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Title: Pogonologia - A Philosophical and Historical Essay on Beards
Author: Dulaure, Jacques Antoine
Language: English
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                      PHILOSOPHICAL and HISTORICAL





                      TRANSLATED from the FRENCH.


             L’usage nous dérobe le vrai visage des choses.


                          PRINTED BY R. THORN.

                              AND SOLD BY
                       T. CADELL, IN THE STRAND,



                              To Mr. B***,

                King’s Counsel, Deputy Attorney General

                       to the Parliament of D***.

My friend,

TO load the beginning of one’s work with pompous titles is an honour
that interest solicits and vanity easily grants; but to place the name
of one’s friend there, and dedicate the fruit of a few leisure hours to
him, is a homage so pure and disinterested, that modesty need not blush
at it. Receive then this small testimony of my attachment and esteem,
and allow me the pleasing satisfaction of publicly declaring, how much I

          your friend,

               J. A. D***.



“WHATEVER concerns the manners and customs of a people, says Rollin,
shews their genius and character; and this is what may be called the
soul of history.” I am led to think, that a picture of customs, by
presenting mankind with objects of comparison at a nearer view,
naturally flatters them more, than facts or dates, the multitude or
improbability of which fatigues the memory, or shocks the understanding.
This is the reason why we prefer the private life of a hero, to the
history of his great actions; the one gives us a secret satisfaction in
which self-love finds its account: the other produces only astonishment.
The hero is too distant from us; we admire him too much to presume to
compare with him: ’tis the man we seek; his heart; his very weaknesses.
’Tis with still more eagerness we wish to examine his person; this is
the cause of our liking better to see the portraits of great men, than
to read their history. We would fain touch the hero with our hand, as
one may say, we would wish to enter into competition with him.

The knowledge of customs and ancient fashions forms a branch of
literature which is not without its enthusiasts; this is the favourite
study of antiquaries. Among the histories of these usages of our
ancestors, that of the beard holds a distinguished rank; and though at
present, from its little importance, it is become an object of ridicule,
it has been held in high consideration in different ages and among
different people. Never was there any thing like that caused so many
troubles and so much ill blood: the cowls of the disciples of St.
Francis never occasioned so much noise.[1] The beard, which has been
worn and highly respected at some periods, and despised at others, is
become the sport of every witling. This mark of manhood, which was held
sacred among the Hebrews and primitive Christians, highly condemned by
some popes, and particularly countenanced by others, has been
successively considered by the Roman church, as an odious heterodoxy, or
the symbol of wisdom and Christian humility. Like objects of great
worth, the beard never excited petty quarrels; both its enemies and
partisans were violent: these anecdotes, so strange in this age, will
not only amuse the reader, but discover the character of the people, the
spirit of the times, and the narrowness of the human understanding.

Footnote 1:

  During the pontificates of Clement VII. and Paul III. there were long
  and warm disputes between the Capuchins and Observantins about cowls,
  whether they should be square, round, sharp-pointed, oblong, &c.
  Boverius, the annalist of the Capuchins, wrote a geometrical work,
  containing eleven demonstrations, in order to fix the real form of the
  cowl of St. Francis. Wigs, among the clergy, have likewise caused
  terrible disputes. The Sulpicians alone have withstood this fashion
  with a laudable resolution. Mr. de Thiers wrote a history of wigs,
  which, as well as the history of cowls, evinces the narrowness of the
  human mind, and justly exposes it to ridicule. _O curas hominum!_

It must appear a strange paradox, perfectly shocking for crazy old
beaus, for priests whose beards are always shaved close, in short, for
all those that compose the effeminate part of the human species, to hear
any one maintain, that a long beard becomes a man’s dignity, and that it
is beneficial to health and good morals; his ideas must be very
different from those of the present age. This however is what I have
presumed to do. But whether the design of this work be serious or
ironical, it has at least the appearance of novelty; and that’s a great
deal in this age.

To write an apology for long beards is to recall to men’s minds their
ancient dignity, and that superiority of their sex which has been lost
in Europe ever since the fabulous days of chivalry. This too is not the
way to gain the good opinion of the ladies, seeing that it’s an attempt
to diminish their authority; but at the same time it is restoring, in
some respects, the sovereign power to the lawful master, and taking it
from the usurper: Moliere says:

             _Du côté  de la barbe est la toute puissance._
             Power is on the side of the beard.

This is not very polite; but when a man is determined to speak the
truth, it is often very difficult to be so.

To prove clearly that our priests are obliged, not only by reason, but
by human and divine laws, to wear a long beard, is an idea that appears
to me as singular as new; but to employ methodically the most authentic
and most sacred authorities, to display erudition at every moment, and
to preserve always an air of gravity, in order to support this argument,
might draw on me, from my readers, the reproach of having given too much
importance to a subject that does not appear worthy of it. I will freely
confess I have been led away by my subject, and that I thought it
necessary to assume the tone of inquiry, because most of the proofs
which I shall bring to my aid, are of a nature not easy to be reconciled
to the spirit of irony. But this inquiry is sometimes enlivened by
diverting anecdotes little known; and though my chapter _Of the Beards
of Priests_ is longer and more loaded with citations than the rest, I’m
of opinion it will not be thought the least curious.

At the conclusion I have laid aside jesting, and this perhaps may be
thought the greatest defect; in composing it I found it impossible not
to be serious: the gravity of the subject no doubt had an influence on
my ideas, and I will not attempt to say any thing in my own defence.


                          _TABLE of CONTENTS._

               CHAP.                                 PAGE

                  I. _Of Fashion_                       1

                 II. _Of Bearded Chins_                11

                III. _Of some shaved Chins_            34

                 IV. _Of Bearded Women_                52

                  V. _That long Beards are             58

                 VI. _Of False Beards_                 66

                VII. _Of Golden Beards_                70

               VIII. _Of Whiskers_                     74

                 IX. _Of the Beards of Priests_        82

                  X. _Of the People that wear         131

                 XI. _Conclusion_                     136


             These changes have been applied to this text.


             Page  1 line  5 For _consider it_, read
                               _consider them_.

              ibid — 10      For _and_, read _or_.

             — 41 note {29}  For _longuam_, read _longam_.

             — 56 —          After the Imitation of the
                               French lines, read


                             (BY A FRIEND.)

          The reason why men should have beards on their face,
              And that tattling women have none,
          Is, the Devil can’t shave such a chattering race,
              But he’d cut their glib cheeks to the bone.

             — 58 — 13       For “the course of her wise
                               operations _are_ never,”
                               read “the course of her wise
                               operations _is_ never.”

             — 74 — 13       For _St. Clemet_, read _St.

             — 83 — 11       For _weairng_, read _wearing_.

             — 87 — 22       ┃

             — 88 note {55}  ┃For _Tertullion_, read

             — 89 line 15    ┃




                   Or a Philosophical and Historical

                           _ESSAY ON BEARDS_.


                                CHAP. I.

                             _Of FASHION._

IF we were well persuaded that most new fashions are invented to hide
some secret imperfections of the body, or to satisfy the avidity of
shopkeepers, it is most likely we should consider it of less importance;
for, if we seek the cause of these changes, we find in general it
proceeds from the ingenious ardour of a milliner, the bad shape of some
fine lady, the long visage of a second, and the broad foot of a beau

The first woman that ever wore a _fardingale_ wanted to conceal the
indiscreet fruit of her gallantry. This sort of hoop, of a cylindrical
form, entirely concealed the waist. In a little time all the ladies
followed this example; and every fashionable fair-one appeared as if her
lover had brought her in the same situation as she that introduced the

The great large ruffs, which looked like a glory about the people’s
necks, in the time of Henry IV.[2] were invented in Spain to hide the
hernia gutturis, a very common disorder among the Spaniards. Though the
French had not this disorder, they eagerly adopted the new fashion.

It is most likely the fear of being sunburnt, or else that refined
coquetry which conceals from public view what it means to raise a desire
for, determined the ladies to cover their faces with a mask of black
velvet. No lady was seen abroad without her mask. Tradition says nothing
of the cause of this fashion; but there is no doubt but ugliness and
decrepitness invented another sort of mask, which our old tabbies still
continue the use of: this is a plaster of white lead and vermillion,
laid on so thick, that it represents much better the ruddy countenance
of a drunken sot, than the fine lively complexion of a beautiful damsel.

In the reign of Francis II. a tunbellied Person of high rank turned the
heads of all the French. Every body was mad to have, not only a great
belly, but likewise a very large false rump. At present, our ladies have
not revived the fashion of great bellies; on the contrary, it has been
remarked that they have a great dislike to them: but one of them, who
had a bad shape, appearing with an enormous rump and hips, all the rest
would have false ones; and all the well made women concealed their
shape, as the others did their defects.

Footnote 2:

  Henry IV. of France was the contemporary of Queen Elizabeth. T.

Geffrey Plantagenet, count of Anjou, one of the most accomplished and
handsome men of his time, had the misfortune to have a large excrescence
on the tip of his great toe; in order to conceal this imperfection, and
walk easy, he had some shoes made with points turned up of a sufficient
length not to pinch him. No sooner had he these shoes, than every one
was anxious to be like the count. This fashion was so much followed, and
had such a run, that the different degrees of rank were known by the
length of the points of the shoes. Those of the common people were six
inches long, those of citizens a foot; but those of gentlemen, lords,
and princes, were never less than two feet; from whence came the French
proverb _Etre fur un grand pied_ (to be in easy circumstances). These
points to the shoes increased so in length, that it was feared lest they
should affect public order and the established religion: sermons were
preached and ordinances issued against them; the clergy anathematized
them, and Charles V. expressly forbade their being worn.

Thus, every one appeared as if he had an excrescence on the tip of his
great toe; so likewise, in most fashions, every one seems desirous of
concealing imperfections that he has not.

Fashions have for a long time been considered as of great importance
among the French, and their neighbours have often reproached them with
it.[3] If a new fashion appear, the whole nation is in an uproar: all
are infatuated, mad: every one is in a hurry to have it; the contagion
soon reaches all ranks; they seem as if they could never be soon enough
more ridiculous than they were the day before. Taste is out of the
question; ’tis opinion alone that decides. Were the new fashion ever so
silly, not a word would be said against it, because of this sole and
powerful reason: _It is what is worn at present._

Footnote 3:

  Baptist Mantuan, an Italian and Latin Poet, said of the French:

               ——_Cito mobile pectus
               Cordaque largitus, rerum sitibunda novarum._

  Another Italian said, about two centuries ago: _E Natione la Franceze
  che mai persiste ne sta ferme in una sorte d’habito, ma lo varie
  secondo i caprici. De gli habiti antichi & moderni._

The motive that actuates people to be at the height of the mode, is the
vanity of being thought a person of consequence. How many are there who
are penetrated with respect at the sight of a fine coat! how many are
there who owe all the consideration they have to their outward
appearance, and who might justly say: _Ah! my coat, how much I am
obliged to you!_ Their whole merit is in their wardrobe; and there is
many a Frenchman, who, had he but that to his mind, would envy no one.

One sole form of a coat, let it be ever so elegant, would be
insufficient to preserve the veneration of so many stupid asses; their
idol must be differently set off every day: without that precaution
their admiration would soon be over; this perhaps is what most
contributes to keep up the love of novelty among the French. Peter the
Great, emperor of Russia, was struck, when at Paris, with this national
character; not being much accustomed to see a variety of dresses, he
said, on seeing a lord in a different coat every day: _Surely that man
is dissatisfied with his tailor._

Why should we not have a dictionary Of Fashions? Surely it would be of
as much use as many others. The different denominations which we give
them would not be the least entertaining part of the work. Among the
names of old hoops we find the _Gourgandine_ (the flirting hoop), the
_Boute-en-train_ (the leading-mode hoop), the _Tatez-y_ (the groping
hoop), the _Culbute_ (the flying-top-over-tail hoop), &c. Hats and shoes
would likewise afford long articles. Then again there would be the great
wigs worn in the reign of Lewis XIV.[4] and which so much employed the
attention of the courtiers and periwig-makers of that age: not only the
head, but half the body was buried under this heap of curls. It was then
only the outside of a Frenchman’s head that was ridiculous; now-a-days
things are changed.

I would not have forgotten under the word _canon_ the blunder of a
German author, who, having translated Moliere’s _Précieuses ridicules_,
and intending to bring this piece out at one of the theatres of his
nation, was confoundedly puzzled how to explain this word. It never
entered his brain that a _canon_ was a piece of muslin worn round the
knee. After maturely considering the passage, he resolved that
Mascarille should have a brace of pistols in his pocket, which he was to
pull out when he asks: _How do you like my canons?_

Footnote 4:

  The contemporary of Charles II. of England.    T.

The article of ladies’ head-dresses would fill a volume entire: we
should find, that, in proportion as they have taken from their heads,
they have added to their hips. The enormous hoop and the large high
head-dress have alternately succeeded each other; these last have lately
sunk under their own weight, if I may be allowed the expression, in
order to let the great hips and false rumps be in vogue. The ladies are
determined not to lose any of their bulk, so much are they persuaded
that their merit is in proportion to the space they occupy in the world.

In one of those revolutions which ladies’ heads have suffered, a lady
wrote to her friend as follows.

         Many a short beauty complains and grows hot;
         And to add to her height, on consulting the stars,
         Learns from them that by raising the pattens she wears,
         She’ll recover the loss felt by low’ring her top.
                     So much for the mode
                     Which (however absurd)
             Sets all Paris Ladies in motion,
                     But the men’s heads are still
                     The same (if they will)
             As they were: not the least variation.[5]

Footnote 5:

  Letter from the Lady of Lassay to the Duchess of ——.

Fashion and etiquette are nearly allied; but they must not be
confounded: etiquette is as stable as the other is changeable. The
motives that produce them are not the same; the one springs from
self-love, the other from affectation. Etiquette seems to have been
invented by a desire to govern, and fashion by a wish to please.
Therefore, the former is much better observed by people of ripe years,
and the latter by young ones. If etiquette is lasting and fashion
unstable, this definition comprehends probably the sole cause of it.

People change the make and colour of their dress twenty times in a year;
fashion may be looked upon as their play thing; but the laws of
etiquette return as constantly as the season. Though it is often cold at
Whitsunday, taffeties must be put on; and at All-saints day, though it
is sometimes very hot, every body puts on satins and velvets, and no one
is seen without a muff.

At court, among the great, etiquette reigns despotically; and its power
diminishes according to the distance from the centre of sovereignty. The
unambitious man, living at his ease on a moderate fortune, has only a
sufficient acquaintance with etiquette to turn it into ridicule; while
the man who aims at consideration, or any kind of power, submits to its
laws, and often sacrifices his reason to it.

There are several states of life in which etiquette gives a consequence
to him who follows it. A tradesman, for instance, to appear as he ought,
should have his head shaved and wear a round wig; physicians and
surgeons too should do the same. Who, in this enlightened age, would put
the least confidence in a physician who wears his own hair, were it the
finest in the world? A wig, certainly, can’t give him science, but it
gives him the appearance, and that is every thing now-a-days.[6]

Footnote 6:

  Strip a physician of his wig, gold headed cane, ruffles, and diamond
  ring: what will he have left?

Fashion, while it vivifies commerce, encourages luxury. These are the
two sides on which it should be politically viewed; it brings together
the different conditions of society, which birth or opinion had
separated. This is a moral good perhaps; but it confounds ranks, (which
common honesty is interested in distinguishing,) by not leaving the
smallest difference between a woman of virtue and a frail sister. In
days of yore these two conditions so very different were kept distinct
by sumptuary laws. In 1420, prostitutes were forbidden, by a sentence of
the parliament of Paris, to wear gold girdles, which was the
characteristical ornament of good morals. I’m led to think, it would be
impossible now-a-days to put such a law into execution, because it is as
difficult to distinguish a virtuous woman, by her manner, from a frail
sister, as to draw a just line of demarcation between two states.


                               CHAP. II.

                          _Of BEARDED CHINS._

WHEN I take a review of the most respectable relations of antiquity, of
those celebrated heroes, and the number of wise and learned men that
have made Rome and Greece famous, I feel myself penetrated with that
admiration and respect which things sacred inspire; but when I figure to
myself the noble aspect of these great men, when I perceive on their
venerable faces that air of gravity, that character of virtues, which
their long beards express, my imagination catches fire; they no longer
appear to me as men, but Gods to whom we should bow down. Such is the
marvellous effect which this ornament of manhood has produced in all
ages. Even now, that our effeminate customs so justly paint the
faculties of our souls, the sight of a long beard still commands

Footnote 7:

  At the last procession of Captives, at Paris in 1785, the manly, noble
  air of those that wore long beards was greatly admired; nevertheless,
  these were slaves.

It has always been esteemed in all nations; those people, to whom
nature, too sparing of her favours, has denied this characteristical
mark of our sex, the Laplander, the Japonese, and especially the
American, whose beardless chins made people doubt a long time if they
were men, are sensible of the imperfection of their constitution and
temperature of body. The Chinese regard the Europeans as the first
people on earth, on account of their thick beards; and though nature has
been so sparing to them in this mark of virility, yet they are
particularly attentive in cherishing what little they have. Both the
Lacedemonians[8] and Egyptians have considered it as a mark of wisdom.
In order to obtain a favour among the Greeks, it was only to touch the
beard of him that could grant it, to insure success.[9]

Footnote 8:

  Nicander replied to some-one who asked him why the Lacedemonians wore
  long hair and let their beards grow out: _Because_, said he, _it’s the
  finest ornament that a man can wear, and which costs least and becomes
  him most_.


Footnote 9:

  _Antiquis Græciæ in supplicanda mentum attingere mos erat._

                                                 PLIN. lib. ii. cap. 45.

The beard was not solely the mark of philosophy, but became likewise the
pledge of the most sacred oaths and promises. It has been sometimes the
object of the gravest discussions and most particular attention of a
number of learned men; nay, most of the legislators of the world have
not thought it beneath their notice.

The most celebrated ancient writers, and several modern ones, have
spoken honourably of the finest beards of antiquity. Homer speaks highly
of the white beard of Nestor and that of old king Priam. Virgil
describes Mezentius’s to us, which was so thick and long as to cover all
his breast; Chrysippus praises the noble beard of Timothy, a famous
player on the flute. Pliny the younger tells us of the white beard of
Euphrates, a Syrian philosopher; and he takes pleasure in relating the
respect mixed with fear with which it inspired the people. Plutarch
speaks of the long, white beard of an old Laconian, who, being asked why
he let it grow so, replied: _’Tis, that, seeing continually my white
beard, I may do nothing unworthy of its whiteness_. Strabo relates, that
the Indian philosophers, the Gymnosophists, were particularly attentive
to make the length of their beards contribute to captivate the
veneration of the people. Diodorus, after him, gives a very particular
and circumstantial history of the beards of the Indians. Juvenal does
not forget that of Antilocus, the son of Nestor. Fenelon, in describing
a priest of Apollo in all his magnificence, tells us, that he had a
white beard down to his girdle. But Perseus seems to outdo all these
authors: this poet was so convinced that a beard was the symbol of
wisdom, that he thought he could not bestow a greater encomium on the
divine Socrates, than by calling him the bearded master, _Magistrum

Several other writers have treated of this subject. Voltaire often
touches on it in his voluminous writings. The author of the _Modes
françoises_ has bestowed many pages on it; the learned Don Calmet has
not thought this subject beneath his attention, on which he has written
a particular work, intituled _Histoire de la barbe de l’homme_. The
Italians have a modern work, intitled: _Barbalogia del Caval. Valeriano
Vanetti_, 1760. This Vanetti, after giving an account of the revolutions
which beards have undergone, enters into a very learned and serious
dissertation on the various manners in which they were worn among the
Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans; but the most obscure and least
authenticated part of his work is that where he warmly maintains,
against _Van-Helmont_, that Adam was created with a beard on his chin. I
readily confess I have not carried my inquiries so far into remote
antiquity. In the 16th century there were a great number of works
published on the beard, of which I shall have occasion to speak in
another place.

But the most extraordinary account in the history of beards is that
given by Titus Livius. Infinitely better than the eloquence of a
Demosthenes or the courage of an Alexander could have done, did the
beard suspend on a sudden the ferocity of a people of barbarians thirsty
of the blood of their enemies.

The Gauls, commanded by Brennus, had just taken Rome by assault.[10] The
senators, sitting, each at the door of his house, in their curule
chairs, awaited death with that coolness and resolution so natural to
these high spirited republicans. Their majestic looks and long white
beards so astonished these fierce conquerors, that their rage for
carnage gave place to admiration: all of a sudden they were struck
motionless with astonishment; their arms fell from their hands. The
Romans however continuing to preserve a grave and silent countenance, a
Gaul, enraged to see the slaughter suspended by the sight of a long
beard, boldly advanced, (as if to break the spell which deprived his
countrymen of their wonted fierceness) and laid hold of that of an old
man, who, shocked at the soldier’s audacity, knocked him on the head
with his ivory rod. This stroke of the ivory rod destroyed the illusion,
and became the signal of the massacre.[11]

Footnote 10:

  _Anno_ 365.

Footnote 11:

  _Ex Livio, Decade_ 1^o. _lib._ 5.

The beard was likewise very much esteemed among the old Romans; and even
when they adopted, through effeminacy, the custom of shaving, they
preserved the most religious respect for this mark of manhood. The first
shaving of a young man was done with the greatest ceremony, and these
first fruits of the chin were carefully collected in a gold or silver
box, in order to be afterwards presented to some God, as a tribute of
youth; this pious offering was mostly made to Jupiter Capitolinus.

While the Gauls were under the sovereignty of the Romans, none but the
nobles and Christian priests were permitted to wear long beards. The
Franks having made themselves masters of Gaul, assumed the same
authority as the Romans: the bondsmen were expressly ordered to shave
their chins, and this law continued in force ’till the entire
abolishment of servitude in France. So likewise, in the time of the
first race of kings, a long beard was a sign of nobility and freedom.
The kings, as being the highest nobles in their kingdom, were emulous
likewise to have the largest beard: Eginard, secretary to Charlemain,
speaking of the last kings of the first race, says, they came to the
assemblies in the Field of Mars in a carriage drawn by oxen, and sat on
the throne with their hair dishevelled, and a very long beard, _crine
profuso, barbâ submissâ, solio residerent, & speciem dominantis

To touch any one’s beard, or cut off a bit of it, was, among the first
French, the most sacred pledge of protection and confidence. For a long
time all letters, that came from the sovereign, had, for greater
sanction, three hairs of his beard in the seal. There is still in being
a charter of 1121, which concludes with the following words: _Quod ut
ratum & stabile perseveret in posterum, præsenti scripto sigilli mei
robur apposui cum tribus pilis barbæ meæ_.

Of all the people in the world, the Orientals seem to be those who have
the most constantly worn long beards: several nations shaved when in
mourning, such as the Syrians and Persians. Beards were, and still are
at this day, under the controul of religious usages. Zingzon affirms,
that the manner of wearing the beard is an essential point in the
religion of the Tartars; that they call the Persians schismatics,
because they have abated their rigour to such a degree as to arrange
their beards in a manner directly contrary to the rite of the Tartars;
he adds, that this dangerous heresy was the cause of a bloody war
between these two nations.

All the world knows that the most dreadful oath among the Mahometans is
to swear by the beard of their prophet. It is said in baron Tott’s
memoirs, that the first care of an Ottoman monarch, on his ascending the
throne, is to let his beard grow out: the Tartarian princes follow the
same custom. The same writer observes, that sultan Mustapha III. was not
satisfied with letting his grow out, but that he stained it black, in
order that it might be more conspicuous the first day of his going out.
The princes, kept prisoners in the seraglio, wear only whiskers, as
likewise all the young people, who don’t think themselves fit to wear a
whole beard ’till the age of maturity, and this is what they commonly
call _becoming prudent_.

Several great men have honoured themselves with the surname of
_Bearded_. The emperor Constantine is distinguished by the epithet of
_Pogonate_, which signifies _the Bearded_. In the time of the crusades,
we find there was a _Geffrey the Bearded_: Baldwin IV. earl of Flanders,
was surnamed _Handsome-beard_;[12] and, in the illustrious house of
Montmorenci, there was a famous _Bouchard_, who took a pride in the
surname of Bearded: he was always the declared enemy of the monks,
without doubt because of their being shaved.[13]

Footnote 12:

  This Baldwin, in a charter of Robert king of France, in the year 1023,
  is called _Honesta Barba_.

Footnote 13:

  The singular quarrel which he had with the monks of St. Denis is given
  at length in my _Description des environs de Paris_, under the article
  _Isle St. Denis_. This quarrel was the occasion of this family’s
  changing their name from _Bouchard_ to _Montmorenci_.

In the tenth century, we find, that king Robert (of France) the rival of
Charles the Simple, was as famous for his exploits as for his long white
beard. In order that it might be more conspicuous to the soldiers, when
he was in the field, he used to let it hang down outside his cuirass:
this venerable sight encouraged the troops in battle, and served to
rally them when they were defeated.

William of Tyre relates an adventure, which proves how much a long beard
was valued, and how disgraceful it was for a man of honour to be without

Baldwin, count of Edesse, being in great want of money, had recourse to
a stratagem as new as the success of it appeared to him certain. He went
to his father-in-law, Gabriel, a very rich man, and told him, that,
being greatly pressed for money by his troops, to whom he owed thirty
thousand michelets,[14] and not being any way able to raise so large a
sum, he had been obliged to pledge his beard for the payment of it. The
astonishment of the father-in-law was so great at what he heard, that,
doubting if he had well understood the count, he made him repeat the
terms of this strange agreement several times; but being at length too
well convinced of his son-in-law’s inability to raise the cash, the
credulous Gabriel bewailed his misfortune, saying: “How is it possible
for a man to find in his heart to pledge a thing that should be so
carefully preserved, a thing that is the proof of virility, wherein
consists the principal authority of man, and is the ornament of his
face. How could you possibly consider as a thing of little value,
continued this wise old man, what cannot be taken from a man without
loading him with shame.”[15] The count replied, to these just
reproaches, that having nothing in the world that he valued so much, he
had thought it his duty to pledge it to satisfy his creditors, and that
he was determined to fulfill his promise, if he could not immediately
find the money he so much wanted. The father-in-law, alarmed for the
beard of Baldwin, instantly gave him the thirty thousand michelets,
recommending him at the same time never more to pledge a property, on
which the honour of a brave knight depended.

Footnote 14:

  A Greek money of Michael Paleologus, emperor of the East.

Footnote 15:

  ——_Quærit iterum: Quare rem tantâ diligentiâ conservandam, argumentum
  viri, vultûs gloriam, hominis præcipuam autoritatem, ita obligasset,
  tanquam rem mediocrem & ab homine sine confusione separabilem?_
  Historia Belli sacri, lib, ii. cap. 2.

A celebrated painter in Germany, called John Mayo, had such a large
beard that he was nicknamed _John the Bearded_: it was so long, that he
wore it fastened to his girdle; and though he was a very tall man, it
would hang upon the ground when he stood upright. He took the greatest
care of this extraordinary beard; sometimes he would untie it before the
emperor Charles V. who took great pleasure to see the wind make it fly
against the faces of the lords of his court.

In England, the famous chancellor, Thomas More, one of the greatest men
of his time, being on the point of falling a victim to court intrigues,
was able, when on the fatal scaffold, to procure respect to his beard in
presence of all the people, and saved it, as one may say, from the fatal
stroke which he could not escape himself. When he had laid his head on
the block, he perceived that his beard was likely to be hurt by the axe
of the executioner, on which he took it away, saying: _My beard has not
been guilty of treason; it would be an injustice to punish it_.[16]

Footnote 16:

  Bullart’s elogy of More.

In France, the wise and learned bishop of Bellai, John Peter Camus, one
of the greatest men of his time, and one of the greatest enemies of the
monks, was likewise famous for a long beard. When he preached, he used
to divide it into two or three tufts, according to the number of heads
his sermon was divided into.

A bishop of Grenoble was famous in his time for the length of his
beard.[17] Molé, the lord keeper of the great seal, who had likewise a
very long one, having seen the bishop of Grenoble’s, said, _Now, God be
thanked, my beard is under shelter_.

Footnote 17:

  One day, this bishop let fall something, when he was at table, on his
  long beard. One of the servants said to him: _There is a bit of meat
  on your excellency’s beard_. The servant was answered: _Why dost thou
  not say on the excellency of your beard?_

What a number of beards should I have to celebrate, if I had resolution
enough, to do it! what a crowd of names of heroes and philosophers would
come to embellish this precious enumeration! You would be banished from
it, sages of the age, who wish only to appear so in your writings;
shaved philosophers, whose effeminate appearance always belies the
glorious title under which you conceal the pusillanimity of your souls.
But you would have an honourable place there, divine men, the pride of
Rome and Greece! You, adorable Anacreon, the _patriarch of gallantry_,
you, worthy to rank with the longest bearded of the ancients, who took
care to let posterity know your pleasures and the beauty of your beard;
come and convince our age that this mark of virility is not the enemy of
gallantry. And you, O Adrian![18] who, of all the Roman emperors, were
the first that brought in vogue this ornament of masculine faces, your
example is a proof that the introduction of a like usage is not beneath
the greatest prince: I would place on your head an everlasting laurel,
and by your side a French monarch, your wise imitator: the friend and
protector of arts and sciences. He thought the revival of the majesty of
long beards was still wanting to his glory; and, in order to insure more
certain and general success to this noble enterprize, he, as the first
of his kingdom, let grow out on his royal chin that hair which
characterises vigour and majesty. In this manner did chance favour the
wise projects of Francis I. to restore an usage as ancient and natural
as it was respectable.

Footnote 18:

  Adrian was the first Roman emperor that wore a beard, to hide, as it
  is said, some cicatrices which he had in his face. His successors
  imitated him down to Constantine, who shaved. Beards came in again
  under Heraclius, and all the Greek emperors afterwards continued the

This prince being at Remorantin at the count of St. Pol’s, twelfth day,
1521, amused himself with several of his courtiers in attacking with
snow-balls a house which the count, with a party of noblemen and
gentlemen, defended in the same manner, as is it had been a strong
castle. The national courage was equally conspicuous on both sides. The
vigorous attacks of the one party were followed by a still more vigorous
defence from the other: victory seemed to hang suspended between the
Greeks and Trojans, when all of a sudden _ammunition_ failed in this
second Troy. The besieged were filled with despair, and the enemy took
advantage of their confusion to storm the place. The Trojans were on the
point of being overcome by their courageous assailants, when captain de
Lorges, having a little recovered himself, resolutely laid hold of a
fire-brand, and, Hector like, boldly advanced toward the enemy, and
threw it at random among the besiegers. The French monarch, who was
climbing up among the foremost, unfortunately received it on his head.
Both Greeks and Trojans threw down their arms immediately; an end was
put to the play, and every one was taken up with the wound of Francis I.
who, by this accident, was obliged to have his head shaved; and being
desirous to recover on his chin what he had lost from his head, he let
his beard grow out, and every body did the same.

The best establishments always meet with traducers: the beard was not
without opposers; it had to fight at one and the same time against the
usage, against the prejudice and bad taste of the age, and especially
against the fury of the clergy and parliaments, who, as we shall see
presently, wanted in those days to make every body shave. But the great
and powerful enemies of this mode, far from setting bounds to its
conquests, gave additional splendour to its triumph. In a little time,
every body submitted to the yoke of the victorious beard, and, in the
sequel, a shaved chin was looked upon as a sign of turpitude and

Henry III. king of France, furnishes us with an example of the horror in
which a shaved face was held in those days. Amidst the debauchery in
which this prince was plunged, like a second Heliogabulus, he carried
things so far as to appear at a ball close shaved. Some verses of a
satire of the poet d’Aubigné have preserved us this fact, with the
indignation it inspired. They may be thus rendered in English:

         Henry was well versed in judging the dress
         Of the w——s of his court: of an intrigue not less:
         His _chin shaved_; his cheeks pale; effeminate manner;
         Sard’napulus eye; so much woman all over
         Was he, that one twelfth-day, this doubtful animal,
         Without brains or consequence, such appeared at a ball.

Let us turn our eyes on a more flattering object, and admire the beard
of the best of kings, the ever precious beard of the great Henry IV. of
France, which diffused over the countenance of that prince a majestic
sweetness and amiable openness; a beard ever dear to posterity, and
which should serve as a model for that of every great king; as the beard
of his illustrious minister should for that of every minister.

It was in this golden age of bearded chins that those different fashions
of wearing the beard called, _sharp-pointed_, _square_, _round_,
_fan_,[19] _swallow’s-tail_, _artichoke-leaf_, _&c._ successively
appeared. There were even _ligue-beards_. Art was often successfully
made use of to give them graceful forms; and the keeping of the beard in
order was more expensive to the beaux of those days, than that of the
hair of our fribbles is now.[20] But what dependence is there to be put
on the stability of the things of this world? By an event, as fatal as
unforeseen, the beard, which was arrived at its highest degree of glory,
all of a sudden lost its favour, and was at length entirely proscribed.
The unexpected death of Henry the Great, and the youth of his successor,
were the sole cause of it.

Footnote 19:

  At the time that _fan-beards_ were in fashion, says Mr. de St. Foix in
  his _Essais sur Paris_, they were kept in that form by means of a wax
  preparation, which gave the hair an agreeable odour and any colour
  that was desired. The beard was set in order at night, and in order to
  prevent its being put out of form before morning, it was done up in a
  sort of purse made on purpose.

Footnote 20:

  We read in the _Menagiana_, that a man very fond of his beard paid
  three half-crowns a month for keeping it in order: on which cardinal
  Campege wittily observed, _That his beard cost more than his head was
  worth_. The same thing might be said now-a-days of a number of

Lewis XIII. mounted the throne of his glorious ancestors without a
beard. Every one concluded immediately, that the courtiers, seeing their
young king with a smooth chin, would look upon their own as too rough.
The conjecture proved right, for they presently reduced their beards to
whiskers, and a small tuft of hair under the nether lip.

The people at first would not follow this dangerous example. The duke of
Sully never would adopt this effeminate custom. This man, great both as
a general and a minister, was likewise so in his retirement: he had the
courage to keep his long beard and to appear with it at the court of
Lewis XIII. where he was called to give his advice in an affair of
importance. The young crop-bearded courtiers laughed at the sight of his
grave look and old fashioned phyz. The duke, nettled at the affront put
on his fine beard, said to the king: “Sir, when your father, of glorious
memory, did me the honour to consult me on his great and important
affairs, the first thing he did was to send away all the buffoons and
stage-dancers of his court.”

The tuft of hair under the nether lip insensibly diminished, and at
length entirely disappeared. This resolution caused much grief; several
complained bitterly, and obstinately resolved not to follow the new
mode. _Le Mercure_ of that period bears honourable testimony of the
esteem in which the long beards were held, even after their disgrace.
The following sort of funeral elogy is taken from that work: “The beard,
which is natural only to man, is the mark of his virility, and gives him
precedency among his species; ’tis this token of manhood which adds a
dignity to his features, and gives him an air of gravity and modesty,
which makes him look full of wisdom.”[21]

Footnote 21:

  _Mercure of_ ——, A. D. 1678.

Neither the complaints of the one nor the elegies of the other were of
any effect. Every body followed the court.[22] Thou, O celebrated
Mithon, whose name merits an honourable place among those of the
illustrious men of thy country, thou alone hadst the resolution, amidst
thy shaved countrymen, to let thy long beard remain, and to preserve it
entire till thy last breath. May thy name, O Mithon, passing down to
posterity, be always pronounced with rapture! may the most famous
Academies propose thy elogy in emulation of one another! and may it be
repeated there, in the most philosophical tone, that thou hadst the
courage to appear like a man amidst a people of beardless boys.[23]

Footnote 22:

  Marshal Bassompierre said, that all the change he found in the world,
  after passing twelve years in prison, was, that the men had lost their
  beards and the horses their tails.

Footnote 23:

  _The last that wore a long beard in this city was Mr. Richard Mithon,
  bailiff and criminal judge of the county of Eu, who lived at the
  beginning of the last century, and died about the year 1626._ Mercure
  for January, 1732.

Thus ended the reign of the beard in France. Notwithstanding the
prejudice which exists at present, this mark of manhood has not lost its
influence. Whenever a foreigner appears in France with a long beard, he
not only attracts admiration, but likewise the confidence and respect of
those that see him. A Genevese, called Liotard, is an example; he knew
very well how to make an advantage of this ascendancy, which gives an
imposing appearance to people greedy of novelty.

He was a portrait painter, and had lived three years at Constantinople,
where his talents got him to be sent for by the grand seignior to come
to the seraglio to draw the pictures of the sultanesses: he followed the
dress of the Orientals, and, consequently, let his beard grow out, with
as much less reluctancy, as it hid the deformity of his face. On his
return to France, he resolved to retain his Levantine dress, and after
this manner appeared at Paris in the year 1752. He soon perceived that
he had no reason to be displeased with his whim. His dress and beard
served him much better than his talents, to raise him above the crowd.
It is easy to imagine the eagerness of the Parisians for this
extraordinary man. The infatuation was universal; his name soon reached
the court, where he was sent for at length to draw the portraits of the
late king and the royal family, and where, in a short time, he made his

His talents, less astonishing than his dress, did not consist in the
beauty of the colouring, but in the art of taking the most striking
likenesses. The marchioness of Pompadour was hurt at the scrupulous
accuracy of our painter. As she gave him one day a hundred pounds for a
portrait which he had just drawn, she made use of these precious words,
which ought to be written in letters of gold in the history of bearded
chins: _All your merit consists in your beard_.[24]

Footnote 24:

  This anecdote was given me by a friend of the painter’s, who knew him
  at the time he wore his oriental dress. He since adopted the French
  usage, in order to comply with the ardent solicitations of his wife,
  who was a Parisian.

It was likewise through favour of a long beard that a young Frenchman,
about ten years ago, preached a new doctrine in Arabia. He assumed the
name of _Arphaxad Tinnagelli_: his quality was, that of _disciple of J.
J. Rousseau, on a mission in Arabia_. His oriental dress and prophet’s
beard concurred particularly to gain him proselytes.[25]

Footnote 25:

  Mr. M——, in his journey to India by land, met this enthusiast at
  Bassora, the 15th of August, 1770, who asked Mr. Pyrault, the French
  consul in that town, for a guide to conduct him through the desert. He
  was returning from Surat, where he had resided sometime with Mr.
  Anquetil de Briancourt, likewise a French consul. “This Arphaxad
  Tinnagelli,” says Mr. M—— in the manuscript account of his journey,
  “is a young man of about twenty-eight years of age, of middling
  stature, and seems to have the Lorrain accent. He gives himself out
  for an Arabian, born at Eliatiff in the gulf of Persia; he has written
  a romance, in which he has not shewn a more happy invention, than in
  his Arabian name. Notwithstanding his beard and dress, we soon
  discovered him to be a Frenchman, which he at length acknowledged.
  Having made himself pretty well acquainted with Arabic, he has written
  several things in that language, among others, a catechism called
  _Tinnagellique_ which begins thus: _Who is God? The truth. Who is his
  Prophet? J. J. Rousseau._ It was thought at Bassora,” continues our
  traveller, “that he had quitted his pranks entirely; and, on his
  promising to return to India and live as he ought, Messieurs Pyrault
  and Rousseau (the Persian, cousin to J. James) made him up an European
  wardrobe: he came with me as far as Mascata; but I could not get him
  any farther, and I left him quite disposed to go and complete his

There is nothing more eloquent than outward appearance, especially among
a superficial people. Why then do those, who, for the interest of their
state or the happiness of their subjects, are under a necessity of
commanding respect, neglect such powerful means? The beard presents them
with the most simple, most natural, and most persuasive of all. With
that mark of manhood our warriors would no longer look like women; we
should have venerable old men and priests more reverenced.


                               CHAP. III.

                        _Of some SHAVED CHINS._

IT is a disgrace to man to have the most conspicuous mark of his
virility taken off; to pretend that it becomes him to look like a woman,
an eunuch, or a child, is the height of folly and ridiculousness. Even
if this truth were not constantly supported by the will of nature, the
opinion of all the most respectable characters of antiquity should be
sufficient to establish it for ever among all nations, and this is what
I would fain persuade my countrymen of.

A shaved chin was always a sign of slavery, infamy, or debauchery.
Diogenes asked those he saw without beards, if they had not changed
their sex, and were dissatisfied at being men. The loss of the beard,
among a great many nations, was always accompanied by banishment. All
the fathers of the church exclaimed against this shameful abuse, and
always regarded a shaved chin as the effect of the vilest

The example of Alexander, no doubt, will be alleged against me, who,
before the battle of Ardela, had all his soldiers shaved. I shall
answer, that he never shaved himself, but constantly wore this
characteristical mark of his valour, and that, if he ordered his
soldiers’ faces to be trimmed, it was only, as Plutarch says, for fear
the enemy should seize them by the beard.

I know very well too, that Scipio Africanus was the first Roman who
daily used a razor, and that this mode was brought from Sicily to Italy
by P. Ticinius, who brought with him a troop of barbers. But it is good
to know, as Pliny very judiciously remarks, that, of all the nations
that then consented to cut off their beards, the Romans were the last
that yielded to this effeminate custom.[26] This proves nothing more,
than that luxury began to be predominant at Rome, and that luxury
perverts every thing. Moreover, these particular cases should be
reckoned among transient errors, which, being dissipated, give to truth
an additional lustre.

Footnote 26:

  _Plin._ Hist. nat. lib. vii, cap. 60.

Let us take a view of a period less remote, which, interesting us more,
will shew the value of a beard, the disgrace of a shaved face, and the
mischiefs that have been the consequence of it.

In the beginning of the French monarchy, Clotarius II. having a mind to
appoint a Governor to his son Dagobert, chose Sadregesile, a man very
learned for his time; he loaded him with honours, and created him duke
of Aquitaine; and the new duke spared no pains to instruct his pupil;
but it seemed the latter no more answered the intention of the king his
father, than the lessons of his governor. The wild unruly character of
the princes of those times must necessarily have submitted with
difficulty to the will of master. Dagobert would not long endure the
constraint which the duty of his education laid him under. He considered
reprimands as so many outrages. Hatred and vengeance took possession of
his proud heart, and soon broke out to attack Sadregesile.

One day when king Clotarius was a hunting, young Dagobert invited his
governor to dinner. The prince, feigning during the repast, to act
without ceremony, (say the chronicles of France,) _presented him the cup
to drink, with three_. This was a snare which the duke of Aquitaine
never dreamed of. He received the cup with a confident air: and this was
a crime. _And he, who was deserving of punishment, took it from his
hand, not as it ought to be taken from a person of great consequence,
but as it is customary to take it from an equal._ The author of these
same chronicles, who was not a contemporary however, does not fail, as
may be perceived, to condemn Sadregesile, for having accepted the cup,
and to justify Dagobert who had presented it to him _with three_.
Without doubt he did not observe, in receiving it, all the ceremony
which the etiquette of the court in those days required. This slight
want of respect, or rather this liberty, was made a pretext by Dagobert
for revenge. After having called Sadregesile all manner of names, and
had him beaten by his servants, the young prince, hurried away by his
rage, without regarding the age of his governor, or the authority with
which he was invested, not even his title of duke of Aquitaine, rushed
upon him and cut off his beard with his knife. Some other chronicles
which relate the same affair, add likewise this bad treatment. _Prince_
_Dagobert took him by the beard, and with his knife, which he held in
his hand, cut it so close, that he cut off a piece of his chin with it._

The two authors, who agree in relating the same affair, were well
persuaded, that the abuse and the blows, which the duke of Aquitaine
received, hurt his feelings much less than the loss of his beard. This
is the reason of their laying more stress on the latter. _In those
days_, says one of them, _it was the greatest affront and disgrace a man
could receive, to have his beard cut off_.

Clotarius, on his return from hunting, was far from applauding his son’s
conduct. _The king was greatly enraged._ The young Dagobert, to avoid
the just indignation of his father, fled for refuge to the _chapel of
the Martyrs_, now called the church of St. Denis. In vain did the king
send serjeants to take him from thence: the writers, who relate this
affair, assert that God worked a miracle in favour of this young rebel;
they say, that all the men the king sent were stopped on the road by a
_divine power_. Be that as it may, this miracle had no effect on
Clotarius; for he never pardoned his son’s cutting off the beard of his
governor. _The king was so enraged_, say the same chronicles, _that he
never forgave this offence_.

It should be observed, that what was at the same time a mark of infamy,
became, in other circumstances, the seal of confidence and fidelity.
When a sovereign took a vassal or an ally under his protection, he cut
off his beard. This was a sort of adoption which conferred on the person
the title of son. The nobles of Spoleta voluntarily submitted to this
usage, after they had refused to succour Didier against Charlemain; they
set out immediately for Rome, and came and put themselves under the
protection of the pope; and as a proof of their constant fidelity, they
left their beards in his holiness’s hands.

This ceremony was looked upon as sacred by the contracting parties; and
when any one had promised to adopt another and to cut off his beard, the
greatest rascal breathing would be afraid to break his word, and what
happened to Tasson, duke of Frejus, is a proof of it. Gregory, patrician
of the Romans, being desirous to discharge a sum which he was obliged to
pay the dukes of Frejus, drew the young Tasson to Oderzo, a town on the
borders of Trevisannah, under the specious pretext of adopting him for
his son by cutting off his beard. Tasson came without suspicion; but he
was no sooner entered the town with his retinue, than Gregory ordered
the gates to be shut, and immediately sent soldiers to attack him.
Tasson, accompanied by his little troop, defended himself with great
courage, and killed a great many Romans; but at length he was overcome
by number. Then the traitor, Gregory, ordered the head of the young duke
to be brought him; and, to prevent his appearing to have broken his
oath, he cut off his beard, as he had promised.[27]

Footnote 27:

  _Pauli Warnefridi Longobardi filii, Diaconi Forojulliensis, de gestis
  Longobardorum._ Lib. vi. cap. 11.

The same usage had been observed a long time before; but, in the
ceremony, touching the beard, instead of cutting it off, was thought
sufficient. It was then held in higher respect. Clovis, king of France,
sent deputies to Alaric, king of the Goths, to treat with him, and
entreat the favour of him to come and touch his beard, and at the same
time to adopt him as his son.[28]

Footnote 28:

  _Aimonius, Fragment. de Clod. & Alar. Regibus._

The beard has met with its tyrants; the Latin church furnishes a great
number. Charlemain deserved this title when he absolutely refused to let
the Beneventians have Grimoald for duke, unless he obliged the Lombards
to shave.[29] But no sooner was this same Charlemain emperor of the
West, than he adopted the Roman beard.[30] Circumstances change every

Footnote 29:

  Paul Diacre says, the Lombards derive their name from the length of
  their beard. He adds, that, according to the idiom of the country,
  _lang_ signifies longam, and _baert_ barbam. Lib. i. cap. 9.

Footnote 30:

  His beard is carefully preserved at Spire.

Since William the Conqueror, who robbed the English of their beards with
their liberty, history does not furnish us with any relation of this
kind more poignant, than that of Lewis the Young, king of France.

This king, in the war which he carried on against Theobald count of
Champaign, having taken Vitri by storm, _burnt three thousand five
hundred inhabitants, who had taken shelter in the church_, says Mezerai,
_as a sacred asylum_. He soon repented of this cruelty; and, by way of
making some atonement, he, at the instigation of the clergy, consented
to cut off his beard. His austere deportment and shaved chin greatly
displeased his young wife Eleanor, the daughter of the duke of
Aquitaine; she murmured against this ridiculous custom, and often
reproached her husband, with looking much more like a monk than a king.

If Lewis the Young’s shaved chin had caused nothing more than the
dislike of the young queen, the mischief would have been trifling; but
several historians assert, that it was the first cause of that
inextinguishable hatred which has so long divided England and France.
The following is the account they give of it.

Saint Bernard, spurred on by pope Eugene III. his old disciple, took
advantage of the religious disposition of the king of France, to
persuade him, that nothing but the undertaking of a second crusade could
appease the wrath of God. The penitent monarch, who had not hesitated to
let himself be shaved, was as easily prevailed on to depart for
Palestine. Eleanor, whether through curiosity, duty, or to divert the
uneasiness of mind which the continual absence of her husband caused
her, resolved to accompany him.

After the misfortunes with which this war was attended, the devout
prince met with one that affected his heart much nearer; he perceived
that his shaved chin had entirely alienated from him the affections of
Eleanor, and that this wife, expressing every day her liking for long
beards, listened with attention to the amorous assiduities of Raymund,
prince of Antioch, her paternal uncle. They add, moreover, that a young
Turk, called Saladin, uncommonly handsome, and endowed, no doubt, with a
notable beard, likewise made this princess forget the fatigues of this
long and unfortunate campaign.

Lewis the Young returned from Syria, still shaved, and, moreover,
vanquished: too certain of Eleanor’s infidelity, in the rage of his
jealousy, he assembled a council at Beaugency, where, spite of the
prudent and pacific advice of his minister, (abbot Suger,) he had his
marriage set aside, under pretext of consanguinity.

Eleanor, six weeks after her repudiation, married Henry, count of Anjou
and duke of Normandy, who was afterwards Henry II. king of England. The
French king saw with chagrin this new monarch, his vassal, in possession
of his wife and the provinces which composed her dowry; he declared war
against him; and this is the foundation of that destructive rivality
which has so long troubled England and France. Who would have thought
that the cutting off of a beard, six hundred years since, should have
been the cause of a war the flames of which are scarcely extinguished,
and which not long since set a great part of our globe in blaze.[31]

Footnote 31:

  “This woman (Eleanor)” says Mezerai, “consummate in all sorts of
  wickedness, lived more than eighty years, kept up a war for more than
  sixty years, and left a hatred, between France and England, which has
  lasted more than three centuries.”

The Templars, that order of monks and soldiers, who had the faults of
both, wore their beards like the Orientals. Philip the Handsome, king of
France, thought it advisable to destroy these religious soldiers, and to
have a great number of them burnt. Their execution was preceded by
cutting off their beards, either to disgrace them more, or to deprive
them of that grave imposing air which it gave them.

Soldiers and princes were not the only ones for whom a shaved chin was a
mark of infamy: philosophers and learned men have always abhorred these
naked faces. Paul Jove, in his elogy of Francis Filelfo, relates a
trifling event which proves how much the learned of those days valued
their beards. A violent dispute arose between the Italian, Filelfo, and
a Greek professor called Timothy; the question was, whether a certain
Greek syllable were long or short. Things were carried to such a height,
that Filelfo waged a considerable sum, and Timothy his long beard. The
affair was at length decided. Timothy was declared vanquished; and, to
save his beard, which he had just lost, he made Filelfo very
advantageous offers; but the latter, inexorable, would have nothing but
the beard he had won: he insisted on having the unfortunate Timothy
shaved, and retained the spoils of his adversary’s chin as a monument of
his victory.

When, by an event which has been already related, Francis I. introduced
the mode of long beards into France, the parliaments and all the lawyers
stood up against this ornament so suitable to the gravity of their
functions: all the magistrates shaved, while the young men of fashion,
and all the court, appeared with a venerable beard. This contrast in
dress lasted longer than it ought to, through the obstinacy of the
lawyers. The self-importance which they shewed in this sort of contest,
is one of those lineaments of character which the philosophical observer
should not let escape him.

The rapid progress which this mode of long beards daily made, soon
alarmed the members of the parliament of Paris; they thought it highly
necessary to stop the progress of such a dangerous usage: being
thoroughly persuaded that it was essential towards magisterial gravity
to be constantly shaved, they made a law, in 1535, commonly called in
those days _the edict of beards_, by which all magistrates and lawyers,
even litigants, were absolutely forbidden to appear in the Justice-hall
with a long beard.

Francis Olivier, a man of the court, who was afterwards chancellor,
experienced all the hatred that the parliament had for long beards, when
he presented himself to be admitted to the charge of master of requests:
he was at first refused, for the sole reason of not being shaved.
Notwithstanding the pressing solicitations of our candidate, the
parliament was inflexible, and Francis Olivier was obliged to sacrifice
his long beard to his interest, or rather to the childish prejudice of
that court.

The parliament of Toulouse distinguished itself likewise, by pronouncing
a decree which expressly forbade the wearing long beards. A gentleman
wanted to solicit in this court without complying with this
unfashionable ordinance; the parliament replied very seriously to him,
that he should have justice done him when he should be shaved.[32]

Footnote 32:

  GENTIEN HERVET, _de redendâ barbâ oratio_.

_There were neither attorneys nor counsellors in the sovereign courts of
justice that could presume to appear in court on St. Martin’s day, with
a long beard, without incurring a fine; and this was observed likewise
in the inferior jurisdictions._ These are the words of a writer nearly
contemporary: he adds likewise, that it was highly necessary to be
careful how one came to present a request without being shaved first.
_Such-a-one would have been finely snubbed_, says he, _who should have
come with a long beard to present a request, so much so, that whoever
wanted to present one, readily put his beard in his sleeve_.[33]

Footnote 33:

  _Pogonologie, ou Discours facétieux des Barbes. I am surprised_, says
  the author of this work, _at the ordinance of a certain magistrate,
  who commanded all the millers of his district to cut off their

An advocate at the parliament of Paris was a victim to this rigorous
antipathy. They relate, that having presented himself in the hall to
plead a cause with a long beard, Peter Lizet, the first president,
ordered him, in open court, to cut it off immediately, or else the
parliament would refuse to hear him. The advocate was obliged to obey
this tyrannical order. _Tome 2. des Memoires de Litérature de Salengre._

Fortunately, these unmerciful enemies of bearded chins were unable to
exercise their persecution but over the small number of people dependant
upon them; they would have shaved all the French, if the nation would
have let them to. But this rage for disbearding insensibly died away,
and, in a little time, these enemies of toleration complied with the
usage which they had endeavoured to proscribe: so, this sort of league
among the magistrates against the beards of the French was attended with
no disagreeable consequences.

Things are very different when similar whims enter the brain of despots.
The two following relations will prove what ravages a razor in their
hands may cause.

Chardin relates, that a minister of the king of Persia, a scrupulous
observer of the law of Mahomet, wore in consequence a long beard which
he had very white. It was not the fashion to be so religious at the
court: the courtiers were satisfied with long whiskers, which they could
turn up under their ears; but they wore very short beards. The king was
shocked that his minister did not follow this mode, but obstinately
persisted to wear a long beard. In a drunken moment, he sent for a
barber, and ordered him to cut it off immediately. The minister, who was
obliged to submit to this rigorous order, begged the operator not to cut
so near the skin; but the king, perceiving that he was badly obeyed,
fell into such a rage, that he ordered the barber’s hand to be cut off

The czar Peter, who had so many claims to the surname of _Great_, seems
to have been but little worthy of it on this occasion. He had the
boldness to lay a tax on the beards of his subjects. He ordered, that
the noblemen and gentlemen, tradesmen, and artisans (the priests and
peasants[34] excepted,) should pay a hundred rubles, to be able to
retain their beards; that the lower class of people should pay a copeck
for the same liberty, and he established clerks at the gates of the
different towns, to collect these duties. Such a new and singular impost
troubled the vast empire of Russia. Both religion and manners were
thought in danger. Complaints were heard from all parts; they even went
so far as to write libels against the sovereign; but he was inflexible,
and, at that time, powerful. Even the fatal scenes of _St. Bartholomew_
were renewed against these unfortunate beards, and the most unlawful
violences were publicly exercised. The razor and scissars were every
where made use of. A great number, to avoid these cruel extremities,
obeyed with reluctant sighs. Some of them carefully preserved the sad
trimmings of their chins, and, in order to be never separated from these
dear locks, ordered that they should be placed with them in their
coffins. Oh! Peter the Great, John James was very right, you did not
possess true genius![35]

Footnote 34:

  The priests and peasants of Russia still wear their beards.

Footnote 35:

  See _Du Contrat Social_ of John James Rousseau. Voltaire has censured
  this assertion.

Example, more powerful than authority, produced, in Spain, what it had
not been able to bring about in Russia without great difficulty. Philip
V. ascended the throne with a shaved chin. The courtiers imitated the
prince, and the people, in turn, the courtiers. However, though this
revolution was brought about without violence and by degrees, it caused
much lamentation and murmuring: the gravity of the Spaniards lost by the
change. The favourite custom of a nation can never be altered without
incurring displeasure. They have this old saying in Spain: _Desde que no
hay barba, no hay mas alma. Since we lost our beards, we have no more

Well, it’s now a whole century since we wore beards. Have we gained by
the change? This well merits an investigation. The Spanish proverb,
which might very well be applied to us, seems to account justly for our
state of abasement. If, as a modern philosopher said, _stupor reigns_,
it is, no doubt, because we no longer wear our beards. But let us
console ourselves; the source of these evils is nearly dried up. The
fashion of long beards is on the point of being renewed, an epoch which
I pronounce to be nearer than people think. All our present fashions and
customs are nothing more than old ones revived, and which will disappear
in their turn. The revolution is just at an end: the rapidity of our
changes has accelerated its course, and a new reign is at hand. You
pretty fellows of the present day, Jemmy-Jessamy parsons, jolly bucks,
and all you with smock-faces and weak nerves, be dumb with astonishment,
I foretel it, you will soon resemble men.


                               CHAP. IV.

                          _Of BEARDED WOMEN._

A Woman with a beard on her chin is one of those extraordinary
deviations with which nature presents us every day; as to those women
who, in order to pass for men, have put on false beards, it was in
consequence of some particular circumstance: that there have been others
whose character, seconded by nature, made them regard a long beard as an
honourable phenomenon for their sex, must seem at this time more
extraordinary; but it would appear almost incredible that the eagerness
of women to command should prompt them to make use of artificial means
to have a beard on their chin, and, by this usurpation, to dispute with
man the symbol of his sovereignty, and that, to put a stop to this
disorder, the laws should have interfered, if the authenticity of the
evidence which we have left did not put it beyond a doubt.

It is Cicero himself who gives an account of this singular law,
instituted to prevent the women’s ever succeeding to get a beard: they
are expressly forbidden by it _to shave their cheeks_. It is taken from
the twelve Tables; the following are the words: _Mulieres genas ne
radunto. Let not women presume to shave their cheeks._[36]

Footnote 36:

  Cicero, _de Legibus_. _Lib._ ii.

If the abuse which was the cause of this law is one of the greatest
encomiums on beards, it presents us however with room for comparison.
The women of the present day are every wit as envious of commanding, as
those of whom Cicero speaks; but their means are very different.

It is beyond a doubt that the women of those days were very far from
disliking a beard. The Venus of Cyprus, (whom the ancient Greeks
represented with a bushy beard on her chin,) seems to strengthen this

As to bearded women, and those who have done themselves the honour of
appearing so, we have several examples.

In the cabinet of curiosities of _Stutgard_ in Germany, there is the
portrait of a woman called _Bartel Graetje_, whose chin is covered with
a very large beard: she was drawn in 1587, at which time she was but
twenty-five years of age. There is likewise in the same cabinet another
portrait of her when she was more advanced in life, but likewise with a

It is said that the duke of Saxony had the portrait of a poor Swiss
woman taken, remarkable for her long, bushy beard; and those who were at
the carnival at Venice in 1726, saw a female dancer astonish the
spectators, as much by her talents, as by her chin covered with a black,
bushy beard.

Charles XII. had in his army a female grenadier: it was neither courage
nor a beard that she wanted to be a man. She was taken at the battle of
Pultoway, and carried to Petersburg, where she was presented to the czar
in 1724: her beard measured a yard and half[37].

Footnote 37:

  Russian measure.

We read in Trévoux’s dictionary, that there was a woman seen at Paris,
who had not only a bushy beard on her face, but her body likewise
covered all over with hair. Among a number of other examples of this
nature, that of Margaret, the governess of the Netherlands, is very
remarkable: she had a very long, stiff beard, which she prided herself
on; and being persuaded that it contributed to give her an air of
majesty, she took great care not to lose a hair of it. This Margaret was
a very great woman.

It is said that the Lombard women, when they were at war, made
themselves beards with the hair of their heads, which they ingeniously
arranged on their cheeks, in order that the enemy, deceived by the
likeness, might take them for men. It is asserted, after _Suidas_, that,
in a similar case, the Athenian women did as much.[38] These women were
more men than our Jemmy-Jessamy countrymen.

Footnote 38:

  [Greek: Pogonias], _sive de barbâ Dialogus Antonii Hotomanni_.

About a century ago the ladies adopted the mode of dressing their hair
in such a manner that curls hung down their cheeks as far as their
bosom. These curls went by the name of _whiskers_.[39] This custom
undoubtedly was not invented, after the example of the Lombard women, to
fright the men. Neither is it with intention to carry on a very bloody
war, that, in our time, they have affected to bring forward the hair of
the temple on the cheeks. The discovery seems to have been a fortunate
one: it gives you a tempting, roguish, pleasing look, of which the
ladies are very fond at present.

Footnote 39:

  Servants, and citizens’ wives, who wore _whiskers_ like ladies of
  fashion, were attacked without mercy. _See Trevoux’s dict._

Some wits have made themselves merry at the women’s not having a beard
on their chin like the men: they pretended that it was impossible to
shave them without bringing blood, because it is very difficult for the
fair-sex to keep their tongues silent a moment. This thought has pleased
so much that it has been put into Greek, Latin, Italian, and French
verse. Here is the French.[40]

Footnote 40:

  See le Menagiana, tom. iv. pag. 206.

                Sais-tu pourquoi, cher camarade,
              Le beau sexe n’est point barbu?
              Babillard comme il est, on n’auroit jamais pu
                Le raser sans estafilade.


                  Know’st thou why my dear companion
                    Ladies have not beards like us?
                  Talking always, who could shave them,
                    Without gashing them the deuce.


                             (BY A FRIEND.)

          The reason why men should have beards on their face,
              And that tattling women have none,
          Is, the Devil can’t shave such a chattering race,
              But he’d cut their glib cheeks to the bone.

What has been rendered sometimes supportable by circumstances, an
extravagant taste, the desire of being distinguished from the crowd, or
to command their attention; true taste, and especially the art of
pleasing, has always proscribed. We meet with women every day whose
features are shaded with this ornament of virility. But very far from
priding themselves on this superfluity of nature, they regard it as a
blemish to be ashamed of, which they endeavour to eradicate. How many
brunetts especially[41] are obliged, in the secret moments of their
toilet, to make use of!... But let us by no means reveal these
mysterious operations; they have a right to expect our indulgence, as
they tend to please us: moreover, a woman may very well be pardoned for
correcting this deviation of nature, since the men are not ashamed to
disfigure her.

Footnote 41:

  The number is greater than people think. We have at present a heroine
  whose dignities of warrior, juris-consult, man of letters, and
  minister, as well as a bearded chin, concealed her sex a long time
  from her countrymen.

It is as ridiculous for a man to look like a woman, as for a woman to
look like a man. However, a man without a beard would be much less
surprising now-a-days, than a bearded woman, which proves how unnatural
our tastes and customs are.


                                CHAP. V.

                    _That LONG BEARDS are salutary._

THE beard has not only the advantage of giving a man a stern, majestic
air, of preserving over the sex the empire which Nature has bestowed on
him, and of displaying on his face the characteristical marks of his
manhood, but likewise enables the attentive observer to remark, by more
determined changes, the different states of human life, and gives him
the still more valuable advantage of being useful to his own

Nature made nothing in vain, and the course of her wise operations is
never opposed with impunity. Is it not natural to suppose, that this
bushy hair which she has placed on man’s face must have an influence on
the salubrity of the neighbouring parts that are acknowledged to be
essential? Is it possible to think otherwise, without accusing our
common mother of inconsequence, and charging her uniform conduct, (which
so fully explains its own motives,) with folly and extravagance? How is
it possible then for people to venture to thwart the wisdom of her
intentions, and destroy their effects, without being afraid of drawing
on themselves a superabundance of evils, to which human nature is
already too much subject? This however is what we do every day, in order
to comply with a very unnatural custom.

The beard, among men, is the sign of puberty, vigour, and weakness. ’Tis
this hair on the chin which first tells him that the time is come when
his organs, being more unfolded, will procure him a new existence, that
he is entering the state of manhood, that he is going to take his place
in society, and that he is endowed with the valuable faculty of
begetting his own likeness.

This down on the chin is the same with young men, as the increase of the
bosom with young girls. These two proofs of puberty announce, in both
sexes, that sweet inquietude, the prelude of love and pleasure; those
emotions, desires, and wants to be happy which nature has implanted in
the human breast; and at the same time the power of reason.[42] “The
beard,” says Theodoret in his fourth discourse on the Providence of God,
“informs these young folks, who have this downy hair on their chin, that
it is time to leave off childish plays, in order to employ themselves
about more serious things.” ’Tis then the greater or less quantity of
beard a man has that determines, in the same proportion, the vigour of
his body; ’tis then that Nature, steady in her course, requires its
increase, and there is no doubt but our perseverance in thwarting her
will, injures the adjoining parts.

Footnote 42:

  “It is at the time the Devil is in a passion that the beard begins to
  bud; and if ever a man has occasion to show some sign of courage or
  make some sensible observation, ’tis then his beard begins to come.

If it is evident that a long beard, by the equal heat which it
maintains, procures glandulous bodies a mild perspiration, and that it
draws away the humours intended by Nature for its nourishment, it cannot
be denied but that, the beard being cut off, and neither the
perspiration nor secretion having place, the humours, which ought to
have produced both, take a different course and become prejudicial to
the parts through which they are obliged to circulate. This is the
sentiment of a very learned writer, who has examined the beard under
this interesting point of view. “It is incontestable,” says he, “that a
long beard contributes greatly to health, because, whilst it draws off
the superfluous humours which nourish this mark of manhood, it preserves
the teeth a long time from rotting, and strengthens the gums, an
advantage which those who shave are generally deprived of, who, almost
all, are tormented with a dreadful pain in the teeth, and lose them all
before they are any way advanced in age. The beard, in summer,”
continues the same author, “defends the face from the burning rays of
the sun; and in winter from rimes. In short, it preserves a man from a
number of disorders, such as the quinsy and the decay of the palate,
&c.”[43] Adrian Junius, a physician who lived in the sixteenth century,
in his commentary on the hair of the head, asserts that the beard is a
preservative against several disorders. Gentien Hervet, in one of his
discourses on beards, relates, that after the council of Trent, several
ecclesiastics, being obliged to shave, were some time after seized with
a violent tooth ach. I may add to these authorities what I have been
told by very credible persons. A German gentleman, having been a long
time tormented with a violent pain in his teeth, was advised to let his
beard grow out, and he was entirely indebted to this remedy for his

Footnote 43:

  Pierius Valerianus, _Pro Sacerdotum barbis_.

The ancients seem to have been more sensible than we of the particular
virtue of this ornament of manhood. It was not without reason that they
represented Esculapius, the God of Physic, ornamented with a bushy,
golden beard, whilst his father, Apollo, had a shaved chin.

This symbolical beard proclaimed to the Greeks, not only that they
should wear their beards, but moreover, by the richness of its metal,
how necessary the beard was to their health. It was not with impunity,
say several writers, that Dionysius the tyrant took away this golden
fleece from the God of Physic: among others, they regard, as a
chastisement for this sacrilege, his being obliged, through his
mistrust, to have his children burn his beard with hot nut-shells,
rather than trust himself in the hands of the barbers of Syracuse.

The denomination which the Latins give the beard proves that they were
thoroughly persuaded of its preserving them from defluxions and other
disorders to which the nudity of our chins is exposed: they called it
_vestis_ (clothing), and _investis_ (without clothing), any one not of
the age of puberty.

As to us, slaves to the odd customs which we have ourselves invented, we
are still very far from thinking that it is proper to look like a man. A
manly, vigorous look is not fashionable, and even health is no longer in
vogue. I see very clearly that the beard, should it be again admitted in
its turn, may very well cause the destruction of some disagreeable
customs, among others, that of taking snuff; but, in order to give an
idea of this loss, I will here place the sentiment of a contemporary on
this sternutative powder. “Snuff,” says he, “gives a kind of slovenly
appearance to those who make use of it, and which they are incapable of
avoiding: their breath has a disagreeable smell, their noses are almost
always foul, their clothes very often dirty, their faces disgusting,
their tongues dry, especially after sleep, &c. But all this is nothing
to the disagreeable disorders which the use of this powder produces; and
after the enumeration which I’m going to make of them, people will be
astonished still more that such a bad custom is not laid aside.” He then
continues: “Snuff is hurtful to dry, bilious, and hot constitutions; it
intoxicates and discomposes the functions of the brain, brings on
vomiting, weakens the stomach, irritates the nerves, impairs the
faculties of the understanding, destroys the memory, takes off all sense
of smelling, heats, disturbs the sleep, causes vapours and swimmings in
the head, and at length brings on an apoplexy or a lethargy.”[44]

Footnote 44:

  Discours preliminaire des Tables néologique & météorologiques, by M.
  Bazoux. Mr. Buc’hoz has just published a work on the use of snuff,
  which corroborates this opinion.

If this account is just, and we may be permitted to add to it the
disgusting marks which this powder imprints on the beauty of the fair,
it must be confessed that great obligation would be due to whatever
should cause it to be disused.

In ripe age, the beard is the sign of physical powers: in old age, the
symbol of veneration. What sight is there more reverend than an old man
with a venerable, long, white beard, receiving the caresses of his
grand-children, the sole consolation of his burthensome years!
Surrounded by his family, he is the image of wisdom and divinity. Is
there any thing more noble than Nestor appeasing the rage of Achilles,
lamenting the misfortunes of that division, giving advice to all the
kings of the camp of the Greeks, and seeing himself the object of
general veneration? Where is there to be found a more striking example
of majestic sweetness than that of the sage Mentor? Is there a more
moving picture than that of old Priam at Achilles’s feet, kissing the
terrible hands of the murderer of his son; and to see this venerable old
man beg with tears the sad remains of the unfortunate Hector? All these
different sketches may give some idea of the majesty and nobleness which
a long beard and hoary locks stamp on the person of an old man. But let
any one fancy Mentor and Nestor shaved, and old king Priam without his
beard and white hair, having each of them a wig with three tails; this
allusion, at first so flattering, will disappear; ridicule will succeed
to respect, and he will no longer see in these heroes, but the figure of
our neighbour the churchwarden, the overseer of the poor, and the


                               CHAP. VI.

                           _Of FALSE BEARDS._

THE substitutes of art are to nature what hypocrisy is to virtue: both
are unworthy of an upright man, who is no more afraid to discover the
sentiments of his heart, than the lineaments of his face. But if, as a
famous moralist said, _hypocrisy is a homage which vice pays to virtue_,
false beards should likewise be regarded as a homage which luxury or
idleness pays to natural beards.

Such impositions are more or less condemnable, according to the causes
from whence they proceed. The old man whom Theophrastus speaks of, who,
in order to plead before the senate of Lacedemon, stained his beard and
hoary locks black, dearly merited the mortifying affront which a
meanness so unworthy of his age publicly drew on him. As he was debating
his cause, his adversary interrupted him, and addressing himself to the
senate, asked what confidence could be given to the words of a man who
carried a lie in his face?

Towards the middle of the fourteenth century, false beards came much
into fashion in Spain, especially in the estates of Cortez of Catalonia.
This artifice, which procured the advantage that a beard gives a man,
with much ease, must appear much less strange among a people whose
character has gravity for basis. This mode was adopted with the greatest
eagerness. The same persons had beards of different forms and colours,
and could change them as they pleased: they had different ones to wear
holidays and working-days; so that a man might have a short red beard in
the morning and in the evening a long black one. Every one changed his
appearance according to his interest. Such a commodious fashion and so
much followed favoured however a great many misdemeanours; and these
chin-wigs would soon have been as much the wear as those of the head, if
the abuse which was made of them had not at length attracted the
attention of government. Peter, king of Arragon, expressly forbade all
his subjects to wear false beards. They disappeared, and were replaced
by natural ones. ’Tis a great pity this mode never got beyond the
Pyrenean mountains: had it but reached France it would have acquired a
degree of pre-eminence, which the French alone are capable of giving.
However, Spain is not the only country where false beards have been in

About the end of the fourteenth century there was the largest and
thickest beard seen at Paris that ever existed perhaps in the world; in
fact, it was the wonder of beards. The man who wore it called himself
patriarch of Constantinople; from his having such an extraordinary
beard, every one was inclined to believe his assertion: so much power
has appearance over the mind of man! Never was there a beard that raised
such a sensation. The Parisians, as may be supposed, were unceasing in
their admiration of it; and it was through favour of his beard that this
patriarch, as he called himself, received the most flattering reception.
He was every where loaded with honours: and this astonishing beard,
which attracted the veneration of a whole people, who were enraptured
with it, was nothing but a false one.

What a powerful effect of the majesty of beards! but what a subject of
comparison for our manners! How many revered sages, great geniuses,
extolled heroes, and lords of high renown, are like this beard! It is
some consolation however, that the homage of the gulled citizens is
always the satire of the delusion by which they were deceived: the truth
comes out sooner or later; and then all the honour of it is clearly
perceived to belong to some particular virtue or talent, or a long


                               CHAP. VII.

                          _Of GOLDEN BEARDS._

MEN have, in all ages, thought to honour the objects of their regard, or
of their worship, by endeavouring to embellish them. But the means which
they have employed, whilst they do honour to their zeal, have often
given a proof of their bad taste. Because gold is so much valued among
us, we thought for a long time, that nothing else could be truly
ornamental. Luxury and devotion have both displayed it with profusion;
but riches do not constitute beauty. What was intended to be decorated
is in fact debased. This abuse, which reigned particularly in the times
of ignorance, has even exercised its power over the beard. Oriental pomp
presents us at once with an example of this mistaken pride. Several
potentates of those countries interwove the hair on their chin with gold
thread and spangles. It is not without indignation that St. Chrysostom
tells us of a king of Persia, who, in his time, followed this ridiculous
custom. After reproaching the extravagant luxury of the fair-sex of
Antioch, this evangelical doctor says: “If I should give you an account
of a sort of luxury still more absurd than that of those women, who wear
gold in their hair, load their lips and eye-brows with it, who, in
short, are covered all over with this precious metal; don’t think I want
to raise a laugh: what I am going to relate to you exists at this day;
it is the king of Persia I mean to speak of. This monarch is not ashamed
to wear a golden beard; all the hair of his chin is covered or
interwoven with little plates of gold or threads of the same metal. This
prince, with his face thus adorned, looks more like a monster than a

Footnote 45:

  _Johannis Chrysostomi, in Epistolam ad Collossenses, Comment._ cap.
  iii. Homilia 8.

This is not the sole example of this ridiculous ostentation: France,
which, as all the world knows, has furnished models of extravagance in
so many different lines, has not passed over this; it appears even that
it had a tolerable long run. Several historians agree in saying, that
the kings of the first race prided themselves in wearing a long beard
all interwoven and set off with ribbands, and enriched with spangles and
gold and silver threads. Whether this mode subsisted from the time of
the first race of kings, or was brought from Asia during the crusades,
it is certain, that, in the reign of Lewis XI. there is another example
of it, which was followed only in imitation of a more ancient mode.

The continuator of Monstrelet relates, that, at the funeral of the duke
of Burgundy, who was killed at the battle of Nancy in 1476, the duke of
Lorrain, his vanquisher, appeared with a false golden beard, in the same
manner as the ancient knights. “He was,” says the historian, “dressed in
mourning, and had a long, golden beard that reached down to his middle,
_in commemoration of the ancient worthies_, and of the victory which he
had gained over him.”

I am of St. Chrysostom’s opinion, that a golden beard is a hideous
thing; that, so far from the gold’s heightening its natural beauties, it
only degrades them. Nature is like virtue, it pleases without dazzling.


                              CHAP. VIII.

                             _Of WHISKERS._

THERE are no bounds for the objects that are subject to human
fickleness: every thing changes, all gives way to the whim of fashion,
the beard is a proof of it. This ornament of man, which the Divinity
placed on his face to mark more particularly the different periods of
his life, and be the sign of the most precious faculties of humankind,
has not escaped the common law, but been indistinctly subject to that of
our capricious instability. The beard, which is the honour of manhood,
and what St. Clement of Alexandria boldly calls _the procreative beauty,
the ingenuous beauty_, has passed through all the degrees of increase
and diminution. Whiskers are a sort of diminutive, one of those
intermediate states which preceded its triumph, or defeat. This
modification of the beard, spite of its feeble existence, holds
notwithstanding a rank in history, and merits to be mentioned.[46]

Footnote 46:

  Some authors attribute the honour of inventing whiskers to the
  Arabians. Plutarch, in his life of Theseus, gives the glory of it to
  the Abantes, an ancient people of the isle of Euboe, which we call
  Negropont, of whom Herodotus makes honourable mention, book i. chap.
  146. As the Abantes were a very war-like people, they shaved all the
  forepart of their head, in order that their enemies might have nothing
  to lay hold of in fight; and at the same time they let their hair grow
  out on the back part, to show them they were not afraid of being taken
  in flight. _Recherches fur la barbe, par le P. Oudin, Jesuite._

Whiskers have been worn in war, in order to fright the enemy by a
terrible countenance. This is what Cæsar observed formerly in the
ancient Britons. It is said likewise that the Goths and Franks shaved
their beards, all except the upper lip, which they called _crista_. The
Gauls, intimidated at first by the appearance of their vanquishers,
admitted afterwards this custom; and, under the first race of French
monarchs, if we except the kings and princes, who, like the emperors,
let their beards grow out entirely, the people wore only whiskers. This,
without doubt, is the origin of the custom which we have at this day, as
well as most of the nations of Europe, for soldiers to wear this

As a beardless face is a sign of puerility and weakness, so is a bearded
chin of virility and prudence; in like manner whiskers, which hold the
middle between these two extremes, announce youth and desires. The Turks
and modern Greeks are so convinced of this truth, that, ’till the age of
thirty, they wear only whiskers, an epoch at which they let their beards
grow out entirely.

In every age, and among every people, it has received a different form;
but in whatever manner it was made use of, or were the aim of those who
wore this mark of virility, it is beyond a doubt, that when it is
advantageously arranged, and gracefully turned up, it gives a stately,
vigorous, fiery look, which characterises the young man, and is not
displeasing to the ladies.

Among the European nations that have been most curious in beards and
whiskers, we shall distinguish Spain. This grave, romantic nation has
always regarded the beard as the ornament which should be most prized;
and the Spaniards have often made the loss of honour consist in that of
their whiskers. The Portuguese, whose national character is much the
same, are not the least behind them in that respect. In the reign of
Catharine, queen of Portugal, the brave John de Custro had just taken in
India the castle of Diu: victorious, but in want of every thing, he
found himself obliged to ask the inhabitants of Goa to lend him a
thousand pistoles for the maintenance of his fleet; and, as a security
for that sum, he sent them one of his whiskers, telling them: “All the
gold in the world cannot equal the value of this natural ornament of my
valour, and I deposit it in your hands as a security for the money.” The
whole town was penetrated with this heroism, and every one interested
himself about this invaluable whisker: even the women were desirous to
give marks of their zeal for so brave a man: several sold their
bracelets to increase the sum asked for, and the inhabitants of Goa sent
him immediately both the money and his whisker. A number of other
examples of this kind might be produced, which do as much honour to
whiskers, as to the good faith of those days.

When Philip V. ascended the throne of Spain, he found his new subjects
amply provided with beards and whiskers; he would wear neither, though
in other respects he adopted the customs of the country; this gave rise
to the mode of shaving. These people saw with the greatest regret this
dear ornament disappear from their chins: even at this day they cannot
recollect it without emotion; this is what gave rise to this truly
expressive proverb, but which is a little too emphatical: Desde que los
Españoles no llevan bigotes, no tienen C——, that is, (paraphrasing what
might offend the ears of the ladies:) _Since the Spaniards lost their
whiskers they are no better than eunuchs._

Whiskers, in France, have been the object of the most refined luxury. In
Lewis XIII.’s reign, they attained the highest degree of favour, at the
expense of the expiring beards. In those days of gallantry, not yet
empoisoned by wit, they became the favourite occupation of lovers, A
fine black whisker, elegantly turned up, was a very powerful mark of
dignity with the fair-sex. The women of those ancient times, less taken
up with genius than the concerns of the heart, and more learned in
lovers than books, made their glory consist in triumphing over a
warrior, or seeing a haughty, swaggering lover humbly at their feet:
proud of such a conquest, and jealous to preserve it, these ladies had a
sufficient value for their characters to continue faithful. And if a
favour was the reward of love, it was often of merit: in this case, a
woman had respect enough for a man to be sincere, and a man had respect
enough for his mistress to be discreet; but now-a-days ... what men!

The following relation proves how much the French valued their whiskers
in the time of Lewis XIII. Count Bouteville, the most celebrated
duellist of his time, who was condemned to be beheaded, seeing the
executioner, who had already cut off his hair, going to take off his
whiskers, could not conceal the anguish of mind which this dishonour
gave him, and put his hands on these dear ornaments, as if to preserve
them from the outrage with which they were menaced. The bishop of
Mantes, who attended him in these last moments, seeing this new
uneasiness, said to him: _My son, you must give over all worldly
thoughts; what! do you still think of this world?_

Whiskers were still in fashion in the beginning of Lewis XIV.’s reign.
This king and all the great men of his reign took a pride in wearing
them. They were the ornament of Turenne, Condé, Colbert, Corneille,
Moliere, &c. It was then no uncommon thing for a favourite lover to have
his whiskers turned up, combed, and pomatumed by his mistress; and, for
this purpose, a man of fashion took care to be always provided with
every little necessary article, especially whisker-wax. It was highly
flattering to a lady, to have it in her power to praise the beauty of
her lover’s whiskers, which, far from being disgusting, gave his person
an air of vivacity; several even thought it an incitement to love. It
seems the levity of the French made them undergo several changes both in
form and name: there were _Spanish_, _Turkish_, _guard-dagger_, &c.
whiskers; in short, _royal_ ones, which were the last worn: their
smallness proclaimed their approaching fall. Since that period, whiskers
have been worn only at the theatres and by some of our troops; besides,
they are less liked in France than among the other nations, where it is
very common to see all the officers with them.

The man, who should be so bold as to wear whiskers first, would be a
zealous citizen and a friend to true personal beauty. What glory would
not this courageous mortal gain, who, braving the present effeminate
custom, should restore our faces the ancient mark of our valour! He
would bring back to his country that openness and sincerity of character
which distinguished it from other nations, and would merit an honourable
place among the worthies who were formerly the honour of France. “I have
a good opinion of a gentleman curious in having fine whiskers,” said an
author of the last century; “the time which he passes in dressing them
is no time lost; for the more he admires them, the more his mind will be
fed and entertained with manly, courageous ideas.”[47] Whiskers then
have the power of giving energy and valour to the mind. Ah! Frenchmen,
you lost every thing when you lost your whiskers.

Footnote 47:

  _Elemens d’education_, printed in 1640.


                               CHAP. IX.

                      _Of the BEARDS of PRIESTS._

AMONG the dignities that ought, by an imposing appearance, to gain the
confidence and veneration of the people, the priesthood holds the first
rank. The minister of divinity, too often obliged to speak before a
crowd of ignorant people, has need particularly that all the delusion of
pompous raiment shall accompany him to the foot of the altar; but this
sacred magnificence, whilst it forsakes frivolousness and vulgar luxury,
should approach nearer to nature, and be more like that respectable
image of antiquity. Is there an ornament to be found that more perfectly
unites all these advantages? is there one that is less far-fetched, that
brings us nearer the first ages, that gives a man a more stern, more
grave, or more venerable look, and, consequently, is there one that more
becomes the priesthood, than the majesty of a long beard? Were I to join
to these clear reasons a faithful history of facts, supported by
authentic precepts, sacred laws, the opinions and examples of a number
of divine men, and, in short, come to demonstrate the absolute
obligation under which our priests are, of wearing beards, I should
unfold a truth not less interesting than unexpected. I might call to my
aid the example of the priests of foreign religions, and point out, in
the books of their dogmas, evidences of the honours paid to this mark of
virility; I could cite a number of historical monuments, which attest,
that all the nations of the world agree in looking on the beard as the
ornament most seemly for an interpreter of the will of heaven; but I
have no occasion for these foreign aids: it is our own religion that
shall furnish me with arms against the effeminate abuse which degrades
its ministers.

If I open at hazard the old testament, I every where find proofs of this
truth. It is there written how God threatened, his chosen people several
times, by the mouths of his prophets, that he would have their chins
ignominiously shaved; which was then a disgrace inseparable from
slavery.[48] _David_ saw nothing more respectable in a man’s outward
appearance than his beard: this is what made this psalmist king speak so
honourably of that of the high priest Aaron,[49] and think that nothing
less than streams of blood could wash away the insult which had been
offered the beards of some of his subjects.

Footnote 48:

  See Isaiah, chap. vii. v. 20; _ibid._ chap. xv. v. 2: Jeremiah, chap.
  xlviii. v. 37: Revelations xiv: Sam. xix. &c.

Footnote 49:

  See the cxxxii Psalm. _Sicut unguentum in capite quod descendit in
  barbam, barbam Aaron._ Tertullian, in his book _de Pallio_, has
  explained the expressions of this Psalm very favourably for the beard.
  See likewise Saint Ambrose, _lib. de initiand. cap._ 6. At the council
  of Basil, held in 1433, Henry Kalteisen made a long commentary on this
  subject. Sauveur, archbishop of ——, made a speech at the council of
  Trent, which ran almost wholly on Aaron’s beard.

We read in the _Paralipomenon_, that this prince sent ambassadors to
Hanon, king of the Ammonites, to console him for the death of his father
Naas; that this king, having been persuaded that these ambassadors were
spies, had them all secured, and sent them back, after having had half
their garments and half their beards cut off. On these news, David was
greatly enraged; and in order that his envoys might avoid the
disagreement of appearing at court in this disgraceful situation, he
sent them word to stop at Jericho ’till their beards were grown out to
their ordinary length; after which he marched against the Annmonites,
and, in two bloody battles, destroyed seven thousand of their chariots,
killed Sophach, their general, and forty thousand foot, and thus avenged
the insult offered his ambassadors.[50]

Footnote 50:

  See the Vatable Bible, _liber Paralipomenon_, cap. xix.

This massacre, though it had no other object than the cutting off of a
part of some beards will appear neither unjust nor cruel, if we consider
how much this ornament of virility was honoured among the Jews, and
especially when it is known that there is a law in Leviticus, which
expressly forbids to cut off any part of it.

God himself, before all his chosen people assembled, was pleased, by the
means of Moses, to explain his intentions with regard to this decoration
of the face of man. This law does not solely forbid shaving the chin, as
the vulgar translation of the bible says, which would insinuate that the
Hebrews had already made use of this effeminate custom; but, according
to all the best versions of this holy book, we read: _Don’t marr the
corners of your_ _beards_, that is, let them grow naturally.[51]

Footnote 51:

  See the same Vatable Bible, Leviticus chap. xix. verse 27. _Non
  attondebitis in circuitum comam capitis vestri, neque dissipabitis
  extremitatem barbæ tuæ._

No precept nor other law whatsoever has since altered this. The divine
legislator of our religion, far from changing it, respected it so much,
that he submitted to it himself; the Apostles, and all the most holy and
respectable followers of the Christian worship, have warmly supported
the necessity of wearing a beard; but the purity of precepts, the
simplicity of manners, and humble poverty, have disappeared with the
times. We have rich pluralists, short mantled Chrysostoms, and
prig-parsons; but, divines with venerable beards, fathers of the
primitive church, where are you?

In the constitution of the Apostles, this precept is again repeated:
_The smallest hair of the beard must on no account be clipped_, it is
said therein: _Oportet preterea non barbæ pilum corrumpere_.[52] If I
trace things on, from the time of the Apostles to the entire
establishment of Christianity, I find, that all the fathers, doctors,
and saints of the rising church, strongly recommended the custom of
wearing the beard, and regarded a bald chin as the mark of infamy and
debauchery. Saint Clement the Roman, who lived likewise in the time of
the Apostles, after mentioning the Levitican law, which we have already
quoted, says, that _God, who created us after his own likeness, will
load those with his hatred who violate his law by shaving their

Footnote 52:

  Lib. i. cap. 3.

Footnote 53:

  This Saint, who was the disciple of St. Peter, succeeded pope Anaclet,
  A. D. 91. See in his book _Constitutionum Sanctorum Apostolorum_, the
  chap. entitled _Catholica Doctrina de Laicis_.

Saint Clement of Alexandria, in several parts of his learned works,
complains highly of this abuse so disgraceful for mankind; he speaks
with great warmth against the rakes of his time, who were not ashamed to
appear in public close shaved. This saint, who was still a better
philosopher than a theologian, does not think it beneath him, in another
part of his work, to write the elogy of the beard: _It contributes_,
says he, _to the beauty of man, as a fine head of hair does to that of a
woman_.[54] Tertullian, especially, says a great deal about beards, and,
with his usual eloquence, forcibly attacks the corrupt manners of his
age, which had introduced the shameful custom of shaving; he supports
his arguments by St. Jerome and St. Clement of Alexandria, and even goes
beyond these two holy fathers.[55]

Footnote 54:

  Saint Clement of Alexandria, who is looked upon as the most learned of
  all the fathers of the Church, lived at the end of the second and
  beginning of the third century. See his book on theatrical
  exhibitions, and his Pedagogue, book iii. a work which abbot Fleuri,
  in his Ecclesiastical history, calls, _an abridgement of the whole
  Christian moral_.

Footnote 55:

  Tertullian, in his book _de Cultu feminarum_, and in that _de Pallio_,
  speaks very advantageously of beards. This learned man, whom St.
  Cyprian called his master, was the first who wrote on the alteration
  of a canon of the council of Carthage, which forbade priests to shave
  their beards.

Saint Cyprian has likewise expressed how much he thought a shaved chin
contrary to the Christian institution. In deploring the state of this
religion, he exclaims: _There is no longer this religious devotion and
entire confidence in the ministers of God to be found in the priests; no
more works of mercy, no more order among the lower classes: the men cut
off their beards, and the women paint their faces._ And in another part:
_And notwithstanding it is written, You shall not cut off your beards,
they depilate their chins and colour their cheeks. Thus, to please the
world, they are not afraid to displease God._[56]

Footnote 56:

  _Divi Cypriani, liber de Lapsis._

It would be too long to cite the number of respectable authorities who
have either written in praise of beards or censured shaved faces, who
have not only looked upon it as an ornament conformable to Christian
gravity, but maintained that it could not be cut away without a sin.[57]

Footnote 57:

  All the first fathers of the Church have strongly recommended the
  custom of beards, or have spoken of them advantageously: such are St.
  Jerome, St. Ambrose, St. Chrysostom, St. Epiphanius, St. Theodoret,
  St. Sidoin Apollinarius, &c.

This opinion of the first fathers of the Church is supported by two
councils: the first is the fourth council of Carthage, the 44th canon of
which runs thus: _Clericus nec comam nutriat, nec barbam radat. A
clergyman must neither keep up his hair nor shave away his beard._ Tho’
this canon has been entirely altered by the suppression of the word
_radat_, as Tertullian remarks, and, after him, a number of
commentators, it is certain it ought to be thus, which we will prove by
what we are going to say. The second is a council held at Barcelona in
540, in the third canon of which we read: _Ut nullus Clericorum comam
nutriat, aut barbam radat. Let no clergyman either keep up his hair, or
shave away his beard._

After such sacred laws, and the opinion and example of the apostles, and
of all the fathers of the primitive church; after the decisions of two
authentic councils, one should not think there had existed men
sufficiently deceitful or ignorant to maintain, not only that it is
indifferent to shave or not, but likewise that the beard is contrary to
the institution of the Church. Lighted by the torch of truth, and guided
by the most scrupulous impartiality, we will follow up the chain of the
different events which have so often changed the sentiments and beards
of one part of Europe.

I find all the popes of the earliest times of Christianity wore long
beards, ’till the first division into two Churches, Greek and Latin.
Their rivality had already broken out in the excommunication of the
iconoclasts. When Charlemain became emperor of the West, the popes then
threw off the yoke of the Grecian authority, and seized that occasion to
distinguish themselves from their enemies by something particular. It
was at this very epoch, according to fathers Henschenius and
Papebrock,[58] that Leo III. gave the Latin church, for the first time,
the example of a pope shaved. The disputes soon redoubled. Photius, the
Greek patriarch, renewed the pretensions of the clergy of the East to
precendency over those of the West: he excommunicated, in his turn, pope
Nicholas I. who had already excommunicated him. Never had the chins of
the Greeks been so bearded, nor those of the Latins so closely shaved.
Photius, having taken the title of œcumenical patriarch, declared the
Western bishops heretics. Among other things, he reproached them with
cutting off their beards. _A strange reason for setting the Western and
Eastern empires at variance_, says a great writer of our age. To think
this reason so strange, is making very light of beards.[59]

Footnote 58:

  See the _Propileum_ of fathers Henschenius and Papebrock for the month
  of May, p. 209, vol. i. of the acts of the saints.

Footnote 59:

  Let it be always recollected that we have nothing to do here but with
  discipline. Some indispensable invectives against the divers opinion
  of the popes, ought not to startle tender consciences. The dogma,
  which we highly respect, has no part in this discussion.

Nicholas I. does not offer any thing in his own defence against this
serious accusation. In his letter to Hincmar, archbishop of Rheims, and
the other bishops of France, A. D. 867, he only says, speaking of the
Greeks: “Moreover, they endeavour to throw blame on us, because the
clergy who are under our authority don’t refuse to be shaved.”[60] This
phrase, which shews that all the clergy at that time were constrained to
appear shaved, presents nothing in excuse for this violent conduct. If
the pope could have offered some reasons to palliate this looseness of
discipline, he would not have failed to make use of them on this
occasion; but he does not give one. Rivalship was the sole cause of
these puerile dissensions. What a number of disputes, and troubles has
not this ridiculous infatuation of the Latin priests occasioned! Had
they but let their beards grow out, they would have avoided all these

Footnote 60:

  _Quin & reprehendere satagunt, quia penes os clerici barbas radere
  suas non abnuunt, &c._ Acta Conciliorum.

The death of the patriarch, without destroying the schism, calmed
people’s minds for some times, and the ignorance of the times (according
to some) contributed greatly to extinguish the flames of this violent
quarrel. John XII. forgetting, or perhaps not knowing the animosity that
had reigned between the two churches, soon appeared again with a long
beard according to fathers Henschenius and Papebrock.[61]

Footnote 61:

  See _Propileum_, already quoted, page 20.

This irregular and inconsequent conduct of the popes, and indifference
for the true discipline of the Church, seems to be justified in a
council held at Limoges in 1031. By the determinations of that assembly
it is of little moment whether a priest be shaved or not. The reasons of
the Greeks and Latins are there weighed, and the latter are said to
support their arguments by the example of St. Peter. (This assertion is
contrary to all truth, as all the monuments which have preserved us the
image of that Saint prove.) They add, in favour of those priests that go
shaved, that they ought to be distinguished from the laity by their
outward appearance. This reason, were it just, would be good only at a
time when it should be the fashion for laymen to wear long beards, and
it ought to be an additional incitement to priests to let theirs grow
out, among a nation who do not wear this mark of manhood.

“The others,” says the same council, speaking of the Greeks, “have
chosen the custom of not shaving; they ground their choice upon the
example of the Apostles Paul, and James the brother of the Lord, saying
with reason, for nothing should be concealed, that the clergy, as the
laity, ought to preserve on their faces this ornament of virility, as a
dignity of the human condition, a dignity created by God himself, and
with which he has been pleased to honour man alone. As to the clergy,
they should be distinguished solely by the tonsure of the head. The
Greeks add likewise, that our Lord of Nazareth always wore his beard.”
By this session of the council of Limoges, no mention is made of the two
councils which expressly forbid priests to cut off their beards, nor of
the authority of the fathers and the Levitican law; this was to suit the
circumstances: and the council concludes on this matter, _that if the
Greeks have nothing to reproach us with, we have nothing to reproach
them with_.[62] After this declaration, though it is quite contrary to
the fundamental discipline of the Church, the reader will be greatly
surprised to learn, that the very same year, 1031, by a canon of the
council of Bourges, all the clergy were ordered to get themselves
shaved;[63] nor will he be less so to find pope Gregory VII. (formerly
friar Hildebrand, a shaved monk, a turbulent, ambitious man, and the
declared enemy of emperors and kings,) firmly maintain, that a priest,
who wore a long beard, was guilty of a high crime and misdemeanour
against Christianity. This pope Gregory was a confounded shearer of
beards: he called a council at Gironne in 1073, where the clergy were
expressly forbidden to wear this mark of manhood.[64] A few years after,
this tyrant of the beards having learned that the archbishop of Cagliary
preserved his in all its length, he immediately ordered him to get
himself shaved, and at the same time wrote (in 1080) to Orzoc, the
podestate of the town, these orders ... “We therefore order your bishop,
our brother, to have his beard shaved, _like all the Western clergy, who
have preserved this custom ever since the commencement of the Christian
faith_:[65] in consequence, we command you likewise to oblige all the
clergy that are under your authority, to be shaved, and to confiscate
the property of those who shall refuse to obey, to the profit of the
Church of Cagliary: make use of severity, for fear lest this abuse
should increase.”

Footnote 62:

  _Et hac in re neque illi nos, neque nos possumus reprehendere illos,
  &c._ Concil. Lemovicense, anno 1031, sessio II, acta Concil. tom. vi.

Footnote 63:

  Council of Bourges, canon 7.

Footnote 64:

  _Synodus Gerundensis, can. vii. Thæsorus anecdotorum._

Footnote 65:

  _Scilicet ut quemadmodum totius occidentalis Ecclesiæ Clerus, ab ipsis
  fidei christianæ primordiis, barbam radendi morem tenuit, &c._ Greg.
  Papæ vii. Epist. lib. viii. ad Orzoc, judicem Calaritanum.

This letter, wholly founded upon illusion, and which so justly
characterises its author, proclaims the approaching destruction of the
little beard yet left on the chins of the Latin priests. It was at this
time no doubt that those ordinances _de radendis barbis_, which we still
read in several communities, were made; and in a little time the laymen
were the only ones that could, without a crime, wear long beard; but it
did not continue so long.

The German priests soon followed this example, which is proved by a
fragment of a letter preserved in the new history of the Benedictines of
Black Forest, where Sigefroy of Goetz complains grievously to Papon, the
reformer, that the Germans were beginning to imitate the French in
several effeminate customs, among others, that of cutting off their
beards. In time, the priests saw with pain, that they were separated
from other men by a mortifying distinction: what should they do to
relieve their offended self-love? Let their beards grow out? The
difficulty of ordering it, even sometime after it had been forbidden,
did not hinder them; but the quarrel with the Greeks was yet too recent
for the Latins to think of looking like those haughty, clearsighted
enemies. In order that all might be upon a par, it was decided, that the
laity should be shaved: this mean had a very plausible appearance, and
it was decided to begin with the princes.

That of Henry I. king of England, was the premier victim of the
conjuration. Serlon of Abond, bishop of Seez, undertook the conquest of
this royal fleece. Easter-day, 1105, he preached before this prince and
all his court: his sermon ran entirely on heads of hair and beards; he
exclaimed particularly against the length of the latter, which, he
maintained, was contrary to the spirit of the Christian religion: his
vehement tone and persuasive eloquence moved all the audience. The king,
penetrated with compunction, resolved to be the first to give the
example of a sacrifice as holy and new as courageous: then the preacher,
approaching Henry, drew out of his sleeve a pair of scissars, and
piously sheared the prince’s chin. All the assembly, carried away by
this act of religion, would fain imitate him, and the holy bishop became
the shearer of the whole congregation. This strange farce, which was not
the only one, would appear a fable, if father Mabillon did not very
seriously relate the particulars of it in his Annals of the

Footnote 66:

  _Moxque Episcopus, extractis è manicâ forficibus, primo Regem, post
  cæteros Optimates attondisse, &c._ Annal. Benedict.

Some years after, Lewis the Young’s beard underwent the same fate. This
prince having burnt three thousand five hundred Champenese, who had
taken refuge in Vitry church,[67] was soon a prey to his stings of
conscience. Peter Lombard, bishop of Paris,[68] assured him, that there
was no more effectual way to expiate this crime, than to have his long
beard cut off forthwith. The king clearly saw there was nothing more
reasonable; and this pious bishop executed himself the function of
barber to his majesty.

Footnote 67:

  In the war which he had with Theobald, count of Champaign. See page 41
  of this work.

Footnote 68:

  Philip, the king’s brother, being appointed bishop of Paris, thought
  the place beneath him; he resigned it to Peter Lombard, who, according
  to Zuinger, A. D. 1160, made use of his episcopal authority to have
  all the priests and monks of his diocese shaved.

Frederick I. surnamed _Redbeard_, was not exempted from the common law;
the colour of his beard, the example of two princes, and the strong
solicitations of the clergy, prevailed on him to be shaved; and this
emperor, who had courageously refused to hold the stirrup to pope Adrian
IV. to kiss his feet, and lead his Spanish genet by the bridle, had not
the resolution to withstand the priests on this occasion.

When the clergy had succeeded to shave the principal princes of Europe,
they might justly expect to see a great many imitators among the rest of
the people. Far better than violence, the example would have triumphed
over the remaining beards; but the priests of those days of ignorance
were strangers to all moderate means.

Godfrey, bishop of Amiens, saying mass Christmas-day, 1105, formed the
design of unmercifully stripping all the bearded chins; those, who came
to the offering with long beards, were turned back. Frighted at this
cruel refusal, most of the men were eager to cut off the hair of their
chins, hastily laying hold of scissars, and even knives, in order to be
able to present themselves immediately before their bishop with a better

Footnote 69:

  See _le Mercure de France_ for January, 1732.

Never was reason the motive of such indecencies. It seems as if truth
had revenged itself on these silly, superstitious times at the expense
of decorum.

Envy, under the imposing cloak of religion, had just scattered its
venom; vengeance had its fill; every chin was shaved, and the Church
enjoyed its triumph. Time moderates all things, even the anger of
votaries; they forgot that beards had been anathematized: the successors
of those very popes, who had looked upon a bearded priest as guilty of a
shameful sin, were in a little time no longer afraid to sin themselves,
and publicly appeared with long beards. Such were Henry III. Alexander
IV. Adrian V. John XX. Nicholas III. &c. &c.

This calm was enjoyed but a short time, before a new storm arose against
sacerdotal beards, stirred up by envy and ignorance, to destroy the work
of peace and reason. The vicissitude of human things respects nothing.
Lewis V. in Germany, Peter the Cruel in Spain, and Philip of Valois in
France, had let out their beards, and the mode gained ground throughout
Europe. Priests are not blessed with a character that shelters them from
the influence of fashion; several were slaves to that which brought
beards again in vogue. The popes themselves did not disdain it, though a
number of provincial councils stood up against the new bearded chins: in
1323, clergymen, by a synodal statute of the church of Orleans, were
forbidden to wear long beards, under pain of excommunication. Meanwhile,
according to the quality and condition of the persons,[70] other synodal
statutes of the church of Beziers ordered the priests of the diocese to
cut off their beards and hair of their heads, except just the crown, in
order that they might apply themselves with more diligence to their
studies and functions.[71] A provincial council of Paris, and another of
Sens, ordered the same; a council of the same town of Beziers, under
archbishop Peter Narbonne, in 1351, canon xi. forbids wearing long
beards; and as a punishment for such temerity, it is there said: We
condemn the offender, if a canon, to be deprived of his daily
distribution, and if an incumbent, to pay twelve deniers for the use of
the church.[72] The custom of wearing beards was condemned likewise by a
synodal statute of the church of St. Malo, in 1370, and all sacerdotal
beards were shorn off.

Footnote 70:

  _Statuta synodalia ecclesiæ Aurelianensis, anno 1323. Amplissima
  Collectio veterum Scriptorum, &c._ vol. i. by Martenne and Durand.

Footnote 71:

  _Statuta synodali ecclesiæ Bitteris_, 1332. Thæforus Anecd.

Footnote 72:

  _Alioquin, canonicum privatum distributionibus illius diei esse
  volumus, & Beneficiatum puniri pæna duodecimorum denariorum pro tali
  usu temerario statuimus & mandamus Fabricæ illius ecclesiæ
  applicandorum._ Thæsorus Anecdotorum.

The beards of the laity, it seems, were spared in this general
proscription. The time, no doubt, when the priests could take the
liberty of cutting off the beards of both people and kings with
impunity, began to decline.

The monks had, a long time before, settled rules for the government of
their chins: in 807, at the assembly of Aix-la-chapelle, it was ordered,
that the monks should not shave themselves at all during lent, and that
the rest of the year, they should do it once a fortnight. We see in the
statutes and customs of different monasteries, that the monks were
shaved, except the lay-brothers, who were called _Fratres barbati_,
bearded brothers.[73] We find in old manuscripts the very prayers that
were recited when a monk in full orders had his beard shorn. Humility
was the motive of this custom, which was practised with much ceremony.
At the taking of the habit, the beard of the candidate was blessed with
great ceremony; and when he was made a monk, he dedicated his beard to
God. This ceremony was practised likewise by the Heathens. See page 16
of this work.

Footnote 73:

  Marbillon’s _Annales Benedictines, lib._ 71.

This new storm was succeeded by another calm, and long beards seemed
likely to have a fine time; and truly they appeared again in all their
ancient majesty. Julius II. gave the signal, and was followed by all
Europe. This pope, by his venerable look, recalled the image of the
patriarchs of old. The cardinals, and all the Church, were eager to
follow an example so commendable. The age was more enlightened: the
ancient disputes were either forgotten, or only thought of to lament the
injustice of their cause. The orthodoxy of beards was acknowledged, and
truth shined in all its brightness; but gloomy envy at length came to
obscure its splendour: some exclaimed that it was a piece of pride,
others a scandal; and quarrels that should have been buried for ever in
oblivion were again renewed. Jealousy, under a holy pretext, raised
itself with more daringness than ever, and occasioned violent
animosities. What writings appeared! what outrages and phrenzy!...
_Bella horrida, bella ... cerno...._ But let us not entrench upon such
precious matters: let us rather endeavour, with the same impartiality,
to discover the origin of so many disturbances.

Bessarion, the famous Greek, first, archbishop of Nice, afterwards,
cardinal, and, at length, patriarch of Constantinople, came into Italy
with the archbishop of Russia, to endeavour to bring about an union
between the Greek and Latin churches. Bessarion made no difficulty of
subscribing to the orthodoxy of the latter; and this was what got him a
cardinal’s hat: his long beard, and that of his companion, accustomed
the court of Rome to this mode. Bessarion was one of the stoutest men of
his time; every one longed to look like this illustrious man, were it
only in the fleece on his chin; and his fine Grecian beard soon produced
a number of Latin ones.[74]

Footnote 74:

  This cardinal’s beard was not so well received in France. This great
  man being sent thither as legate, visited, through policy, the duke of
  Burgundy before he saw king Lewis XI. This monarch was so offended at
  the preference given his enemy, that, at the first audience he gave
  this legate, he roughly seized him by his long beard, and gave him a
  great deal of abuse. The patriarch took this affront so near to heart,
  that he did not survive it above a year.

Some years after, Julius II. was elected pope; his youth, which suited
but badly with the majesty of the papacy, determined him to let his
beard grow out, in order to inspire more respect: he was the first pope
of his time who gave the Church such a holy and rational example.
Clement VII. one of his successors, did not imitate him at first; but
having been detained five months in prison by the troops of Charles of
Bourbon, the general of the emperor’s army, he came out as if
regenerated and triumphant, with his face enobled with a large, bushy
beard, which he would never part with. This custom was eagerly adopted
by those clergy, who, by their revenues or exploits, held a
distinguished rank in the Church or State. It was then that the inferior
clergy, and especially the chapters, strongly opposed this pretended
indecorum. We read, that, in the reign of Lewis XII. one Anthony de
Langheac, canon of the church of Paris, abbot and canon of that of
Clermont, counsellor-clerk to the parliament, and ambassador to the
republic of Venice, could not enter the choir of the church of Our Lady
at Paris with his long beard. On account of the commission with which
the king had honoured him, he at length obtained permission to hear
matins, which were then said at midnight.[75] In a little time, they
were not so scrupulous, as all the clergy let out their beards, even the
lowest among them, in order to give themselves a pontifical
appearance;[76] when, in France, Francis I. (who might justly boast of
having worn the first beard of his kingdom,) for œconomical reasons,
armed the enemies of clerical beards with destructive weapons, and was
the occasion of the war which we are going to speak of.

Footnote 75:

  These particulars are inserted in the register of the capitular
  resolutions of the year 1505, which may be seen in the archives of the
  metropolitical church of Paris.

Footnote 76:

  _Beroald de Verville_, in his _Moyen de parvenir_, accounts for the
  promptitude with which the priests imitated the popes. “I will tell
  you a remark; when the pope has a large beard, the priests will have
  the same; if he have a shaved chin, they will likewise, because they
  all aim at the papacy.” _Moyen de Parvenir, chap. tom._

This king, in order to get money from the clergy of his kingdom, says
doctor Zuinger, a contemporary, obtained a brief from the pope, which
ordered all the French clergy to get themselves shaved, or else to pay a
certain sum to have permission to wear their beard.[77] A contribution
from such a body might be of great service in a time of scarcity.
Francis I. experienced it; for all the tufted prelates, court
ecclesiastics, incumbents, and expectant clergymen, paid the money, and
retained their beards; but all the canons of small revenue, village
curates, and poor rectors, freed themselves from the impost by getting
themselves shaved, and this was the source of the troubles which
disquieted the reign of Henry II. The difference of the chins of the
clergy of the same kingdom caused that dark, intestine war which owed
its rise solely to jealousy.

Footnote 77:

  _Theatrum vitæ humanæ Theodori Zuingeri, lib._ 2.

Now is the time to mention the discussions which, on account of a beard
affair, began to trouble the ancient capital of the world. Some
seditious, jealous beings secretly fomented their ruin; the alarm
increased; and beards were in the utmost danger, when Pierrius
Valerianus undertook their defence. This man, one of the most learned
and most bearded of his time discussed, in a most able manner, the cause
he undertook; his book, intitled _pro Sacerdotum Barbis_, is dedicated
to cardinal Medicis. A just reasoning and a strength of elocution are
the great qualities of his discourse; we can perceive that the author
was impressed with his subject; he quotes a number of authorities, both
sacred and profane, which concur to the triumph of his cause. He
complains that the respect due to the ministers of God is already but
too much diminished, without endeavouring to destroy it by a debasing
custom; and adds, that Jesus never made any law that tended to alter the
Levitican ones, which we have cited; and that the son of God himself,
having given the example of this discipline, all Christians ought to
follow it. “What a piece of folly it is,” cries he, “to pretend that the
beard, which was given by God, should be unworthy of his creatures.” He
demonstrates, that the canon of the council of Carthage, which forbids
clergymen to let out their beards, has been absolutely mutilated: he
calls to his aid the opinion of all the great men of his time, and
several ancient manuscripts, among others, that which is in the elector
palatine’s library.[78]

Footnote 78:

  “Who,” says he, “will dare maintain, that the beard is not the
  ornament of man, the symbol of probity and justice; that it does not
  give him a grave, stern look; I mean to speak of those who are
  determined by reason rather than opinion? If it be admitted then that
  the beard is the ornament of an honest, just man, why should it not be
  the most decent ornament for a priest, who ought to be an example of
  virtue.” _Apologia Joannis Pierii Valeriani belumen._ I have seen
  three editions of this work.

Let us now examine whether this canon of the council of Carthage, on
which the antibearded gentry found their anathemas, deserves any
confidence. According to them, these are the words of the canon of that
council: _Clericus nec comam nutriat nec barbam_; and these, according
to the sticklers for beards: _Clericus nec comam nutriat, nec barbam
radat._ The former forbids to wear long beards; the latter orders it. So
the whole depends on the adding or suppressing of the word _radat_.

It seems at first, in favour of bearded chins, that the termination of
the phrase, _nec barbam_, should point out the suppression of a verb,
such as _radat_; and indeed it would have been much more simple, and
more regular, in the same sense, to write, _Clericus nec comam nec
barbam nutriat_.

This objection, which begins to throw light on the wiles of the enemies
of beards, would be but weak, were it not confirmed by a number of
triumphant proofs, and especially by the opinion of the most celebrated
and most laborious commentators, such as fathers Labbe and Hardouin, &c.
Savaron, in his commentary on the epistles of St. Sidoin Apollinarius,
warmly maintains, that the word _radat_ has been suppressed from the
44th canon of this council of Carthage, and that the custom of wearing
long beards was there precisely ordered. Father Sirmond, who published
some time after a commentary on the same epistles, is of the same
opinion as Savaron with respect to the suppression of this word _radat_.
Charles Dumoulin, in his notes to the 5th chapter of the 1st record of
the 3d book of the Decretals, assures us that the text of this canon has
been mutilated, and that we ought to read _nec barbam radat_.

Let us see on what authority the opinion of these learned men is
founded. The greatest part of the manuscripts of the councils have the
word _radat_. Pierrius Valerianus, in his book _pro Sacerdotum Barbis_,
quotes several, and those are the least suspected. Father Labbe has
added a note to the canon in question, in which he numbers the
manuscripts wherein the word _radat_ is found. Father Hardouin assures
us that this important _radat_ exists in the most authentic manuscripts,
such as those in the libraries of Corbie, Giblou, Barberin, Paris, &c.

From these modern proofs, let us pass to those which antiquity or the
contemporaries of this council ought to furnish us with. St. Sidoin
Apollinarius says very clearly, speaking of the time of this council of
Carthage: _Tum coma brevis & barba prolixa; At that time people wore
short hair and long beards._ Tertullian says a great deal about this
same council; he maintains that the word _radat_ has been suppressed in
the 44th canon; he cries out upon the licentiousness of his age, too
fertile in like impositions, and says, in plain terms! _Corrigendum est
reponendumque, juxta fidem veterum exemplarium, Clericus nec comam
nutriat, nec barbam radat. This canon ought to be corrected, and,
conformably to the fidelity of the old copies, it should be written,
that no clergyman should wear his hair, or shave his beard._[79] We see
what a distance our short cloke clergy keep from this edifying

Footnote 79:

  It may not be amiss perhaps to correct a chronological error that is
  in the epochs of this council of Carthage and the life of Tertullian.
  All the commentators and chroniclers place this council in the year
  398, and the death of this learned man about the year 220 of our æra.
  According to them, he should have lived about a century and half
  before this council. After that, one is greatly surprised to find, in
  the works of this same Tertullian, his observations on this council of
  Carthage, and still more so, to find him speak of it as an epoch much
  earlier than that in which he was writing; for, when he condemns the
  supression of the word _radat_, he says it ought to be restored
  conformably to the fidelity of the old copies, _juxta fidem veterum
  exemplarium, &c._ The anachronism is more than two centuries.

Saint Epiphanius lived in the time of this council of Carthage: this was
a very learned Saint. Let us see in his writings if the fathers of those
days proclaim the proscription of long beards. With respect to the
heretic Massalians he speaks thus. “Is there any thing more contrary to
good morals than their customs? They cut off their beards, the mark of
manhood, and wear very long hair. Nevertheless, the sacred expressions
of the constitutions of the apostles dogmatically prescribe the rules
that are to be observed with respect to the beard: it is forbidden to
cut off any part of it, for fear lest men should at length get
themselves quite shaved, and lay hold of the effeminate manners and
luxury of abandoned rakes.”[80]

Footnote 80:

  _Sed deterius quiddam, ac contrarium ab illis geritur: siquidem isti
  barbam, hoc est, propriam viri formam, resecant; capillos vero, ut
  plurimum, prolixiores habent. Atqui quod ad barbam attinet in
  Apostolorum constitutionbus divino sermone, à degmate præscribitur, ne
  ea corrumpatur: hoc est, ne barba ponatur neve meretricius cultus &
  ornatus usurpetur, &c._ St. Epiphanius against the heretic Massalians,
  sect. viii.

These reproaches, very conclusive in favour of the partisans of long
beards, will be much more so, and silence the adversaries of that mark
of manhood, if it be observed, that this same council of Carthage
condemns as heretics those same Massalians whose shaved chins St.
Epiphanius represents to be a crime. Is it likely that the Massalians
should be condemned as heretics, and that at the same time the orthodox
clergy should be required to imitate them, and follow a custom that is
looked upon as the most scandalous of debauchery; such a law would be
the height of inconsequence. It is much more reasonable to suppose,
that, instead of the priests’ being ordered to have their chins shaved,
they were forbidden to do it, that they might not look like the heretic
Massalians. Besides, what could be opposed to the council of Barcelona,
which was held some time after that of Carthage, a council that has
never experienced any contradiction, and in which shaving the beard is
again forbidden? We read in the third canon, _Ut nullus Clericorum comam
nutriat aut barbam radat. Let no clergyman keep up his hair or shave his

We have demonstrated then the fraud of the antibearded priests, and
proved that the word _radat_ has been suppressed in the 44th canon.
Clergymen therefore, by this council of Carthage, at which two hundred
and fourteen bishops attended, are forbidden to cut off their beards,
and the general opinion of the primitive church, on this point, is

If we did not know, that private interests can persuade men to
contradict the best founded maxims, we should be greatly surprised no
doubt to find learned men of distinction presume to write, that the
general opinion of the primitive Church condemned long beards. At the
head is cardinal Baronius (tom. i. ad. ann. 48). Let us refer the
proselytes of this credulous writer of legends to _le Mercure_ for April
1765; they will there find that a learned Jesuit, father Oudin in his
inquiries concerning beards, proves, that this cardinal was a bad man,
or that he would not read his St. Epiphanius.

The ordinances of the provincial synods and councils which have made use
of this council of Carthage to justify their forbidding the clergy to
wear long beards, should therefore be void of course: the edifice falls
of itself when the foundation is undermined.

But let us return to the defenders of beards of the sixteenth century:
Pierrius was not the only champion that appeared on this occasion.
Adrian Junius, an ingenious physician, and distinguished for his
learning, in his commentary on the hair of the head, says a great deal
about clerical beards, with as much eloquence and more erudition than
his predecessor; he relates every thing that had not been advantageously
said before on the subject, and is not afraid to take a review of the
opinions and examples of all the ancients; he establishes, that even
when there should be neither law, constitution, nor council which
ordered the priests to preserve their beards, they ought to do it,
because it gives the wearer a grave, stern, respectable look, which
becomes the ministers of the altar, and that their thus changing the
nature of God’s work, in order to please mankind, is, for them, a very
criminal piece of luxury.[81]

Footnote 81:

  _De comâ Commentarium Adriani Junii Honani, Medici, cap. ii. de rasurâ
  capillorum pariter & barbæ._

These works produced their effect: nevertheless pope Paul III. being
displeased with the severe tone of Pierrius and the sharp reproaches
which he threw out against the manners of the clergy of the age, would
not seem to comply thereto; but without issuing a formal decree against
beards, as was talked of, he contented himself with commanding a
cardinal briefly to order the priests to get themselves shaved.[82]

Footnote 82:

  Beroalde ridicules the shaved priests of those days. He says it was
  ordered so, _in order that the regret which they have at not daring
  nor being willing to partake of the pleasures of this world, may in no
  wise appear; to which you may add that they ought to be merry_ (venite
  exultemus), _and that theirs is a state of perpetual joy, which must
  be made appear so, though it were not; and this is the reason why they
  wear their chins shaved, because a man thus polished up about the
  gills is always laughing ... from thence came this canon of the
  council of Quarante_: THE PRIESTS SHALL SHAVE WITH HOG’S SWARD, _in
  order that they may always appear laughing, dainty-mouthed, airy, &c._
  Moyen de parvenir, chap. _Allegation._

The major part paid but little attention to this ordinance; some, more
scrupulous, obeyed, but not without repugnancy: there were a few of the
latter however, according to Gentian Hervet, who had reason to repent of
their exactness: among others, he speaks of one Leonicus Thomeus, an old
man of ninety, who was no sooner shaved, according to the decree of the
pontiff, than he was seized with such a confounded tooth-ach, that he
was obliged to solicit the pope’s clemency. Cardinal Bembe sent him
forthwith a permission to wear his beard a reasonable length.

Let us now proceed to France, where the pope’s brief, obtained by
Francis I. gave beginning to the envy which the shaved priests bore the
bearded ones. Their jealousy had been brewing a long time, and only
waited, to show itself, for the death of that prince, whose orders
seemed still to be respected. Their animosity, already too much
increased by this obstacle, broke out at length on the person of William
Duprat, the son of the famous chancellor of that name: he was returning
from the council of Trent, where his eloquence had made him conspicuous,
and was going to take possession of the bishopric of Clermont, which he
had been given some time before. The reader should take along with him
that he had one of the finest beards in the kingdom. One Easter-day,
when he came to his cathedral church to perform divine service, he found
the gates of the choir shut; three dignitaries of the chapter were
waiting for him at the entrance: one of them held a razor in his hand,
the other a pair of scissars, and the third the book of the ancient
statutes of that church, and pointing with his finger to these words;
_barbis rasis_.

At the sight of this frightful preparation, the prelate clearly
perceived that they aimed at his beard, the dearest object of his
attention; two of these fatal enemies seemed to threaten it with the
instruments with which they were armed; and the third kept crying:
Reverend father in God, _barbis rasis_. The impatient dean had already
laid hold of this episcopal fleece, when our bearded bishop stopped him,
and being a little recovered from his fright, he endeavoured to convince
him of the impropriety of working on such a great holy-day, and that it
was better to defer this operation ’till the next day; but the
temporizing prelate’s eloquence made no impression on the minds of these
intractable men; the unmerciful dean kept his hold: full of indignation
at this mortifying insult, and terrified for the fate of his cherished
beard, William Duprat suddenly took to his heels, crying: _I save my
beard, and quit my bishopric_.[83] He immediately repaired to his
country-house at Beauregard, three leagues from Clermont, and swore he
would never more live in that capital.

Footnote 83:

  William Major, a doctor of the Sorbone and canon of the church of
  Clermont, in a work intituled _defence de feu M. Savaron, &c._
  maintains, against abbot Faydit, that this anecdote is a story of his
  invention. In order to free his old brethren from the imputation of
  having designed to shear their bishop, in the warmth of his zeal, he
  breaks out into invectives against his adversary; but he proves it
  least, in his long refutation, that the canons saw with grief a long
  beard on the chin of their bishop, and that when the latter wished to
  be present at some synod, he was obliged to ask permission of his
  chapter to come without being shaved. He quotes several resolutions of
  the chapter, by which he was granted this permission.

It was in this place of retirement, that, being violently moved at the
affront which his beard had received, he fell ill, and died of

Footnote 84:

  See the 8th vol. of the _Causes célébres, a canon refused for being
  too little_.

These fatal news made all the bearded clergy tremble. The standard of
the revolt was set up, and the destruction of all clerical beards
determined on; but Henry II. always took their part. Every new bishop
put his beard under this king’s protection. The letter which he was
obliged to write, the 27th December, 1551, to the clergy of the city of
Troyes, who refused Anthony Caraciole for bishop on account of his long
beard, is a proof of the interest he took in the beards of the clergy of
his kingdom; “Dear and well beloved, it is said, but which we doubt,
that you make a difficulty of receiving into your church our well
beloved and trusty cousin Anthony Caraciole, your bishop, without his
being shaved first, in consequence of some statutes which you have been
used to observe in such cases: therefore, we have thought fit to write
you these presents to request you will not stand upon this matter, but,
to oblige us, excuse his compliance, as we mean to send him for a short
time to some place out of the kingdom on business that concerns us,
where we would not have him go without his said beard. Assuring
ourselves that you will do so, we shall say no more, but that, by
complying with our request, you will greatly oblige us, and may God
continue his protection towards you. Given at Fontainbleau, &c.”[85]

Footnote 85:

  This letter is taken _de veterum Scriptorum & amplissima collectio_,
  vol. i. by Martenne and Durand.

The pacific tone which Henry II. made use of had but little effect on
the inferior clergy; the war was too much kindled; every day produced
new scenes and new attacks by the mutineers, and new attempts by the
king to quiet them. The canons of Mans refused to receive cardinal
Angennes for their bishop, on account of his long beard. The cardinal
wrote to them to prepossess them in his favour, and the king wrote to
them likewise to calm them, but they would listen to nothing, and the
prince was obliged to send an absolute order to the chapter of Mans,
requiring them to receive the said bishop without insisting on his being
shaved. Some years after, the canons of Orleans made a difficulty of
receiving Morvillier for their bishop: the king was again obliged to
write to the canons, to desire them to receive him with his beard. The
canons of Amiens likewise refused their bishop, and he was obliged to
have a famous law-suit with them to sustain the cause of his long beard.

About the same time, there was the greatest difficulty to get Peter
Lescot de Clagny received canon of Our Lady at Paris with his long
beard: he had need to join to his personal merit the qualities of
counsellor to the court, almoner to the king, &c.

Soon after, the Sorbone gravely decided, that a long beard was contrary
to sacerdotal modesty.[86] At the same time the clergy, by an edict of
the parliament of Toulouse, were forbidden to wear their beards.[87] But
persecution strengthens what it is eager to destroy: the beards
triumphed in their turn; people even went so far as to give them a more
agreeable form; they wore them frizzled, as appears by the order of the
clergy of Burgundy against frizzled beards. Anthony Hotman wrote at that
time his _Pogonias_, or dialogue on heads of hair and beards; he
concludes with the elogy of the latter. In 1576 there was a poem in
quatrains printed, intitled: _Eloges des barbes rousses_. In 1539, there
was a book published, intitled _la Pogonologie_, by R. D. P. printed at
Rennes, in 8vo. and Gentian Hervet wrote three essays on beards. We see,
by these different writings, that, in those days, people were more taken
up with their beards, than now.

Footnote 86:

  The 1st of July 1561, this celebrated assembly ordered all the members
  of their university, doctors, bachelors, &c. to wear their beards
  shaved, &c. _Non deferant barbas & veniant tonsi._

Footnote 87:

  The author of a book intituled Pogonologia, says on this occasion,
  that those, who wished to take advantage of the equivocation in this
  edict of the French verb _porter_ (which signifies to _carry_ as well
  as to _wear_) had their beards _carried_ by their servants.

As the best things have their traducers, the beard met with one in this
Gentian Hervet, a learned Orleanese. He wrote a Latin discourse against
beards; but in a little time, being staggered by the forcible reasons of
his adversaries, he wrote a second, in which he advanced, that it was
indifferent whether a priest wore his beard or not; in short, carried
away by the force of truth, he at length wrote a third, in which he ably
maintains that a priest absolutely ought to have a long beard on his

Footnote 88:

  The first of these discourses is intitled, _de radendâ barbâ Oratio_;
  the second, _de vel alendâ vel radendâ barbâ_; and the third, _de
  alendâ barbâ_.

Notwithstanding its success, its numerous apologists, and powerful
partisans, the beard had still enemies; the provinces especially were
the theatre of secret cabals, where, far from the court and the bearded
powers, plots of vengeance were easily contrived, and their effects
often broke out in provincial councils; and most of these councils,
actuated by contrary sentiments, contradicted each other in their

Two provincial councils, held at Narbonne the same year, 1551, ordered
all the priests of the diocese to shave themselves at least once a
month; another council, held at Rheims in 1583, only recommended the
hair of the upper lip to be cut off, in order to be able to receive the
communion without any obstacle. A council of Bagneres, of the same year,
gives the same orders. A council of Rouen, in 1581, orders the priests
to shave off their beards entirely, which it is looked upon (says the
council) as debasing for a minister of the altar to wear. A council of
Malines, in 1579, absolutely condemns the custom of wearing beards,
whilst another council, held in the same town, eight years after,
declares nearly the contrary, ordering only a little of the hair of the
upper lip to be cut away.[89] All that one can conclude from all these
provincial councils is, that the rage of party was gotten into the very
sanctuary of truth to propagate disorder and irresolution.

Footnote 89:

  See, for all these provincial councils, _Acta Conciliorum_ of father

All these ephemeral ordinances had no other effect than to prolong the
reign of the beards of priests; they still flourished on their chins,
when the laity no longer wore them. Fashion brought about, in a short
time, what all these redoubled efforts had been unable to effect during
more than a century. The popes retained their beards a good while, and
the first, who appeared entirely shaved, was Clement XI. who lived at
the beginning of this century. Most of the clergy left it off

The Augustins, who still wore their beards, were ashamed of not being in
the fashion as usual; they sent the famous father Eustace, of the Petty
Augustins of Paris, to Rome, to obtain leave to shave their chins. They
say, this father Eustace made use of great address on the occasion.

There were however some true believers, faithful observers of the
Levitican law and the precepts of the primitive church, people on whom
fashion has no influence, who courageously preserved their beards ’till
towards the middle of the reign of Lewis XIV. A very respectable rector
was one of them: when the bishop visited his diocese, he appeared with a
venerable beard on his chin. The prelate exclaimed greatly against his
thus making himself look like a patriarch, whilst he, his bishop and
lord, was shaved; and he formally ordered him to get rid of his long
beard. In vain did the poor rector cite the example of the pope then
living, that of St. Francis of Sales, &c.; the bishop was inexorable,
and the rector did not think fit to obey. Irritated at his obstinacy,
the prelate sent him a writ to banish him from his living. By a singular
piece of inattention, the place of banishment was left blank; the rector
filled it up with _Versailles_, and immediately repaired to the
residence of the kings of France. He affected to throw himself
continually in the way of Lewis XIV.: his long beard was at length
remarked by the king, who had him called, and asked him what was his
business at court, and why he had such an extraordinary beard. The
parson related his adventure to his majesty, who as pleased with it so
much, that he sent back this grave pastor to his flock, and highly
blamed the bishop for such a ridiculous whim.[90]

Footnote 90:

  See the 8th vol. of _Causes Célébres, a canon refused for being too
  little_. This adventure furnished matter for a little burlesque poem,
  intitled _l’Exilé à Versailles_.

Since this, beards have entirely disappeared, and have only been let
grow out on the chins of the Capuchins; and religious jealousy has
pursued them even to this last retrenchment: how many clamours have they
not caused among the other monks! and what a number of libels and
polemical productions have they had to endure![91] Such are the books
intitled _le Rasibus_ or _le procés fait à la barbe des Capucins_;[92]
_la Guerre seraphique, ou Histoire des périls qu’a courus la barbe des
Capucins par les violentes attaques des Cordeliers_;[93] _les Capucins
sans barbe_, &c. all works of envy or vengeance, which I shall be
careful how I mention on account of my great dislike to satire. Not
satisfied with writing, the enemies of the Capuchins’ beards have
employed the most violent and most unwarrantable means. The fatal
catastrophe which happened, in 1761, to the Capuchins of the town of
Ascoli, in the limits of Ancona, proves how much monkish vengeance is
cruel: we read as follows in the Utrecht Gazette of that time. “Our
reverend fathers, the Capuchins, have no longer any beards. One of their
lay brethren, a cook in the monastery, having put a good dose of opium
in their meat, unbearded all of them whilst they were asleep, and then
forsook the order. The Capuchins are so ashamed of this droll adventure,
that they no longer dare appear abroad.”[94] Is it not clear to every
body that base jealousy was what prompted this wicked brother to commit
this deed? And is it not easy to discern the vengeance of an Italian
monk in this attack on so many respectable beards? After so many
outrages, how is it possible that bearded chins can any longer stand
their ground? Without the express order to wear long beards, which is in
the _Bullarium_ of the brethren of that order, they would long ere this
have abandoned the sad remains of the ancient majesty of the
patriarchs.[95] They little thought formerly, that their long beards,
which they looked upon as a respectable ornament, would one day become
an object of public contempt; or that it would make part of their
outward humility, which they formerly made consist solely in the colour
and price of their clothes; but time perverts every thing.[96]

Footnote 91:

  Several communities of Capuchins have been reproached with having
  concealed their beards on certain occasions. It is said, that those of
  Monpellier, about the beginning of Feb. 1731, played, in the great
  dining-hall of the monastery, the tragedy of POLIEUCPE, and danced
  between the acts, to celebrate the arrival of the provincial; and
  that, in order to play the women’s parts, they put their beards in a
  parchment thing made like a chin-cloth, painted flesh colour. The
  Capuchins of the great monastery at Lyons, in 1757, likewise acted a
  play before their friends and their brethren of the second monastery;
  they played three days running _les Fourberies de Scapin_: the
  reverend father, who played the part of Scapin, did it great justice.
  They add, that one of these reverend gentlemen danced a Harlequin
  dance with much grace and suppleness, and that, to remedy the
  inconvenience of long beards, they put them in pink taffety bags. The
  Capuchins at Grenoble and Vienne likewise acted a play, and covered
  their beards in the same manner. We relate these anecdotes, which were
  formerly printed by the enemies of the Capuchins, to show, that every
  opportunity has been taken to attack the beards of that religions
  order. These friars, at present, have no occasion to be afraid of
  similar reproaches; they act no plays, neither do they conceal their
  beards, and they make themselves equally respected by the gravity of
  their appearance and the extent of their learning.

Footnote 92:

  This is a small dialogue printed at Cologn in 1718, in 12mo.

Footnote 93:

  A scarce and curious work, but badly written, on the establishment of
  the Capuchins, printed at the Hague, in 1740, in 12mo.

Footnote 94:

  See the Utrecht Gazette of Friday 26th June, 1761; this adventure
  furnished the subject of a work intitled _Les Capucins, sans barbe_.

Footnote 95:

  _Ac tam illi, quam vos barbam deferre._ §. vii, Bullarium Ordinis
  Fratrorum Minorum S. P. Francisci Capucinorum, tom i.

Footnote 96:

  _Quod vestimentorum vilitas attendatur in pretio pariter & colore._
  Bullarium _idem_, tom. i.

Whilst several sovereigns are taken up with the destruction of
monasteries or the lessening of the number of monks, the Portuguese
minister has just distinguished himself, not by destroying, but
rendering them more respectable, by taking them from worldly practices,
and restoring them all their ancient gravity: it was ordered, in 1784,
that all the monks, of every order without distinction, should let their
beards grow out entirely.[97]

Footnote 97:

  See _le Mercure de France, nouvelle politiques de Lisbon_, of the 29th
  January, 1784.

Reason, the interest of religion (which particularly depends on the
respect its ministers inspire), an express law of the Divinity, the
example of the legislature of the Christians and most of the popes, a
precept of the constitutions of the apostles, the general opinion of the
primitive Church and of all the pontiffs, and the decision of two
councils, are the grounds on which the obligation, which the Christian
clergy are under of wearing long beards, is supported. What is there to
oppose against so many respectable authorities? The fashion? A heathen
emperor opposed, to those who reproached him with not shaving his chin,
the austerity of his manners, and replied: _I won’t cast sheep’s eyes
around me, embellish my phyz by making my mind hideous, and, in order to
become agreeable, cease to be a philosopher. Besides: fortunately, I
neither like to give nor receive kisses._[98]

Footnote 98:

  The _Mysopogon_ of the emperor Julian.


                                CHAP. X.

                   _Of the PEOPLE that WEAR BEARDS._

THE Capuchins, Carthusians, all the Portuguese monks, the Russian clergy
and peasants, all the priests of the Greek Church, the German Jews, and
the Anabaptists, are the only ones that wear beards in Europe.

Most of the inhabitants of Asia wear whiskers or beards more or less
long according to their age.

All the followers of the law of Mahomet wear whiskers ’till they are
forty, when they let their beards grow out, and preserve them afterwards
all their lives.[99]

Footnote 99:

  It is in Turkey, where the dignity of a long beard is of the first

All the north part of Africa is inhabited by bearded people.

Nature has denied a beard to the different nations of blacks who inhabit
the interior and but little known parts of that quarter of the world.

In most of the islands of the Pacific ocean, the men preserve their
beards, and some of them stain them different colours.

The author of _Recherches philosophiques sur les Américains_, doctor
Robertson in his _History of America_, and many other respectable
writers, maintain that all the original natives of America have
absolutely no hair on their chins; they except only the Esquimaux, (the
inhabitants of North America,) who wear beards, and are unlike the
natives of the other parts.[100] However, captain Cook says, that the
want of beard in some of the American nations, proceeds less from a
defect of nature than their custom of plucking them out by the roots to
a greater or less degree: this he observed at Nootka, in his third
voyage round the world: all the old men he saw on the west coast of
America wore thick, bushy beards, but which were sleeked in the same
manner as their hair generally is.

Footnote 100:

  It has been proved, not long since, that the Esquimaux are descended
  from a colony of Danes and Norwegians who came through Iceland, and
  landed in this part of America, several centuries before Christopher
  Columbus discovered it. This is supported by the history of the times
  and by monuments of the arts and religion of the Europeans found in
  that country. See _Histoire des decouvertes & de la navigation dans le
  Nord_, by _J. R. Forster_. I have read a French manuscript by Mr. P.
  D. L. C., in which the European origin of the Esquimaux is proved in
  the most incontestable manner.

In the inner parts of America, Captain Carver met Savages with long
beards on their chins. The following is his answer to those who have
denied their having any. “After the age of puberty, their bodies, in
their natural state, are covered with hair in the same manner as those
of the Europeans. The men, indeed, esteem a beard very unbecoming, and
take great pains to get rid of it, nor is there any ever to be perceived
on their faces, except when they grow old, and become inattentive to
their appearance....

“The Nawdowessies, and the remote nations pluck them out with bent
pieces of hard wood, formed into a kind of nippers; whilst those who
have communication with the Europeans procure from them wire, which they
twist into a screw or worm; applying this to the part, they press the
rings together, and with a sudden twitch draw out all the hairs that are
enclosed between them.”[101] _Carver’s Travels, page 225._

The mask of Montezuma’s armour, (the last king of Mexico,) preserved at
Brussels, and on which there are very long whiskers, seems to confirm
the observations of captains Cook and Carver: it is evident that the
Americans would not have imitated this ornament of man, if nature had
not presented them with the model.

Therefore, the observations made by captain Cook on the west coast of
America, those of captain Carver in the inner part of the continent, and
the monument of the ancient customs of Mexico, which present us with
Montezuma’s whisker’d mask, prove that the assertion of the historians
against American beards is at least doubtful, is it is not destitute of

According to the observations of all travellers, it is certain that the
men who inhabit the temperate zones, and are most advantageously
favoured by nature, are likewise most bearded: it may likewise be
remarked, that those, who bestow most attention to shaving, are the most
subject to petticoat government, and consequently the vainest.

Footnote 101:

  The islanders of Sumatra pluck out their beards in the same manner.
  (See Cook’s third voyage, vol. iii.)


                               CHAP. XI.

                           _The CONCLUSION._

WILL reason, and the constant desire of nature at length determine the
men of the present day to adopt the custom of long beards? I don’t
believe it. The power of working such a revolution is reserved for
opinion and fashion. But there are men in society who ought to be
independent of these two wavering powers: these are those that govern
the people, and whom religion and the state have entrusted with their
interests and powers. These mediators between God and man, between the
law and the citizen, who are not of the ordinary class, should be
distinguished from those that are so. Regularity of conduct is not their
first duty; it is the art of giving themselves, by means of their dress,
an air of wisdom and gravity: all the virtues which their state requires
are not sufficient, they must likewise have the appearance. People see
only by their eyes; it is only physical objects that have the power of
captivating their veneration or exciting their contempt. If a man, who
wishes to gain the respect and confidence of the public, does not
forsake the manners, customs, and fashions of the world, he will soon
perceive the respect and confidence he enjoyed disappear. Not only the
man, but the character with which he is invested, will lose its
consideration; he will be like the wooden king which Jupiter sent to the
frogs: his want of dignity drew on him the contempt and insults of his
aquatic people.

Of all the exterior means that can attract the admiration of the people,
a long beard is beyond a doubt the most powerful, the only one that is
not sought after, the only natural one, and which cannot be reasonably
taxed with vanity or pride. Our forefathers always thought, that both
religion and morals were interested in the support of this ornament of
man’s face. And truly, what priests were ever more respected than those
old white bearded ones of the ancient religions, especially the
patriarchs of the Israelites? In the beginning of Christianity, what
veneration did not the grave, stern faces of the fathers of the Church
command? Where are these divine men? and where the respect due to the
ministers of God?

If the constant seeing of objects, which have the appearance of grandeur
and majesty, stir up the soul and give it a spring; the sight of objects
which have the appearance of weakness insensibly enervate and degrade
it. The soul appears in the face: the man, who beholds in another, only
the picture of effeminacy, soon learns to withdraw his esteem from him,
and to no longer respect him; pious veneration, sincere consideration,
and cordial friendship, are replaced by politeness and decorum, which
are only the gloss of interest and egotism; people no longer fulfill the
duties of society, nor do good for their own satisfaction; and if men’s
outward, effeminate appearance is not the sole cause of all these evils,
it greatly contributes towards them.

In the vast regions of the East, where long beards are highly esteemed,
hospitality, filial piety, and fidelity in engagements are the premier
virtues: men respect one another there. Let us take a people whom the
same law subjects nearly to the same morals as ours, the Greek or Latin
Christians who are under the Mahometan government: adultery, among them,
is almost unknown, and yet the women are not confined; but they respect
their husbands, and these husbands wear long beards.

Where is filial piety now-a-days? will the sad wrinkled faces of our old
men, which incite our disgust and contempt, prevail above the sweet
majesty of a long, white beard? Where is conjugal fidelity? was it ever
less observed than at the time, and in the countries where men appear
before a sex, that ought to be under their subjection, in an effeminate
dress? How many are there, in this shameful age, the sad victims of this

I repeat it; outward appearance is one of the great movers of a
monarchial state, especially among a superficial nation. Deprive
subjects of their popular notions of decorum, and of their customs, and
people in place of their ornaments, manner, plausibleness, and grave
imposing appearance: you will destroy most of the social virtues; there
will be no more energy nor spirit in the people; all their mental
faculties will become languid, if you cease to feed their imaginations
with this aliment.

An extravagant turn of mind has produced many a hero; reason, by
analysing every thing, has discouraged and slackened the course of our
actions, and luxury, &c. &c. have completed the work. But what a
generation is ours!

In times of yore, Diogenes, with a lantern in his hand, went through all
the streets of Athens in broad day to seek a man: what could he find now
in our great capital? breathing skeletons, women, children, horses, and
that multitude of wheel carriages, the incommodious use of which crushes
some to pieces and deprives others of the little strength they had left.
Would he find men among these reverend gentry, whose toilet is their
chief employment? Their chief merit is a mind fraught with borrowed
trifles. Look at this modern Chrysostom, powdered and close shaved,
repairing to an old coquet’s, a girl’s of the town, or the minister’s.
Every where he repeats the same flattering phrases. With the one, an
intriguer or base flatterer; with the other, an absolute libertine or a
ridiculous puppy, he becomes every where necessary animal; in short, a
downright plaything and piece of toilet furniture. Nothing gives this
charming fellow any uneasiness; he is any thing they will have him, and
will think just what they please: in a word, he performs the dapper
parson admirably.

Would our wise Athenian have found men among our Parisians? The children
are men, and the men, old men, and they persist in fleeing from nature,
which begins to be tired of pursuing them. By their weak, frivolous
minds, and pale effeminate looks, one would take them for women in
disguise. Cloyed with all sorts of enjoyments, they know no other virtue
than the talent of being agreeable, nor other vice than its reverse.

Would he at length find men in these delicate warriors who daily give
their subalterns the example of effeminacy?

But do you, French soldiers, the precious remains of patriotism and
national valour, always preserve the outward appearance of it; be
particularly attentive to keep in your countenances this sign of valour,
vigour, and intrepidity; retain those fierce looking whiskers which are
the attribute of heroes; and remember that they were the ornament of
Turenne, Condé, &c.

It would therefore be advantageous for those, who, by their situation or
dignity, are intended to command others, to instruct them, or to merit
their confidence, to let their beards grow out quite, whilst the soldier
should only wear whiskers, which give a man a martial, brisk look.

Should the example of some great men, or some political event, at length
revive the mode of long beards, our delicateness and urbanity might
again be reconciled with the majesty of man. Would it not be possible
for people of good taste to give the beard an agreeable form, in the
same manner as was done some centuries ago? This attention, employing
those who take a great deal of pains about adorning their pretty
persons, would divert them perhaps from a more dangerous luxury. Besides
the respect of one man to another, and of one sex to that which is its
superior; this custom would produce another advantage. The resemblance
of the two sexes seems to incline men to those shameful debaucheries
which formerly soiled the glory of Greece and Rome, debaucheries that
one hardly dares mention, and which a more particular distinction
between men and women would greatly contribute to destroy.

It can never be denied; a man should appear what nature made him: this
is the opinion of an illustrious philosopher and profound moralist.[102]
I cannot better conclude than with his own words. “A perfect man and a
perfect woman should no more be alike in mind than in face: these silly
imitations of sex are the height of folly; they make the wise man laugh
and the lover run away.... In short, I take it, that, unless one be five
feet six inches high, have a firm, tenor voice, and a beard on his chin,
he should not pretend to be a man.”

Footnote 102:

  John James Rousseau.

                               _THE END._


 ● Transcriber’s Notes:
    ○ The changes listed in the ERRATA have been applied to this book.
    ○ Missing or obscured punctuation was silently corrected.
    ○ Typographical errors were silently corrected.
    ○ Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation were made consistent only
      when a predominant form was found in this book.
    ○ Text that was in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_).

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