages, and are
as weak as their patient.

If the interval of reason of the madman lasts long enough, he will say
to them: "Miserable mortals, who neither know the cause of my malady,
nor how to cure it! Tremble, lest ye become altogether like me, or even
still worse than I am! You are not of the highest rank, like Charles VI.
of France, Henry VI. of England, and the German emperor Wincenslaus, who
all lost their reason in the same century. You have not nearly so much
wit as Blaise Pascal, James Abadie, or Jonathan Swift, who all became
insane. The last of them founded a hospital for us; shall I go there and
retain places for you?"

N.B. I regret that Hippocrates should have prescribed the blood of an
ass's colt for madness; and I am still more sorry that the "_Manuel des
Dames_" asserts that it may be cured by catching the itch. Pleasant
prescriptions these, and apparently invented by those who were to take


Magic is a more plausible science than astrology and the doctrine of
genii. As soon as we began to think that there was in man a being quite
distinct from matter, and that the understanding exists after death, we
gave this understanding a fine, subtile, aerial body, resembling the
body in which it was lodged. Two quite natural reasons introduced this
opinion; the first is, that in all languages the soul was called spirit,
breath, wind. This spirit, this breath, this wind, was therefore very
fine and delicate. The second is, that if the soul of a man had not
retained a form similar to that which it possessed during its life, we
should not have been able after death to distinguish the soul of one man
from that of another. This soul, this shade, which existed, separated
from its body, might very well show itself upon occasion, revisit the
place which it had inhabited, its parents and friends, speak to them and
instruct them. In all this there is no incompatibility.

As departed souls might very well teach those whom they came to visit
the secret of conjuring them, they failed not to do so; and the word
"Abraxa", pronounced with some ceremonies, brought up souls with whom he
who pronounced it wished to speak. I suppose an Egyptian saying to a
philosopher: "I descend in a right line from the magicians of Pharaoh,
who changed rods into serpents, and the waters of the Nile into blood;
one of my ancestors married the witch of Endor, who conjured up the soul
of Samuel at the request of Saul; she communicated her secrets to her
husband, who made her the confidant of his own; I possess this
inheritance from my father and mother; my genealogy is well attested; I
command the spirits and elements."

The philosopher, in reply, will have nothing to do but to demand his
protection; for if disposed to deny and dispute, the magician will shut
his mouth by saying: "You cannot deny the facts; my ancestors have been
incontestably great magicians, and you doubt it not; you have no reason
to believe that I am inferior to them, particularly when a man of honor
like myself assures you that he is a sorcerer."

The philosopher, to be sure, might say to him: "Do me the pleasure to
conjure up a shade; allow me to speak to a soul; change this water into
blood, and this rod into a serpent."

The magician will answer: "I work not for philosophers; but I have shown
spirits to very respectable ladies, and to simple people who never
dispute; you should at least believe that it is very possible for me to
have these secrets, since you are forced to confess that my ancestors
possessed them. What was done formerly can be done now; and you ought to
believe in magic without my being obliged to exercise my art before

These reasons are so good that all nations have had sorcerers. The
greatest sorcerers were paid by the state, in order to discover the
future clearly in the heart and liver of an ox. Why, therefore, have
others so long been punished with death? They have done more marvellous
things; they should, therefore, be more honored; above all, their power
should be feared. Nothing is more ridiculous than to condemn a true
magician to be burned; for we should presume that he can extinguish the
fire and twist the necks of his judges. All that we can do is to say to
him: "My friend, we do not burn you as a true sorcerer, but as a false
one; you boast of an admirable art which you possess not; we treat you
as a man who utters false money; the more we love the good, the more
severely we punish those who give us counterfeits; we know very well
that there were formerly venerable conjurors, but we have reason to
believe that you are not one, since you suffer yourself to be burned
like a fool."

It is true, that the magician so pushed might say: My conscience extends
not so far as to extinguish a pile without water, and to kill my judges
with words. I can only call up spirits, read the future, and change
certain substances into others; my power is bounded; but you should not
for that reason burn me at a slow fire. It is as if you caused a
physician to be hanged who could cure fever, and not a paralysis.

The judges might, however, still reasonably observe: Show us then some
secret of your art, or consent to be burned with a good grace.


I will suppose that a fair princess who never heard speak of anatomy is
ill either from having eaten or danced too much, or having done too much
of what several princesses occasionally do. I suppose the following
controversy takes place:


Madam, for your health to be good, it is necessary for your cerebrum and
cerebellum to distribute a fine, well-conditioned marrow, in the spine
of your back down to your highness's rump; and that this marrow should
equally animate fifteen pairs of nerves, each right and left. It is
necessary that your heart should contract and dilate itself with a
constantly equal force; and that all the blood which it forces into your
arteries should circulate in all these arteries and veins about six
hundred times a day. This blood, in circulating with a rapidity which
surpasses that of the Rhone, ought to dispose on its passage of that
which continually forms the lymph, urine, bile, etc., of your
highness--of that which furnishes all these secretions, which insensibly
render your skin soft, fresh, and fair, that without them would be
yellow, gray, dry, and shrivelled, like old parchment.


Well, sir, the king pays you to attend to all this: fail not to put all
things in their place, and to make my liquids circulate so that I may be
comfortable. I warn you that I will not suffer with impunity.


Madam, address your orders to the Author of nature. The sole power which
made millions of planets and comets to revolve round millions of suns
has directed the course of your blood.


What! are you a physician, and can you prescribe nothing?


No, madam; we can only take away from, we can add nothing to nature.
Your servants clean your palace, but the architect built it. If your
highness has eaten greedily, I can cleanse your entrails with cassia,
manna, and pods of senna; it is a broom which I introduce to cleanse
your inside. If you have a cancer, I must cut off your breast, but I
cannot give you another. Have you a stone in your bladder? I can deliver
you from it. I can cut off a gangrened foot, leaving you to walk on the

In a word, we physicians perfectly resemble teethdrawers, who extract a
decayed tooth, without the power of substituting a sound one, quacks as
they are.


You make me tremble; I believed that physicians cured all maladies.


We infallibly cure all those which cure themselves. It is generally, and
with very few exceptions, with internal maladies as with external
wounds. Nature alone cures those which are not mortal. Those which are
so will find no resource in it.


What! all these secrets for purifying the blood, of which my ladies have
spoken to me; this _Baume de Vie _of the Sieur de Lievre; these packets
of the Sieur Arnauld; all these pills so much praised by _femmes de


Are so many inventions to get money, and to flatter patients, while
nature alone acts.


But there are specifics?


Yes, madam, like the water of youth in romances.


In what, then, consists medicine?


I have already told you, in cleaning and keeping in order the house
which we cannot rebuild.


There are, however, salutary things, and others hurtful?


You have guessed all the secret. Eat moderately that which you know by
experience will agree with you. Nothing is good for the body but what is
easily digested. What medicine will best assist digestion? Exercise.
What best recruit your strength? Sleep. What will diminish incurable
ills? Patience. What change a bad constitution? Nothing. In all violent
maladies, we have only the recipe of Molire, "_seipnare, purgare;_" and,
if we will, "_clisterium donare._" There is not a fourth. All, I have
told you amounts only to keeping a house in order, to which we cannot
add a peg. All art consists in adaptation.


You puff not your merchandise. You are an honest man. When I am queen, I
will make you my first physician.


Let nature be your first physician. It is she who made all. Of those who
have lived beyond a hundred years, none were of the faculty. The king of
France has already buried forty of his physicians, as many chief
physicians, besides physicians of the establishment, and others.


And, truly, I hope to bury you also.


To know the natural philosophy of the human race, it is necessary to
read works of anatomy, or rather to go through a course of anatomy.

To be acquainted with the man we call "moral," it is above all necessary
to have lived and reflected. Are not all moral works contained in these
words of Job? "Man that is born of a woman hath but a few days to live,
and is full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down:
he fleeth as a shadow, and continueth not."

We have already seen that the human race has not above two-and-twenty
years to live, reckoning those who die at their nurses' breasts, and
those who for a hundred years drag on the remains of a miserable and
imbecile life.

It is a fine apologue, that ancient fable of the first man who was at
first destined to live twenty years at most, and who reduced it to five
years by estimating one life with another. The man was in despair, and
had near him a caterpillar, a butterfly, a peacock, a horse, a fox, and
an ape.

"Prolong my life," said he to Jupiter; "I am more worthy than these
animals; it is just that I and my family should live long to command all
beasts." "Willingly," said Jupiter; "but I have only a certain number of
days to divide among the whole of the beings to whom I have granted
life. I can only give to thee by taking away from others; for imagine
not, that because I am Jupiter, I am infinite and all-powerful; I have
my nature and my limits. Now I will grant thee some years more, by
taking them from these six animals, of which thou art jealous, on
condition that thou shalt successively assume their manner of living.
Man shall first be a caterpillar, dragging himself along in his earliest
infancy. Until fifteen, he shall have the lightness of a butterfly; in
his youth, the vanity of a peacock. In manhood he must undergo the
labors of a horse. Towards fifty, he shall have the tricks of a fox; and
in his old age, be ugly and ridiculous like an ape. This, in general, is
the destiny of man."

Remark further, that notwithstanding these bounties of Jupiter, the
animal man has still but two or three and twenty years to live, at most.
Taking mankind in general, of this a third must be taken away for sleep,
during which we are in a certain sense dead; thus there remain fifteen,
and from these fifteen we must take at least eight for our first
infancy, which is, as it has been called, the vestibule of life. The
clear product will be seven years, and of these seven years the half at
least is consumed in grief of all kinds. Take three years and a half for
labor, fatigue, and dissatisfaction, and we shall have none remaining.
Well, poor animal, will you still be proud?

Unfortunately, in this fable Jupiter forgot to dress this animal as he
clothed the ass, horse, peacock, and even the caterpillar. Man had only
his bare skin, which, continually exposed to the sun, rain, and hail,
became chapped, tanned, and spotted. The male in our continent was
disfigured by spare hairs on his body, which rendered him frightful
without covering him. His face was hidden by these hairs. His skin
became a rough soil which bore a forest of stalks, the roots of which
tended upwards, and the branches of which grew downwards. It was in this
state and in this image, that this animal ventured to paint God, when in
course of time he learned the art of description.

The female being more weak, became still more disgusting and frightful
in her old age; and, in short, without tailors, and mantua-makers,
one-half of mankind would never have dared to show itself to the other.
Yet, before having clothes, before even knowing how to speak, some ages
must have passed away--a truth which has been proved, but which must be
often repeated.

It is a little extraordinary that we should have harassed an innocent,
estimable man of our time, the good Helvetius, for having said that if
men had not hands, they could not build houses and work tapestry.
Apparently, those who have condemned this proposition, have discovered a
secret for cutting stones and wood, and working at the needle with their

I liked the author of the work "On Mind". This man was worth more than
all his enemies together; but I never approved either the errors of his
book, or the trivial truths which he so emphatically enforced. I have,
however, boldly taken his part when absurd men have condemned him for
these same truths.

I have no terms to express the excess of my contempt for those who, for
example's sake, would magisterially proscribe this passage: "The Turks
can only be considered deists." How then, pedant! would you have them
regarded as atheists, because they adore only one God!

You condemn this other proposition: "The man of sense knows that men are
what they must be; that all hatred against them is unjust; that a fool
commits fooleries as a wild stock bears bitter fruits."

So, crabbed stocks of the schools, you persecute a man because he hates
you not! Let us, however, leave the schools, and pursue our subject.

Reason, industrious hands, a head capable of generalizing ideas, a
language pliant enough to express them--these are great benefits granted
by the Supreme Being to man, to the exclusion of other animals.

The male in general lives rather a shorter time than the female. He is
also generally larger in proportion. A man of the loftiest stature is
commonly two or three inches higher than the tallest woman.

His strength is almost always superior; he is more active; and having
all his organs stronger, he is more capable of a fixed attention. All
arts have been invented by him, and not by woman. We should remark, that
it is not the fire of imagination, but persevering meditation and
combination of ideas which have invented arts, as mechanics, gunpowder,
printing, dialling, etc.

Man alone knows that he must die, and knows it only by experience. A
child brought up alone, and transported into a desert island, would
dream of death no more than a plant or a cat.

A singular man has written that the human body is a fruit, which is
green until old age, and that the moment of death is that of maturity. A
strange maturity, ashes and putrefaction! The head of this philosopher
was not ripe. How many extravagances has the rage for telling novelties

The principal occupations of our race are the provision of food,
lodging, and clothing; all the rest are nearly accessory; and it is this
poor accessory which has produced so many ravages and murders.

Different Races Of Men.

We have elsewhere seen how many different races of men this globe
contains, and to what degrees the first negro and the first white who
met were astonished at one another.

It is likely enough that several weakly species of men and animals have
perished. It is thus that we no longer discover any of the murex, of
which the species has probably been devoured by other animals who
several ages after visited the shores inhabited by this little

St. Jerome, in his "History of the Father of the Desert", speaks of a
centaur who had a conversation with St. Anthony the hermit. He
afterwards gives an account of a much longer discourse that the same
Anthony had with a satyr.

St. Augustine, in his thirty-third sermon, addressed "To his Brothers in
the Desert," tell things as extraordinary as Jerome. "I was already
bishop of Hippo, when I went into Ethiopia with some servants of Christ,
there to preach the gospel. In this country we saw many men and women
without heads, who had two great eyes in their breasts. In countries
still more southerly, we saw a people who had but one eye in their
foreheads," etc.

Apparently, Augustine and Jerome then spoke "with economy"; they
augmented the works of creation to raise greater admiration of the works
of God. They sought to astonish men by fables, to render them more
submissive to the yoke of faith.

We can be very good Christians without believing in centaurs, men
without heads, or with only one eye, one leg, etc. But can we doubt that
the interior structure of a negro may be different to that of a white,
since the mucous netted membrane beneath the skin is white in the one,
and black in the other? I have already told you so, but you are deaf.

The Albinos and the Darians--the first originally of Africa, and the
second of the middle of America--are as different from us as from the
negroes. There are yellow, red, and gray races. We have already seen
that all the Americans are without beards or hair on their bodies,
except the head and eyebrows. All are equally men, but only as a fir, an
oak, and a pear tree are equally trees; the pear tree comes not from the
fir, nor the fir from the oak.

But whence comes it, that in the midst of the Pacific Ocean, in an
island named Otaheite, the men are bearded? It is to ask why we are so,
while the Peruvians, Mexicans, and Canadians are not. It is to ask, why
apes have tails, and why nature has refused us an ornament which, at
least among us, is an extreme rarity.

The inclinations and characters of men differ as much as their climates
and governments. It has never been possible to compose a regiment of
Laplanders and Samoyeds, whilst the Siberians, their neighbors, become
intrepid soldiers.

Neither can you make good grenadiers of a poor Darian or an Albino. It
is not because they have partridge eyes, or that their hair and eyebrows
are like the finest and whitest silk; but it is because their bodies,
and consequently their courage, partake of the most extreme weakness.
There is none but a blind man, and even an obstinate blind man, who can
deny the existence of all these different species. It is as great and
remarkable as that of apes.

That All Races Of Men Have Constantly Lived In Society.

All the men whom we have discovered in the most uncultivated and
frightful countries herd together like beavers, ants, bees, and several
other species of animals.

We have never seen countries in which they lived separate; or in which
the male only joined with the female by chance, and abandoned her the
moment after in disgust; or in which the mother estranged herself from
her children, after having brought them up; or in which human beings
lived without family and society. Some poor jesters have abused their
understandings so far as to hazard the astonishing paradox, that man is
originally created to live alone, and that it is society which has
depraved his nature. They might as well say that herrings were created
to swim alone in the sea; and that it is by an excess of corruption,
that they pass in a troop from the Frozen Ocean to our shores; that
formerly cranes flew in the air singly, and that, by a violation of
their natural instinct, they have subsequently chosen to travel in

Every animal has its instinct, and the instinct of man, fortified by
reason, disposes him towards society, as towards eating and drinking. So
far from the want of society having degraded man, it is estrangement
from society which degrades him. Whoever lived absolutely alone, would
soon lose the faculty of thinking and expressing himself; he would be a
burden to himself, and it would only remain to metamorphose him into a
beast. An excess of powerless pride, which rises up against the pride of
others, may induce a melancholy man to fly from his fellows; but it is a
species of depravity, and punishes itself. That pride is its own
punishment, which frets itself into solitude and secretly resents being
despised and forgotten. It is enduring the most horrible slavery, in
order to be free.

We have enlarged the bounds of ordinary folly so far as to say that it
is not natural for a man to be attached to a woman during the nine
months of her pregnancy. The appetite is satisfied, says the author of
these paradoxes; the man has no longer any want of woman, nor the woman
of man; and the latter need not have the least care, nor perhaps the
least idea of the effects of the transient intercourse. They go
different ways, and there is no appearance, until the end of nine
months, that they have ever been known to one another. Why should he
help her after her delivery? Why assist to bring up a child whom he
cannot instinctively know belongs to him alone?

All this is execrable; but happily nothing is more false. If this
barbarous indifference was the true instinct of nature, mankind would
always have acted thus. Instinct is unchangeable, its inconsistencies
are very rare; the father would always abandon the mother, and the
mother would abandon her child. There would have been much fewer men on
earth than voracious animals; for the wild beasts better provided and
better armed, have a more prompt instinct, more sure means of living,
and a more certain nourishment than mankind.

Our nature is very different from the frightful romance which this man,
possessed of the devil, has made of it. Except some barbarous souls
entirely brutish, or perhaps a philosopher more brutal still, the
roughest man, by a prevailing instinct, loves the child which is not yet
born, the womb which bears it; and the mother redoubles her love for him
from whom she has received the germ of a being similar to himself.

The instinct of the colliers of the Black Forest speaks to them as
loudly, and animates them as strongly in favor of their children as the
instinct of pigeons and nightingales induces them to feed their little
ones. Time has therefore been sadly lost in writing these abominable

The great fault of all these paradoxical books lies in always supposing
nature very different from what it is. If the satires on man and woman
written by Boileau were not pleasantries, they would sin in the
essential point of supposing all men fools and all women coquettes.

The same author, an enemy to society, like the fox without a tail who
would have his companions cut off theirs, thus in a magisterial style
expresses himself:

"The first who, having enclosed an estate, took upon himself to say:
'This is mine,' and found people simple enough to believe him, was the
true founder of society. What crimes, wars, murders, miseries, and
horrors, might have been spared to mankind if some one, seizing the
stakes, or filling up the pit, had cried to his companions: 'Take care
how you listen to this impostor; you are lost if you forget that the
fruits are common to all, and that the earth belongs to nobody!'"

Thus, according to this fine philosopher, a thief, a destroyer, would
have been the benefactor of mankind, and we should punish an honest man
who says to his children: "Let us imitate our neighbor; he has enclosed
his field, the beasts will no longer ravage it, his land will become
more fertile; let us work ours as he has labored his; it will aid us,
and we shall improve it. Each family cultivating its own enclosure, we
shall be better fed, more healthy, more peaceable, and less unhappy. We
will endeavor to establish a distributive justice, which will console
our unhappy race; and we shall be raised above the foxes and polecats,
to whom this babbler would compare us."

Would not this discourse be more sensible and honest than that of the
savage fool who would destroy the good man's orchard? What philosophy
therefore is that which says things that common sense disclaims from
China to Canada? Is it not that of a beggar, who would have all the rich
robbed by the poor, in order that fraternal union might be better
established among men?

It is true, that if all the hedges, forests, and plains were covered
with wholesome and delicious fruits, it would be impossible, unjust, and
ridiculous, to guard them.

If there are any islands in which nature produces food and all
necessaries without trouble, let us go and live there, far from the
trash of our laws; but as soon as you have peopled them, we must return
to _meum _and _tuum, _and to laws which are often very bad, but which we
cannot rationally abolish.

_Is Man Born Wicked?_

Is it not demonstrated that man is _not _born perverse and the child of
the devil? If such was his nature, he would commit enormous crimes and
barbarities as soon as he could walk; he would use the first knife he
could find, to wound whoever displeased him. He would necessarily
resemble little wolves and foxes, who bite as soon as they can.

On the contrary, throughout the world, he partakes of the nature of the
lamb, while he is an infant. Why, therefore, and how is it, that he so
often becomes a wolf and fox? Is it not that, being born neither good
nor wicked, education, example, the government into which he is
thrown--in short, occasion of every kind--determines him to virtue or

Perhaps human nature could not be otherwise. Man could not always have
false thoughts, nor always true affections; be always sweet, or always

It is demonstrable that woman is elevated beyond men in the scale of
goodness. We see a hundred brothers enemies to each other, to one

There are professions which necessarily render the soul pitiless--those
of the soldier, the butcher, the officer of justice, and the jailer; and
all trades which are founded on the annoyance of others.

The officer, the soldier, the jailer, for example, are only happy in
making others miserable. It is true, they are necessary against
malefactors, and so far useful to society; but of a thousand men of the
kind, there is not one who acts from the motive of the public good, or
who even reflects that it is a public good.

It is above all a curious thing to hear them speak of their prowess as
they count the number of their victims; their snares to entrap them, the
ills which they have made them suffer, and the money which they have got
by it.

Whoever has been able to descend to the subaltern detail of the bar;
whoever has only heard lawyears reason familiarly among themselves, and
applaud themselves for the miseries of their clients, must have a very
poor opinion of human nature.

There are more frightful possessions still, which are, however,
canvassed for like a canonship. There are some which change an honest
man into a rogue, and which accustom him to lie in spite of himself, to
deceive almost without perceiving it, to put a blind before the eyes of
others, to prostrate himself by the interest and vanity of his
situation, and without remorse to plunge mankind into stupid blindness.

Women, incessantly occupied with the education of their children, and
shut up in their domestic cares, are excluded from all these
professions, which pervert human nature and render it atrocious. They
are everywhere less barbarous than men.

Physics join with morals to prevent them from great crimes; their blood
is milder; they are less addicted to strong liquors, which inspire
ferocity. An evident proof is, that of a thousand victims of justice in
a thousand executed assassins, we scarcely reckon four women. It is also
proved elsewhere, I believe, that in Asia there are not two examples of
women condemned to a public punishment. It appears, therefore, that our
customs and habits have rendered the male species very wicked.

If this truth was general and without exceptions, the species would be
more horrible than spiders, wolves, and polecats are to our eyes. But
happily, professions which harden the heart and fill it with odious
passions, are very rare. Observe, that in a nation of twenty millions,
there are at most two hundred thousand soldiers. This is but one soldier
to two hundred individuals. These two hundred thousand soldiers are held
in the most severe discipline, and there are among them very honest
people, who return to their villages and finish their old age as good
fathers and husbands.

The number of other trades which are dangerous to manners, is but small.
Laborers, artisans, and artists are too much occupied often to deliver
themselves up to crime. The earth will always bear detestable wretches,
and books will always exaggerate the number, which, rather than being
greater, is less than we say.

If mankind had been under the empire of the devil, there would be no
longer any person upon earth. Let us console ourselves: we have seen,
and we shall always see, fine minds from Pekin to la Rochelle; and
whatever licentiates and bachelors may say, the Tituses, Trajans,
Antoninuses, and Peter Bayles were very honest men.

_Of Man In The State Of Pure Nature._

What would man be in the state which we call that of pure nature? An
animal much below the first Iroquois whom we found in the north of
America. He would be very inferior to these Iroquois, since they knew
how to light fires and make arrows. He would require ages to arrive at
these two arts.

Man, abandoned to pure nature, would have, for his language, only a few
inarticulate sounds; the species would be reduced to a very small
number, from the difficulty of getting nourishment and the want of help,
at least in our harsh climates. He would have no more knowledge of God
and the soul, than of mathematics; these ideas would be lost in the care
of procuring food. The race of beavers would be infinitely preferable.

Man would then be only precisely like a robust child; and we have seen
many men who are not much above that state, as it is. The Laplanders,
the Samoyeds, the inhabitants of Kamchatka, the Kaffirs, and Hottentots
are--with respect to man in a state of pure nature--that which the
courts of Cyrus and Semiramis were in comparison with the inhabitants of
the Cévennes. Yet the inhabitants of Kamchatka and the Hottentots of our
days, so superior to men entirely savage, are animals who live six
months of the year in caverns, where they eat the vermin by which they
are eaten.

In general, mankind is not above two or three degrees more civilized
than the Kamchatkans. The multitude of brute beasts called men, compared
with the little number of those who think, is at least in the proportion
of a hundred to one in many nations.

It is pleasant to contemplate on one side, Father Malebranche, who
treats familiarly of "the Word"; and on the other, these millions of
animals similar to him, who have never heard speak of "the Word," and
who have not one metaphysical idea.

Between men of pure instinct and men of genius floats this immense
number occupied solely with subsisting.

This subsistence costs us so much pains, that in the north of America an
image of God often runs five or six leagues to get a dinner; whilst
among us the image of God bedews the ground with the sweat of his brow,
in order to procure bread.

Add to this bread--or the equivalent--a hut, and a poor dress, and you
will have man such as he is in general, from one end of the universe to
the other: and it is only in a multitude of ages that he has been able
to arrive at this high degree of attainment.

Finally, after other ages, things got to the point at which we see them.
Here we represent a tragedy in music; there we kill one another on the
high seas of another hemisphere, with a thousand pieces of cannon. The
opera and a ship of war of the first rank always astonish my
imagination. I doubt whether they can be carried much farther in any of
the globes with which the heavens are studded. More than half the
habitable world, however, is still peopled with two-footed animals, who
live in the horrible state approaching to pure nature, existing and
clothing themselves with difficulty, scarcely enjoying the gift of
speech, scarcely perceiving that they are unfortunate, and living and
dying almost without knowing it.

_Examination Of A Thought Of Pascal On Man._

"I can conceive a man without hands or feet, and I could even conceive
him without a head, if experience taught me not that it is with the head
he thinks. It is therefore thought which makes the being of man, without
which we cannot conceive him."--(Thoughts of Pascal.)

How! conceive a man, without feet, hands, and head? This would be as
different a thing from a man as a gourd.

If all men were without heads, how could yours conceive that there are
animals like yourselves, since they would have nothing of what
principally constitutes your being? A head is something; the five senses
are contained in it, and thought also. An animal, which from the nape of
its neck downwards might resemble a man, or one of those apes which we
call ourang-outang or the man of the woods, would no more be a man than
an ape or a bear whose head and tail were cut off.

It is therefore thought which makes the being of a man. In this case,
thought would be his essence, as extent and solidity are the essence of
matter. Man would think essentially and always, as matter is always
extended and solid. He would think in a profound sleep without dreams,
in a fit, in a lethargy, in the womb of his mother. I well know that I
never thought in any of these states; I confess it often; and I doubt
not that others are like myself.

If thought was as essential to man as extent is to matter, it would
follow that God cannot deprive this animal of understanding, since he
cannot deprive matter of extent--for then it would be no longer matter.
Now, if understanding be essential to man, he is a thinking being by
nature, as God is God by nature.

If desirous to define God, as such poor beings as ourselves can define
Him, I should say, that thought is _His _being, _His _essence; but as to

We have the faculties of thinking, walking, talking, eating, and
sleeping, but we do not always use these faculties, it is not in our

Thought, with us, is it not an attribute? and so much an attribute that
it is sometimes weak, sometimes strong, sometimes reasonable, and
sometimes extravagant? It hides itself, shows itself, flies, returns, is
nothing, is reproduced. Essence is quite another thing; it never varies;
it knows nothing of more or less.

What, therefore, would be the animal supposed by Pascal? A being of
reason. He might just as well have supposed a tree to which God might
have given thought, as it is said that the gods granted voices to the
trees of Dodona.

_Operation Of God On Man._

People who have founded systems on the communication of God with man
have said that God acts directly physically on man in certain cases
only, when God grants certain particular gifts; and they have called
this action "physical premotion." Diocles and Erophiles, those two great
enthusiasts, maintain this opinion, and have partisans.

Now we recognize a God quite as well as these people, because we cannot
conceive that any one of the beings which surround us could be produced
of itself. By the fact alone that something exists, the necessary
Eternal Being must be necessarily the cause of all. With these
reasoners, we admit the possibility of God making himself understood to
some favorites; but we go farther, we believe that He makes Himself
understood by all men, in all places, and in all times, since to all he
gives life, motion, digestion, thought, and instinct.

Is there in the vilest of animals, and in the most sublime philosophers,
a being who can will motion, digestion, desire, love, instinct, or
thought? No; but we act, we love, we have instincts; as for example, an
invincible liking to certain objects, an insupportable aversion to
others, a promptitude to execute the movements necessary to our
preservation, as those of sucking the breasts of our nurses, swimming
when we are strong and our bosoms large enough, biting our bread,
drinking, stooping to avoid a blow from a stone, collecting our force to
clear a ditch, etc. We accomplish a thousand such actions without
thinking of them, though they are all profoundly mathematical. In short,
we think and feel without knowing how.

In good earnest, is it more difficult for God to work all within us by
means of which we are ignorant, than to stir us internally sometimes, by
the efficacious grace of Jupiter, of which these gentlemen talk to us

Where is the man who, when he looks into himself, perceives not that he
is a puppet of Providence? I think--but can I give myself a thought?
Alas! if I thought of myself, I should know what ideas I might entertain
the next moment--a thing which nobody knows.

I acquire a knowledge, but I could not give it to myself. My
intelligence cannot be the cause of it; for the cause must contain the
effect: Now, my first acquired knowledge was not in my understanding;
being the first, it was given to me by him who formed me, and who gives
all, whatever it may be.

I am astonished, when I am told that my first knowledge cannot alone
give me a second; that it must contain it.

The proof that we give ourselves no ideas is that we receive them in our
dreams; and certainly, it is neither our will nor attention which makes
us think in dreams. There are poets who make verses sleeping;
geometricians who measure triangles. All proves to us that there is a
power which acts within us without consulting us.

All our sentiments, are they not involuntary? Hearing, taste, and sight
are nothing by themselves. We feel, in spite of ourselves: we do nothing
of ourselves: we are nothing without a Supreme Power which enacts all

The most superstitious allow these truths, but they apply them only to
people of their own class. They affirm that God acts physically on
certain privileged persons. We are more religious than they; we believe
that the Great Being acts on all living things, as on all matter. Is it
therefore more difficult for Him to stir all men than to stir some of
them? Will God be God for your little sect alone? He is equally so for
me, who do not belong to it.

A new philosopher goes further than you; it seemed to him that God alone
exists. He pretends that we are all in Him; and we say that it is God
who sees and acts in all that has life. "_Jupiter est quodcumque vides;
quodcumque moveris._"

To proceed. Your physical premotion introduces God acting in you. What
need have you then of a soul? Of what good is this little unknown and
incomprehensible being? Do you give a soul to the sun, which enlightens
so many globes? And if this star so great, so astonishing, and so
necessary, has no soul, why should man have one? God who made us, does
He not suffice for us? What, therefore, is become of the axiom? Effect
not that by many, which can be accomplished by one.

This soul, which you have imagined to be a substance, is therefore
really only a faculty, granted by the Great Being, and not by a person.
It is a property given to our organs, and not a substance. Man, his
reason uncorrupted by metaphysics, could never imagine that he was
double; that he was composed of two beings, the one mortal, visible, and
palpable--the other immortal, invisible, and impalpable. Would it not
require ages of controversy to arrive at this expedient of joining
together two substances so dissimilar; tangible and intangible, simple
and compound, invulnerable and suffering, eternal and fleeting?

Men have only supposed a soul by the same error which made them suppose
in us a being called memory, which being they afterwards made a

They made this memory the mother of the Muses; they embodied the various
talents of nature in so many goddesses, the daughters of memory. They
also made a god of the secret power by which nature forms the blood of
animals, and called it the god of sanguification. The Roman people
indeed had similar gods for the faculties of eating and drinking, for
the act of marriage, for the act of voiding excrements. They were so
many particular souls, which produced in us all these actions. It was
the metaphysics of the populace. This shameful and ridiculous
superstition was evidently derived from that which imagined in man a
small divine substance, different from man himself.

This substance is still admitted in all the schools; and with
condescension we grant to the Great Being, to the Eternal Maker, to God,
the permission of joining His concurrence to the soul. Thus we suppose,
that for will and deed, both God and our souls are necessary.

But to concur signifies to aid, to participate. God therefore is only
second with us; it is degrading Him; it is putting Him on a level with
us, or making Him play the most inferior part. Take not from Him His
rank and pre-eminence: make not of the Sovereign of Nature the mere
servant of mankind.

Two species of reasoners, well credited in the world--atheists and
theologians--will oppose our doubts.

The atheists will say, that in admitting reason in man and instinct in
brutes, as properties, it is very useless to admit a God into this
system; that God is still more incomprehensible than a soul; that it is
unworthy a sage to believe that which he conceives not. They let fly
against us all the arguments of Straton and Lucretius. We will answer
them by one word only: "You exist; therefore there is a God."

Theologians will give us more trouble. They will first tell us: "We
agree with you that God is the first cause of all; but He is not the
only one." A high priest of Minerva says expressly: "The second agent
operates by virtue of the first; the first induces a second; the second
involves a third; all are acting by virtue of God, and He is the cause
of all actions acting."

We will answer, with all the respect we owe to this high priest: "There
is, and there can only exist, one true cause. All the others, which are
subsequent, are but instruments. I discover a spring--I make use of it
to move a machine; I discovered the spring and made the machine. I am
the sole cause. That is undoubted."

The high priest will reply: "You take liberty away from men." I reply:
"No; liberty consists in the faculty of willing, and in that of doing
what you will, when nothing prevents you. God has made man upon these
conditions, and he must be contented with them."

My priest will persist, and say, that we make God the author of sin.
Then we shall answer him: "I am sorry for it; but God is made the author
of sin in all systems, except in that of the atheists. For if He concurs
with the actions of perverse men, as with those of the just, it is
evident that to concur is to do, since He who concurs is also the
creator of all."

If God alone permits sin, it is He who commits it; since to permit and
to do is the same thing to the absolute master of all. If He foresees
that men will do evil, he should not form men. We have never eluded the
force of these ancient arguments; we have never weakened them. Whoever
has produced all, has certainly produced good and evil. The system of
absolute predestination, the doctrine of concurrence, equally plunge us
into this labyrinth, from which we cannot extricate ourselves.

All that we can say is, that evil is for us, and not for God. Nero
assassinates his preceptor and his mother; another murders his relations
and neighbors; a high priest poisons, strangles, and beheads twenty
Roman lords, on rising from the bed of his daughter. This is of no more
importance to the Being, the Universal Soul of the World, than sheep
eaten by the wolves or by us, or than flies devoured by spiders. There
is no evil for the Great Being; to Him it is only the play of the great
machine which incessantly moves by eternal laws. If the wicked
become--whether during their lives or subsequently--more unhappy than
those whom they have sacrificed to their passions; if they suffer as
they have made others suffer, it is still an inevitable consequence of
the immutable laws by which the Great Being necessarily acts. We know
but a very small part of these laws; we have but a very weak portion of
understanding; we have only resignation in our power. Of all systems, is
not that which makes us acquainted with our insignificance the most
reasonable? Men--as all philosophers of antiquity have said--made God in
their own image; which is the reason why the first Anaxagoras, as
ancient as Orpheus, expresses himself thus in his verses: "If the birds
figured to themselves a God, he would have wings; that of horses would
run with four legs."

The vulgar imagine God to be a king, who holds his seat of justice in
his court. Tender hearts represent him as a father who takes care of his
children. The sage attributes to Him no human affection. He acknowledges
a necessary eternal power which animates all nature, and resigns himself
to it.

_General Reflection On Man._

It requires twenty years to raise man from the state of a plant, in
which he abides in his mother's womb, and from the pure animal state,
which is the lot of his earliest infancy, to that in which the maturity
of reason begins to dawn. He has required thirty ages to become a little
acquainted with his own bodily structure. He would require eternity to
become acquainted with his soul. He requires but an instant to kill



I once met with a reasoner who said: "Induce your subjects to marry as
early as possible. Let them be exempt from taxes the first year; and let
their portion be assessed on those who at the same age are in a state of

"The more married men you have, the fewer crimes there will be. Examine
the frightful columns of your criminal calendars; you will there find a
hundred youths executed for one father of a family.

"Marriage renders men more virtuous and more wise. The father of a
family is not willing to blush before his children; he is afraid to make
shame their inheritance.

"Let your soldiers marry, and they will no longer desert. Bound to their
families, they will be bound to their country. An unmarried soldier is
frequently nothing but a vagabond, to whom it matters not whether he
serves the king of Naples or the king of Morocco."

The Roman warriors were married: they fought for their wives and their
children; and they made slaves of the wives and the children of other

A great Italian politician, who was, besides, learned in the Eastern
tongues, a thing rare among our politicians, said to me in my youth:
"_Caro figlio,_" remember that the Jews never had but one good
institution--that of abhorring virginity. If that little nation of
superstitious jobbers had not regarded marriage as the first of the
human obligations--if there had been among them convents of nuns--they
would have been inevitably lost.

_The Marriage Contract._

Marriage is a contract in the law of nations, of which the Roman
Catholics have made a sacrament.

But the sacrament and the contract are two very different things; with
the one are connected the civil effects, with the other the graces of
the church.

So when the contract is conformable to the law of nations, it must
produce every civil effect. The absence of the sacrament can operate
only in the privation of spiritual graces.

Such has been the jurisprudence of all ages, and of all nations,
excepting the French. Such was the opinion of the most accredited
fathers of the Church. Go through the Theodosian and Justinian codes,
and you will find no law proscribing the marriages of persons of another
creed, not even when contracted between them and Catholics.

It is true, that Constantius--that son of Constantine as cruel as his
father--forbade the Jews, on pain of death, to marry Christian women;
and that Valentinian, Theodosius, and Arcadius made the same
prohibition, under the like penalty, to the Jewish women. But under the
emperor Marcian these laws had ceased to be observed; and Justinian
rejected them from his code. Besides, they were made against the Jews
only; no one ever thought of applying them to the marriage of pagans or
heretics with the followers of the prevailing religion.

Consult St. Augustine, and he will tell you that in his time the
marriages of believers with unbelievers were not considered illicit,
because no gospel text had condemned them: "_Quæ matrimonia cum in
fidelibus, nostris temporibus, jam non putantur esse peccata; quoniam in
Novo Testamento nihil inde preceptum est, et ideo aut licere creditum
est, aut velut dubium derelictum._"

Augustine says, moreover, that these marriages often work the conversion
of the unbelieving party. He cites the example of his own father, who
embraced the Christian religion because his wife, Manica, professed
Christianity. Clotilda, by the conversion of Clovis, and Theolinda, by
that of Agilulf, king of the Lombards, rendered greater service to the
Church than if they had married orthodox princes.

Consult the declaration of Pope Benedict XIV. of Nov. 4, 1741. You will
find in it these words: "_Quod vero spectat ad ea conjugia quæ, absque
forma a Tridentino statuta, contrahuntur a catholicis cum hæreticis,
sive catholicus vir hæriticam feminam ducat, sive catholica fæmina
heretico viro nubat; si hujusmodi matrimonium sit contractum aut in
posterum contracti contingat, Tridentini forma non servata, declarat
Sanctitas sua, alio non concurrente impedimento, validum habendum esse,
sciat conjux catholicus se istius matrimonii vinculo perpetuo
ligatum._"--With respect to such marriages as, transgressing the
enactment of the Council of Trent, are contracted by Catholics with
heretics; whether by a Catholic man with a heretical woman, or by a
Catholic woman with a heretical man; if such matrimony already is, or
hereafter shall be contracted, the rules of the council not being
observed, his holiness declares, that if there be no other impediment,
it shall be held valid, the Catholic man or woman understanding that he
or she is by such matrimony bound until death.

By what astonishing contradiction is it, that the French laws in this
matter are more severe than those of the Church? The first law by which
this severity was established in France was the edict of Louis XIV., of
November, 1680, which deserves to be repeated.

"Louis,... The canons of the councils having forbidden marriages of
Catholics with heretics, as a public scandal and a profanation of the
sacrament, we have deemed it the more necessary to prevent them for the
future, as we have found that the toleration of such marriages exposes
Catholics to the continual temptation of perverting it, etc. For these
causes,... it is our will and pleasure, that in future our subjects of
the Roman Catholic and Apostolic religion may not, under any pretext
whatsoever, contract marriage with those of the pretended reformed
religion, declaring such marriages to be invalid, and the issue of them

It is singular enough, that the laws of the Church should have been made
the foundation for annulling marriages which the Church never annulled.
In this edict we find the sacrament confounded with the civil contract;
and from this confusion have proceeded the strange laws in France
concerning marriage.

St. Augustine approved marriages of the orthodox with heretics, for he
hoped that the faithful spouse would convert the other; and Louis XIV.
condemns them, lest the heterodox should pervert the believer.

In Franche-Comté there exists a yet more cruel law. This is an edict of
the archduke Albert and his wife Isabella, of Dec. 20, 1599, which
forbids Catholics to marry heretics, on pain of confiscation of body and

The same edict pronounces the same penalty on such as shall be convicted
of eating mutton on Friday or Saturday. What laws! and what
law-givers!--"_A quels maîtres, grand Dieu, livrez-vous l'univers!_"


If our laws reprove marriages of Catholics with persons of a different
religion, do they grant the civil effects at least to marriages of
French Protestants with French persons of the same sect?

There are now in the kingdom a million of Protestants; yet the validity
of their marriage is still a question in the tribunals.

Here again is one of those cases in which our jurisprudence is
contradictory to the decisions of the Church, and also to itself.

In the papal declaration, quoted in the foregoing section, Benedict XIV.
decides that marriages of Protestants, contracted according to their
rites, are no less valid than if they had been performed according to
the forms established by the Council of Trent; and that a husband who
turns Catholic cannot break this tie and form a new one with a person of
his new religion.

Barak Levi, by birth a Jew, and a native of Haguenan, had there married
Mendel Cerf, of the same town and the same religion.

This Jew came to Paris in 1752; and on May 13, 1754, he was baptized. He
sent a summons to his wife at Haguenan to come and join him at Paris. In
a second summons he consented that this wife, when she had come to join
him, should continue to live in her own Jewish sect.

To these summonses Mendel Cerf replied that she would not return with
him, and that she required him to send her, according to the Jewish
forms, a bill of divorce, in order that she might marry another Jew.

Levi was not satisfied with this answer; he sent no bill of divorce; but
he caused his wife to appear before the official of Strasburg, who, by a
sentence of Sept. 7, 1754, declared that, in the sight of the Church, he
was at liberty to marry a Catholic woman.

Furnished with this sentence, the Christianized Jew came into the
diocese of Soissons, and there made promise of marriage to a young woman
of Villeneuve. The clergyman refused to publish the banns. Levi
communicated to him the summonses he had sent to his wife, the sentence
of the official of Strasburg, and a certificate from the secretary of
the bishopric of that place, attesting, that in that diocese baptized
Jews had at all times been permitted to contract new marriages with
Catholics, and that this usage had constantly been recognized by the
Supreme Council of Colmar. But these documents appeared to the parson of
Villeneuve to be insufficient. Levi was obliged to summon him before the
official of Soissons.

This official did not think, like him of Strasburg, that the marriage of
Levi with Mendel Cerf was null or dissoluble. By his sentence of Feb. 5,
1756, he declared the Jew's claim to be inadmissible. The latter
appealed from this sentence to the Parliament of Paris, where he was not
only opposed by the public ministry, but, by a decree of Jan. 2, 1758,
the sentence was confirmed, and Levi was again forbidden to contract any
marriage during the life of Mendel Cerf.

Here, then, a marriage contracted between French Jews, according to the
Jewish rites, was declared valid by the first court in the kingdom.

But, some years afterwards, the same question was decided differently in
another parliament, on the subject of a marriage contracted between two
French Protestants, who had been married in the presence of their
parents by a minister of their own communion. The Protestant spouse had,
like the Jew, changed his religion; and after he had concluded a second
marriage with a Catholic, the Parliament of Grenoble confirmed this
second marriage, and declared the first to be null.

If we pass from jurisprudence to legislation, we shall find it as
obscure on this important matter as on so many others.

A decree of the council, of Sept. 15, 1685, says: "Protestants may
marry, provided, however, that it be in the presence of the principal
officer of justice, and that the publication preceding such marriages
shall be made at the royal see nearest the place of abode of each of the
Protestants desirous of marrying, and at the audience only."

This decree was not revoked by the edict which, three weeks after,
suppressed the Edict of Nantes. But after the declaration of May 14,
1724, drawn up by Cardinal Fleury, the judges would no longer preside
over the marriages of Protestants, nor permit their banns to be
published in their audiences.

By Article XV. of this law, the forms prescribed by the canons are to be
observed in marriages, as well of new converts as of all the rest of the
king's subjects.

This general expression, "all the rest of the king's subjects," has been
thought to comprehend the Protestants, as well as the Catholics, and on
this interpretation, such marriages of Protestants as were not
solemnized according to the canonical forms have been annulled.

Nevertheless, it seems that the marriages of Protestants having been
authorized by an express law, they cannot now be admitted but by another
express law carrying with it this penalty. Besides, the term "new
converts", mentioned in the declaration, appears to indicate that the
term that follows relates to the Catholics only. In short, when the
civil law is obscure or ambiguous, ought not the judges to decide
according to the natural and the moral law?

Does it not result from all this that laws often have need of
reformation, and princes of consulting better informed counsellors,
rejecting priestly ministers, and distrusting courtiers in the garb of


I must own that I know not where the author of the "Critical History of
Jesus Christ" found that St. Mary Magdalen had a criminal intimacy (_des
complaisances criminelles_) with the "Saviour of the world." He says
(page 130, line 11 of the note) that this is an assertion of the
Albigenses. I have never read this horrible blasphemy either in the
history of the Albigenses, or in their profession of faith. It is one of
the great many things of which I am ignorant. I know that the Albigenses
had the dire misfortune of not being Roman Catholics; but, otherwise, it
seems to me, they had the most profound reverence for the person of

This author of the "Critical History of Jesus Christ" refers us to the
"_Christiade,_" a sort of poem in prose--granting that there are such
things as poems in prose. I have, therefore, been obliged to consult the
passage of the "_Christiade_" in which this accusation is made. It is in
the fourth book or canto, page 335, note 1; the poet of the
"_Christiade_" cites no authority. In an epic poem, indeed, citations
may be spared; but great authorities are requisite in prose, when so
grave an assertion is made--one which makes every Christian's hair stand

Whether the Albigenses advanced this impiety or not, the only result is
that the author of the "_Christiade_" sports on the brink of
criminality. He somewhat imitates the famous sermon of Menot. He
introduces us to Mary Magdalen, the sister of Martha and Lazarus,
brilliant with all the charms of youth and beauty, burning with every
desire, and immersed in every voluptuousness. According to him, she is a
lady at court, exalted in birth and in riches; her brother Lazarus was
count of Bethany, and herself marchioness of Magdalet. Martha had a
splendid portion, but he does not tell us where her estates lay. "She
had," says the man of the "_Christiade,_" "a hundred servants, and a
crowd of lovers; she might have threatened the liberty of the whole
world. But riches, dignities, ambitions, grandeur, never were so dear to
Magdalen as the seductive error which caused her to be named the sinner.
Such was the sovereign beauty of the capital when the young and divine
hero arrived there from the extremities of Galilee. Her other passions
yielded to the ambition of subduing the hero of whom she had heard."

The author of the "_Christiade_" then imitates Virgil. The marchioness
of Magdalet conjures her portioned sister to furnish her coquettish
designs upon her young hero, as Dido employed her sister Anna to gain
the pious Æneas.

She goes to hear Christ's sermon in the temple, although he never
preached there. "Her heart flies before her to the hero she adores; she
awaits but one favorable look to triumph over him, to subdue this master
of hearts and make him her captive."

She then goes to him at the house of Simon the Leper, a very rich man,
who was giving him a grand supper, although the women were never
admitted at these feastings, especially among the Pharisees. She pours a
large pot of perfumes upon his legs, wipes them with her beautiful fair
hair, and kisses them.

I shall not inquire whether the picture which the author draws of
Magdalen's holy transports is not more worldly than devout; whether the
kisses given are not expressed rather too warmly; nor whether this fine
hair with which she wipes her hero's legs, does not remind one too
strongly of Trimalcion, who, at dinner, wiped his hands with the hair of
a young and beautiful slave. He must himself have felt that his pictures
might be fancied too glowing; for he anticipates criticism by giving
some pieces from a sermon of Massillon's on Magdalen. One passage is as

"Magdalen had sacrificed her reputation to the world. Her bashfulness
and her birth at first defended her against the emotions of her passion;
and it is most likely, that to the first shaft which assailed her, she
opposed the barrier of her modesty and her pride; but when she had lent
her ear to the serpent, and consulted her own wisdom, her heart was open
to all assaults of passion. Magdalen loved the world, and thenceforward
all was sacrificed to this love; neither the pride that springs from
birth, nor the modesty which is the ornament of her sex, is spared in
this sacrifice; nothing can withhold her; neither the railleries of
worldlings, nor the infidelities of her infatuated lovers, whom she fain
would please, but by whom she cannot make herself esteemed--for virtue
only is estimable; nothing can make her ashamed; and like the prostitute
in the "Apocalypse," she bears on her forehead the name of mystery; that
is, she was veiled, and was no longer known but in the character of the
foolish passion."

I have sought this passage in Massillon's sermons, but it certainly is
not in the edition which I possess. I will venture to say more--it is
not in his style.

The author of the "_Christiade_" should have informed us where he picked
up this rhapsody of Massillon's, as he should have told us where he read
that the Albigenses dared to impute to Jesus Christ an unworthy
intercourse with Mary Magdalen.

As for the marchioness, she is not again mentioned in the work. The
author spares us her voyage to Marseilles with Lazarus, and the rest of
her adventures.

What could induce a man of learning, and sometimes of eloquence, as the
author of the "_Christiade_" appears to be, to compose this pretended
poem? It was, as he tells us in his preface, the example of Milton; but
we well know how deceitful are examples. Milton, who--be it
observed--did not hazard that weakly monstrosity, a poem in
prose--Milton, who in his Paradise Lost, has, amid the multitude of
harsh and obscure lines of which it is full, scattered some very fine
blank verse--could not please any but fanatical Whigs, as the Abbé
Grécourt says:

     _En chantant l'univers perdu pour une pomme,_
     _Et Dieu pour le damner créant le premier homme._

     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . By singing
     How God made man on purpose for hell-fire,
     And how a stolen apple damned us all.

He might delight the Presbyterians by making Sin cohabit with Death; by
firing off twenty-four pounders in heaven; by making dryness fight with
damp, and heat with cold; by cleaving angels in two, whose halves
immediately joined again; by building a bridge over chaos; by
representing the Messiah taking from a chest in heaven a great pair of
compasses to describe the circuit of the earth, etc. Virgil and Horace
would, perhaps, have thought these ideas rather strange. But if they
succeeded in England by the aid of some very happy lines, the author of
the "_Christiade_" was mistaken in expecting his romance to succeed
without the assistance of fine verses, which are indeed very difficult
to make.

But, says our author, one Jerome Vida, bishop of Alba, once wrote a very
powerful "_Christiade_" in Latin verse, in which he transcribes many
lines from Virgil. Well, my friend, why did you write yours in French
prose? Why did not you, too, imitate Virgil?

But the late M. d'Escorbiac, of Toulouse, also wrote a "_Christiade._"
Alas! why were you so unfortunate as to become the ape of M.

But Milton, too, wrote his romance of the New Testament, his "Paradise
Regained," in blank verse, frequently resembling the worst prose. Leave
it, then, to Milton to set Satan and Jesus constantly at war. Let it be
his to cause a drove of swine to be driven along by a legion of devils;
that is, by six thousand seven hundred, who take possession of these
swine--there being three devils and seven-twentieths per pig--and drown
them in a lake. It well becomes Milton to make the devil propose to God
that they shall take a good supper together. In Milton, the devil may at
his ease cover the table with ortolans, partridges, soles, sturgeons,
and make Hebe and Ganymede hand wine to Jesus Christ. In Milton, the
devil may take God up a little hill, from the top of which he shows him
the capital, the Molucca Islands, and the Indian city; the birthplace of
the beauteous Angelica, who turned Orlando's brain; after which he may
offer to God all this, provided that God will adore him. But even Milton
labored in vain; people have laughed at him. They have laughed at poor
brother Berruyer, the Jesuit. They have laughed at you. Bear it with



Martyr, "witness"; martyrdom, testimony. The early Christian community
at first gave the name of "martyrs" to those who announced new truths to
mankind, who gave testimony to Jesus; who confessed Jesus; in the same
manner as they gave the name of "saints" to the presbyters, to the
supervisors of the community, and to their female benefactors; this is
the reason why St. Jerome, in his letters, often calls his initiated
Paul, St. Paul. All the first bishops were called saints.

Subsequently, the name of martyrs was given only to deceased Christians,
or to those who had been tortured for punishment; and the little chapels
that were erected to them received afterwards the name of "martyrion."

It is a great question, why the Roman Empire always tolerated in its
bosom the Jewish sect, even after the two horrible wars of Titus and
Adrian; why it tolerated the worship of Isis at several times; and why
it frequently persecuted Christianity. It is evident that the Jews, who
paid dearly for their synagogues, denounced the Christians as mortal
foes, and excited the people against them. It is moreover evident that
the Jews, occupied with the trade of brokers and usurers, did not preach
against the ancient religion of the empire, and that the Christians, who
were all busy in controversy, preached against the public worship,
sought to destroy it, often burned the temples, and broke the
consecrated statues, as St. Theodosius did at Amasia, and St. Polyeuctus
in Mitylene.

The orthodox Christians, sure that their religion was the only true one,
did not tolerate any other. In consequence, they themselves were hardly
tolerated. Some of them were punished and died for the faith--and these
were the martyrs.

This name is so respectable that it should not be prodigally bestowed;
it is not right to assume the name and arms of a family to which one
does not belong. Very heavy penalties have been established against
those who have the audacity to decorate themselves with the cross of
Malta or of St. Louis, without being chevaliers of those orders.

The learned Dodwell, the dexterous Middleton, the judicious Blondel, the
exact Tillemont, the scrutinizing Launoy, and many others, all zealous
for the glory of the true martyrs, have excluded from their catalogue an
obscure multitude on whom this great title had been lavished. We have
remarked that these learned men were sanctioned by the direct
acknowledgment of Origen, who, in his "Refutation of Celsus," confesses
that there are very few martyrs, and those at a great distance of time,
and that it is easy to reckon them.

Nevertheless, the Benedictine Ruinart--who calls himself Don Ruinart,
although he was no Spaniard--has contradicted all these learned persons!
He has candidly given us many stories of martyrs which have appeared to
the critics very suspicious. Many sensible persons have doubted various
anecdotes relating to the legends recounted by Don Ruinart, from
beginning to end.

_1. Of Saint Symphorosia And Her Seven Children._

Their scruples commence with St. Symphorosia and her seven children who
suffered martyrdom with her; which appears, at first sight, too much
imitated from the seven Maccabees. It is not known whence this legend
comes; and that is at once a great cause of skepticism.

It is therein related that the emperor Adrian himself wished to
interrogate the unknown Symphorosia, to ascertain if she was a
Christian. This would have been more extraordinary than if Louis XIV.
had subjected a Huguenot to an interrogatory. You will further observe
that Adrian, far from being a persecutor of the Christians, was their
greatest protector.

He had then a long conversation with Symphorosia, and putting himself in
a passion, he said to her: "I will sacrifice you to the gods"; as if the
Roman emperors sacrificed women in their devotions. In the sequel, he
caused her to be thrown into the Anio--which was not a usual mode of
immolation. He afterwards had one of her sons cloven in two from the top
of his head to his middle; a second from side to side; a third was
broken on the wheel; a fourth was only stabbed in the stomach; a fifth
right to the heart; a sixth had his throat cut; the seventh died of a
parcel of needles thrust into his breast. The emperor Adrian was fond of
variety. He commanded that they should be buried near the temple of
Hercules--although no one is ever buried in Rome, much less near the
temples, which would have been a horrible profanation. The legend adds
that the chief priest of the temple named the place of their interment
"the Seven Biotanates".

If it was extraordinary that a monument should be erected at Rome to
persons thus treated, it was no less so that a high priest should
concern himself with the inscription; and further, that this Roman
priest should make a Greek epitaph for them. But what is still more
strange is that it is pretended that this word biotanates signifies the
seven tortured. Biotanates is a fabricated word, which one does not meet
with in any author; and this signification can only be given to it by a
play upon words, falsely using the word "thenon." There is scarcely any
fable worse constructed. The writers of legends knew how to lie, but
none of them knew how to lie skilfully.

The learned Lacroze, librarian to Frederick the Great, king of Prussia,
observed: "I know not whether Ruinart is sincere, but I am afraid he is

_2. Of St. Felicita And Seven More Children._

It is from Surius that this legend is taken. This Surius is rather
notorious for his absurdities. He was a monk of the sixteenth century,
who writes about the martyrs of the second as if he had been present.

He pretends that that wicked man, that tyrant, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
Pius, ordered the prefect of Rome to institute a process against St.
Felicita, to have her and her seven children put to death, because there
was a rumor that she was a Christian.

The prefect held his tribunal in the Campus Martius, which, however, was
at that time used only for the reviewing of troops; and the first thing
the prefect did was to cause a blow to be given her in full assembly.

The long discourses of the magistrates and the accused are worthy of the
historian. He finishes by putting the seven brothers to death by
different punishments, like the seven children of St. Symphorosia. This
is only a duplicate affair. But as for St. Felicita, he leaves her
there, and does not say another word about her.

_3. Of Saint Polycarp._

Eusebius relates that St. Polycarp, being informed in a dream that he
should be burned in three days, made it known to his friends. The
legend-maker adds that the lieutenant of police at Smyrna, whose name
was Herodius, had him seized by his archers; that he was abandoned to
the wild beasts in the amphitheatre; that the sky opened, and a heavenly
voice cried to him: "Be of good courage, Polycarp"; that the hour of
letting loose the lions in the amphitheatre having passed, the people
went about collecting wood from all the houses to burn him with; that
the saint addressed himself to the God of the "archangels"--although the
word archangel was not then known--that the flames formed themselves
round him into a triumphal arch without touching him; that his body had
the smell of baked bread; but that, having resisted the fire, he could
not preserve himself against a sabre-cut; that his blood put out the
burning pile, and that there sprung from it a dove which flew straight
to heaven. To which planet is not precisely known.

_4. Of Saint Ptolomais._

We follow the order of Don Ruinart; but we have no wish to call in
question the martyrdom of St. Ptolomais, which is extracted from "St.
Justin's Apology."

We could make some difficulties with regard to the woman who was accused
by her husband of being a Christian, and who baffled him by giving him a
bill of divorce. We might ask why, in this history, there is no further
mention of this woman? We might make it manifest that in the time of
Marcus Aurelius, women were not permitted to demand divorces of their
husbands; that this permission was only granted them under the emperor
Julian; and that this so much repeated story of the Christian woman who
repudiated her husband--while no pagan would have dared to imagine such
a thing--cannot well be other than a fable. But we do not desire to
raise unpleasant disputes. As for the little probability there is in the
compilation of Don Ruinart, we have too much respect for the subject he
treats of to start objections.

We have not made any to the "Letter of the Churches of Vienna and
Lyons," because there is still a great deal of obscurity connected with
it; but we shall be pardoned for defending the memory of the great
Marcus Aurelius, thus outraged in the life of "St. Symphorian of Autun,"
who was probably a relation of St. Symphorosia.

_5. Of St. Symphorian Of Autun._

This legend, the author of which is unknown, begins thus: "The emperor
Marcus Aurelius had just raised a frightful tempest against the Church,
and his fulminating edicts assailed on all sides the religion of Jesus
Christ, at the time when St. Symphorian lived at Autun in all the
splendor that high birth and uncommon virtue can confer. He was of a
Christian family, one of the most considerable of the city," etc.

Marcus Aurelius issued no sanguinary edicts against the Christians. It
is a very criminal calumny. Tillemont himself admits that "he was the
best prince the Romans ever had; that his reign was a golden age; and
that he verified what he often quoted from Plato, that nations would
only be happy when kings were philosophers."

Of all the emperors, this was the one who promulgated the best laws; he
protected the wise, but persecuted no Christians, of whom he had a great
many in his service.

The writer of the legend relates that St. Symphorian having refused to
adore Cybele, the city judge inquired: "Who is this man?" Now it is
impossible that the judge of Autun should not have known the most
considerable person in Autun.

He was declared by the sentence to be guilty of treason, "divine and
human." The Romans never employed this formula; and that alone should
deprive the pretended martyr of Autun of all credit.

In order the better to refute this calumny against the sacred memory of
Marcus Aurelius, let us bring under view the discourse of Meliton,
bishop of Sardis, to this best of emperors, reported verbatim by

"The continual succession of good fortune which has attended the empire,
without its happiness being disturbed by a single disgrace, since our
religion, which was born with it, has grown in its bosom, is an evident
proof that it contributes eminently to its greatness and glory. Among
all the emperors, Nero and Domitian alone, deceived by certain
impostors, have spread calumnies against us, which, as usual, have found
some partial credence among the people. But your pious ancestors have
corrected the people's ignorance, and by public edicts have repressed
the audacity of those who attempted to treat us ill. Your grandfather
Adrian wrote in our favor to Fundanus, governor of Asia, and to many
other persons. The emperor, your father, during the period when you
divided with him the cares of government, wrote to the inhabitants of
Larissa, of Thessalonica, of Athens, and in short to all the people of
Greece, to repress the seditions and tumults which have been excited
against us."

This declaration by a most pious, learned, and veracious bishop is
sufficient to confound forever all the lies and legends which may be
regarded as the Arabian tales of Christianity.

_6. Of Another Saint Felicita, And Of Saint Perpetua._

If it were an object to dispute the legend of Felicita and Perpetua, it
would not be difficult to show how suspicious it is. These Carthaginian
martyrs are only known by a writing, without date, of the church of
Salzburg. Now, it is a great way from this part of Bavaria to Goletta.
We are not informed under what emperor this Felicita and this Perpetua
received the crown of martyrdom. The astounding sights with which this
history is filled do not discover a very profound historian. A ladder
entirely of gold, bordered with lances and swords; a dragon at the top
of the ladder; a large garden near the dragon; sheep from which an old
man drew milk; a reservoir full of water; a bottle of water whence they
drank without diminishing the liquid; St. Perpetua fighting entirely
naked against a wicked Egyptian; some handsome young men, all naked, who
took her part; herself at last become a man and a vigorous wrestler;
these are, it appears to me, conceits which should not have place in a
respectable book.

There is one other reflection very important to make. It is that the
style of all these stories of martyrdom, which took place at such
different periods, is everywhere alike, everywhere equally puerile and
bombastic. You find the same turns of expression, the same phrases, in
the history of a martyr under Domitian and of another under Galerius.
There are the same epithets, the same exaggerations. By the little we
understand of style, we perceive that the same hand has compiled them

I do not here pretend to make a book against Don Ruinart; and while I
always respect, admire, and invoke the true martyrs with the Holy
Church, I confine myself to making it perceived, by one or two striking
examples, how dangerous it is to mix what is purely ridiculous with what
ought to be venerated.

_7. Of Saint Theodotus Of The City Of Ancyra, And Of The Seven Virgins;
Written By Nisus, An Eye-Witness, And Extracted From Bollandus._

Many critics, as eminent for wisdom as for true piety, have already
given us to understand that the legend of St. Theodotus the Publican is
a profanation and a species of impiety which ought to have been
suppressed. The following is the story of Theodotus. We shall often
employ the exact words of the "Genuine Acts," compiled by Don Ruinart.

"His trade of publican supplied him with the means of exercising his
episcopal functions. Illustrious tavern! consecrated to piety instead of
debauchery.... Sometimes Theodotus was a physician, sometimes he
furnished tit-bits to the faithful. A tavern was seen to be to the
Christians what Noah's ark was to those whom God wished to save from the

This publican Theodotus, walking by the river Halis with his companions
towards a town adjacent to the city of Ancyra, "a fresh and soft plot of
turf offered them a delicious couch; a spring which issued a few steps
off, from the foot of the rock, and which by a channel crowned with
flowers came running past them in order to quench their thirst, offered
them clear and pure water. Trees bearing fruit, mixed with wild ones,
furnished them with shade and fruits; and an assemblage of skilful
nightingales, whom the grasshoppers relieved every now and then, formed
a charming concert," etc.

The clergyman of the place, named Fronton, having arrived, and the
publican having drunk with him on the grass, "the fresh green of which
was relieved by the various gradations of color in the flowers, he said
to the clergyman: 'Ah, father! what a pleasure it would be to build a
chapel here.' 'Yes,' said Fronton, 'but it would be necessary to have
some relics to begin with.' 'Well, well,' replied St. Theodotus, 'you
shall have some soon, I give you my word; here is my ring, which I give
you as a pledge; build your chapel quickly.'"

The publican had the gift of prophecy, and knew well what he was saying.
He went away to the city of Ancyra, while the clergyman Fronton set
himself about building. He found there the most horrible persecution,
which lasted very long. Seven Christian virgins, of whom the youngest
was seventy years old, had just been condemned, according to custom, to
lose their virginity, through the agency of all the young men of the
city. The youth of Ancyra, who had probably more urgent affairs, were in
no hurry to execute the sentence. One only could be found obedient to
justice. He applied himself to St. Thecusa, and carried her into a
closet with surprising courage. Thecusa threw herself on her knees, and
said to him, "For God's sake, my son, a little shame! Behold these
lacklustre eyes, this half-dead flesh, these greasy wrinkles, which
seventy years have ploughed in my forehead, this face of the color of
the earth; abandon thoughts so unworthy of a young man like you--Jesus
Christ entreats you by my mouth. He asks it of you as a favor, and if
you grant it Him, you may expect His entire gratitude." The discourse of
the old woman, and her countenance made the executioner recollect
himself. The seven virgins were not deflowered.

The irritated governor sought for another punishment; he caused them to
be initiated forthwith in the mysteries of Diana and Minerva. It is true
that great feasts had been instituted in honor of those divinities, but
the mysteries of Diana and Minerva were not known to antiquity. St. Nil,
an intimate friend of the publican Theodotus, and the author of this
marvellous story, was not quite correct.

According to him, these seven pretty lasses were placed quite naked on
the car which carried the great Diana and the wise Minerva to the banks
of a neighboring lake. The Thucydides St. Nil still appears to be very
ill-informed here. The priestesses were always covered with veils; and
the Roman magistrates never caused the goddesses of chastity and wisdom
to be attended by girls who showed themselves both before and behind to
the people.

St. Nil adds that the car was preceded by two choirs of priestesses of
Bacchus, who carried the thyrses in their hands. St. Nil has here
mistaken the priestesses of Minerva for those of Bacchus. He was not
versed in the liturgy of Ancyra.

Entering the city, the publican saw this sad spectacle--the governor,
the priestesses, the car, Minerva, and the seven maidens. He runs to
throw himself on his knees in a hut, along with a nephew of St. Thecusa.
He beseeches heaven that the seven ladies should be dead rather than
naked. His prayer is heard; he learns that the seven damsels, instead of
being deflowered, have been thrown into the lake with stones round their
necks, by order of the governor. Their virginity is in safe-keeping. At
this news the saint, raising himself from the ground and placing himself
upon his knees, turned his eyes towards heaven; and in the midst of the
various emotions he experienced of love, joy, and gratitude, he said, "I
give Thee thanks, O Lord! that Thou has not rejected the prayer of Thy

He slept; and during his sleep, St. Thecusa, the youngest of the drowned
women, appeared to him. "How now, son Theodotus!" she said, "you are
sleeping without thinking of us: have you forgotten so soon the care I
took of your youth? Do not, dear Theodotus, suffer our bodies to be
devoured by the fishes. Go to the lake, but beware of a traitor." This
traitor was, in fact, the nephew of St. Thecusa.

I omit here a multitude of miraculous adventures that happened to the
publican, in order to come to the most important. A celestial cavalier,
armed _cap-a-pie, _preceded by a celestial flambeau, descends from the
height of the empyrean, conducts the publican to the lake in the midst
of storms, drives away all the soldiers who guard the shore, and gives
Theodotus time to fish up the seven old women and to bury them.

The nephew of St. Thecusa unfortunately went and told all. Theodotus was
seized, and for three days all sorts of punishments were tried in vain
to kill him. They could only attain their object by cleaving his skull;
an operation which saints are never proof against.

He was still to be buried. His friend the minister Fronton--to whom
Theodotus, in his capacity of publican, had given two leathern bottles
filled with wine--made the guards drunk, and carried off the body.
Theodotus then appeared in body and spirit to the minister: "Well, my
friend," he said to him, "did I not say well, that you should have
relics for your chapel?"

Such is what is narrated by St. Nil, an eye-witness, who could neither
be deceived nor deceive; such is what Don Ruinart has quoted as a
genuine act. Now every man of sense, every intelligent Christian, will
ask himself, whether a better mode could be adopted of dishonoring the
most holy and venerated religion in the world, and of turning it into

I shall not speak of the Eleven Thousand Virgins; I shall not discuss
the fable of the Theban legion, composed--says the author--of six
thousand six hundred men, all Christians coming from the East by Mount
St. Bernard, suffering martyrdom in the year 286, the period of the most
profound peace as regarded the Church, and in the gorge of a mountain
where it is impossible to place 300 men abreast; a fable written more
than 550 years after the event; a fable in which a king of Burgundy is
spoken of who never existed; a fable, in short, acknowledged to be
absurd by all the learned who have not lost their reason.

Behold what Don Ruinart narrates seriously! Let us pray to God for the
good sense of Don Ruinart!


How does it happen that, in the enlightened age in which we live,
learned and useful writers are still found who nevertheless follow the
stream of old errors, and who corrupt many truths by admitted fables?
They reckon the era of the martyrs from the first year of the empire of
Diocletian, who was then far enough from inflicting martyrdom on
anybody. They forget that his wife Prisca was a Christian, that the
principal officers of his household were Christians; that he protected
them constantly during eighteen years; that they built at Nicomedia a
church more sumptuous than his palace; and that they would never have
been persecuted if they had not outraged the Cæsar Valerius.

Is it possible that any one should still dare to assert "that Diocletian
died of age, despair, and misery;" he who was seen to quit life like a
philosopher, as he had quitted the empire; he who, solicited to resume
the supreme power loved better to cultivate his fine gardens at
Salonica, than to reign again over the whole of the then known world?

Oh, ye compilers! will you never cease to compile? You have usefully
employed your three fingers; employ still more usefully your reason.

What! you repeat to me that St. Peter reigned over the faithful at Rome
for twenty-five years, and that Nero had him put to death together with
St. Paul, in order to avenge the death of Simon the Magician, whose legs
they had broken by their prayers?

To report such fables, though with the best motive, is to insult

The poor creatures who still repeat these absurdities are copyists who
renew in octavo and duodecimo old stories that honest men no longer
read, and who have never opened a book of wholesome criticism. They rake
up the antiquated tales of the Church; they know nothing of either
Middleton, or Dodwell, or Bruker, or Dumoulin, or Fabricius, or Grabius,
or even Dupin, or of any one of those who have lately carried light into
the darkness.


We are fooled with martyrdoms that make us break out into laughter. The
Tituses, the Trajans, the Marcus Aureliuses, are painted as monsters of
cruelty. Fleury, abbé of Loc Dieu, has disgraced his ecclesiastical
history by tales which a sensible old woman would not tell to little

Can it be seriously repeated, that the Romans condemned seven virgins,
each seventy years old, to pass through the hands of all the young men
of the city of Ancyra--those Romans who punished the Vestals with death
for the least gallantry?

A hundred tales of this sort are found in the martyrologies. The
narrators have hoped to render the ancient Romans odious, and they have
rendered themselves ridiculous. Do you want good, well-authenticated
barbarities--good and well-attested massacres, rivers of blood which
have actually flowed--fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, infants at the
breast, who have in reality had their throats cut, and been heaped on
one another? Persecuting monsters! seek these truths only in your own
annals: you will find them in the crusades against the Albigenses, in
the massacres of Merindol and Cabrière, in the frightful day of St.
Bartholomew, in the massacres of Ireland, in the valleys of the Pays de
Vaud. It becomes you well, barbarians as you are, to impute extravagant
cruelties to the best of emperors; you who have deluged Europe with
blood, and covered it with corpses, in order to prove that the same body
can be in a thousand places at once, and that the pope can sell
indulgences! Cease to calumniate the Romans, your law-givers, and ask
pardon of God for the abominations of your forefathers!

It is not the torture, you say, which makes martyrdom; it is the cause.
Well! I agree with you that your victims ought not to be designated by
the name of martyr, which signifies witness; but what name shall we give
to your executioners? Phalaris and Busiris were the gentlest of men in
comparison with you. Does not your Inquisition, which still remains,
make reason, nature, and religion boil with indignation! Great God! if
mankind should reduce to ashes that infernal tribunal, would they be
unacceptable in thy avenging eyes?


The mass, in ordinary language, is the greatest and most august of the
ceremonies of the Church. Different names are given to it, according to
the rites practised in the various countries where it is celebrated; as
the Mozarabian or Gothic mass, the Greek mass, the Latin mass. Durandus
and Eckius call those masses dry, in which no consecration is made, as
that which is appointed to be said in particular by aspirants to the
priesthood; and Cardinal Bona relates, on the authority of William of
Nangis, that St. Louis, in his voyage abroad, had it said in this
manner, lest the motion of the vessel should spill the consecrated wine.
He also quoted Génébrard, who says that he assisted at Turin, in 1587,
at a similar mass, celebrated in a church, but after dinner and very
late, for the funeral of a person of rank.

Pierre le Chantre also speaks of the two-fold, three-fold, and even
four-fold mass, in which the priest celebrated the mass of the day or
the feast, as far as the offertory, then began a second, third, and
sometimes a fourth, as far as the same place; after which he said as
many secretas as he had begun masses; he recited the canon only once for
the whole; and at the end he added as many collects as he had joined
together masses.

It was not until about the close of the fourth century that the word
"mass" began to signify the celebration of the eucharist. The learned
Beatus Rhenanus, in his notes on Tertullian, observes, that St. Ambrose
consecrated this popular expression, "_missa,_" taken from the sending
out of the catechumens, after the reading of the gospel.

In the "Apostolical Constitutions," we find a liturgy in the name of St.
James, by which it appears, that instead of invoking the saints in the
canon of the mass, the primitive Church prayed for them. "We also offer
to Thee, O Lord," said the celebrator, "this bread and this chalice for
all the saints that have been pleasing in Thy sight from the beginning
of ages: for the patriarchs, the prophets, the just, the apostles, the
martyrs, the confessors, bishops, priests, deacons, subdeacons, readers,
chanters, virgins, widows, laymen, and all whose names are known unto
Thee." But St. Cyril of Jerusalem, who lived in the fourth century,
substituted this explanation: "After which," says he, "we commemorate
those who die before us, and first the patriarchs, apostles, and
martyrs, that God may receive our prayers through their intercession."
This proves--as will be said in the article on "Relics"--that the
worship of the saints was then beginning to be introduced into the

[Illustration: Ancient Rome.]

Noel Alexander cites acts of St. Andrew, in which that apostle is made
to say: "I offer up every day, on the altar of the only true God, not
the flesh of bulls, nor the blood of goats, but the unspotted lamb,
which still remains living and entire after it is sacrificed, and all
the faithful eat of its flesh"; but this learned Dominican acknowledges
that this piece was unknown until the eighth century. The first who
cited it was Ætherius, bishop of Osma in Spain, who wrote against
Ælipard in 788.

Abdias relates that St. John, being warned by the Lord of the
termination of his career, prepared for death and recommended his Church
to God. He then had bread brought to him, which he took, and lifting up
his hands to heaven, blessed it, broke it, and distributed it among
those who were present, saying: "Let my portion be yours, and let yours
be mine." This manner of celebrating the eucharist--which means
thanksgiving--is more conformable to the institution of that ceremony.

St. Luke indeed informs us, that Jesus, after distributing bread and
wine among his apostles, who were supping with him, said to them: "Do
this in memory of me." St. Matthew and St. Mark say, moreover, that
Jesus sang a hymn. St. John, who in his gospel mentions neither the
distribution of the bread and wine, nor the hymn, speaks of the latter
at great length in his Acts, of which we give the text, as quoted by the
Second Council of Nice:

"Before our Lord was taken by the Jews," says this well-beloved apostle
of Jesus, "He assembled us all together, and said to us: 'Let us sing a
hymn in honor of the Father, after which we will execute the design we
have conceived.' He ordered us therefore to form a circle, holding one
another by the hand; then, having placed Himself in the middle of the
circle, He said to us: 'Amen; follow me.' Then He began the canticle,
and said: 'Glory be to Thee, O Father!' We all answered, 'Amen.' Jesus
continued, saying, 'Glory to the Word,' etc. 'Glory to the Spirit,' etc.
'Glory to Grace,' etc., and the apostles constantly answered, 'Amen.'"

After some other doxologies, Jesus said, "I will save, and I will be
saved, Amen. I will unbind, and I will be unbound, Amen. I will be
wounded, and I will wound, Amen. I will be born, and I will beget, Amen.
I will eat, and I will be consumed, Amen. I will be hearkened to, and I
will hearken, Amen. I will be comprehended by the spirit, being all
spirit, all understanding, Amen. I will be washed, and I will wash,
Amen. Grace brings dancing; I will play on the flute; all of you dance,
Amen. I will sing sorrowful airs; now all of you lament, Amen."

St. Augustine, who begins a part of this hymn in his "Epistle to
Ceretius", gives also the following: "I will deck, and I will be decked.
I am a lamp to those who see me and know me. I am the door for all who
will knock at it. Do you, who see what I do, be careful not to speak of

This dance of Jesus and the apostles is evidently imitated from that of
the Egyptian Therapeutæ, who danced after supper in their assemblies, at
first divided into two choirs, then united the men and the women
together, as at the feast of Bacchus, after swallowing plenty of
celestial wine as Philo says.

Besides we know, that according to the Jewish tradition, after their
coming out of Egypt, and passing the Red Sea, whence the solemnity of
the Passover took its name, Moses and his sister assembled two musical
choirs, one composed of men, the other of women, who, while dancing,
sang a canticle of thanksgiving. These instruments instantaneously
assembled, these choirs arranged with so much promptitude, the facility
with which the songs and dances are executed, suppose a training in
these two exercises much anterior to the moment of execution.

The usage was afterwards perpetrated among the Jews. The daughters of
Shiloh were dancing according to custom, at the solemn feast of the
Lord, when the young men of the tribe of Benjamin, to whom they had been
refused for wives, carried them off by the counsel of the old men of
Israel. And at this day, in Palestine, the women, assembled near the
tombs of their relatives, dance in a mournful manner, and utter cries of

We also know that the first Christians held among themselves _agapæ, _or
feasts of charity, in memory of the last supper which Jesus celebrated
with his apostles, from which the Pagans took occasion to bring against
them the most odious charges; on which, to banish every shadow of
licentiousness, the pastors forbade the kiss of peace, that concluded
the ceremony to be given between persons of different sexes. But various
abuses, which were even then complained of by St. Paul, and which the
Council of Gangres, in the year 324, vainly undertook to reform, at
length caused the _agapæ_ to be abolished in 397, by the Third Council
of Carthage, of which the forty-first canon ordained, that the holy
mysteries should be celebrated fasting.

It will not be doubted that these feastings were accompanied by dances,
when it is recollected that, according to Scaliger, the bishops were
called in the Latin Church "_præsules,_" (from "_præsiliendo_") only
because they led off the dance. Heliot, in his "History of the Monastic
Orders," says also, that during the persecutions which disturbed the
peace of the first Christians, congregations were formed of men and
women, who, after the manner of the Therapeutæ, retired into the
deserts, where they assembled in the hamlets on Sundays and feast days,
and danced piously, singing the prayers of the Church.

In Portugal, in Spain, and in Roussillon, solemn dances are still
performed in honor of the mysteries of Christianity. On every vigil of a
feast of the Virgin, the young women assemble before the doors of the
churches dedicated to her, and pass the night in dancing round, and
singing hymns and canticles in honor of her. Cardinal Ximenes restored
in his time, in the cathedral of Toledo, the ancient usage of the
Mozarabian mass, during which dances are performed in the choir and the
nave, with equal order and devotion. In France too, about the middle of
the last century, the priests and all the people of the Limoges might be
seen dancing round in the collegiate church, singing: "_Sant Marcian
pregas pernous et nous epingaren per bous_"--that is, "St. Martian, pray
for us, and we will dance for you."

And lastly, the Jesuit Menestrier, in the preface to his "Treatise on
Ballets", published in 1682, says, that he had himself seen the canons
of some churches take the singing boys by the hand on Easter day, and
dance in the choir, singing hymns of rejoicing. What has been said in
the article on "Calends," of the extravagant dances of the feast of
fools, exhibits a part of the abuses which have caused dancing to be
discontinued in the ceremonies of the mass, which, the greater their
gravity, are the better calculated to impose on the simple.


It is perhaps as difficult as it is useless to ascertain whether
"_mazzacrium,_" a word of the low Latin, is the root of "massacre," or
whether "massacre" is the root of "_mazzacrium._"

A massacre signifies a number of men killed. There was yesterday a great
massacre near Warsaw--near Cracow. We never say: "There has been a
massacre of a man; yet we do say": "A man has been massacred": in that
case it is understood that he has been killed barbarously by many blows.

Poetry makes use of the word massacred for killed, assassinated: "_Que
par ses propres mains son père massacré._"--Cinna.

An Englishman has made a compilation of all the massacres perpetrated on
account of religion since the first centuries of our vulgar era. I have
been very much tempted to write against the English author; but his
memoir not appearing to be exaggerated, I have restrained myself. For
the future I hope there will be no more such calculations to make. But
to whom shall we be indebted for that?



"How unfortunate am I to have been born!" said Ardassan Ougli, a young
_icoglan_ of the grand sultan of the Turks. Yet if I depended only on the
sultan--but I am also subject to the chief of my _oda,_ to the _cassigi
bachi_; and when I receive my pay, I must prostrate myself before a
clerk of the _teftardar,_ who keeps back half of it. I was not seven
years old, when, in spite of myself, I was circumcised with great
ceremony, and was ill for a fortnight after it. The dervish who prays to
us is also my master; an _iman_ is still more my master, and the
_mullah_ still more so than the _iman._ The _cadi_ is another master,
the _kadeslesker_ a greater; the _mufti_ a greater than all these
together. The _kiaia_ of the grand vizier with one word could cause me
to be thrown into the canal; and finally, the grand vizier could have me
beheaded, and the skin of my head stripped off, without any person
caring about the matter.

"Great God, how many masters! If I had as many souls and bodies as I
have duties to fulfil, I could not bear it. Oh Allah! why hast thou not
made me an owl? I should live free in my hole and eat mice at my ease,
without masters or servants. This is assuredly the true destiny of man;
there were no masters until it was perverted; no man was made to serve
another continually. If things were in order, each should charitably
help his neighbor. The quick-sighted would conduct the blind, the active
would be crutches to the lame. This would be the paradise of Mahomet,
instead of the hell which is formed precisely under the inconceivably
narrow bridge."

Thus spoke Ardassan Ougli, after being bastinadoed by one of his

Some years afterwards, Ardassan Ougli became a pasha with three tails.
He made a prodigious fortune, and firmly believed that all men except
the grand Turk and the grand vizier were born to serve him, and all
women to give him pleasure according to his wishes.


How can one man become the master of another? And by what kind of
incomprehensible magic has he been able to become the master of several
other men? A great number of good volumes have been written on this
subject, but I give the preference to an Indian fable, because it is
short, and fables explain everything.

Adimo, the father of all the Indians, had two sons and two daughters by
his wife Pocriti. The eldest was a vigorous giant, the youngest was a
little hunchback, the two girls were pretty. As soon as the giant was
strong enough, he lay with his two sisters, and caused the little
hunchback to serve him. Of his two sisters, the one was his cook, the
other his gardener. When the giant would sleep, he began by chaining his
little brother to a tree; and when the latter fled from him, he caught
him in four strides, and gave him twenty blows with the strength of an

The dwarf submitted and became the best subject in the world. The giant,
satisfied with seeing him fulfil the duties of a subject, permitted him
to sleep with one of his sisters, with whom he was disgusted. The
children who sprang from this marriage were not quite hunchbacks, but
they were sufficiently deformed. They were brought up in the fear of God
and of the giant. They received an excellent education; they were taught
that their uncle was a giant by divine right, who could do what he
pleased with all his family; that if he had some pretty niece or
grand-niece, he should have her without difficulty, and not one should
marry her unless he permitted it.

The giant dying, his son, who was neither so strong or so great as he
was, believed himself to be like his father, a giant by divine right. He
pretended to make all the men work for him, and slept with all the
girls. The family lagued against him: he was killed, and they became a

The Siamese pretend, that on the contrary the family commenced by being
republican; and that the giant existed not until after a great many
years and dissensions: but all the authors of Benares and Siam agree
that men lived an infinity of ages before they had the wit to make laws,
and they prove it by an unanswerable argument, which is that even at
present, when all the world piques itself upon having wit, we have not
yet found the means of making a score of laws passably good.

It is still, for example, an insoluble question in India, whether
republics were established before or after monarchies; if confusion has
appeared more horrible to men than despotism! I am ignorant how it
happened in order of time, but in that of nature we must agree that men
are all born equal: violence and ability made the first masters; laws
have made the present.


SECTION I. A Polite Dialogue Between A Demoniac And A Philosopher.


Yes, thou enemy of God and man, who believest that God is all-powerful,
and is at liberty to confer the gift of thought on every being whom He
shall vouchsafe to choose, I will go and denounce thee to the
inquisitor; I will have thee burned. Beware, I warn thee for the last


Are these your arguments? Is it thus you teach mankind? I admire your


Come, I will be patient for a moment while the fagots are preparing.
Answer me: What is spirit?


I know not.


What is matter?


I scarcely know. I believe it to have extent, solidity, resistance,
gravity, divisibility, mobility. God may have given it a thousand other
qualities of which I am ignorant.


A thousand other qualities, traitor! I see what thou wouldst be at; thou
wouldst tell me that God can animate matter, that He has given instinct
to animals, that He is the Master of all.


But it may very well be, that He has granted to this matter many
properties which you cannot comprehend.


Which I cannot comprehend, villain!


Yes. His power goes much further than your understanding.


His power! His power! thou talkest like a true atheist.


However, I have the testimony of many holy fathers on my side.


Go to, go to: neither God nor they shall prevent us from burning thee
alive--the death inflicted on parricides and on philosophers who are not
of our opinion.


Was it the devil or yourself that invented this method of arguing?


Vile wretch! darest thou to couple my name with the devil's?

(Here the demoniac strikes the philosopher, who returns him the blow
with interest.)


Help! philosophers!


Holy brotherhood! help!

(Here half a dozen philosophers arrive on one side, and on the other
rush in a hundred Dominicans, with a hundred Familiars of the
Inquisition, and a hundred alguazils. The contest is too unequal.)


When wise men are asked what is the soul they answer that they know not.
If they are asked what matter is, they make the same reply. It is true
that there are professors, and particularly scholars, who know all this
perfectly; and when they have repeated that matter has extent and
divisibility, they think they have said all; being pressed, however, to
say what this thing is which is extended, they find themselves
considerably embarrassed. It is composed of parts, say they. And of what
are these parts composed? Are the elements of the parts divisible? Then
they are mute, or they talk a great deal; which are equally suspicious.
Is this almost unknown being called matter, eternal? Such was the belief
of all antiquity. Has it of itself force? Many philosophers have thought
so. Have those who deny it a right to deny it? You conceive not that
matter can have anything of itself; but how can you be assured that it
has not of itself the properties necessary to it? You are ignorant of
its nature, and you refuse it the modes which nevertheless are in its
nature: for it can no sooner have been, than it has been in a certain
fashion--it has had figure, and having necessarily figure, is it
impossible that it should not have had other modes attached to its
configuration? Matter exists, but you know it only by your sensations.
Alas! of what avail have been all the subtleties of the mind since man
first reasoned? Geometry has taught us many truths, metaphysics very
few. We weigh matter, we measure it, we decompose it; and if we seek to
advance one step beyond these gross operations, we find ourselves
powerless, and before us an immeasurable abyss.

Pray forgive all mankind who were deceived in thinking that matter
existed by itself. Could they do otherwise? How are we to imagine that
what is without succession has not always been? If it were not necessary
for matter to exist, why should it exist? And if it were necessary that
it should be, why should it not have been forever? No axiom has ever
been more universally received than this: Of nothing, nothing comes.
Indeed the contrary is incomprehensible. With every nation, chaos
preceded the arrangement which a divine hand made of the whole world.
The eternity of matter has with no people been injurious to the worship
of the Divinity. Religion was never startled at the recognition of an
eternal God as the master of an eternal matter. We of the present day
are so happy as to know by faith that God brought matter out of nothing;
but no nation has ever been instructed in this dogma; even the Jews were
ignorant of it. The first verse of Genesis says, that the Gods--_Eloïm,_
not _Eloi_--made heaven and earth. It does not say, that heaven and
earth were created out of nothing.

Philo, who lived at the only time when the Jews had any erudition, says,
in his "Chapter on the Creation", "God, being good by nature, bore no
envy against substance, matter; which of itself had nothing good, having
by nature only inertness, confusion, and disorder; it was bad, and He
vouchsafed to make it good."

The idea of chaos put into order by a God, is to be found in all ancient
theogonies. Hesiod repeated the opinion of the Orientals, when he said
in his "Theogony," "Chaos was that which first existed." The whole Roman
Empire spoke in these words of Ovid: "_Sic ubi dispositam quisquis fuit
ille Deorum Congeriem secuit._"

Matter then, in the hands of God, was considered like clay under the
potter's wheel, if these feeble images may be used to express His divine

Matter, being eternal, must have had eternal properties--as
configuration, the _vis inertiæ,_ motion, and divisibility. But this
divisibility is only a consequence of motion; for without motion nothing
is divided, nor separated, nor arranged. Motion therefore was regarded
as essential to matter. Chaos had been a confused motion, and the
arrangement of the universe was a regular motion, communicated to all
bodies by the Master of the world. But how can matter have motion by
itself, as it has, according to all the ancients, extent and

But it cannot be conceived to be without extent, and it may be conceived
to be without motion. To this it was answered: It is impossible that
matter should not be permeable; and being permeable, something must be
continually passing through its pores. Why should there be passages, if
nothing passes?

Reply and rejoinder might thus be continued forever. The system of the
eternity of matter, like all other systems, has very great difficulties.
That of the formation of matter out of nothing is no less
incomprehensible. We must admit it, and not flatter ourselves with
accounting for it; philosophy does not account for everything. How many
incomprehensible things are we not obliged to admit, even in geometry!
Can any one conceive two lines constantly approaching each other, yet
never meeting?

Geometricians indeed will tell you, the properties of asymptotes are
demonstrated; you cannot help admitting them--but creation is not; why
then admit it? Why is it hard for you to believe, like all the ancients,
in the eternity of matter? The theologian will press you on the other
side, and say: If you believe in the eternity of matter then you
acknowledge two principles--God and matter; you fall into the error of
Zoroaster and of Manes.

No answer can be given to the geometricians, for those folks know of
nothing but their lines, their superficies, and their solids; but you
may say to the theologians: "Wherein am I a Manichæan? Here are stones
which an architect has not made, but of which he has erected an immense
building. I do not admit two architects; the rough stones have obeyed
power and genius."

Happily, whatever system a man embraces, it is in no way hurtful to
morality; for what imports it whether matter is made or arranged? God is
still an absolute master. Whether chaos was created out of nothing, or
only reduced to order, it is still our duty to be virtuous; scarcely any
of these metaphysical questions affect the conduct of life. It is with
disputes as with table talk; each one forgets after dinner what he has
said, and goes whithersoever his interest or his inclination calls him.


Meeting, "_assemblée,_" is a general term applicable to any collection
of people for secular, sacred, political, conversational, festive, or
corporate purposes; in short, to all occasions on which numbers meet

It is a term which prevents all verbal disputes, and all abusive and
injurious implications by which men are in the habit of stigmatizing
societies to which they do not themselves belong.

The legal meeting or assembly of the Athenians was called the "church".
This word "church", being peculiarly appropriated among us to express a
convocation of Catholics in one place, we did not in the first instance
apply it to the public assembly of Protestants; but used indeed the
expression--"a flock of Huguenots." Politeness however, which in time
explodes all noxious terms, at length employed for the purpose the term
"assembly" or "meeting", which offends no one. In England the dominant
Church applies the name of "meeting" to the churches of all the

The word "assembly" is particularly suitable to a collection of persons
invited to go and pass their evening at a house where the host receives
them with courtesy and kindness, and where play, conversation, supper,
and dancing, constitute their amusements. If the number invited be
small, it is not called an "assembly", but a "rendezvous of friends";
and friends are never very numerous.

Assemblies are called, in Italian, "_conversazione,_" "_ridotto_". The
word "_ridotto_" is properly what we once signified by the word
"_reduit,_" intrenchment; but "_reduit_" having sunk into a term of
contempt among us, our editors translated "_ridout_" by "_redoubt._" The
papers informed us, among the important intelligence contained in them
relating to Europe, that many noblemen of the highest consideration went
to take chocolate at the house of the princess Borghese; and that there
was a "_redoubt_" there. It was announced to Europe, in another
paragraph, that there would be a "_redoubt_" on the following Tuesday at
the house of her excellency the marchioness of Santafior.

It was found, however, that in relating the events of war, it was
necessary to speak of real redoubts, which in fact implied things
actually redoubtable and formidable, from which cannon were discharged.
The word was, therefore, in such circumstances, obviously unsuitable to
the _"ridotti pacifici,"_ the pacific redoubts of mere amusement; and
the old term "assembly" was restored, which is indeed the only proper
one. "Rendezvous" is occasionally used, but it is more adapted to a
small company, and most of all for two individuals.



This article is by M. Polier de Bottens, of an old French family,
settled for two hundred years in Switzerland. He is first pastor of
Lausanne, and his knowledge is equal to his piety. He composed this
article for the great Encyclopædia, in which it was inserted. Only those
passages were suppressed which the examiners thought might be abused by
the Catholics, less learned and less pious than the author. It was
received with applause by all the wise.

It was printed at the same time in another small dictionary, and was
attributed in France to a man whom there was no reluctance to molest.
The article was supposed to be impious, because it was supposed to be by
a layman; and the work and its pretended author were violently attacked.
The man thus accused contented himself with laughing at the mistake. He
beheld with compassion this instance of the errors and injustices which
men are every day committing in their judgments; for he had the wise and
learned priest's manuscript, written by his own hand. It is still in his
possession, and will be shown to whoever may choose to examine it. In it
will be found the very erasures made by this layman himself, to prevent
malignant interpretations.

Now we reprint this article in all the integrity of the original. We
have contracted it only to prevent repeating what we have printed
elsewhere; but we have not added a single word.

The best of this affair is, that one of the venerable author's brethren
wrote the most ridiculous things in the world against this article of
his reverend brother's, thinking that he was writing against a common
enemy. This is like fighting in the dark, when one is attacked by one's
own party.

It has a thousand times happened that controversialists have condemned
passages in St. Augustine and St. Jerome, not knowing that they were by
those fathers. They would anathematize a part of the New Testament if
they had not heard by whom it was written. Thus it is that men too often

       *       *       *       *       *

Messiah, "_Messias._" This word comes from the Hebrew, and is synonymous
with the Greek word "Christ." Both are terms consecrated in religion,
which are now no longer given to any but the anointed by eminence--the
Sovereign Deliverer whom the ancient Jewish people expected, for whose
coming they still sigh, and whom the Christians find in the person of
Jesus the Son of Mary, whom they consider as the anointed of the Lord,
the Messiah promised to humanity. The Greeks also use the word
"_Elcimmeros_", meaning the same thing as "_Christos._"

In the Old Testament we see that the word "Messiah," far from being
peculiar to the Deliverer, for whose coming the people of Israel sighed,
was not even so to the true and faithful servants of God, but that this
name was often given to idolatrous kings and princes, who were, in the
hands of the Eternal, the ministers of His vengeance, or instruments for
executing the counsels of His wisdom. So the author of "Ecclesiasticus"
says of Elisha: "_Qui ungis reges ad penitentiam;_" or, as it is
rendered by the "Septuagint," "_ad vindictam_"--"You anoint kings to
execute the vengeance of the Lord". Therefore He sent a prophet to
anoint Jehu, king of Israel, and announced sacred unction to Hazael,
king of Damascus and Syria; those two princes being the Messiahs of the
Most High, to revenge the crimes and abominations of the house of Ahab.

But in Isaiah, xlv., 1, the name of Messiah is expressly given to Cyrus:
"Thus saith the Lord to Cyrus, His anointed, His Messiah, whose right
hand I have holden to subdue nations before him." etc.

Ezekiel, in his Revelations, xxviii., 14, gives the name of Messiah to
the king of Tyre, whom he also calls Cherubin, and speaks of him and his
glory in terms full of an emphasis of which it is easier to feel the
beauties than to catch the sense. "Son of man," says the Eternal to the
prophet, "take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyre, and say unto him,
Thus saith the Lord God; thou sealest up the sun, full of wisdom, and
perfect in beauty. Thou hast been the Lord's Garden of Eden"--or,
according to other versions, "Thou wast all the Lord's delight"--"every
precious stone was thy covering; the sardius, topaz, and the diamond;
the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; the sapphire, the emerald, and the
carbuncle and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and thy pipes was
prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou wast a
Cherubin, a Messiah, for protection, and I set thee up; thou hast been
upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst
of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that
thou was created till iniquity was found in thee."

And the name of Messiah, in Greek, Christ, was given to the king,
prophets, and high priests of the Hebrews. We read, in I. Kings, xii.,
5: "The Lord is witness against you, and his Messiah is witness"; that
is, the king whom he has set up. And elsewhere: "Touch not my Anointed;
do no evil to my prophets...." David, animated by the Spirit of God,
repeatedly gives to his father-in-law Saul, whom he had no cause to
love--he gives, I say, to this reprobate king, from whom the Spirit of
the Eternal was withdrawn, the name and title of Anointed, or Messiah of
the Lord. "God preserve me," says he frequently, "from laying my hand
upon the Lord's Anointed, upon God's Messiah."

If the fine title of Messiah, or Anointed of the Eternal, was given to
idolatrous kings, to cruel and tyrannical princes, it very often indeed,
in our ancient oracles, designated the real Anointed of the Lord, the
Messiah by eminence; the object of the desire and expectation of all the
faithful of Israel. Thus Hannah, the mother of Samuel, concluded her
canticle with these remarkable words, which cannot apply to any king,
for we know that at that time the Jews had not one: "The Lord shall
judge the ends of the earth; and He shall give strength unto His king,
and exalt the horn of His Messiah." We find the same word in the
following oracles: Psalm ii, 2; Jeremiah, Lamentations, iv, 20; Daniel,
ix, 25; Habakkuk, iii, 13.

If we compare all these different oracles, and in general all those
ordinarily applied to the Messiah, there will result contradictions,
almost irreconcilable, justifying to a certain point the obstinacy of
the people to whom these oracles were given.

How indeed could these be conceived, before the event had so well
justified it in the person of Jesus, Son of Mary? How, I say, could
there be conceived an intelligence in some sort divine and human
together; a being both great and lovely, triumphing over the devil, yet
tempted and carried away by that infernal spirit, that prince of the
powers of the air, and made to travel in spite of himself; at once
master and servant, king and subject, sacrificer and victim, mortal and
immortal, rich and poor, a glorious conqueror, whose reign shall have no
end, who is to subdue all nature by prodigies, and yet a man of sorrows,
without the conveniences, often without the absolute necessaries of this
life, of which he calls himself king; and that he comes, covered with
glory and honor, terminating a life of innocence and wretchedness, of
incessant crosses and contradictions, by a death alike shameful and
cruel, finding in this very humiliation, this extraordinary abasement,
the source of an unparalleled elevation, which raises him to the summit
of glory, power, and felicity; that is, to the rank of the first of

All Christians agree in finding these characteristics, apparently so
incompatible, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, whom they call the
"Christ"; His followers gave Him this title by eminence, not that He had
been anointed in a sensible and material manner, as some kings,
prophets, and sacrificers anciently were, but because the Divine Spirit
had designated Him for those great offices, and He had received the
spiritual unction necessary thereunto.

We had proceeded thus far on so competent an article, when a Dutch
preacher, more celebrated for this discovery than for the indifferent
productions of a genius otherwise feeble and ill-formed, showed to us
that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah of God, was anointed at the
three grand periods of His life, as our King, our Prophet, and our

At the time of His baptism, the voice of the Sovereign Master of nature
declared Him to be His Son, His only, His well-beloved Son, and for that
very reason His representative.

When on Mount Tabor He was transfigured and associated with Moses and
Elias, the same supernatural voice announces Him to humanity as the Son
of Him who loves and who sends the prophets; as He who is to be
hearkened to in preference to all others.

In Gethsemane, an angel comes down from heaven to support Him in the
extreme anguish occasioned by the approach of His torments, and
strengthen Him against the terrible apprehensions of a death which He
cannot avoid, and enable Him to become a sacrificer the more excellent,
as Himself is the pure and innocent victim that He is about to offer.

The judicious Dutch preacher, a disciple of the illustrious Cocceius,
finds the sacramental oil of these different celestial unctions in the
visible signs which the power of God caused to appear on His anointed;
in His baptism, "the shadow of the dove," representing the Holy Ghost
coming down from Him; on Tabor, the "miraculous cloud," which enveloped
Him; in Gethsemane, the "bloody sweat," which covered His whole body.

After this, it would indeed be the height of incredulity not to
recognize by these marks the Lord's Anointed by eminence--the promised
Messiah; nor doubtless could we sufficiently deplore the inconceivable
blindness of the Jewish people, but that it was part of the plan of
God's infinite wisdom, and was, in His merciful views, essential to the
accomplishment of His work and the salvation of humanity.

But it must also be acknowledged, that in the state of oppression in
which the Jewish people were groaning, and after all the glorious
promises which the Eternal had so often made them, they must have longed
for the coming of a Messiah, and looked towards it as the period of
their happy deliverance; and that they are therefore to an extent
excusable for not having recognized a deliverer in the person of the
Lord Jesus, since it is in man's nature to care more for the body than
for the spirit, and to be more sensible to present wants than flattered
by advantages "to come," and for that very reason, always uncertain.

It must indeed be believed that Abraham, and after him a very small
number of patriarchs and prophets, were capable of forming an idea of
the nature of the spiritual reign of the Messiah; but these ideas would
necessarily be limited to the narrow circle of the inspired, and it is
not astonishing that, being unknown to the multitude, these notions were
so far altered that, when the Saviour appeared in Judæa, the people,
their doctors, and even their princes, expected a monarch--a
conqueror--who, by the rapidity of his conquests was to subdue the whole
world. And how could these flattering ideas be reconciled with the
abject and apparently miserable condition of Jesus Christ? So, feeling
scandalized by His announcing Himself as the Messiah, they persecuted
Him, rejected Him, and put Him to the most ignominious death. Having
since then found nothing tending to the fulfilment of their oracles, and
being unwilling to renounce them, they indulge in all sorts of ideas,
each one more chimerical than the one preceding.

Thus, when they beheld the triumphs of the Christian religion, and found
that most of their ancient oracles might be explained spiritually, and
applied to Jesus Christ, they thought proper, against the opinion of
their fathers, to deny that the passages which we allege against them
are to be understood of the Messiah, thus torturing our Holy Scriptures
to their own loss.

Some of them maintain that their oracles have been misunderstood; that
it is in vain to long for the coming of a Messiah, since He has already
come in the person of Ezechias. Such was the opinion of the famous
Hillel. Others more lax, or politely yielding to times and
circumstances, assert that the belief in the coming of a Messiah is not
a fundamental article of faith, and that the denying of this dogma
either does not injure the integrity of the law, or injures it but
slightly. Thus the Jew Albo said to the pope, that "to deny the coming
of the Messiah was only to cut off a branch of the tree without touching
the root."

The celebrated rabbi, Solomon Jarchi or Raschi, who lived at the
commencement of the twelfth century, says, in his "_Talmudes,_" that the
ancient Hebrews believed the Messiah to have been born on the day of the
last destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies. This is indeed
calling in the physician when the man is dead.

The rabbi Kimchi, who also lived in the twelfth century, announced that
the Messiah, whose coming he believed to be very near, would drive the
Christians out of Judæa, which was then in their possession; and it is
true that the Christians lost the Holy Land; but it was Saladin who
vanquished them. Had that conqueror but protected the Jews, and declared
for them, it is not unlikely that in their enthusiasm they would have
made him their Messiah.

Sacred writers, and our Lord Jesus Himself, often compare the reign of
the Messiah and eternal beatitude to a nuptial festival or a banquet;
but the Talmudists have strangely abused these parables; according to
them, the Messiah will give to his people, assembled in the land of
Canaan, a repast in which the wine will be that which was made by Adam
himself in the terrestrial paradise, and which is kept dry, in vast
cellars, by the angels at the centre of the earth.

At the first course will be served up the famous fish called the great
Leviathan, which swallows up at once a smaller fish, which smaller fish
is nevertheless three hundred leagues long; the whole mass of the waters
is laid upon Leviathan. In the beginning God created a male and a female
of this fish; but lest they should overturn the land, and fill the world
with their kind, God killed the female, and salted her for the Messiah's

The rabbis add, that there will also be killed for this repast the bull
Behemoth, which is so large that he eats each day the hay from a
thousand mountains. The female of this bull was killed in the beginning
of the world, that so prodigious a species might not multiply, since
this could only have injured the other creatures; but they assure us
that the Eternal did not salt her, because dried cow is not so good as
she-Leviathan. The Jews still put such faith in these rabbinical
reveries that they often swear by their share of the bull Behemoth, as
some impious Christians swear by their share of paradise.

After such gross ideas of the coming of the Messiah, and of His reign,
is it astonishing that the Jews, ancient as well as modern, and also
some of the primitive Christians unhappily tinctured with all these
reveries, could not elevate themselves to the idea of the divine nature
of the Lord's Anointed, and did not consider the Messiah as God? Observe
how the Jews express themselves on this point in the work entitled
"_Judæi Lusitani Quæstiones ad Christianos._" "To acknowledge a
God-man," say they, "is to abuse your own reason, to make to yourself a
monster--a centaur--the strange compound of two natures which cannot
coalesce." They add, that the prophets do not teach that the Messiah is
God-man; that they expressly distinguish between God and David,
declaring the former to be Master, the latter servant.

When the Saviour appeared, the prophecies, though clear, were
unfortunately obscured by the prejudices imbibed even at the mother's
breast. Jesus Christ Himself, either from deference towards or for fear
of shocking, the public opinion, seems to have been very reserved
concerning His divinity. "He wished," says St. Chrysostom, "insensibly
to accustom His auditors to the belief of a mystery so far above their
reason. If He takes upon Him the authority of a God, by pardoning sin,
this action raises up against Him all who are witnesses of it. His most
evident miracles cannot even convince of His divinity those in whose
favor they are worked. When, before the tribunal of the Sovereign
Sacrificer, He acknowledges, by a modest intimation, that He is the Son
of God, the high priest tears his robe and cries, 'Blasphemy!' Before
the sending of the Holy Ghost, the apostles did not even suspect the
divinity of their dear Master. He asks them what the people think of
Him; and they answer, that some take Him for Elias, other for Jeremiah,
or some other prophet. A particular revelation is necessary to make
known to St. Peter, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living

The Jews, revolting against the divinity of Christ, have resorted to all
sorts of expedients to destroy this great mystery; they distort the
meaning of their own oracles, or do not apply them to the Messiah; they
assert that the name of God, "_Eloï,_" is not peculiar to the Divinity,
but is given, even by sacred writers, to judges, to magistrates, and in
general to such as are high in authority; they do, indeed, cite a great
many passages of the Holy Scriptures that justify this observation, but
which do not in the least affect the express terms of the ancient
oracles concerning the Messiah.

Lastly, they assert, that if the Saviour, and after Him the evangelists,
the apostles, and the first Christians, call Jesus the Son of God, this
august term did not in the evangelical times signify anything but the
opposite of son of Belial--that is, a good man, a servant of God, in
opposition to a wicked man, one without the fear of God.

If the Jews have disputed with Jesus Christ His quality of Messiah and
His divinity, they have also used every endeavor to bring Him into
contempt, by casting on His birth, His life, and His death, all the
ridicule and opprobrium that their criminal malevolence could imagine.

Of all the works which the blindness of the Jews has produced, there is
none more odious and more extravagant than the ancient book entitled
"_Sepher Toldos Jeschu,_" brought to light by Wagenseil, in the second
volume of his work entitled "_Tela Ignea,_" etc.

In this "_Sepher Toldos Jeschu,_" we find a monstrous history of the
life of our Saviour, forged with the utmost passion and
disingenuousness. For instance, they have dared to write that one
Panther, or Pandera, an inhabitant of Bethlehem, fell in love with a
young woman married to Jokanam. By this impure commerce he had a son
called Jesua or Jesu. The father of this child was obliged to fly, and
retired to Babylon. As for young Jesu, he was not sent to the schools;
but--adds our author--he had the insolence to raise his head and uncover
himself before the sacrificers, instead of appearing before them with
his head bent down and his face covered, as was the custom--a piece of
effrontery which was warmly rebuked; this caused his birth to be
inquired into, which was found to be impure, and soon exposed him to

This detestable book, "_Sepher Toldos Jeschu,_" was known in the second
century: Celsus confidently cites it and Origen refutes it in his ninth

There is another book also entitled "_Toldos Jeschu,_" published by
Huldric in 1703, which more closely follows the "Gospel of the Infancy,"
but which is full of the grossest anachronisms. It places both the birth
and death of Jesus Christ in the reign of Herod the Great, stating that
complaints were made of the adultery of Panther and Mary, the mother of
Jesus, to that prince.

The author, who takes the name of Jonathan, and calls himself a
contemporary of Jesus Christ, living at Jerusalem, pretends that Herod
consulted, in the affair of Jesus Christ, the senators of a city in the
land of Cæsarea. We will not follow so absurd an author through all his

Yet it is under cover of all these calumnies that the Jews keep up their
implacable hatred against the Christians and the gospel. They have done
their utmost to alter the chronology of the Old Testament, and to raise
doubts and difficulties respecting the time of our Saviour's coming.

Ahmed-ben-Cassum-la-Andacousy, a Moor of Granada, who lived about the
close of the sixteenth century, cites an ancient Arabian manuscript,
which was found, together with sixteen plates of lead engraved with
Arabian characters, in a grotto near Granada. Don Pedro y Quinones,
archbishop of Granada, has himself borne testimony to this fact. These
leaden plates, called those of Granada, were afterwards carried to Rome,
where, after several years' investigation, they were at last condemned
as apocryphal, in the pontificate of Alexander VII.; they contain only
fabulous stories relating to the lives of Mary and her Son.

The time of Messiah, coupled with the epithet "false", is still given to
those impostors who, at various times, have sought to abuse the
credulity of the Jewish nation. There were some of these false Messiahs
even before the coming of the true Anointed of God. The wise Gamaliel
mentions one Theodas, whose history we read in Josephus' "Jewish
Antiquities," book xx. chap. 2. He boasted of crossing the Jordan
without wetting his feet; he drew many people after him; but the Romans,
having fallen upon his little troop, dispersed them, cut off the head of
their unfortunate chief, and exposed it in Jerusalem.

Gamaliel also speaks of Judas the Galilean, who is doubtless the same of
whom Josephus makes mention in the second chapter of the second book of
the "Jewish War". He says that this false prophet had gathered together
nearly thirty thousand men; but hyperbole is the Jewish historian's

In the apostolic times, there was Simon, surnamed the Magician, who
contrived to bewitch the people of Samaria, so that they considered him
as "the great power of God."

In the following century, in the years 178 and 179 of the Christian era,
in the reign of Adrian, appeared the false Messiah, Barcochebas, at the
head of an army. The emperor sent against them Julius Severus, who,
after several encounters, enclosed them in the town of Bither; after an
obstinate defence it was carried, and Barcochebas taken and put to
death. Adrian thought he could not better prevent the continual revolt
of the Jews than by issuing an edict, forbidding them to go to
Jerusalem; he also had guards stationed at the gates of the city, to
prevent the rest of the people of Israel from entering it.

We read in Socrates, an ecclesiastical historian, that in the year 434,
there appeared in the island of Candia a false Messiah calling himself
Moses. He said he was the ancient deliverer of the Hebrews, raised from
the dead to deliver them again.

A century afterwards, in 530, there was in Palestine a false Messiah
named Julian; he announced himself as a great conqueror, who, at the
head of his nation, should destroy by arms the whole Christian people.
Seduced by his promises, the armed Jews butchered many of the
Christians. The emperor Justinian sent troops against him; battle was
given to the false Christ; he was taken, and condemned to the most
ignominious death.

At the beginning of the eighth century, Serenus, a Spanish Jew, gave
himself out as a Messiah, preached, had some disciples, and, like them,
died in misery.

Several false Messiahs arose in the twelfth century. One appeared in
France in the reign of Louis the Young; he and all his adherents were
hanged, without its ever being known what was the name of the master or
of the disciples.

The thirteenth century was fruitful in false Messiahs; there appeared
seven or eight in Arabia, Persia, Spain, and Moravia; one of them,
calling himself David el Roy, passed for a very great magician; he
reduced the Jews, and was at the head of a considerable party; but this
Messiah was assassinated.

James Zeigler, of Moravia, who lived in the middle of the sixteenth
century, announced the approaching manifestation of the Messiah, born,
as he declared, fourteen years before; he had seen him, he said, at
Strasburg, and he kept by him with great care a sword and a sceptre, to
place them in his hands as soon as he should be old enough to teach. In
the year 1624, another Zeigler confirmed the prediction of the former.

In the year 1666, Sabatei Sevi, born at Aleppo, called himself the
Messiah foretold by the Zeiglers. He began with preaching on the
highways and in the fields, the Turks laughing at him, while his
disciples admired him. It appears that he did not gain over the mass of
the Jewish nation at first; for the chiefs of the synagogue of Smyrna
passed sentence of death against him; but he escaped with the fear only,
and with banishment.

He contracted three marriages, of which it is asserted he did not
consummate one, saying that it was beneath him so to do. He took into
partnership one Nathan Levi; the latter personated the prophet Elias,
who was to go before the Messiah. They repaired to Jerusalem, and Nathan
there announced Sabatei Sevi as the deliverer of nations. The Jewish
populace declared for them, but such as had anything to lose
anathematized them.

To avoid the storm, Sevi fled to Constantinople, and thence to Smyrna,
whither Nathan Levi sent to him four ambassadors, who acknowledged and
publicly saluted him as the Messiah. This embassy imposed on the people,
and also on some of the doctors, who declared Sabatei Sevi to be the
Messiah, and king of the Hebrews. But the synagogue of Smyrna condemned
its king to be impaled.

Sabatei put himself under the protection of the cadi of Smyrna, and soon
had the whole Jewish people on his side; he had two thrones prepared,
one for himself, the other for his favorite wife; he took the title of
king of kings, and gave to his brother, Joseph Sevi, that of king of
Judah. He promised the Jews the certain conquest of the Ottoman Empire;
and even carried his insolence so far as to have the emperor's name
struck out of the Jewish liturgy, and his own substituted.

He was thrown into prison at the Dardanelles; and the Jews gave out that
his life was spared only because the Turks well knew he was immortal.
The governor of the Dardanelles grew rich by the presents which the Jews
lavished, in order to visit their king, their imprisoned Messiah, who,
though in irons, retained all his dignity, and made them kiss his feet.

Meanwhile the sultan, who was holding his court at Adrianople, resolved
to put an end to this farce: he sent for Sevi, and told him that if he
was the Messiah he must be invulnerable; to which Sevi assented. The
grand signor then had him placed as a mark for the arrows of his
_icoglans. _The Messiah confessed that he was not invulnerable, and
protested that God sent him only to bear testimony to the holy Mussulman
religion. Being beaten by the ministers of the law, he turned Mahometan;
he lived and died equally despised by the Jews and Mussulmans; which
cast such discredit on the profession of false Messiah, that Sevi was
the last that appeared.


It may very naturally be supposed that the metamorphoses with which our
earth abounds suggested the imagination to the Orientals--who have
imagined everything--that the souls of men passed from one body to
another. An almost imperceptible point becomes a grub, and that grub
becomes a butterfly; an acorn is transformed into an oak; an egg into a
bird; water becomes cloud and thunder; wood is changed into fire and
ashes; everything, in short, in nature, appears to be metamorphosed.
What was thus obviously and distinctly perceptible in grosser bodies was
soon conceived to take place with respect to souls, which were
considered slight, shadowy, and scarcely material figures. The idea of
metempsychosis is perhaps the most ancient dogma of the known world, and
prevails still in a great part of India and of China.

It is highly probable, again, that the various metamorphoses which we
witness in nature produced those ancient fables which Ovid has collected
and embellished in his admirable work. Even the Jews had their
metamorphoses. If Niobe was changed into a stone, Edith, the wife of
Lot, was changed into a statue of salt. If Eurydice remained in hell for
having looked behind her, it was for precisely the same indiscretion
that this wife of Lot was deprived of her human nature. The village in
which Baucis and Philemon resided in Phrygia is changed into a lake; the
same event occurs to Sodom. The daughters of Anius converted water into
oil; we have in Scripture a metamorphosis very similar, but more true
and more sacred. Cadmus was changed into a serpent; the rod of Aaron
becomes a serpent also.

The gods frequently change themselves into men; the Jews never saw
angels but in the form of men; angels ate with Abraham. Paul, in his
Second Epistle to the Corinthians, says that an angel of Satan has
buffeted him: "_Angelus Satanæ me colaphizet._"


"_Trans naturam,_"--beyond nature. But what is that which is beyond
nature? By nature, it is to be presumed, is meant matter, and
metaphysics relates to that which is not matter.

For example: to your reasoning, which is neither long, nor wide, nor
high, nor solid, nor pointed; your soul, to yourself unknown, which
produces your reasoning.

Spirits, which the world has always talked of, and to which mankind
appropriated, for a long period, a body so attenuated and shadowy, that
it could scarcely be called body; but from which, at length, they have
removed every shadow of body, without knowing what it was that was left.

The manner in which these spirits perceive, without any embarrassment,
from the five senses; in which they think, without a head; and in which
they communicate their thoughts, without words and signs.

Finally, God, whom we know by His works, but whom our pride impels us to
define; God, whose power we feel to be immense; God, between whom and
ourselves exists the abyss of infinity, and yet whose nature we dare to
attempt to fathom.

These are the objects of metaphysics. We might further add to these the
principles of pure mathematics, points without extension, lines without
width, superficies without thickness, units infinitely divisible, etc.

Bayle himself considered these objects as those which were denominated
"_entia rationis,_" beings of reason; they are, however, in fact, only
material things considered in their masses, their superficies, their
simple lengths and breadths, and the extremities of these simple lengths
and breadths. All measures are precise and demonstrated. Metaphysics has
nothing to do with geometry.

Thus a man may be a metaphysician without being a geometrician.
Metaphysics is more entertaining; it constitutes often the romance of
the mind. In geometry, on the contrary, we must calculate and measure;
this is a perpetual trouble, and most minds had rather dream pleasantly
than fatigue themselves with hard work.


Newton was one day asked why he stepped forward when he was so inclined;
and from what cause his arm and his hand obeyed his will? He honestly
replied, that he knew nothing about the matter. But at least, said they
to him, you who are so well acquainted with the gravitation of planets,
will tell us why they turn one way sooner than another? Newton still
avowed his ignorance.

Those who teach that the ocean was salted for fear it should corrupt,
and that the tides were created to conduct our ships into port, were a
little ashamed when told that the Mediterranean has ports and no tide.
Muschembrock himself has fallen into this error.

Who has ever been able to determine precisely how a billet of wood is
changed into red-hot charcoal, and by what mechanism lime is heated by
cold water?

The first motion of the heart in animals--is that accounted for? Has it
been exactly discovered how the business of generation is arranged? Has
any one divined the cause of sensation, ideas, and memory? We know no
more of the essence of matter than the children who touch its

Who will instruct us in the mechanism by which the grain of corn, which
we cast into the earth, disposes itself to produce a stalk surmounted
with an ear; or why the sun produces an apple on one tree and a chestnut
on the next to it? Many doctors have said: "What know I not?" Montaigne
said: "What know I?"

Unbending decider! pedagogue in phrases! furred reasoner! thou inquirest
after the limits of the human mind--they are at the end of thy nose.



A miracle, according to the true meaning of the word, is something
admirable; and agreeable to this, all is miracle. The stupendous order
of nature, the revolution of a hundred millions of worlds around a
million of suns, the activity of light, the life of animals, all are
grand and perpetual miracles.

According to common acceptation, we call a miracle the violation of
these divine and eternal laws. A solar eclipse at the time of the full
moon, or a dead man walking two leagues and carrying his head in his
arms, we denominate a miracle.

Many natural philosophers maintain, that in this sense there are no
miracles; and advance the following arguments:

A miracle is the violation of mathematical, divine, immutable, eternal
laws. By the very exposition itself, a miracle is a contradiction in
terms: a law cannot at the same time be immutable and violated. But they
are asked, cannot a law, established by God Himself, be suspended by its

They have the hardihood to reply that it cannot; and that it is
impossible a being infinitely wise can have made laws to violate them.
He could not, they say, derange the machine but with a view of making it
work better; but it is evident that God, all-wise and omnipotent,
originally made this immense machine, the universe, as good and perfect
as He was able; if He saw that some imperfections would arise from the
nature of matter, He provided for that in the beginning; and,
accordingly, He will never change anything in it. Moreover, God can do
nothing without reason; but what reason could induce him to disfigure
for a time His own work?

It is done, they are told, in favor of mankind. They reply: We must
presume, then, that it is in favor of all mankind; for it is impossible
to conceive that the divine nature should occupy itself only about a few
men in particular, and not for the whole human race; and even the whole
human race itself is a very small concern; it is less than a small
ant-hill, in comparison with all the beings inhabiting immensity. But is
it not the most absurd of all extravagances to imagine that the Infinite
Supreme should, in favor of three or four hundred emmets on this little
heap of earth, derange the operation of the vast machinery that moves
the universe?

But, admitting that God chose to distinguish a small number of men by
particular favors, is there any necessity that, in order to accomplish
this object, He should change what He established for all periods and
for all places? He certainly can have no need of this inconstancy in
order to bestow favors on any of His creatures: His favors consist in
His laws themselves: he has foreseen all and arranged all, with a view
to them. All invariably obey the force which He has impressed forever on

For what purpose would God perform a miracle? To accomplish some
particular design upon living beings? He would then, in reality, be
supposed to say: "I have not been able to effect by my construction of
the universe, by my divine decrees, by my eternal laws, a particular
object; I am now going to change my eternal ideas and immutable laws, to
endeavor to accomplish what I have not been able to do by means of
them." This would be an avowal of His weakness, not of His power; it
would appear in such a being an inconceivable contradiction.
Accordingly, therefore, to dare to ascribe miracles to God is, if man
can in reality insult God, actually offering Him that insult. It is
saying to Him: "You are a weak and inconsistent Being." It is,
therefore, absurd to believe in miracles; it is, in fact, dishonoring
the divinity.

These philosophers, however, are not suffered thus to declaim without
opposition. You may extol, it is replied, as much as you please, the
immutability of the Supreme Being, the eternity of His laws, and the
regularity of His infinitude of worlds; but our little heap of earth
has, notwithstanding all that you have advanced, been completely covered
over with miracles in every part and time. Histories relate as many
prodigies as natural events. The daughters of the high priest Anius
changed whatever they pleased to corn, wine, and oil; Athalide, the
daughter of Mercury, revived again several times; Æsculapius
resuscitated Hippolytus; Hercules rescued Alcestes from the hand of
death; and Heres returned to the world after having passed fifteen days
in hell. Romulus and Remus were the offspring of a god and a vestal. The
Palladium descended from heaven on the city of Troy; the hair of
Berenice was changed into a constellation; the cot of Baucis and
Philemon was converted into a superb temple; the head of Orpheus
delivered oracles after his death; the walls of Thebes spontaneously
constructed themselves to the sound of a flute, in the presence of the
Greeks; the cures effected in the temple of Æsculapius were absolutely
innumerable, and we have monuments still existing containing the very
names of persons who were eye-witnesses of his miracles.

Mention to me a single nation in which the most incredible prodigies
have not been performed, and especially in those periods in which the
people scarcely knew how to write or read.

The philosophers make no answer to these objections, but by slightly
raising their shoulders and by a smile; but the Christian philosophers
say: We are believers in the miracles of our holy religion; we believe
them by faith and not by our reason, which we are very cautious how we
listen to; for when faith speaks, it is well known that reason ought to
be silent. We have a firm and entire faith in the miracles of Jesus
Christ and the apostles, but permit us to entertain some doubt about
many others: permit us, for example, to suspend our judgment on what is
related by a very simple man, although he has obtained the title of
great. He assures us, that a certain monk was so much in the habit of
performing miracles, that the prior at length forbade him to exercise
his talent in that line. The monk obeyed; but seeing a poor tiler fall
from the top of a house, he hesitated for a moment between the desire to
save the unfortunate man's life, and the sacred duty of obedience to his
superior. He merely ordered the tiler to stay in the air till he should
receive further instructions, and ran as fast as his legs would carry
him to communicate the urgency of the circumstances to the prior. The
prior absolved him from the sin he had committed in beginning the
miracle without permission, and gave him leave to finish it, provided he
stopped with the same, and never again repeated his fault. The
philosophers may certainly be excused for entertaining a little doubt of
this legend.

But how can you deny, they are asked, that St. Gervais and St. Protais
appeared in a dream to St. Ambrose, and informed him of the spot in
which were deposited their relics? that St. Ambrose had them
disinterred? and that they restored sight to a man that was blind? St.
Augustine was at Milan at the very time, and it is he who relates the
miracle, using the expression, in the twenty-second book of his work
called the "City of God," "_immenso populo teste_"--in the presence of
an immense number of people. Here is one of the very best attested and
established miracles. The philosophers, however, say that they do not
believe one word about Gervais and Protais appearing to any person
whatever; that it is a matter of very little consequence to mankind
where the remains of their carcasses lie; that they have no more faith
in this blind man than in Vespasian's; that it is a useless miracle, and
that God does nothing that is useless; and they adhere to the principles
they began with. My respect for St. Gervais and St. Protais prevents me
from being of the same opinion as these philosophers: I merely state
their incredulity. They lay great stress on the well-known passage of
Lucian, to be found in the death of Peregrinus: "When an expert juggler
turns Christian, he is sure to make his fortune." But as Lucian is a
profane author, we ought surely to set him aside as of no authority.

These philosophers cannot even make up their minds to believe the
miracles performed in the second century. Even eye-witnesses to the
facts may write and attest till the day of doom, that after the bishop
of Smyrna, St. Polycarp, was condemned to be burned, and actually in the
midst of the flames, they heard a voice from heaven exclaiming:
"Courage, Polycarp! be strong, and show yourself a man"; that, at the
very instant, the flames quitted his body, and formed a pavilion of fire
above his head, and from the midst of the pile there flew out a dove;
when, at length, Polycarp's enemies ended his life by cutting off his
head. All these facts and attestations are in vain. For what good, say
these unimpressible and incredulous men, for what good was this miracle?
Why did the flames lose their nature, and the axe of the executioner
retain all its power of destruction? Whence comes it that so many
martyrs escaped unhurt out of boiling oil, but were unable to resist the
edge of the sword? It is answered, such was the will of God. But the
philosophers would wish to see and hear all this themselves, before they
believe it.

Those who strengthen their reasonings by learning will tell you that the
fathers of the Church have frequently declared that miracles were in
their days performed no longer. St. Chrysostom says expressly: "The
extraordinary gifts of the spirit were bestowed even on the unworthy,
because the Church at that time had need of miracles; but now, they are
not bestowed even on the worthy, because the Church has need of them no
longer." He afterwards declares, that there is no one now who raises the
dead, or even who heals the sick.

St. Augustine himself, notwithstanding the miracles of Gervais and
Protais, says, in his "City of God": "Why are not such miracles as were
wrought formerly wrought now?" and he assigns the same reason as St.
Chrysostom for it.

"_Cur inquiunt, nunc illa miracula quæ prædicatis facta esse non fiunt?
Possem quidem dicere necessaria prius fuisse, quam crederet mundus, ad
hoc ut crederet mundus._"

It is objected to the philosophers, that St. Augustine, notwithstanding
this avowal, mentions nevertheless an old cobbler of Hippo, who, having
lost his garment, went to pray in the chapel of the twenty martyrs, and
on his return found a fish, in the body of which was a gold ring; and
that the cook who dressed the fish said to the cobbler: "See what a
present the twenty martyrs have made you!"

To this the philosophers reply, that there is nothing in the event here
related in opposition to the laws of nature; that natural philosophy is
not contradicted or shocked by a fish's swallowing a gold ring, or a
cook's delivering such ring to a cobbler; that, in short, there is no
miracle at all in the case.

If these philosophers are reminded that, according to St. Jerome, in his
"Life of Paul the Hermit," that hermit had many conversations with
satyrs and fauns; that a raven carried to him every day, for thirty
years together, half of a loaf for his dinner, and a whole one on the
day that St. Anthony went to visit him, they might reply again, that all
this is not absolutely inconsistent with natural philosophy; that satyrs
and fauns may have existed; and that, at all events, whether the
narrative be a recital of facts, or only a story fit for children, it
has nothing at all to do with the miracles of our Lord and His apostles.
Many good Christians have contested the "History of St. Simeon
Stylites," written by Theodoret; many miracles considered authentic by
the Greek Church have been called in question by many Latins, just as
the Latin miracles have been suspected by the Greek Church. Afterwards,
the Protestants appeared on the stage, and treated the miracles of both
churches certainly with very little respect or ceremony.

A learned Jesuit, who was long a preacher in the Indies, deplores that
neither his colleagues nor himself could ever perform a miracle. Xavier
laments, in many of his letters, that he has not the gift of languages.
He says, that among the Japanese he is merely like a dumb statue: yet
the Jesuits have written that he resuscitated eight persons. That was
certainly no trifling matter; but it must be recollected that he
resuscitated them six thousand leagues distant. Persons have since been
found, who have pretended that the abolition of the Jesuits in France is
a much greater miracle than any performed by Xavier and Ignatius.

However that may be, all Christians agree that the miracles of Jesus
Christ and the apostles are incontestably true; but that we may
certainly be permitted to doubt some stated to have been performed in
our own times, and which have not been completely authenticated.

It would certainly, for example, be very desirable, in order to the firm
and clear establishment of a miracle, that it should be performed in the
presence of the Academy of Sciences of Paris, or the Royal Society of
London, and the Faculty of Medicine, assisted by a detachment of guards
to keep in due order and distance the populace, who might by their
rudeness or indiscretion prevent the operation of the miracle.

A philosopher was once asked what he should say if he saw the sun stand
still, that is, if the motion of the earth around that star were to
cease; if all the dead were to rise again; and if the mountains were to
go and throw themselves together into the sea, all in order to prove
some important truth, like that, for instance, of versatile grace? "What
should I say?" answered the philosopher; "I should become a Manichæan; I
should say that one principle counteracted the performance of another."


Define your terms, you will permit me again to say, or we shall never
understand one another. "_Miraculum res miranda, prodigium, portentum,
monstrum._"--Miracle, something admirable; prodigy, implying something
astonishing; portentous, bearing with it novelty; monster, something to
show ("_à montrer_") on account of its variety. Such are the first ideas
that men formed of miracles.

As everything is refined and improved upon, such also would be the case
with this definition. A miracle is said to be that which is impossible
to nature. But it was not considered that this was in fact saying all
miracle is absolutely impossible. For what is nature? You understand by
it the eternal order of things. A miracle would therefore be impossible
in such an order. In this sense God could not work a miracle.

If you mean by miracle an effect of which you cannot perceive the cause,
in that sense all is miracle. The attraction and direction of the magnet
are continual miracles. A snail whose head is renewed is a miracle. The
birth of every animal, the production of every vegetable, are miracles
of every day.

But we are so accustomed to these prodigies, that they have lost their
name of admirable--of miraculous. The Indians are no longer astonished
by cannon.

We have therefore formed for ourselves another idea of a miracle. It is,
according to the common opinion, what never has happened and never will
happen. Such is the idea formed of Samson's jawbone of an ass; of the
conversation between the ass and Balaam, and that between a serpent and
Eve; of the chariot with four horses that conveyed away Elijah; of the
fish that kept Jonah in its belly seventy-two hours; of the ten plagues
of Egypt; of the walls of Jericho, and of the sun and moon standing
still at mid-day, etc.

In order to believe a miracle, it is not enough merely to have seen it;
for a man may be deceived. A fool is often called a dealer in wonders;
and not merely do many excellent persons think that they have seen what
they have not seen, and heard what was never said to them; not only do
they thus become witnesses of miracles, but they become also subjects of
miracles. They have been sometimes diseased, and sometimes cured by
supernatural power; they have been changed into wolves; they have
travelled through the air on broomsticks; they have become both _incubi
_and _succubi. _

It is necessary that the miracle should have been seen by a great number
of very sensible people, in sound health, and perfectly disinterested in
the affair. It is above all necessary, that it should have been solemnly
attested by them; for if solemn forms of authentication are deemed
necessary with respect to transactions of very simple character, such as
the purchase of a house, a marriage contract, or a will, what particular
and minute cautionary formalities must not be deemed requisite in order
to verify things naturally impossible, on which the destiny of the world
is to depend?

Even when an authentic miracle is performed, it in fact proves nothing;
for Scripture tells you, in a great variety of places, that impostors
may perform miracles, and that if any man, after having performed them,
should proclaim another God than that of the Jews, he ought to be stoned
to death. It is requisite, therefore, that the doctrine should be
confirmed by the miracles, and the miracles by the doctrine.

Even this, however, is not sufficient. As impostors may preach a very
correct and pure morality, the better to deceive, and it is admitted
that impostors, like the magicians of Pharaoh, may perform miracles; it
is in addition necessary, that these miracles should have been announced
by prophecies.

In order to be convinced of the truth of these prophecies, it is
necessary that they should have been heard clearly announced, and seen
really accomplished. It is necessary to possess perfectly the language
in which they are preserved.

It is not sufficient, even, that you are a witness of their miraculous
fulfilment; for you may be deceived by false appearances. It is
necessary that the miracle and prophecy should be verified on oath by
the heads of the nation; and even after all this there will be some
doubters. For it is possible for a nation to be interested in the
forgery of a prophecy or a miracle; and when interest mixes with the
transaction, you may consider the whole affair as worth nothing. If a
predicted miracle be not as public and as well verified as an eclipse
that is announced in the almanac, be assured that it is nothing better
than a juggler's trick or an old woman's tale.


A theocracy can be founded only upon miracles. Everything in it must be
divine. The Great Sovereign speaks to men only in prodigies. These are
his ministers and letters patent. His orders are intimated by the
ocean's covering the earth to drown nations, or opening a way through
its depths, that they may pass upon dry land.

Accordingly you perceive, that in the Jewish history all is miracle;
from the creation of Adam, and the formation of Eve, who was made of one
of the ribs of Adam, to the time of the insignificant kingling Saul.

Even in the time of this same Saul, theocracy participates in power with
royalty. There are still, consequently, miracles performed from time to
time; but there is no longer that splendid train of prodigies which
continually astonishes and interrupts nature. The ten plagues of Egypt
are not renewed; the sun and moon do not stand still at mid-day, in
order to give a commander time to exterminate a few runaways, already
nearly destroyed by a shower of stones from the clouds. No Samson again
extirpates a thousand Philistines by the jaw-bone of an ass. Asses no
longer talk rationally with men; walls no longer fall prostrate at the
mere sound of trumpets; cities are not swallowed up in a lake by the
fire of heaven; the race of man is not a second time destroyed by a
deluge. But the finger of God is still manifested; the shade of Saul is
permitted to appear at the invocation of the sorceress, and God Himself
promises David that he will defeat the Philistines at Baal-perazim.

"God gathers together His celestial army in the reign of Ahab, and asks
the spirits: Who will go and deceive Ahab, and persuade him to go up to
war against Ramoth Gilead? And there came forth a lying spirit and stood
before the Lord and said, I will persuade him." But the prophet Micaiah
alone heard this conversation, and he received a blow on the cheek from
another prophet, called Zedekiah, for having announced the ill-omened

Of miracles performed in the sight of the whole nation, and changing the
laws of all nature, we see no more until the time of Elijah, for whom
the Lord despatched a chariot of fire and horses of fire, which conveyed
him rapidly from the banks of the Jordan to heaven, although no one knew
where heaven was.

From the commencement of historical times, that is, from the time of the
conquests of Alexander, we see no more miracles among the Jews.

When Pompey comes to make himself master of Jerusalem--when Crassus
plunders the temple--when Pompey puts to death the king of the Jews by
the hands of the executioner--when Anthony confers the kingdom of Judæa
on the Arabian Herod--when Titus takes Jerusalem by assault, and when it
is razed to the ground by Arian--not a single miracle is ever performed.
Thus it is with every nation upon earth. They begin with theocracy; they
end in a manner simply and naturally human. The greater the progress
made in society and knowledge, the fewer there are of prodigies.

We well know that the theocracy of the Jews was the only true one, and
that those of other nations were false; but in all other respects, the
case was precisely the same with them as with the Jews.

In Egypt, in the time of Vulcan, and in that of Isis and Osiris,
everything was out of the laws of nature; under the Ptolemies everything
resumed its natural course.

In the remote periods of Phos, Chrysos, and Ephestes, gods and mortals
conversed in Chaldee with the most interesting familiarity. A god warned
King Xissuter that there would be a deluge in Armenia, and that it was
necessary he should, as soon as possible, build a vessel five stadii in
length and two in width. Such things do not happen to the Dariuses and
the Alexanders.

The fish Oannes, in former times, came every day out of the Euphrates to
preach upon its banks; but there is no preaching fish now. It is true
that St. Anthony of Padua went and preached to the fishes; however, such
things happen so very rarely that they are scarcely to be taken any
account of.

Numa held long conversations with the nymph Egeria; but we never read
that Cæsar had any with Venus, although he was descended from her in the
direct line. The world, we see, is constantly advancing a little, and
refining gradually.

But after being extricated out of one slough for a time, mankind are
soon plunged into another. To ages of civilization succeed ages of
barbarism; that barbarism is again expelled, and again reappears: it is
the regular alternation of day and night.

Of Those Who Have Been So Impiously Rash As To Deny The Miracles Of
Jesus Christ.

Among the moderns, Thomas Woolston, a learned member of the University
of Cambridge, appears to me to have been the first who ventured to
interpret the Gospels merely in a typical, allegorical, and spiritual
sense, and boldly maintained that not one of the miracles of Jesus was
actually performed. He wrote without method or art, and in a style
confused and coarse, but not destitute of vigor. His six discourses
against the miracles of Jesus Christ were publicly sold at London, in
his own house. In the course of two years, from 1737 to 1739, he had
three editions of them printed, of twenty thousand copies each, and yet
it is now very difficult to procure one from the booksellers.

Never was Christianity so daringly assailed by any Christian. Few
writers entertain less awe or respect for the public, and no priest ever
declared himself more openly the enemy of priests. He even dared to
justify this hatred by that of Jesus Christ against the Pharisees and
Scribes; and he said that he should not, like Jesus Christ, become their
victim, because he had come into the world in a more enlightened age.

He certainly hoped to justify his rashness by his adoption of the
mystical sense; but he employs expressions so contemptuous and abusive
that every Christian ear is shocked at them.

If we may believe him, when Jesus sent the devil into the herd of two
thousand swine, He did neither more nor less than commit a robbery on
their owners. If the story had been told of Mahomet, he would have been
considered as "an abominable wizard, and a sworn slave to the devil."
And if the proprietor of the swine, and the merchants who in the outer
court of the temple sold beasts for sacrifices, and whom Jesus drove out
with a scourge, came to demand justice when he was apprehended, it is
clear that he was deservedly condemned, as there never was a jury in
England that would not have found him guilty.

He tells her fortune to the woman of Samaria, just like a wandering
Bohemian or Gypsy. This alone was sufficient to cause His banishment,
which was the punishment inflicted upon fortune-tellers, or diviners, by
Tiberius. "I am astonished," says he, "that the gypsies do not proclaim
themselves the genuine disciples of Jesus, as their vocation is the
same. However, I am glad to see that He did not extort money from the
Samaritan woman, differing in this respect from our clergy, who take
care to be well paid for their divinations."

I follow the order of the pages in his book. The author goes on to the
entrance of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. It is not clear, he says,
whether He was mounted on a male or female ass, or upon the foal of an
ass, or upon all three together.

He compares Jesus, when tempted by the devil, to St. Dunstan, who seized
the devil by the nose; and he gives the preference to St. Dunstan.

At the article of the fig-tree, which was cursed with barrenness for not
producing figs out of season for them, he describes Jesus as a mere
vagabond, a mendicant friar, who before He turned field-preacher was "no
better than a journeyman carpenter." It is surprising, he says, that the
court of Rome has not among all its relics some little fancy-box or
joint-stool of His workmanship. In a word, it is difficult to carry
blasphemy further.

After diverting himself with the probationary fish-pool of Bethesda, the
waters of which were troubled or stirred once in every year by an angel,
he inquires how it could well be, that neither Flavius Josephus, nor
Philo should ever mention this angel; why St. John should be the sole
historian of this miracle; and by what other miracle it happened that no
Roman ever saw this angel, or ever even heard his name mentioned?

The water changed into wine at the marriage of Cana, according to him,
excites the laughter and contempt of all who are not imbruted by

"What!" says he, "John expressly says that the guests were already
intoxicated, '_methus tosi_'; and God comes down to earth and performs
His first miracle to enable them to drink still more!"

God, made man, commences His mission by assisting at a village wedding.
"Whether Jesus and His mother were drunk, as were others of the company,
is not certain. The familiarity of the lady with a soldier leads to the
presumption that she was fond of her bottle; that her Son, however, was
somewhat affected by the wine, appears from His answering His mother so
'waspishly and snappishly' as He did, when He said, 'Woman, what have I
to do with thee?' It may be inferred from these words that Mary was not
a virgin, and that Jesus was not her son; had it been otherwise, He
would not have thus insulted His father and mother in violation of one
of the most sacred commandments of the law. However, He complied with
His mother's request; He fills eighteen jars with water, and makes punch
of it." These are the very words of Thomas Woolston, and must fill every
Christian soul with indignation.

It is with regret, and even with trembling, that I quote these passages;
but there have been sixty thousand copies of this work printed, all
bearing the name of the author, and all publicly sold at his house. It
can never be said that I calumniate him.

It is to the dead raised again by Jesus Christ that he principally
directs his attention. He contends that a dead man restored to life
would have been an object of attention and astonishment to the universe;
that all the Jewish magistracy, and more especially Pilate, would have
made the most minute investigations and obtained the most authentic
depositions; that Tiberius enjoined all proconsuls, prætors, and
governors of provinces to inform him with exactness of every event that
took place; that Lazarus, who had been dead four whole days, would have
been most strictly interrogated; and that no little curiosity would have
been excited to know what had become, during that time, of his soul.

With what eager interest would Tiberius and the whole Roman senate have
questioned him, and not indeed only him, but the daughter of Jairus and
the son of the widow of Nain? Three dead persons restored to life would
have been three attestations to the divinity of Jesus, which almost in a
single moment would have made the whole world Christian. But instead of
all this, the whole world, for more than two hundred years, knew nothing
about these resplendent and decisive evidences. It is not till a hundred
years have rolled away from the date of the events that some obscure
individuals show one another the writings that contain the relation of
those miracles. Eighty-nine emperors reckoning those who had only the
name of "tyrants," never hear the slightest mention of these
resurrections, although they must inevitably have held all nature in
amazement. Neither the Jewish historian Josephus, nor the learned Philo,
nor any Greek or Roman historian at all notices these prodigies. In
short, Woolston has the imprudence to say that the history of Lazarus is
so brimful of absurdities that St. John, when he wrote it, had outlived
his senses.

Supposing, says Woolston, that God should in our own times send an
ambassador to London to convert the hireling clergy, and that ambassador
should raise the dead, what would the clergy say?

He blasphemes the incarnation, the resurrection, and the ascension of
Jesus Christ, just upon the same system; and he calls these miracles:
"The most manifest and the most barefaced imposture that ever was put
upon the world!"

What is perhaps more singular still is that each of his discourses is
dedicated to a bishop. His dedications are certainly not exactly in the
French style. He bestows no flattery nor compliments. He upbraids them
with their pride and avarice, their ambition and faction, and smiles
with triumph at the thought of their being now, like every other class
of citizens, in complete subjection to the laws of the state.

At last these bishops, tired of being insulted by an undignified member
of the University of Cambridge, determined upon a formal appeal to the
laws. They instituted a prosecution against Woolston in the King's
Bench, and he was tried before Chief-Justice Raymond, in 1729, when he
was imprisoned, condemned to pay a fine, and obliged to give security to
the amount of a hundred and fifty pounds sterling. His friends furnished
him with the security, and he did not in fact die in prison, as in some
of our careless and ill-compiled dictionaries he is stated to have done.
He died at his own house in London, after having uttered these words:
"This is a pass that every man must come to." Some time before his
death, a female zealot meeting him in the street was gross enough to
spit in his face; he calmly wiped his face and bowed to her. His manners
were mild and pleasing. He was obstinately infatuated with the mystical
meaning, and blasphemed the literal one; but let us hope that he
repented on his death-bed, and that God has showed him mercy.

About the same period there appeared in France the will of John Meslier,
clergyman ("_curé_") of But and Entrepigni, in Champagne, of whom we
have already spoken, under the article on "Contradictions".

It was both a wonderful and a melancholy spectacle to see two priests at
the same time writing against the Christian religion. Meslier is still
more violent than Woolston. He ventures to treat the devil's carrying
off our Lord to the top of a mountain, the marriage of Cana, and the
loaves and fishes, as absurd tales, injurious to the Supreme Being,
which for three hundred years were unknown to the whole Roman Empire,
and at last advanced from the dregs of the community to the throne of
the emperors, when policy compelled them to adopt the nonsense of the
people, in order to keep them the better in subjection. The declamations
of the English priest do not approach in vehemence those of the priest
of Champagne. Woolston occasionally showed discretion. Meslier never has
any; he is a man so sensitively sore to the crimes to which he has been
witness that he renders the Christian religion responsible for them,
forgetting that it condemns them. There is not a single miracle which is
not with him an object of scorn or horror; no prophecy which he does not
compare with the prophecies of Nostradamus. He even goes so far as to
compare Jesus Christ to Don Quixote, and St. Peter to Sancho Panza; and
what is most of all to be deplored is, that he wrote these blasphemies
against Jesus Christ, when he might be said to be in the very arms of
death--at a moment when the most deceitful are sincere, and the most
intrepid tremble. Too strongly impressed by some injuries that had been
done him by his superiors in authority; too deeply affected by the great
difficulties which he met with in the Scripture, he became exasperated
against it more than Acosta and all the Jews; more than Porphyry,
Celsus, Iamblichus, Julian, Libanius, Maximus, Simmachus, or any other
whatever of the partisans of human reason against the divine
incomprehensibilities of our religion. Many abridgments of his work have
been printed; but happily the persons in authority suppressed them as
fast as they appeared.

A priest of Bonne-Nouvelle, near Paris, wrote also on the same subject;
and it thus happened that at the very time the abbé Becheran and the
rest of the Convulsionaries were performing miracles, three priests were
writing against the genuine Gospel miracles.

The most clever work that has been written against the miracles and
prophecies is that of my Lord Bolingbroke. But happily it is so
voluminous, so destitute of method, so verbose, and so abounding in long
and sometimes complicated sentences, that it requires a great deal of
patience to read him.

There have been some minds so constituted that they have been enchanted
by the miracles of Moses and Joshua, but have not entertained for those
of Jesus Christ the respect to which they are entitled. Their
imagination--raised by the grand spectacle of the sea opening a passage
through its depths, and suspending its waves that a horde of Hebrews
might safely go through; by the ten plagues of Egypt, and by the stars
that stopped in their course over Gibeon and Ajalon, etc.--could not
with ease and satisfaction be let down again, so as to admire the
comparatively petty miracles of the water changed into wine, the
withered fig-tree, and the swine drowned in the little lake of Gadara.
Vaghenseil said that it was like hearing a rustic ditty after attending
a grand concert.

The Talmud pretends that there have been many Christians who, after
comparing the miracles of the Old Testament with those of the New
Testament, embraced Judaism; they consider it impossible that the
Sovereign Lord of Nature should have wrought such stupendous prodigies
for a religion He intended to annihilate. What! they exclaim, can it
possibly be, that for a series of ages He should have exhibited a train
of astonishing and tremendous miracles in favor of a true religion that
was to become a false one? What! can it be that God Himself has recorded
that this religion shall never perish, and that those who attempt to
destroy it shall be stoned to death, and yet that He has nevertheless
sent His own Son, Who is no other than Himself, to annihilate what He
was employed so many ages in erecting?

There is much more to be added to these remarks; this Son, they
continue, this Eternal God, having made Himself a Jew, adheres to the
Jewish religion during the whole of His life; He performs all the
functions of it, He frequents the Jewish temple, He announces nothing
contrary to the Jewish law, and all His disciples are Jews and observe
the Jewish ceremonies. It most certainly is not He who established the
Christian religion. It was established by the dissident Jews who united
with the Platonists. There is not a single dogma of Christianity that
was preached by Jesus Christ.

Such is the reasoning of these rash men, who, with minds at once
hypocritical and audacious, dare to criticise the works of God, and
admit the miracles of the Old Testament for the sole purpose of
rejecting those of the New Testament.

Of this number was the unfortunate priest of Pont-à-Mousson in Lorraine,
called Nicholas Anthony; he was known by no other name. After he had
received what is called "the four minors" in Lorraine, the Calvinistic
preacher Ferri, happening to go to Pont-à-Mousson, raised in his mind
very serious scruples, and persuaded him that the four minors were the
mark of the beast. Anthony, driven almost to distraction by the thought
of carrying about him the mark of the beast, had it immediately effaced
by Ferri, embraced the Protestant religion, and became a minister at
Geneva about the year 1630.

With a head full of rabbinical learning, he thought that if the
Protestants were right in reference to the Papists, the Jews were much
more so in reference to all the different sects of Christianity
whatever. From the village of Divonne, where he was pastor, he went to
be received as a Jew at Venice, together with a young apprentice in
theology whom he had persuaded to adopt his own principles, but who
afterwards abandoned him, not experiencing any call to martyrdom.

At first the minister, Nicholas Anthony, abstained from uttering the
name of Jesus Christ in his sermons and prayers; in a short time,
however, becoming animated and emboldened by the example of the Jewish
saints, who confidently professed Judaism before the princes of Tyre and
Babylon, he travelled barefooted to Geneva, to confess before the judges
and magistrates that there is only one religion upon earth, because
there is only one God; that that religion is the Jewish; that it is
absolutely necessary to become circumcised; and that it is a horrible
crime to eat bacon and blood pudding. He pathetically exhorted all the
people of Geneva, who crowded to hear him, no longer to continue
children of Belial, but to become good Jews, in order to deserve the
kingdom of heaven. He was apprehended, and put in chains.

The little Council of Geneva, which at that period did nothing without
consulting the council of preachers, asked their advice in this
emergency. The most sensible of them recommended that poor Anthony
should be bled in the cephalic vein, use the bath, and be kept upon
gruel and broths; after which he might perhaps gradually be induced to
pronounce the name of Jesus Christ, or at least to hear it pronounced,
without grinding his teeth, as had hitherto been his practice. They
added, that the laws bore with Jews; that there were eight thousand of
them even in Rome itself; that many merchants are true Jews, and
therefore that as Rome admitted within its walls eight thousand children
of the synagogue, Geneva might well tolerate one. At the sound of
"toleration" the rest of the pastors, who were the majority, gnashing
their teeth still more than Anthony did at the name of Jesus Christ, and
also eager to find an opportunity to burn a man, which could not be done
every day, called peremptorily for the burning. They resolved that
nothing could serve more to establish genuine Christianity; that the
Spaniards had obtained so much reputation in the world only by burning
the Jews every year, and that after all, if the Old Testament must
prevail over the New Testament, God would not fail to come and
extinguish the flames of the pile, as he did at Babylon for Shadrach,
Meshac, and Abednego; in which case all must go back again to the Old
Testament; but that, in the meantime, it was indispensable to burn
Nicholas Anthony. On the breaking up of the meeting, they concluded with
the observation: "We must put the wicked out of the way"--the very words
they used.

The long-headed syndics, Sarasin and Godefroi, agreed that the reasoning
of the Calvinistic sanhedrim was admirable, and by the right of the
strongest party, condemned Nicholas Anthony, the weakest of men, to die
the same death as Calanus and the counsellor Dubourg. This sentence was
carried into execution on April 20, 1632, in a very beautiful lawn or
meadow, called Plain-Palais, in the presence of twenty thousand persons,
who blessed the new law, and the wonderful sense of the syndics Sarasin
and Godefroi.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not renew the miracle of the
furnace of Babylon in favor of poor Anthony.

Abauzit, an author of great veracity, relates in his notes, that he died
in the greatest constancy, and persisted in his opinions even at the
stake on the pile; he broke out into no passionate invective against his
judges when the executioner was tying him to the stake; he displayed
neither pride nor pusillanimity; he neither wept nor sighed; he was
resigned. Never did martyr consummate his sacrifice with a more lively
faith; never did philosopher contemplate a death of horror with greater
firmness. This clearly proves that his folly or madness was at all
events attended with sincere conviction.

Let us implore of the God of both the Old and the New Testaments that he
will grant him mercy.

I would say as much for the Jesuit Malagrida, who was still more
infatuated and mad than Nicholas Anthony; as I would also for the
ex-Jesuits Patouillet and Paulian, should they ever be brought to the

A great number of writers, whose misfortune it was to be philosophers
rather than Christians, have been bold enough to deny the miracles of
our Lord; but after the four priests already noticed, there is no
necessity to enumerate other instances. Let us lament over these four
unfortunate men, led astray by their own deceitful reason, and
precipitated by the gloom of their feelings into an abyss so dreadful
and so fatal.


It is far from our object in this article to reflect upon the zeal of
our missionaries, or the truth of our religion; these are sufficiently
known in Christian Europe, and duly respected.

My object is merely to make some remarks on the very curious and
edifying letters of the reverend fathers, the Jesuits, who are not
equally respectable. Scarcely do they arrive in India before they
commence preaching, convert millions of Indians, and perform millions of
miracles. Far be it from me to contradict their assertions. We all know
how easy it must be for a Biscayan, a Bergamask, or a Norman to learn
the Indian language in a few days, and preach like an Indian.

With regard to miracles, nothing is more easy than to perform them at a
distance of six thousand leagues, since so many have been performed at
Paris, in the parish of St. Médard. The sufficing grace of the Molinists
could undoubtedly operate on the banks of the Ganges, as well as the
efficacious grace of the Jansenists on those of the river of the
Gobelins. We have, however, said so much already about miracles that we
shall pursue the subject no further.

A reverend father Jesuit arrived in the course of the past year at
Delhi, at the court of the great Mogul. He was not a man profoundly
skilled in mathematics, or highly gifted in mind, who had come to
correct the calendar, or to establish his fortune, but one of those
poor, honest, zealous Jesuits, one of those soldiers who are despatched
on particular duty by their general, and who obey orders without
reasoning about them.

M. Andrais, my factor, asked him what his business might be at Delhi. He
replied that he had orders from the reverend father Ricci to deliver the
Great Mogul from the paws of the devil, and convert his whole court.


I have already baptized twenty infants in the street, without their
knowing anything at all about the matter, by throwing a few drops of
water upon their heads. They are now just so many angels, provided they
are happy enough to die directly. I cured a poor old woman of the
megrims by making the sign of the cross behind her. I hope in a short
time to convert the Mahometans of the court and the Gentoos among the
people. You will see in Delhi, Agra, and Benares, as many good
Catholics, adorers of the Virgin Mary, as you now do idolaters, adoring
the devil.


You think then, my worthy father, that the inhabitants of these
countries adore idols and the devil?


Undoubtedly, as they are not of my religion.


Very well. But when there are as many Catholics in India as idolaters,
are you not afraid that they will fight against one another; that blood
will flow for a long period, and the whole country be a scene of pillage
and devastation? This has happened in every country in which you have
obtained a footing hitherto.


You make one pause for a moment; but nothing could happen better than
that which you suggest as being so probable. The slaughtered Catholics
would go to paradise--to the garden--and the Gentoos to the everlasting
fire of hell created for them from all eternity, according to the great
mercy of God, and for His great glory; for God is exceedingly glorious.


But suppose that you should be informed against, and punished at the
whipping post?


That would also be for His glory. However, I conjure you to keep my
secret, and save me from the honor and happiness of martyrdom.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Philosophical Dictionary, Volume 7" ***

Copyright 2023 LibraryBlog. All rights reserved.