The Confessions of Jean Jacques Rousseau, by Jean Jacques

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: The Confessions of Jean Jacques Rousseau, by Jean Jacque

Postby admin » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:23 am

Part 1 of 2


Although Eloisa, which for a long time had been in the press, did not yet, at the end of the year, 1760, appear, the work already began to make a great noise. Madam de Luxembourg had spoken of it at court, and Madam de Houdetot at Paris. The latter had obtained from me permission for Saint Lambert to read the manuscript to the King of Poland, who had been delighted with it. Duclos, to whom I had also given the perusal of the work, had spoken of it at the academy. All Paris was impatient to see the novel; the booksellers of the Rue Saint Jacques, and that of the Palais Royal, were beset with people who came to inquire when it was to be published. It was at length brought out, and the success it had, answered, contrary to custom, to the impatience with which it had been expected. The dauphiness, who was one of the first who read it, spoke of it to M. de Luxembourg as a ravishing performance. The opinions of men of letters differed from each other, but in those of any other class approbation was general, especially with the women, who became so intoxicated with the book and the author, that there was not one in high life with whom I might not have succeeded had I undertaken to do it. Of this I have such proofs as I will not commit to paper, and which without the aid of experience, authorized my opinion. It is singular that the book should have succeeded better in France than in the rest of Europe, although the French, both men and women, are severely treated in it. Contrary to my expectation it was least successful in Switzerland, and most so in Paris. Do friendship, love and virtue reign in this capital more than elsewhere? Certainly not; but there reigns in it an exquisite sensibility which transports the heart to their image, and makes us cherish in others the pure, tender and virtuous sentiments we no longer possess. Corruption is everywhere the same; virtue and morality no longer exist in Europe; but if the least love of them still remains, it is in Paris that this will be found.—[I wrote this in 1769.]

In the midst of so many prejudices and feigned passions, the real sentiments of nature are not to be distinguished from others, unless we well know to analyze the human heart. A very nice discrimination, not to be acquired except by the education of the world, is necessary to feel the finesses of the heart, if I dare use the expression, with which this work abounds. I do not hesitate to place the fourth part of it upon an equality with the Princess of Cleves; nor to assert that had these two works been read nowhere but in the provinces, their merit would never have been discovered. It must not, therefore, be considered as a matter of astonishment, that the greatest success of my work was at court. It abounds with lively but veiled touches of the pencil, which could not but give pleasure there, because the persons who frequent it are more accustomed than others to discover them. A distinction must, however, be made. The work is by no means proper for the species of men of wit who have nothing but cunning, who possess no other kind of discernment than that which penetrates evil, and see nothing where good only is to be found. If, for instance, Eloisa had been published in a certain country, I am convinced it would not have been read through by a single person, and the work would have been stifled in its birth.

I have collected most of the letters written to me on the subject of this publication, and deposited them, tied up together, in the hands of Madam de Nadillac. Should this collection ever be given to the world, very singular things will be seen, and an opposition of opinion, which shows what it is to have to do with the public. The thing least kept in view, and which will ever distinguish it from every other work, is the simplicity of the subject and the continuation of the interest, which, confined to three persons, is kept up throughout six volumes, without episode, romantic adventure, or anything malicious either in the persons or actions. Diderot complimented Richardson on the prodigious variety of his portraits and the multiplicity of his persons. In fact, Richardson has the merit of having well characterized them all; but with respect to their number, he has that in common with the most insipid writers of novels who attempt to make up for the sterility of their ideas by multiplying persons and adventures. It is easy to awaken the attention by incessantly presenting unheard of adventures and new faces, which pass before the imagination as the figures in a magic lanthorn do before the eye; but to keep up that attention to the same objects, and without the aid of the wonderful, is certainly more difficult; and if, everything else being equal, the simplicity of the subject adds to the beauty of the work, the novels of Richardson, superior in so many other respects, cannot in this be compared to mine. I know it is already forgotten, and the cause of its being so; but it will be taken up again. All my fear was that, by an extreme simplicity, the narrative would be fatiguing, and that it was not sufficiently interesting to engage the attention throughout the whole. I was relieved from this apprehension by a circumstance which alone was more flattering to my pride than all the compliments made me upon the work.

It appeared at the beginning of the carnival; a hawker carried it to the Princess of Talmont—[It was not the princess, but some other lady, whose name I do not know.]—on the evening of a ball night at the opera. After supper the Princess dressed herself for the ball, and until the hour of going there, took up the new novel. At midnight she ordered the horses to be put into the carriage, and continued to read. The servant returned to tell her the horses were put to; she made no answer. Her people perceiving she forgot herself, came to tell her it was two o’clock. “There is yet no hurry,” replied the princess, still reading on. Some time afterwards, her watch having stopped, she rang to know the hour. She was told it was four o’clock. “That being the case,” she said, “it is too late to go to the ball; let the horses be taken off.” She undressed herself and passed the rest of the night in reading.

Ever since I came to the knowledge of this circumstance, I have had a constant desire to see the lady, not only to know from herself whether or not what I have related be exactly true, but because I have always thought it impossible to be interested in so lively a manner in the happiness of Julia, without having that sixth and moral sense with which so few hearts are endowed, and without which no person whatever can understand the sentiments of mine.

What rendered the women so favorable to me was, their being persuaded that I had written my own history, and was myself the hero of the romance. This opinion was so firmly established, that Madam de Polignac wrote to Madam de Verdelin, begging she would prevail upon me to show her the portrait of Julia. Everybody thought it was impossible so strongly to express sentiments without having felt them, or thus to describe the transports of love, unless immediately from the feelings of the heart. This was true, and I certainly wrote the novel during the time my imagination was inflamed to ecstasy; but they who thought real objects necessary to this effect were deceived, and far from conceiving to what a degree I can at will produce it for imaginary beings. Without Madam d’Houdetot, and the recollection of a few circumstances in my youth, the amours I have felt and described would have been with fairy nymphs. I was unwilling either to confirm or destroy an error which was advantageous to me. The reader may see in the preface a dialogue, which I had printed separately, in what manner I left the public in suspense. Rigorous people say, I ought to have explicity declared the truth. For my part I see no reason for this, nor anything that could oblige me to it, and am of opinion there would have been more folly than candor in the declaration without necessity.

Much about the same time the ‘Paix Perpetuelle’ made its appearance, of this I had the year before given the manuscript to a certain M. de Bastide, the author of a journal called Le Monde, into which he would at all events cram all my manuscripts. He was known to M. Duclos, and came in his name to beg I would help him to fill the Monde. He had heard speak of Eloisa, and would have me put this into his journal; he was also desirous of making the same use of Emilius; he would have asked me for the Social Contract for the same purpose, had he suspected it to be written. At length, fatigued with his importunities, I resolved upon letting him have the Paix Perpetuelle, which I gave him for twelve louis. Our agreement was, that he should print it in his journal; but as soon as he became the proprietor of the manuscript, he thought proper to print it separately, with a few retrenchments, which the censor required him to make. What would have happened had I joined to the work my opinion of it, which fortunately I did not communicate to M. de Bastide, nor was it comprehended in our agreement? This remains still in manuscript amongst my papers. If ever it be made public, the world will see how much the pleasantries and self-sufficient manner of M. de Voltaire on the subject must have made me, who was so well acquainted with the short-sightedness of this poor man in political matters, of which he took it into his head to speak, shake my sides with laughter.

In the midst of my success with the women and the public, I felt I lost ground at the Hotel de Luxembourg, not with the marechal, whose goodness to me seemed daily to increase, but with his lady. Since I had had nothing more to read to her, the door of her apartment was not so frequently open to me, and during her stay at Montmorency, although I regularly presented myself, I seldom saw her except at table. My place even there was not distinctly marked out as usual. As she no longer offered me that by her side, and spoke to me but seldom, not having on my part much to say to her, I was well satisfied with another, where I was more at my ease, especially in the evening; for I mechanically contracted the habit of placing myself nearer and nearer to the marechal.

Apropos of the evening: I recollect having said I did not sup at the castle, and this was true, at the beginning of my acquaintance there; but as M. de Luxembourg did not dine, nor even sit down to table, it happened that I was for several months, and already very familiar in the family, without ever having eaten with him. This he had the goodness to remark, upon which I determined to sup there from time to time, when the company was not numerous; I did so, and found the suppers very agreeable, as the dinners were taken almost standing; whereas the former were long, everybody remaining seated with pleasure after a long walk; and very good and agreeable, because M. de Luxembourg loved good eating, and the honors of them were done in a charming manner by madam de marechale. Without this explanation it would be difficult to understand the end of a letter from M. de Luxembourg, in which he says he recollects our walks with the greatest pleasure; especially, adds he, when in the evening we entered the court and did not find there the traces of carriages. The rake being every morning drawn over the gravel to efface the marks left by the coach wheels, I judged by the number of ruts of that of the persons who had arrived in the afternoon.

This year, 1761, completed the heavy losses this good man had suffered since I had had the honor of being known to him. As if it had been ordained that the evils prepared for me by destiny should begin by the man to whom I was most attached, and who was the most worthy of esteem. The first year he lost his sister, the Duchess of Villeroy; the second, his daughter, the Princess of Robeck; the third, he lost in the Duke of Montmorency his only son; and in the Comte de Luxembourg, his grandson, the last two supporters of the branch of which he was, and of his name. He supported all these losses with apparent courage, but his heart incessantly bled in secret during the rest of his life, and his health was ever after upon the decline. The unexpected and tragical death of his son must have afflicted him the more, as it happened immediately after the king had granted him for his child, and given him the promise for his grandson, the reversion of the commission he himself then held of the captain of the Gardes de Corps. He had the mortification to see the last, a most promising young man, perish by degrees from the blind confidence of the mother in the physician, who giving the unhappy youth medicines for food, suffered him to die of inanition. Alas! had my advice been taken, the grandfather and the grandson would both still have been alive. What did not I say and write to the marechal, what remonstrances did I make to Madam de Montmorency, upon the more than severe regimen, which, upon the faith of physicians, she made her son observe! Madam de Luxembourg, who thought as I did, would not usurp the authority of the mother; M. de Luxembourg, a man of mild and easy character, did not like to contradict her. Madam de Montmorency had in Borden a confidence to which her son at length became a victim. How delighted was the poor creature when he could obtain permission to come to Mont Louis with Madam de Boufflers, to ask Theresa for some victuals for his famished stomach! How did I secretly deplore the miseries of greatness in seeing this only heir to a immense fortune, a great name, and so many dignified titles, devour with the greediness of a beggar a wretched morsel of bread! At length, notwithstanding all I could say and do, the physician triumphed, and the child died of hunger.

The same confidence in quacks, which destroyed the grandson, hastened the dissolution of the grandfather, and to this he added the pusillanimity of wishing to dissimulate the infirmities of age. M. de Luxembourg had at intervals a pain in the great toe; he was seized with it at Montmorency, which deprived him of sleep, and brought on slight fever. I had courage enough to pronounce the word gout. Madam de Luxembourg gave me a reprimand. The surgeon, valet de chambre of the marechal, maintained it was not the gout, and dressed the suffering part with beaume tranquille. Unfortunately the pain subsided, and when it returned the same remedy was had recourse to. The constitution of the marechal was weakened, and his disorder increased, as did his remedies in the same proportion. Madam de Luxembourg, who at length perceived the primary disorder to be the gout, objected to the dangerous manner of treating it. Things were afterwards concealed from her, and M. de Luxembourg in a few years lost his life in consequence of his obstinate adherence to what he imagined to be a method of cure. But let me not anticipate misfortune: how many others have I to relate before I come to this!

It is singular with what fatality everything I could say and do seemed of a nature to displease Madam de Luxembourg, even when I had it most at heart to preserve her friendship. The repeated afflictions which fell upon M. de Luxembourg still attached me to him the more, and consequently to Madam de Luxembourg; for they always seemed to me to be so sincerely united, that the sentiments in favor of the one necessarily extended to the other. The marechal grew old. His assiduity at court, the cares this brought on, continually hunting, fatigue, and especially that of the service during the quarter he was in waiting, required the vigor of a young man, and I did not perceive anything that could support his in that course of life; since, besides after his death, his dignities were to be dispersed and his name extinct, it was by no means necessary for him to continue a laborious life of which the principal object had been to dispose the prince favorably to his children. One day when we three were together, and he complained of the fatigues of the court, as a man who had been discouraged by his losses, I took the liberty to speak of retirement, and to give him the advice Cyneas gave to Pyrrhus. He sighed, and returned no positive answer. But the moment Madam de Luxembourg found me alone she reprimanded me severely for what I had said, at which she seemed to be alarmed. She made a remark of which I so strongly felt the justness that I determined never again to touch upon the subject: this was, that the long habit of living at court made that life necessary, that it was become a matter of amusement for M. de Luxembourg, and that the retirement I proposed to him would be less a relaxation from care than an exile, in which inactivity, weariness and melancholy would soon put an end to his existence. Although she must have perceived I was convinced, and ought to have relied upon the promise I made her, and which I faithfully kept, she still seemed to doubt of it; and I recollect that the conversations I afterwards had with the marechal were less frequent and almost always interrupted.

Whilst my stupidity and awkwardness injured me in her opinion, persons whom she frequently saw and most loved, were far from being disposed to aid me in gaining what I had lost. The Abbe de Boufflers especially, a young man as lofty as it was possible for a man to be, never seemed well disposed towards me; and besides his being the only person of the society of Madam de Luxembourg who never showed me the least attention, I thought I perceived I lost something with her every time he came to the castle. It is true that without his wishing this to be the case, his presence alone was sufficient to produce the effect; so much did his graceful and elegant manner render still more dull my stupid propositi. During the first two years he seldom came to Montmorency, and by the indulgence of Madam de Luxembourg I had tolerably supported myself, but as soon as his visits began to be regular I was irretrievably lost. I wished to take refuge under his wing, and gain his friendship; but the same awkwardness which made it necessary I should please him prevented me from succeeding in the attempt I made to do it, and what I did with that intention entirely lost me with Madam de Luxembourg, without being of the least service to me with the abbe. With his understanding he might have succeeded in anything, but the impossibility of applying himself, and his turn for dissipation, prevented his acquiring a perfect knowledge of any subject. His talents are however various, and this is sufficient for the circles in which he wishes to distinguish himself. He writes light poetry and fashionable letters, strums on the cithern, and pretends to draw with crayon. He took it into his head to attempt the portrait of Madam de Luxembourg; the sketch he produced was horrid. She said it did not in the least resemble her and this was true. The traitorous abbe consulted me, and I like a fool and a liar, said there was a likeness. I wished to flatter the abbe, but I did not please the lady who noted down what I had said, and the abbe, having obtained what he wanted, laughed at me in his turn. I perceived by the ill success of this my late beginning the necessity of making another attempt to flatter ‘invita Minerva’.

My talent was that of telling men useful but severe truths with energy and courage; to this it was necessary to confine myself. Not only I was not born to flatter, but I knew not how to commend. The awkwardness of the manner in which I have sometimes bestowed eulogium has done me more harm than the severity of my censure. Of this I have to adduce one terrible instance, the consequences of which have not only fixed my fate for the rest of my life, but will perhaps decide on my reputation throughout all posterity.

During the residence of M. de Luxembourg at Montmorency, M. de Choiseul sometimes came to supper at the castle. He arrived there one day after I had left it. My name was mentioned, and M. de Luxembourg related to him what had happened at Venice between me and M. de Montaigu. M. de Choiseul said it was a pity I had quitted that track, and that if I chose to enter it again he would most willingly give me employment. M. de Luxembourg told me what had passed. Of this I was the more sensible as I was not accustomed to be spoiled by ministers, and had I been in a better state of health it is not certain that I should not have been guilty of a new folly. Ambition never had power over my mind except during the short intervals in which every other passion left me at liberty; but one of these intervals would have been sufficient to determine me. This good intention of M. de Choiseul gained him my attachment and increased the esteem which, in consequence of some operations in his administration, I had conceived for his talents; and the family compact in particular had appeared to me to evince a statesman of the first order. He moreover gained ground in my estimation by the little respect I entertained for his predecessors, not even excepting Madam de Pompadour, whom I considered as a species of prime minister, and when it was reported that one of these two would expel the other, I thought I offered up prayers for the honor of France when I wished that M. de Choiseul might triumph. I had always felt an antipathy to Madam de Pompadour, even before her preferment; I had seen her with Madam de la Popliniere when her name was still Madam d’Etioles. I was afterwards dissatisfied with her silence on the subject of Diderot, and with her proceedings relative to myself, as well on the subject of the ‘Muses Galantes’, as on that of the ‘Devin du Village’, which had not in any manner produced me advantages proportioned to its success; and on all occasions I had found her but little disposed to serve me. This however did not prevent the Chevalier de Lorenzy from proposing to me to write something in praise of that lady, insinuating that I might acquire some advantage by it. The proposition excited my indignation, the more as I perceived it did not come from himself, knowing that, passive as he was, he thought and acted according to the impulsion he received. I am so little accustomed to constraint that it was impossible for me to conceal from him my disdain, nor from anybody the moderate opinion I had of the favorite; this I am sure she knew, and thus my own interest was added to my natural inclination in the wishes I formed for M. de Choiseul. Having a great esteem for his talents, which was all I knew of him, full of gratitude for his kind intentions, and moreover unacquainted in my retirement with his taste and manner of living, I already considered him as the avenger of the public and myself; and being at that time writing the conclusion of my Social Contract, I stated in it, in a single passage, what I thought of preceding ministers, and of him by whom they began to be eclipsed. On this occasion I acted contrary to my most constant maxim; and besides, I did not recollect that, in bestowing praise and strongly censuring in the same article, without naming the persons, the language must be so appropriated to those to whom it is applicable, that the most ticklish pride cannot find in it the least thing equivocal. I was in this respect in such an imprudent security, that I never once thought it was possible any one should make a false application. It will soon appear whether or not I was right.

One of my misfortunes was always to be connected with some female author. This I thought I might avoid amongst the great. I was deceived; it still pursued me. Madam de Luxembourg was not, however; at least that I know of, attacked with the mania of writing; but Madam de Boufflers was. She wrote a tragedy in prose, which, in the first place, was read, handed about, and highly spoken of in the society of the Prince Conti, and upon which, not satisfied with the encomiums she received, she would absolutely consult me for the purpose of having mine. This she obtained, but with that moderation which the work deserved. She besides had with it the information I thought it my duty to give her, that her piece, entitled ‘L’Esclave Genereux’, greatly resembled the English tragedy of ‘Oroonoko’, but little known in France, although translated into the French language. Madam de Bouffiers thanked me for the remark, but, however, assured me there was not the least resemblance between her piece and the other. I never spoke of the plagiarisms except to herself, and I did it to discharge a duty she had imposed on me; but this has not since prevented me from frequently recollecting the consequences of the sincerity of Gil Blas to the preaching archbishop.

Besides the Abbe de Bouffiers, by whom I was not beloved, and Madam de Bouffiers, in whose opinion I was guilty of that which neither women nor authors ever pardon, the other friends of Madam de Luxembourg never seemed much disposed to become mine, particularly the President Henault, who, enrolled amongst authors, was not exempt from their weaknesses; also Madam du Deffand, and Mademoiselle de Lespinasse, both intimate with Voltaire and the friends of D’Alembert, with whom the latter at length lived, however upon an honorable footing, for it cannot be understood I mean otherwise. I first began to interest myself for Madam du Deffand, whom the loss of her eyes made an object of commiseration in mine; but her manner of living so contrary to my own, that her hour of going to bed was almost mine for rising; her unbounded passion for low wit, the importance she gave to every kind of printed trash, either complimentary or abusive, the despotism and transports of her oracles, her excessive admiration or dislike of everything, which did not permit her to speak upon any subject without convulsions, her inconceivable prejudices, invincible obstinacy, and the enthusiasm of folly to which this carried her in her passionate judgments; all disgusted me and diminished the attention I wished to pay her. I neglected her and she perceived it; this was enough to set her in a rage, and, although I was sufficiently aware how much a woman of her character was to be feared, I preferred exposing myself to the scourge of her hatred rather than to that of her friendship.

My having so few friends in the society of Madam de Luxembourg would not have been in the least dangerous had I had no enemies in the family. Of these I had but one, who, in my then situation, was as powerful as a hundred. It certainly was not M. de Villeroy, her brother; for he not only came to see me, but had several times invited me to Villeroy; and as I had answered to the invitation with all possible politeness and respect, he had taken my vague manner of doing it as a consent, and arranged with Madam de Luxembourg a journey of a fortnight, in which it was proposed to me to make one of the party. As the cares my health then required did not permit me to go from home without risk, I prayed Madam de Luxembourg to have the goodness to make my apologies. Her answer proves this was done with all possible ease, and M. de Villeroy still continued to show me his usual marks of goodness. His nephew and heir, the young Marquis of Villeroy, had not for me the same benevolence, nor had I for him the respect I had for his uncle. His harebrained manner rendered him insupportable to me, and my coldness drew upon me his aversion. He insultingly attacked me one evening at table, and I had the worst of it because I am a fool, without presence of mind; and because anger, instead of rendering my wit more poignant, deprives me of the little I have. I had a dog which had been given me when he was quite young, soon after my arrival at the Hermitage, and which I had called Duke. This dog, not handsome, but rare of his kind, of which I had made my companion and friend, a title which he certainly merited much more than most of the persons by whom it was taken, became in great request at the castle of Montmorency for his good nature and fondness, and the attachment we had for each other; but from a foolish pusillanimity I had changed his name to Turk, as if there were not many dogs called Marquis, without giving the least offence to any marquis whatsoever. The Marquis of Villeroy, who knew of the change of name, attacked me in such a manner that I was obliged openly at table to relate what I had done. Whatever there might be offensive in the name of duke, it was not in my having given but in my having taken it away. The worst of it all was, there were many dukes present, amongst others M. de Luxembourg and his son; and the Marquis de Villeroy, who was one day to have, and now has the title, enjoyed in the most cruel manner the embarrassment into which he had thrown me. I was told the next day his aunt had severely reprimanded him, and it may be judged whether or not, supposing her to have been serious, this put me upon better terms with him.

To enable me to support his enmity I had no person, neither at the Hotel de Luxembourg nor at the Temple, except the Chevalier de Lorenzy, who professed himself my friend; but he was more that of D’Alembert, under whose protection he passed with women for a great geometrician. He was moreover the cicisbeo, or rather the complaisant chevalier of the Countess of Boufflers, a great friend also to D’Alembert, and the Chevalier de Lorenzy was the most passive instrument in her hands. Thus, far from having in that circle any counter-balance to my inaptitude, to keep me in the good graces of Madam de Luxembourg, everybody who approached her seemed to concur in injuring me in her good opinion. Yet, besides Emilius, with which she charged herself, she gave me at the same time another mark of her benevolence, which made me imagine that, although wearied with my conversation, she would still preserve for me the friendship she had so many times promised me for life.

As soon as I thought I could depend upon this, I began to ease my heart, by confessing to her all my faults, having made it an inviolable maxim to show myself to my friends such as I really was, neither better nor worse. I had declared to her my connection with Theresa, and everything that had resulted from it, without concealing the manner in which I had disposed of my children. She had received my confessions favorably, and even too much so, since she spared me the censures I so much merited; and what made the greatest impression upon me was her goodness to Theresa, making her presents, sending for her, and begging her to come and see her, receiving her with caresses, and often embracing her in public. This poor girl was in transports of joy and gratitude, of which I certainly partook; the friendship Madam de Luxembourg showed me in her condescensions to Theresa affected me much more than if they had been made immediately to myself.

Things remained in this state for a considerable time; but at length Madam de Luxembourg carried her goodness so far as to have a desire to take one of my children from the hospital. She knew I had put a cipher into the swaddling clothes of the eldest; she asked me for the counterpart of the cipher, and I gave it to her. In this research she employed La Roche, her valet de chambre and confidential servant, who made vain inquiries, although after only about twelve or fourteen years, had the registers of the foundling hospital been in order, or the search properly made, the original cipher ought to have been found. However this may be, I was less sorry for his want of success than I should have been had I from time to time continued to see the child from its birth until that moment. If by the aid of the indications given, another child had been presented as my own, the doubt of its being so in fact, and the fear of having one thus substituted for it, would have contracted my affections, and I should not have tasted of the charm of the real sentiment of nature. This during infancy stands in need of being supported by habit. The long absence of a child whom the father has seen but for an instant, weakens, and at length annihilates paternal sentiment, and parents will never love a child sent to nurse, like that which is brought up under their eyes. This reflection may extenuate my faults in their effects, but it must aggravate them in their source.

It may not perhaps be useless to remark that by the means of Theresa, the same La Roche became acquainted with Madam le Vasseur, whom Grimm still kept at Deuil, near La Chevrette, and not far from Montmorency.

After my departure it was by means of La Roche that I continued to send this woman the money I had constantly sent her at stated times, and I am of opinion he often carried her presents from Madam de Luxembourg; therefore she certainly was not to be pitied, although she constantly complained. With respect to Grimm, as I am not fond of speaking of persons whom I ought to hate, I never mentioned his name to Madam de Luxembourg, except when I could not avoid it; but she frequently made him the subject of conversation, without telling me what she thought of the man, or letting me discover whether or not he was of her acquaintance. Reserve with people I love and who are open with me being contrary to my nature, especially in things relating to themselves, I have since that time frequently thought of that of Madam de Luxembourg; but never, except when other events rendered the recollection natural.

Having waited a long time without hearing speak of Emilius, after I had given it to Madam de Luxembourg, I at last heard the agreement was made at Paris, with the bookseller Duchesne, and by him with Neaulme, of Amsterdam. Madam de Luxembourg sent me the original and the duplicate of my agreement with Duchesne, that I might sign them. I discovered the writing to be by the same hand as that of the letters of M. de Malesherbes, which he himself did not write. The certainty that my agreement was made by the consent, and under the eye of that magistrate, made me sign without hesitation. Duchesne gave me for the manuscript six thousand livres (two hundred and fifty pounds), half in specie, and one or two hundred copies. After having signed the two parts, I sent them both to Madam de Luxembourg, according to her desire; she gave one to Duchesne, and instead of returning the other kept it herself, so that I never saw it afterwards.

My acquaintance with M. and Madam de Luxembourg, though it diverted me a little from my plan of retirement, did not make me entirely renounce it. Even at the time I was most in favor with Madam de Luxembourg, I always felt that nothing but my sincere attachment to the marechal and herself could render to me supportable the people with whom they were connected, and all the difficulty I had was in conciliating this attachment with a manner of life more agreeable to my inclination, and less contrary to my health, which constraint and late suppers continually deranged, notwithstanding all the care taken to prevent it; for in this, as in everything else, attention was carried as far as possible; thus, for instance, every evening after supper the marechal, who went early to bed, never failed, notwithstanding everything that could be said to the contrary, to make me withdraw at the same time. It was not until some little time before my catastrophe that, for what reason I know not, he ceased to pay me that attention. Before I perceived the coolness of Madam de Luxembourg, I was desirous, that I might not expose myself to it, to execute my old project; but not having the means to that effect, I was obliged to wait for the conclusion of the agreement for ‘Emilius’, and in the time I finished the ‘Social Contract’, and sent it to Rey, fixing the price of the manuscript at a thousand livres (forty-one pounds), which he paid me.

I ought not perhaps to omit a trifling circumstance relative to this manuscript. I gave it, well sealed up, to Du Voisin, a minister in the pays de Vaud and chaplain at the Hotel de Hollande, who sometimes came to see me, and took upon himself to send the packet to Rey, with whom he was connected. The manuscript, written in a small letter, was but very trifling, and did not fill his pocket. Yet, in passing the barriere, the packet fell, I know not by what means, into the hands of the Commis, who opened and examined it, and afterwards returned it to him, when he had reclaimed it in the name of the ambassador. This gave him an opportunity of reading it himself, which he ingeniously wrote me he had done, speaking highly of the work, without suffering a word of criticism or censure to escape him; undoubtedly reserving to himself to become the avenger of Christianity as soon as the work should appear. He resealed the packet and sent it to Rey. Such is the substance of his narrative in the letter in which he gave an account of the affair, and is all I ever knew of the matter.

Besides these two books and my dictionary of music, at which I still did something as opportunity offered, I had other works of less importance ready to make their appearance, and which I proposed to publish either separately or in my general collection, should I ever undertake it. The principal of these works, most of which are still in manuscript in the hands of De Peyrou, was an essay on the origin of Languages, which I had read to M. de Malesherbes and the Chevalier de Lorenzy, who spoke favorably of it. I expected all the productions together would produce me a net capital of from eight to ten thousand livres (three to four hundred pounds), which I intended to sink in annuities for my life and that of Theresa; after which, our design, as I have already mentioned, was to go and live together in the midst of some province, without further troubling the public about me, or myself with any other project than that of peacefully ending my days and still continuing to do in my neighborhood all the good in my power, and to write at leisure the memoirs which I intended.

Such was my intention, and the execution of it was facilitated by an act of generosity in Rey, upon which I cannot be silent. This bookseller, of whom so many unfavorable things were told me in Paris, is, notwithstanding, the only one with whom I have always had reason to be satisfied. It is true, we frequently disagreed as to the execution of my works. He was heedless and I was choleric; but in matters of interest which related to them, although I never made with him an agreement in form, I always found in him great exactness and probity. He is also the only person of his profession who frankly confessed to me he gained largely by my means; and he frequently, when he offered me a part of his fortune, told me I was the author of it all. Not finding the means of exercising his gratitude immediately upon myself, he wished at least to give me proofs of it in the person of my governante, upon whom he settled an annuity of three hundred livres (twelve pounds), expressing in the deed that it was an acknowledgment for the advantages I had procured him. This he did between himself and me, without ostentation, pretension, or noise, and had not I spoken of it to anybody, not a single person would ever have known anything of the matter. I was so pleased with this action that I became attached to Rey, and conceived for him a real friendship. Sometime afterwards he desired I would become godfather to one of his children; I consented, and a part of my regret in the situation to which I am reduced, is my being deprived of the means of rendering in future my attachment of my goddaughter useful to her and her parents. Why am I, who am so sensible of the modest generosity of this bookseller, so little so of the noisy eagerness of many persons of the highest rank, who pompously fill the world with accounts of the services they say they wished to render me, but the good effects of which I never felt? Is it their fault or mine? Are they nothing more than vain; is my insensibility purely ingratitude? Intelligent reader, weigh and determine; for my part I say no more.

This pension was a great resource to Theresa and considerable alleviation to me, although I was far from receiving from it a direct advantage, any more than from the presents that were made her.

She herself has always disposed of everything. When I kept her money I gave her a faithful account of it, without ever applying any part of the deposit to our common expenses, not even when she was richer than myself. “What is mine is ours,” said I to her; “and what is thine is thine.” I never departed from this maxim. They who have had the baseness to accuse me of receiving by her hands that which I refused to take with mine, undoubtedly judged of my heart by their own, and knew but little of me. I would willingly eat with her the bread she should have earned, but not that she should have had given her. For a proof of this I appeal to herself, both now and hereafter, when, according to the course of nature, she shall have survived me. Unfortunately, she understands but little of economy in any respect, and is, besides, careless and extravagant, not from vanity nor gluttony, but solely from negligence. No creature is perfect here below, and since the excellent qualities must be accompanied with some defects; I prefer these to vices; although her defects are more prejudicial to us both. The efforts I have made, as formerly I did for mamma, to accumulate something in advance which might some day be to her a never-failing resource, are not to be conceived; but my cares were always ineffectual.

Neither of these women ever called themselves to an account, and, notwithstanding all my efforts, everything I acquired was dissipated as fast as it came. Notwithstanding the great simplicity of Theresa’s dress, the pension from Rey has never been sufficient to buy her clothes, and I have every year been under the necessity of adding something to it for that purpose. We are neither of us born to be rich, and this I certainly do not reckon amongst our misfortunes.

The ‘Social Contract’ was soon printed. This was not the case with ‘Emilius’, for the publication of which I waited to go into the retirement I meditated. Duchesne, from time to time, sent me specimens of impression to choose from; when I had made my choice, instead of beginning he sent me others. When, at length, we were fully determined on the size and letter, and several sheets were already printed off, on some trifling alteration I made in a proof, he began the whole again; and at the end of six months we were in less forwardness than on the first day. During all these experiments I clearly perceived the work was printing in France as well as in Holland, and that two editions of it were preparing at the same time. What could I do? The manuscript was no longer mine. Far from having anything to do with the edition in France, I was always against it; but since, at length, this was preparing in spite of all opposition, and was to serve as a model to the other, it was necessary I should cast my eyes over it and examine the proofs, that my work might not be mutilated. It was, besides, printed so much by the consent of the magistrate, that it was he who, in some measure, directed the undertaking; he likewise wrote to me frequently, and once came to see me and converse on the subject upon an occasion of which I am going to speak.

Whilst Duchesne crept like a snail, Neaulme, whom he withheld, scarcely moved at all. The sheets were not regularly sent him as they were printed. He thought there was some trick in the manoeuvre of Duchesne, that is, of Guy who acted for him; and perceiving the terms of the agreement to be departed from, he wrote me letter after letter full of complaints, and it was less possible for me to remove the subject of them than that of those I myself had to make. His friend Guerin, who at that time came frequently to see my house, never ceased speaking to me about the work, but always with the greatest reserve. He knew and he did not know that it was printing in France, and that the magistrate had a hand in it. In expressing his concern for my embarrassment, he seemed to accuse me of imprudence without ever saying in what this consisted; he incessantly equivocated, and seemed to speak for no other purpose than to hear what I had to say. I thought myself so secure that I laughed at his mystery and circumspection as at a habit he had contracted with ministers and magistrates whose offices he much frequented. Certain of having conformed to every rule with the work, and strongly persuaded that I had not only the consent and protection of the magistrate, but that the book merited and had obtained the favor of the minister, I congratulated myself upon my courage in doing good, and laughed at my pusillanimous friends who seemed uneasy on my account. Duclos was one of these, and I confess my confidence in his understanding and uprightness might have alarmed me, had I had less in the utility of the work and in the probity of those by whom it was patronized. He came from the house of M. Baille to see me whilst ‘Emilius’ was in the press; he spoke to me concerning it; I read to him the ‘Profession of Faith of the Savoyard Vicar’, to which he listened attentively and, as it seemed to me with pleasure. When I had finished he said: “What! citizen, this is a part of a work now printing in Paris?”—“Yes,” answered I, and it ought to be printed at the Louvre by order of the king.”—I confess it,” replied he; “but pray do not mention to anybody your having read to me this fragment.”

This striking manner of expressing himself surprised without alarming me. I knew Duclos was intimate with M. de Malesherbes, and I could not conceive how it was possible he should think so differently from him upon the same subject.

I had lived at Montmorency for the last four years without ever having had there one day of good health. Although the air is excellent, the water is bad, and this may possibly be one of the causes which contributed to increase my habitual complaints. Towards the end of the autumn of 1767, I fell quite ill, and passed the whole winter in suffering almost without intermission. The physical ill, augmented by a thousand inquietudes, rendered these terrible. For some time past my mind had been disturbed by melancholy forebodings without my knowing to what these directly tended. I received anonymous letters of an extraordinary nature, and others, that were signed, much of the same import. I received one from a counsellor of the parliament of Paris, who, dissatisfied with the present constitution of things, and foreseeing nothing but disagreeable events, consulted me upon the choice of an asylum at Geneva or in Switzerland, to retire to with his family. Another was brought me from M. de ——-, ‘president a mortier’ of the parliament of ——-, who proposed to me to draw up for this Parliament, which was then at variance with the court, memoirs and remonstrances, and offering to furnish me with all the documents and materials necessary for that purpose.

When I suffer I am subject to ill humor. This was the case when I received these letters, and my answers to them, in which I flatly refused everything that was asked of me, bore strong marks of the effect they had had upon my mind. I do not however reproach myself with this refusal, as the letters might be so many snares laid by my enemies, and what was required of me was contrary to the principles from which I was less willing than ever to swerve. But having it within my power to refuse with politeness I did it with rudeness, and in this consists my error.

[I knew, for instance, the President de ——- to be connected with
the Encyclopedists and the Holbachiens.]

The two letters of which I have just spoken will be found amongst my papers. The letter from the chancellor did not absolutely surprise me, because I agreed with him in opinion, and with many others, that the declining constitution of France threatened an approaching destruction. The disasters of an unsuccessful war, all of which proceeded from a fault in the government; the incredible confusion in the finances; the perpetual drawings upon the treasury by the administration, which was then divided between two or three ministers, amongst whom reigned nothing but discord, and who, to counteract the operations of each other, let the kingdom go to ruin; the discontent of the people, and of every other rank of subjects; the obstinacy of a woman who, constantly sacrificing her judgment, if she indeed possessed any, to her inclinations, kept from public employment persons capable of discharging the duties of them, to place in them such as pleased her best; everything occurred in justifying the foresight of the counsellor, that of the public, and my own. This, made me several times consider whether or not I myself should seek an asylum out of the kingdom before it was torn by the dissensions by which it seemed to be threatened; but relieved from my fears by my insignificance, and the peacefulness of my disposition, I thought that in the state of solitude in which I was determined to live, no public commotion could reach me. I was sorry only that, in this state of things, M. de Luxembourg should accept commissions which tended to injure him in the opinion of the persons of the place of which he was governor. I could have wished he had prepared himself a retreat there, in case the great machine had fallen in pieces, which seemed much to be apprehended; and still appears to me beyond a doubt, that if the reins of government had not fallen into a single hand, the French monarchy would now be at the last gasp.
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Re: The Confessions of Jean Jacques Rousseau, by Jean Jacque

Postby admin » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:23 am

Part 2 of 2

Whilst my situation became worse the printing of ‘Emilius’ went on more slowly, and was at length suspended without my being able to learn the reason why; Guy did not deign to answer my letter of inquiry, and I could obtain no information from any person of what was going forward, M. de Malesherbes being then in the country. A misfortune never makes me uneasy provided I know in what it consists; but it is my nature to be afraid of darkness, I tremble at the appearance of it; mystery always gives me inquietude, it is too opposite to my natural disposition, in which there is an openness bordering on imprudence. The sight of the most hideous monster would, I am of opinion, alarm me but little; but if by night I were to see a figure in a white sheet I should be afraid of it. My imagination, wrought upon by this long silence, was now employed in creating phantoms. I tormented myself the more in endeavoring to discover the impediment to the printing of my last and best production, as I had the publication of it much at heart; and as I always carried everything to an extreme, I imagined that I perceived in the suspension the suppression of the work. Yet, being unable to discover either the cause or manner of it, I remained in the most cruel state of suspense. I wrote letter after letter to Guy, to M. de Malesherbes and to Madam de Luxembourg, and not receiving answers, at least when I expected them, my head became so affected that I was not far from a delirium. I unfortunately heard that Father Griffet, a Jesuit, had spoken of ‘Emilius’ and repeated from it some passages. My imagination instantly unveiled to me the mystery of iniquity; I saw the whole progress of it as clearly as if it had been revealed to me. I figured to myself that the Jesuits, furious on account of the contemptuous manner in which I had spoken of colleges, were in possession of my work; that it was they who had delayed the publication; that, informed by their friend Guerin of my situation, and foreseeing my approaching dissolution, of which I myself had no manner of doubt, they wished to delay the appearance of the work until after that event, with an intention to curtail and mutilate it, and in favor of their own views, to attribute to me sentiments not my own. The number of facts and circumstances which occurred to my mind, in confirmation of this silly proposition, and gave it an appearance of truth supported by evidence and demonstration, is astonishing. I knew Guerin to be entirely in the interest of the Jesuits. I attributed to them all the friendly advances he had made me; I was persuaded he had, by their entreaties, pressed me to engage with Neaulme, who had given them the first sheets of my work; that they had afterwards found means to stop the printing of it by Duchesne, and perhaps to get possession of the manuscript to make such alterations in it as they should think proper, that after my death they might publish it disguised in their own manner. I had always perceived, notwithstanding the wheedling of Father Berthier, that the Jesuits did not like me, not only as an Encyclopedist, but because all my principles were more in opposition to their maxims and influence than the incredulity of my colleagues, since atheistical and devout fanaticism, approaching each other by their common enmity to toleration, may become united; a proof of which is seen in China, and in the cabal against myself; whereas religion, both reasonable and moral, taking away all power over the conscience, deprives those who assume that power of every resource. I knew the chancellor was a great friend to the Jesuits, and I had my fears less the son, intimidated by the father, should find himself under the necessity of abandoning the work he had protected. I besides imagined that I perceived this to be the case in the chicanery employed against me relative to the first two volumes, in which alterations were required for reasons of which I could not feel the force; whilst the other two volumes were known to contain things of such a nature as, had the censor objected to them in the manner he did to the passages he thought exceptionable in the others, would have required their being entirely written over again. I also understood, and M. de Malesherbes himself told me of it, that the Abbe de Grave, whom he had charged with the inspection of this edition, was another partisan of the Jesuits. I saw nothing but Jesuits, without considering that, upon the point of being suppressed, and wholly taken up in making their defence, they had something which interested them much more than the cavillings relative to a work in which they were not in question. I am wrong, however, in saying this did not occur to me; for I really thought of it, and M. de Malesherbes took care to make the observation to me the moment he heard of my extravagant suspicions. But by another of those absurdities of a man, who, from the bosom of obscurity, will absolutely judge of the secret of great affairs, with which he is totally unacquainted. I never could bring myself to believe the Jesuits were in danger, and I considered the rumor of their suppression as an artful manoeuvre of their own to deceive their adversaries. Their past successes, which had been uninterrupted, gave me so terrible an idea of the power, that I already was grieved at the overthrow of the parliament. I knew M. de Choiseul had prosecuted his studies under the Jesuits, that Madam de Pompadour was not upon bad terms with them, and that their league with favorites and ministers had constantly appeared advantageous to their order against their common enemies. The court seemed to remain neutral, and persuaded as I was that should the society receive a severe check it would not come from the parliament, I saw in the inaction of government the ground of their confidence and the omen of their triumph. In fine, perceiving in the rumors of the day nothing more than art and dissimulation on their part, and thinking they, in their state of security, had time to watch over all their interests, I had had not the least doubt of their shortly crushing Jansenism, the parliament and the Encyclopedists, with every other association which should not submit to their yoke; and that if they ever suffered my work to appear, this would not happen until it should be so transformed as to favor their pretensions, and thus make use of my name the better to deceive my readers.

I felt my health and strength decline; and such was the horror with which my mind was filled, at the idea of dishonor to my memory in the work most worthy of myself, that I am surprised so many extravagant ideas did not occasion a speedy end to my existence. I never was so much afraid of death as at this time, and had I died with the apprehensions I then had upon my mind, I should have died in despair. At present, although I perceive no obstacle to the execution of the blackest and most dreadful conspiracy ever formed against the memory of a man, I shall die much more in peace, certain of leaving in my writings a testimony in my favor, and one which, sooner or later, will triumph over the calumnies of mankind.

M. de Malesherbes, who discovered the agitation of my mind, and to whom I acknowledged it, used such endeavors to restore me to tranquility as proved his excessive goodness of heart. Madam de Luxembourg aided him in his good work, and several times went to Duchesne to know in what state the edition was. At length the impression was again begun, and the progress of it became more rapid than ever, without my knowing for what reason it had been suspended. M. de Malesherbes took the trouble to come to Montmorency to calm my mind; in this he succeeded, and the full confidence I had in his uprightness having overcome the derangement of my poor head, gave efficacy to the endeavors he made to restore it. After what he had seen of my anguish and delirium, it was natural he should think I was to be pitied; and he really commiserated my situation. The expressions, incessantly repeated, of the philosophical cabal by which he was surrounded, occurred to his memory. When I went to live at the Hermitage, they, as I have already remarked, said I should not remain there long. When they saw I persevered, they charged me with obstinacy and pride, proceeding from a want of courage to retract, and insisted that my life was there a burden to me; in short, that I was very wretched. M. de Malesherbes believed this really to be the case, and wrote to me upon the subject. This error in a man for whom I had so much esteem gave me some pain, and I wrote to him four letters successively, in which I stated the real motives of my conduct, and made him fully acquainted with my taste, inclination and character, and with the most interior sentiments of my heart. These letters, written hastily, almost without taking pen from paper, and which I neither copied, corrected, nor even read, are perhaps the only things I ever wrote with facility, which, in the midst of my sufferings, was, I think, astonishing. I sighed, as I felt myself declining, at the thought of leaving in the midst of honest men an opinion of me so far from truth; and by the sketch hastily given in my four letters, I endeavored, in some measure, to substitute them to the memoirs I had proposed to write. They are expressive of my grief to M. de Malesherbes, who showed them in Paris, and are, besides, a kind of summary of what I here give in detail, and, on this account, merit preservation. The copy I begged of them some years afterwards will be found amongst my papers.

The only thing which continued to give me pain, in the idea of my approaching dissolution, was my not having a man of letters for a friend, to whom I could confide my papers, that after my death he might take a proper choice of such as were worthy of publication.

After my journey to Geneva, I conceived a friendship for Moultou; this young man pleased me, and I could have wished him to receive my last breath. I expressed to him this desire, and am of opinion he would readily have complied with it, had not his affairs prevented him from so doing. Deprived of this consolation, I still wished to give him a mark of my confidence by sending him the ‘Profession of Faith of the Savoyard Vicar’ before it was published. He was pleased with the work, but did not in his answer seem so fully to expect from it the effect of which I had but little doubt. He wished to receive from me some fragment which I had not given to anybody else. I sent him the funeral oration of the late Duke of Orleans; this I had written for the Abbe Darty, who had not pronounced it, because, contrary to his expectation, another person was appointed to perform that ceremony.

The printing of Emilius, after having been again taken in hand, was continued and completed without much difficulty; and I remarked this singularity, that after the curtailings so much insisted upon in the first two volumes, the last two were passed over without an objection, and their contents did not delay the publication for a moment. I had, however, some uneasiness which I must not pass over in silence. After having been afraid of the Jesuits, I begun to fear the Jansenists and philosophers. An enemy to party, faction and cabal, I never heard the least good of parties concerned in them. The gossips had quitted their old abode and taken up their residence by the side of me, so that in their chamber, everything said in mine, and upon the terrace, was distinctly heard; and from their garden it would have been easy to scale the low wall by which it was separated from my alcove. This was become my study; my table was covered with proofsheets of Emilius and the Social Contract and stitching these sheets as they were sent to me, I had all my volumes a long time before they were published. My negligence and the confidence I had in M. Mathas, in whose garden I was shut up, frequently made me forget to lock the door at night, and in the morning I several times found it wide open; this, however, would not have given me the least inquietude had I not thought my papers seemed to have been deranged. After having several times made the same remark, I became more careful, and locked the door. The lock was a bad one, and the key turned in it no more than half round. As I became more attentive, I found my papers in a much greater confusion than they were when I left everything open. At length I missed one of my volumes without knowing what was become of it until the morning of the third day, when I again found it upon the table. I never suspected either M. Mathas or his nephew M. du Moulin, knowing myself to be beloved by both, and my confidence in them was unbounded. That I had in the gossips began to diminish. Although they were Jansenists, I knew them to have some connection with D’ Alembert, and moreover they all three lodged in the same house. This gave me some uneasiness, and put me more upon my guard. I removed my papers from the alcove to my chamber, and dropped my acquaintance with these people, having learned they had shown in several houses the first volume of ‘Emilius’, which I had been imprudent enough to lend them. Although they continued until my departure to be my neighbors I never, after my first suspicions, had the least communication with them. The ‘Social Contract’ appeared a month or two before ‘Emilius’. Rey, whom I had desired never secretly to introduce into France any of my books, applied to the magistrate for leave to send this book by Rouen, to which place he sent his package by sea. He received no answer, and his bales, after remaining at Rouen several months, were returned to him, but not until an attempt had been made to confiscate them; this, probably, would have been done had not he made a great clamor. Several persons, whose curiosity the work had excited, sent to Amsterdam for copies, which were circulated without being much noticed. Maulion, who had heard of this, and had, I believe, seen the work, spoke to me on the subject with an air of mystery which surprised me, and would likewise have made me uneasy if, certain of having conformed to every rule, I had not by virtue of my grand maxim, kept my mind calm. I moreover had no doubt but M. de Choiseul, already well disposed towards me, and sensible of the eulogium of his administration, which my esteem for him had induced me to make in the work, would support me against the malevolence of Madam de Pompadour.

I certainly had then as much reason as ever to hope for the goodness of M. de Luxembourg, and even for his assistance in case of need; for he never at any time had given me more frequent and more pointed marks of his friendship. At the journey of Easter, my melancholy state no longer permitting me to go to the castle, he never suffered a day to pass without coming to see me, and at length, perceiving my sufferings to be incessant, he prevailed upon me to determine to see Friar Come. He immediately sent for him, came with him, and had the courage, uncommon to a man of his rank, to remain with me during the operation which was cruel and tedious. Upon the first examination, Come thought he found a great stone, and told me so; at the second, he could not find it again. After having made a third attempt with so much care and circumspection that I thought the time long, he declared there was no stone, but that the prostate gland was schirrous and considerably thickened. He besides added, that I had a great deal to suffer, and should live a long time. Should the second prediction be as fully accomplished as the first, my sufferings are far from being at an end.

It was thus I learned after having been so many years treated for disorders which I never had, that my incurable disease, without being mortal, would last as long as myself. My imagination, repressed by this information, no longer presented to me in prospective a cruel death in the agonies of the stone.

Delivered from imaginary evils, more cruel to me than those which were real, I more patiently suffered the latter. It is certain I have since suffered less from my disorder than I had done before, and every time I recollect that I owe this alleviation to M. de Luxembourg, his memory becomes more dear to me.

Restored, as I may say, to life, and more than ever occupied with the plan according to which I was determined to pass the rest of my days, all the obstacle to the immediate execution of my design was the publication of ‘Emilius’. I thought of Touraine where I had already been and which pleased me much, as well on account of the mildness of the climate, as on that of the character of the inhabitants.

‘La terra molle lieta a dilettosa
Simile a se l’habitator produce.’

I had already spoken of my project to M. de Luxembourg, who endeavored to dissuade me from it; I mentioned it to him a second time as a thing resolved upon. He then offered me the castle of Merlon, fifteen leagues from Paris, as an asylum which might be agreeable to me, and where he and Madam de Luxembourg would have a real pleasure in seeing me settled. The proposition made a pleasing impression on my mind. But the first thing necessary was to see the place, and we agreed upon a day when the marechal was to send his valet de chambre with a carriage to take me to it. On the day appointed, I was much indisposed; the journey was postponed, and different circumstances prevented me from ever making it. I have since learned the estate of Merlou did not belong to the marechal but to his lady, on which account I was the less sorry I had not gone to live there.

‘Emilius’ was at length given to the public, without my having heard further of retrenchments or difficulties. Previous to the publication, the marechal asked me for all the letters M. de Malesherbes had written to me on the subject of the work. My great confidence in both, and the perfect security in which I felt myself, prevented me from reflecting upon this extraordinary and even alarming request. I returned all the letters excepting one or two which, from inattention, were left between the leaves of a book. A little time before this, M. de Malesherbes told me he should withdraw the letters I had written to Duchesne during my alarm relative to the Jesuits, and, it must be confessed, these letters did no great honor to my reason. But in my answer I assured him I would not in anything pass for being better than I was, and that he might leave the letters where they were. I know not what he resolved upon.

The publication of this work was not succeeded by the applause which had followed that of all my other writings. No work was ever more highly spoken of in private, nor had any literary production ever had less public approbation. What was said and written to me upon the subject by persons most capable of judging, confirmed me in my opinion that it was the best, as well as the most important of all the works I had produced. But everything favorable was said with an air of the most extraordinary mystery, as if there had been a necessity of keeping it a secret. Madam de Boufflers, who wrote to me that the author of the work merited a statue, and the homage of mankind, at the end of her letter desired it might be returned to her. D’Alembert, who in his note said the work gave me a decided superiority, and ought to place me at the head of men of letters, did not sign what he wrote, although he had signed every note I had before received from him. Duclos, a sure friend, a man of veracity, but circumspect, although he had a good opinion of the work, avoided mentioning it in his letters to me. La Condomine fell upon the Confession of Faith, and wandered from the subject. Clairaut confined himself to the same part; but he was not afraid of expressing to me the emotion which the reading of it had caused in him, and in the most direct terms wrote to me that it had warmed his old imagination: of all those to whom I had sent my book, he was the only person who spoke freely what he thought of it.

Mathas, to whom I also had given a copy before the publication, lent it to M. de Blaire, counsellor in the parliament of Strasbourg. M. de Blaire had a country-house at St. Gratien, and Mathas, his old acquaintance, sometimes went to see him there. He made him read Emilius before it was published. When he returned it to him, M. de Blaire expressed himself in the following terms, which were repeated to me the same day: “M. Mathas, this is a very fine work, but it will in a short time be spoken of more than, for the author, might be wished.” I laughed at the prediction, and saw in it nothing more than the importance of a man of the robe, who treats everything with an air of mystery. All the alarming observations repeated to me made no impression upon my mind, and, far from foreseeing the catastrophe so near at hand, certain of the utility and excellence of my work, and that I had in every respect conformed to established rules; convinced, as I thought I was that I should be supported by all the credit of M. de Luxembourg and the favor of the ministry, I was satisfied with myself for the resolution I had taken to retire in the midst of my triumphs, and at my return to crush those by whom I was envied.

One thing in the publication of the work alarmed me, less on account of my safety than for the unburdening of my mind. At the Hermitage and at Montmorency I had seen with indignation the vexations which the jealous care of the pleasures of princes causes to be exercised on wretched peasants, forced to suffer the havoc made by game in their fields, without daring to take any other measure to prevent this devastation than that of making a noise, passing the night amongst the beans and peas, with drums, kettles and bells, to keep off the wild boars. As I had been a witness to the barbarous cruelty with which the Comte de Charolois treated these poor people, I had toward the end of Emilius exclaimed against it. This was another infraction of my maxims, which has not remained unpunished. I was informed that the people of the Prince of Conti were but little less severe upon his estates; I trembled lest that prince, for whom I was penetrated with respect and gratitude, should take to his own account what shocked humanity had made me say on that of others, and feel himself offended. Yet, as my conscience fully acquitted me upon this article, I made myself easy, and by so doing acted wisely: at least, I have not heard that this great prince took notice of the passage, which, besides, was written long before I had the honor of being known to him.

A few days either before or after the publication of my work, for I do not exactly recollect the time, there appeared another work upon the same subject, taken verbatim from my first volume, except a few stupid things which were joined to the extract. The book bore the name of a Genevese, one Balexsert, and, according to the title-page, had gained the premium in the Academy of Harlem. I easily imagined the academy and the premium to be newly founded, the better to conceal the plagiarism from the eyes of the public; but I further perceived there was some prior intrigue which I could not unravel; either by the lending of my manuscript, without which the theft could not have been committed, or for the purpose of forging the story of the pretended premium, to which it was necessary to give some foundation. It was not until several years afterwards, that by a word which escaped D’Ivernois, I penetrated the mystery and discovered those by whom Balexsert had been brought forward.

The low murmurings which precede a storm began to be heard, and men of penetration clearly saw there was something gathering, relative to me and my book, which would shortly break over my head. For my part my stupidity was such, that, far from foreseeing my misfortune, I did not suspect even the cause of it after I had felt its effect. It was artfully given out that while the Jesuits were treated with severity, no indulgence could be shown to books nor the authors of them in which religion was attacked. I was reproached with having put my name to Emilius, as if I had not put it to all my other works of which nothing was said. Government seemed to fear it should be obliged to take some steps which circumstances rendered necessary on account of my imprudence. Rumors to this effect reached my ears, but gave me not much uneasiness: it never even came into my head, that there could be the least thing in the whole affair which related to me personally, so perfectly irreproachable and well supported did I think myself; having besides conformed to every ministerial regulation, I did not apprehend Madam de Luxembourg would leave me in difficulties for an error, which, if it existed, proceeded entirely from herself. But knowing the manner of proceeding in like cases, and that it was customary to punish booksellers while authors were favored; I had some uneasiness on account of poor Duchesne, whom I saw exposed to danger, should M. de Malesherbes abandon him.

My tranquility still continued. Rumors increased and soon changed their nature. The public, and especially the parliament, seemed irritated by my composure. In a few days the fermentation became terrible, and the object of the menaces being changed, these were immediately addressed to me. The parliamentarians were heard to declare that burning books was of no effect, the authors also should be burned with them; not a word was said of the booksellers. The first time these expressions, more worthy of an inquisitor of Goa than a senator, were related to me, I had no doubt of their coming from the Holbachiques with an intention to alarm me and drive me from France. I laughed at their puerile manoeuvre, and said they would, had they known the real state of things, have thought of some other means of inspiring me with fear; but the rumor at length became such that I perceived the matter was serious. M. and Madam de Luxembourg had this year come to Montmorency in the month of June, which, for their second journey, was more early than common. I heard but little there of my new books, notwithstanding the noise they made in Paris; neither the marechal nor his lady said a single word to me on the subject. However, one morning, when M. de Luxembourg and I were together, he asked me if, in the ‘Social Contract’, I had spoken ill of M. de Choiseul. “I?” said I, retreating a few steps with surprise; “no, I swear to you I have not; but on the contrary, I have made on him, and with a pen not given to praise, the finest eulogium a minister ever received.” I then showed him the passage. “And in Emilius?” replied he. “Not a word,” said I; “there is not in it a single word which relates to him.”—“Ah!” said he, with more vivacity than was common to him, “you should have taken the same care in the other book, or have expressed yourself more clearly!” “I thought,” replied I, “what I wrote could not be misconstrued; my esteem for him was such as to make me extremely cautious not to be equivocal.”

He was again going to speak; I perceived him ready to open his mind: he stopped short and held his tongue. Wretched policy of a courtier, which in the best of hearts, subjugates friendship itself!

This conversation although short, explained to me my situation, at least in certain respects, and gave me to understand that it was against myself the anger of administration was raised. The unheard of fatality, which turned to my prejudice all the good I did and wrote, afflicted my heart. Yet, feeling myself shielded in this affair by Madam de Luxembourg and M. de Malesherbes, I did not perceive in what my persecutors could deprive me of their protection. However, I, from that moment was convinced equity and judgment were no longer in question, and that no pains would be spared in examining whether or not I was culpable. The storm became still more menacing. Neaulme himself expressed to me, in the excess of his babbling, how much he repented having had anything to do in the business, and his certainty of the fate with which the book and the author were threatened. One thing, however, alleviated my fears: Madam de Luxembourg was so calm, satisfied and cheerful, that I concluded she must necessarily be certain of the sufficiency of her credit, especially if she did not seem to have the least apprehension on my account; moreover, she said not to me a word either of consolation or apology, and saw the turn the affair took with as much unconcern as if she had nothing to do with it or anything else that related to me. What surprised me most was her silence. I thought she should have said something on the subject. Madam de Boufflers seemed rather uneasy. She appeared agitated, strained herself a good deal, assured me the Prince of Conti was taking great pains to ward off the blow about to be directed against my person, and which she attributed to the nature of present circumstances, in which it was of importance to the parliament not to leave the Jesuits an opening whereby they might bring an accusation against it as being indifferent with respect to religion. She did not, however, seem to depend much either upon the success of her own efforts or even those of the prince. Her conversations, more alarming than consolatory, all tended to persuade me to leave the kingdom and go to England, where she offered me an introduction to many of her friends, amongst others one to the celebrated Hume, with whom she had long been upon a footing of intimate friendship. Seeing me still unshaken, she had recourse to other arguments more capable of disturbing my tranquillity. She intimated that, in case I was arrested and interrogated, I should be under the necessity of naming Madam de Luxembourg, and that her friendship for me required, on my part, such precautions as were necessary to prevent her being exposed. My answer was, that should what she seemed to apprehend come to pass, she need not be alarmed; that I should do nothing by which the lady she mentioned might become a sufferer. She said such a resolution was more easily taken than adhered to, and in this she was right, especially with respect to me, determined as I always have been neither to prejudice myself nor lie before judges, whatever danger there might be in speaking the truth.

Perceiving this observation had made some impression upon my mind, without however inducing me to resolve upon evasion, she spoke of the Bastile for a few weeks, as a means of placing me beyond the reach of the jurisdiction of the parliament, which has nothing to do with prisoners of state. I had no objection to this singular favor, provided it were not solicited in my name. As she never spoke of it a second time, I afterwards thought her proposition was made to sound me, and that the party did not think proper to have recourse to an expedient which would have put an end to everything.

A few days afterwards the marechal received from the Cure de Dueil, the friend of Grimm and Madam d’Epinay, a letter informing him, as from good authority, that the parliament was to proceed against me with the greatest severity, and that, on a day which he mentioned, an order was to be given to arrest me. I imagined this was fabricated by the Holbachiques; I knew the parliament to be very attentive to forms, and that on this occasion, beginning by arresting me before it was juridically known I avowed myself the author of the book was violating them all. I observed to Madam de Boufflers that none but persons accused of crimes which tend to endanger the public safety were, on a simple information, ordered to be arrested lest they should escape punishment. But when government wish to punish a crime like mine, which merits honor and recompense, the proceedings are directed against the book, and the author is as much as possible left out of the question.

Upon this she made some subtle distinction, which I have forgotten, to prove that ordering me to be arrested instead of summoning me to be heard was a matter of favor. The next day I received a letter from Guy, who informed me that having in the morning been with the attorney-general, he had seen in his office a rough draft of a requisition against Emilius and the author. Guy, it is to be remembered, was the partner of Duchesne, who had printed the work, and without apprehensions on his own account, charitably gave this information to the author. The credit I gave to him maybe judged of.

It was, no doubt, a very probable story, that a bookseller, admitted to an audience by the attorney-general, should read at ease scattered rough drafts in the office of that magistrate! Madam de Boufflers and others confirmed what he had said. By the absurdities which were incessantly rung in my ears, I was almost tempted to believe that everybody I heard speak had lost their senses.

Clearly perceiving that there was some mystery, which no one thought proper to explain to me, I patiently awaited the event, depending upon my integrity and innocence, and thinking myself happy, let the persecution which awaited me be what it would, to be called to the honor of suffering in the cause of truth. Far from being afraid and concealing myself, I went every day to the castle, and in the afternoon took my usual walk. On the eighth of June, the evening before the order was concluded on, I walked in company with two professors of the oratory, Father Alamanni and Father Mandard. We carried to Champeaux a little collation, which we ate with a keen appetite. We had forgotten to bring glasses, and supplied the want of them by stalks of rye, through which we sucked up the wine from the bottle, piquing ourselves upon the choice of large tubes to vie with each other in pumping up what we drank. I never was more cheerful in my life.

I have related in what manner I lost my sleep during my youth. I had since that time contracted a habit of reading every night in my bed, until I found my eyes begin to grow heavy. I then extinguished my wax taper, and endeavored to slumber for a few moments, which were in general very short. The book I commonly read at night was the Bible, which, in this manner I read five or six times from the beginning to the end. This evening, finding myself less disposed to sleep than ordinary, I continued my reading beyond the usual hour, and read the whole book which finishes at the Levite of Ephraim, the Book of judges, if I mistake not, for since that time I have never once seen it. This history affected me exceedingly, and, in a kind of a dream, my imagination still ran on it, when suddenly I was roused from my stupor by a noise and light. Theresa carrying a candle, lighted M. la Roche, who perceiving me hastily raise myself up, said: “Do not be alarmed; I come from Madam de Luxembourg, who, in her letter incloses you another from the Prince of Conti.” In fact, in the letter of Madam de Luxembourg I found another, which an express from the prince had brought her, stating that, notwithstanding all his efforts, it was determined to proceed against me with the utmost rigor. “The fermentation,” said he, “is extreme; nothing can ward off the blow; the court requires it, and the parliament will absolutely proceed; at seven o’clock in the morning an order will be made to arrest him, and persons will immediately be sent to execute it. I have obtained a promise that he shall not be pursued if he makes his escape; but if he persists in exposing himself to be taken this will immediately happen.” La Roche conjured me in behalf of Madam de Luxembourg to rise and go and speak to her. It was two o’clock and she had just retired to bed. “She expects you,” added he, “and will not go to sleep without speaking to you.” I dressed myself in haste and ran to her.

She appeared to be agitated; this was for the first time. Her distress affected me. In this moment of surprise and in the night, I myself was not free from emotion; but on seeing her I forgot my own situation, and thought of nothing but the melancholy part she would have to act should I suffer myself to be arrested; for feeling I had sufficient courage strictly to adhere to truth, although I might be certain of its being prejudicial or even destructive to me, I was convinced I had not presence of mind, address, nor perhaps firmness enough, not to expose her should I be closely pressed. This determined me to sacrifice my reputation to her tranquillity, and to do for her that which nothing could have prevailed upon me to do for myself. The moment I had come to this resolution, I declared it, wishing not to diminish the magnitude of the sacrifice by giving her the least trouble to obtain it. I am sure she could not mistake my motive, although she said not a word, which proved to me she was sensible of it. I was so much shocked at her indifference that I, for a moment, thought of retracting; but the marechal came in, and Madam de Boufflers arrived from Paris a few moments afterwards. They did what Madam de Luxembourg ought to have done. I suffered myself to be flattered; I was ashamed to retract; and the only thing that remained to be determined upon was the place of my retreat and the time of my departure. M. de Luxembourg proposed to me to remain incognito a few days at the castle, that we might deliberate at leisure, and take such measures as should seem most proper; to this I would not consent, no more than to go secretly to the temple. I was determined to set off the same day rather than remain concealed in any place whatever.

Knowing I had secret and powerful enemies in the kingdom, I thought, notwithstanding my attachment to France, I ought to quit it, the better to insure my future tranquillity. My first intention was to retire to Geneva, but a moment of reflection was sufficient to dissuade me from committing that act of folly; I knew the ministry of France, more powerful at Geneva than at Paris, would not leave me more at peace in one of these cities than in the other, were a resolution taken to torment me. I was also convinced the ‘Discourse upon Inequality’ had excited against me in the council a hatred the more dangerous as the council dared not make it manifest. I had also learned, that when the New Eloisa appeared, the same council had immediately forbidden the sale of that work, upon the solicitation of Doctor Tronchin; but perceiving the example not to be imitated, even in Paris, the members were ashamed of what they had done, and withdrew the prohibition.

I had no doubt that, finding in the present case a more favorable opportunity, they would be very careful to take advantage of it. Notwithstanding exterior appearances, I knew there reigned against me in the heart of every Genevese a secret jealousy, which, in the first favorable moment, would publicly show itself. Nevertheless, the love of my country called me to it, and could I have flattered myself I should there have lived in peace, I should not have hesitated; but neither honor nor reason permitting me to take refuge as a fugitive in a place of which I was a citizen, I resolved to approach it only, and to wait in Switzerland until something relative to me should be determined upon in Geneva. This state of uncertainty did not, as it will soon appear, continue long.

Madam de Boufflers highly disapproved this resolution, and renewed her efforts to induce me to go to England, but all she could say was of no effect; I had never loved England nor the English, and the eloquence of Madam de Boufflers, far from conquering my repugnancy, seemed to increase it without my knowing why. Determined to set off the same day, I was from the morning inaccessible to everybody, and La Roche, whom I sent to fetch my papers, would not tell Theresa whether or not I was gone. Since I had determined to write my own memoirs, I had collected a great number of letters and other papers, so that he was obliged to return several times. A part of these papers, already selected, were laid aside, and I employed the morning in sorting the rest, that I might take with me such only as were necessary and destroy what remained. M. de Luxembourg was kind enough to assist me in this business, which we could not finish before it was necessary I should set off, and I had not time to burn a single paper. The marechal offered to take upon himself to sort what I should leave behind me, and throw into the fire every sheet that he found useless, without trusting to any person whomsoever, and to send me those of which he should make choice. I accepted his offer, very glad to be delivered from that care, that I might pass the few hours I had to remain with persons so dear to me, from whom I was going to separate forever. He took the key of the chamber in which I had left these papers; and, at my earnest solicitation, sent for my poor aunt, who, not knowing what had become of me, or what was to become of herself, and in momentary expectation of the arrival of the officers of justice, without knowing how to act or what to answer them, was miserable to an extreme. La Roche accompanied her to the castle in silence; she thought I was already far from Montmorency; on perceiving me, she made the place resound with her cries, and threw herself into my arms. Oh, friendship, affinity of sentiment, habit and intimacy. In this pleasing yet cruel moment, the remembrance of so many days of happiness, tenderness and peace passed together augmented the grief of a first separation after an union of seventeen years during which we had scarcely lost sight of each other for a single day.


The marechal, who saw this embrace, could not suppress his tears. He withdrew. Theresa determined never more to leave me out of her sight. I made her feel the inconvenience of accompanying me at that moment, and the necessity of her remaining to take care of my effects and collect my money. When an order is made to arrest a man, it is customary to seize his papers and put a seal upon his effects, or to make an inventory of them and appoint a guardian to whose care they are intrusted. It was necessary Theresa should remain to observe what passed, and get everything settled in the most advantageous manner possible. I promised her she should shortly come to me; the marechal confirmed my promise; but I did not choose to tell her to what place I was going, that, in case of being interrogated by the persons who came to take me into custody, she might with truth plead ignorance upon that head. In embracing her the moment before we separated I felt within me a most extraordinary emotion, and I said to her with an agitation which, alas! was but too prophetic: “My dear girl, you must arm yourself with courage. You have partaken of my prosperity; it now remains to you, since you have chosen it, to partake of my misery. Expect nothing in future but insult and calamity in following me. The destiny begun for me by this melancholy day will pursue me until my latest hour.”

I had now nothing to think of but my departure. The officers were to arrive at ten o’clock. It was four in the afternoon when I set off, and they were not yet come. It was determined I should take post. I had no carriage, The marechal made me a present of a cabriolet, and lent me horses and a postillion the first stage, where, in consequence of the measures he had taken, I had no difficulty in procuring others.

As I had not dined at table, nor made my appearance in the castle, the ladies came to bid me adieu in the entresol where I had passed the day. Madam de Luxembourg embraced me several times with a melancholy air; but I did not in these embraces feel the pressing I had done in those she had lavished upon me two or three years before. Madam de Boufflers also embraced me, and said to me many civil things. An embrace which surprised me more than all the rest had done was one from Madam de Mirepoix, for she also was at the castle. Madam la Marechale de Mirepoix is a person extremely cold, decent, and reserved, and did not, at least as she appeared to me, seem quite exempt from the natural haughtiness of the house of Lorraine. She had never shown me much attention. Whether, flattered by an honor I had not expected, I endeavored to enhance the value of it; or that there really was in the embrace a little of that commiseration natural to generous hearts, I found in her manner and look something energetical which penetrated me. I have since that time frequently thought that, acquainted with my destiny, she could not refrain from a momentary concern for my fate.

The marechal did not open his mouth; he was as pale as death. He would absolutely accompany me to the carriage which waited at the watering place. We crossed the garden without uttering a single word. I had a key of the park with which I opened the gate, and instead of putting it again into my pocket, I held it out to the marechal without saying a word. He took it with a vivacity which surprised me, and which has since frequently intruded itself upon my thoughts.

I have not in my whole life had a more bitter moment than that of this separation. Our embrace was long and silent: we both felt that this was our last adieu.

Between Barre and Montmorency I met, in a hired carriage, four men in black, who saluted me smilingly. According to what Theresa has since told me of the officers of justice, the hour of their arrival and their manner of behavior, I have no doubt, that they were the persons I met, especially as the order to arrest me, instead of being made out at seven o’clock, as I had been told it would, had not been given till noon. I had to go through Paris. A person in a cabriolet is not much concealed. I saw several persons in the streets who saluted me with an air of familiarity but I did not know one of them. The same evening I changed my route to pass Villeroy. At Lyons the couriers were conducted to the commandant. This might have been embarrassing to a man unwilling either to lie or change his name. I went with a letter from Madam de Luxembourg to beg M. de Villeroy would spare me this disagreeable ceremony. M. de Villeroy gave me a letter of which I made no use, because I did not go through Lyons. This letter still remains sealed up amongst my papers. The duke pressed me to sleep at Villeroy, but I preferred returning to the great road, which I did, and travelled two more stages the same evening.

My carriage was inconvenient and uncomfortable, and I was too much indisposed to go far in a day. My appearance besides was not sufficiently distinguished for me to be well served, and in France post-horses feel the whip in proportion to the favorable opinion the postillion has of his temporary master. By paying the guides generously thought I should make up for my shabby appearance: this was still worse. They took me for a worthless fellow who was carrying orders, and, for the first time in my life, travelling post. From that moment I had nothing but worn-out hacks, and I became the sport of the postillions. I ended as I should have begun by being patient, holding my tongue, and suffering myself to be driven as my conductors thought proper.

I had sufficient matter of reflection to prevent me from being weary on the road, employing myself in the recollection of that which had just happened; but this was neither my turn of mind nor the inclination of my heart. The facility with which I forget past evils, however recent they may be, is astonishing. The remembrance of them becomes feeble, and, sooner or later, effaced, in the inverse proportion to the greater degree of fear with which the approach of them inspires me. My cruel imagination, incessantly tormented by the apprehension of evils still at a distance, diverts my attention, and prevents me from recollecting those which are past. Caution is needless after the evil has happened, and it is time lost to give it a thought. I, in some measure, put a period to my misfortunes before they happen: the more I have suffered at their approach the greater is the facility with which I forget them; whilst, on the contrary, incessantly recollecting my past happiness, I, if I may so speak, enjoy it a second time at pleasure. It is to this happy disposition I am indebted for an exemption from that ill humor which ferments in a vindictive mind, by the continual remembrance of injuries received, and torments it with all the evil it wishes to do its enemy. Naturally choleric, I have felt all the force of anger, which in the first moments has sometimes been carried to fury, but a desire of vengeance never took root within me. I think too little of the offence to give myself much trouble about the offender. I think of the injury I have received from him on account of that he may do me a second time, but were I certain he would never do me another the first would be instantly forgotten. Pardon of offences is continually preached to us. I knew not whether or not my heart would be capable of overcoming its hatred, for it never yet felt that passion, and I give myself too little concern about my enemies to have the merit of pardoning them. I will not say to what a degree, in order to torment me, they torment themselves. I am at their mercy, they have unbounded power, and make of it what use they please. There is but one thing in which I set them at defiance: which is in tormenting themselves about me, to force me to give myself the least trouble about them.

The day after my departure I had so perfectly forgotten what had passed, the parliament, Madam de Pompadour, M. de Choiseul, Grimm, and D’Alembert, with their conspiracies, that had not it been for the necessary precautions during the journey I should have thought no more of them. The remembrance of one thing which supplied the place of all these was what I had read the evening before my departure. I recollect, also, the pastorals of Gessner, which his translator Hubert had sent me a little time before. These two ideas occurred to me so strongly, and were connected in such a manner in my mind, that I was determined to endeavor to unite them by treating after the manner of Gessner, the subject of the Levite of Ephraim. His pastoral and simple style appeared to me but little fitted to so horrid a subject, and it was not to be presumed the situation I was then in would furnish me with such ideas as would enliven it. However, I attempted the thing, solely to amuse myself in my cabriolet, and without the least hope of success. I had no sooner begun than I was astonished at the liveliness of my ideas, and the facility with which I expressed them. In three days I composed the first three cantos of the little poem I finished at Motiers, and I am certain of not having done anything in my life in which there is a more interesting mildness of manners, a greater brilliancy of coloring, more simple delineations, greater exactness of proportion, or more antique simplicity in general, notwithstanding the horror of the subject which in itself is abominable, so that besides every other merit I had still that of a difficulty conquered. If the Levite of Ephraim be not the best of my works, it will ever be that most esteemed. I have never read, nor shall I ever read it again without feeling interiorly the applause of a heart without acrimony, which, far from being embittered by misfortunes, is susceptible of consolation in the midst of them, and finds within itself a resource by which they are counterbalanced. Assemble the great philosophers, so superior in their books to adversity which they do not suffer, place them in a situation similar to mine, and, in the first moments of the indignation of their injured honor, give them a like work to compose, and it will be seen in what manner they will acquit themselves of the task.

When I set off from Montmorency to go into Switzerland, I had resolved to stop at Yverdon, at the house of my old friend Roguin, who had several years before retired to that place, and had invited me to go and see him. I was told Lyons was not the direct road, for which reason I avoided going through it. But I was obliged to pass through Besancon, a fortified town, and consequently subject to the same inconvenience. I took it into my head to turn about and to go to Salins, under the pretense of going to see M. de Marian, the nephew of M. Dupin, who had an employment at the salt-works, and formerly had given me many invitations to his house. The expedition succeeded: M. de Marian was not in the way, and, happily, not being obliged to stop, I continued my journey without being spoken to by anybody.

The moment I was within the territory of Berne, I ordered the postillion to stop; I got out of my carriage, prostrated myself, kissed the ground, and exclaimed in a transport of joy: “Heaven, the protector of virtue be praised, I touch a land of liberty!” Thus blind and unsuspecting in my hopes, have I ever been passionately attached to that which was to make me unhappy. The man thought me mad. I got into the carriage, and a few hours afterwards I had the pure and lively satisfaction of feeling myself pressed within the arms of the respectable Rougin. Ah! let me breathe for a moment with this worthy host! It is necessary I should gain strength and courage before I proceed further. I shall soon find that in my way which will give employment to them both. It is not without reason that I have been diffuse in the recital of all the circumstances I have been able to recollect. Although they may seem uninteresting, yet, when once the thread of the conspiracy is got hold of, they may throw some light upon the progress of it; and, for instance, without giving the first idea of the problem I am going to propose, afford some aid in solving it.

Suppose that, for the execution of the conspiracy of which I was the object, my absence was absolutely necessary, everything tending to that effect could not have happened otherwise than it did; but if without suffering myself to be alarmed by the nocturnal embassy of Madam de Luxembourg, I had continued to hold out, and, instead of remaining at the castle, had returned to my bed and quietly slept until morning, should I have equally had an order of arrest made out against me? This is a great question upon which the solution of many others depends, and for the examination of it, the hour of the comminatory decree of arrest, and that of the real decree may be remarked to advantage. A rude but sensible example of the importance of the least detail in the exposition of facts, of which the secret causes are sought for to discover them by induction.
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Re: The Confessions of Jean Jacques Rousseau, by Jean Jacque

Postby admin » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:26 am

Part 1 of 3


With this book begins the work of darkness, in which I have for the last eight years been enveloped, though it has not by any means been possible for me to penetrate the dreadful obscurity. In the abyss of evil into which I am plunged, I feel the blows reach me, without perceiving the hand by which they are directed or the means it employs. Shame and misfortune seem of themselves to fall upon me. When in the affliction of my heart I suffer a groan to escape me, I have the appearance of a man who complains without reason, and the authors of my ruin have the inconceivable art of rendering the public, unknown to itself, or without its perceiving the effects of it, accomplice in their conspiracy. Therefore, in my narrative of circumstances relative to myself, of the treatment I have received, and all that has happened to me, I shall not be able to indicate the hand by which the whole has been directed, nor assign the causes, while I state the effect. The primitive causes are all given in the preceding books; and everything in which I am interested, and all the secret motives pointed out. But it is impossible for me to explain, even by conjecture, that in which the different causes are combined to operate the strange events of my life. If amongst my readers one even of them should be generous enough to wish to examine the mystery to the bottom, and discover the truth, let him carefully read over a second time the three preceding books, afterwards at each fact he shall find stated in the books which follow, let him gain such information as is within his reach, and go back from intrigue to intrigue, and from agent to agent, until he comes to the first mover of all. I know where his researches will terminate; but in the meantime I lose myself in the crooked and obscure subterraneous path through which his steps must be directed.

During my stay at Yverdon, I became acquainted with all the family of my friend Roguin, and amongst others with his niece, Madam Boy de la Tour, and her daughters, whose father, as I think I have already observed, I formerly knew at Lyons. She was at Yverdon, upon a visit to her uncle and his sister; her eldest daughter, about fifteen years of age, delighted me by her fine understanding and excellent disposition. I conceived the most tender friendship for the mother and the daughter. The latter was destined by M. Rougin to the colonel, his nephew, a man already verging towards the decline of life, and who showed me marks of great esteem and affection; but although the heart of the uncle was set upon this marriage, which was much wished for by the nephew also, and I was greatly desirous to promote the satisfaction of both, the great disproportion of age, and the extreme repugnancy of the young lady, made me join with the mother in postponing the ceremony, and the affair was at length broken off. The colonel has since married Mademoiselle Dillan, his relation, beautiful, and amiable as my heart could wish, and who has made him the happiest of husbands and fathers. However, M. Rougin has not yet forgotten my opposition to his wishes. My consolation is in the certainty of having discharged to him, and his family, the duty of the most pure friendship, which does not always consist in being agreeable, but in advising for the best.

I did not remain long in doubt about the reception which awaited me at Geneva, had I chosen to return to that city. My book was burned there, and on the 18th of June, nine days after an order to arrest me had been given at Paris, another to the same effect was determined upon by the republic. So many incredible absurdities were stated in this second decree, in which the ecclesiastical edict was formally violated, that I refused to believe the first accounts I heard of it, and when these were well confirmed, I trembled lest so manifest an infraction of every law, beginning with that of common-sense, should create the greatest confusion in the city. I was, however, relieved from my fears; everything remained quiet. If there was any rumor amongst the populace, it was unfavorable to me, and I was publicly treated by all the gossips and pedants like a scholar threatened with a flogging for not having said his catechism.

These two decrees were the signal for the cry of malediction, raised against me with unexampled fury in every part of Europe. All the gazettes, journals and pamphlets, rang the alarm-bell. The French especially, that mild, generous, and polished people, who so much pique themselves upon their attention and proper condescension to the unfortunate, instantly forgetting their favorite virtues, signalized themselves by the number and violence of the outrages with which, while each seemed to strive who should afflict me most, they overwhelmed me. I was impious, an atheist, a madman, a wild beast, a wolf. The continuator of the Journal of Trevoux was guilty of a piece of extravagance in attacking my pretended Lycanthropy, which was by no means proof of his own. A stranger would have thought an author in Paris was afraid of incurring the animadversion of the police, by publishing a work of any kind without cramming into it some insult to me. I sought in vain the cause of this unanimous animosity, and was almost tempted to believe the world was gone mad. What! said I to myself, the editor of the ‘Perpetual Peace’, spread discord; the author of the ‘Confession of the Savoyard Vicar’, impious; the writer of the ‘New Eloisa’, a wolf; the author of ‘Emilius’, a madman! Gracious God! what then should I have been had I published the treatise of ‘Esprit’, or any similar work? And yet, in the storm raised against the author of that book, the public, far from joining the cry of his persecutors, revenged him of them by eulogium. Let his book and mine, the receptions the two works met with, and the treatment of the two authors in the different countries of Europe, be compared; and for the difference let causes satisfactory to a man of sense be found, and I will ask no more.

I found the residence of Yverdon so agreeable that I resolved to yield to the solicitations of M. Roguin and his family, who, were desirous of keeping me there. M. de Moiry de Gingins, bailiff of that city, encouraged me by his goodness to remain within his jurisdiction. The colonel pressed me so much to accept for my habitation a little pavilion he had in his house between the court and the garden, that I complied with his request, and he immediately furnished it with everything necessary for my little household establishment. The banneret Roguin, one of the persons who showed me the most assiduous attention, did not leave me for an instant during the whole day. I was much flattered by his civilities, but they sometimes importuned me. The day on which I was to take possession of my new habitation was already fixed, and I had written to Theresa to come to me, when suddenly a storm was raised against me in Berne, which was attributed to the devotees, but I have never been able to learn the cause of it. The senate, excited against me, without my knowing by whom, did not seem disposed to suffer me to remain undisturbed in my retreat. The moment the bailiff was informed of the new fermentation, he wrote in my favor to several of the members of the government, reproaching them with their blind intolerance, and telling them it was shameful to refuse to a man of merit, under oppression, the asylum which such a numerous banditti found in their states. Sensible people were of opinion the warmth of his reproaches had rather embittered than softened the minds of the magistrates. However this may be, neither his influence nor eloquence could ward off the blow. Having received an intimation of the order he was to signify to me, he gave me a previous communication of it; and that I might wait its arrival, I resolved to set off the next day. The difficulty was to know where to go, finding myself shut out from Geneva and all France, and foreseeing that in the affair each state would be anxious to imitate its neighbor.

Madam Boy de la Tour proposed to me to go and reside in an uninhabited but completely furnished house, which belonged to her son in the village of Motiers, in the Val de Travers, in the county of Neuchatel. I had only a mountain to cross to arrive at it. The offer came the more opportunely, as in the states of the King of Prussia I should naturally be sheltered from all persecution, at least religion could not serve as a pretext for it. But a secret difficulty: improper for me at that moment to divulge, had in it that which was very sufficient to make me hesitate. The innnate love of justice, to which my heart was constantly subject, added to my secret inclination to France, had inspired me with an aversion to the King of Prussia, who by his maxims and conduct, seemed to tread under foot all respect for natural law and every duty of humanity. Amongst the framed engravings, with which I had decorated my alcove at Montmorency, was a portrait of this prince, and under it a distich, the last line of which was as follows:

Il pense en philosophe, et se conduit en roi.

[He thinks like a philosopher, and acts like a king.]

This verse, which from any other pen would have been a fine eulogium, from mine had an unequivocal meaning, and too clearly explained the verse by which it was preceded. The distich had been, read by everybody who came to see me, and my visitors were numerous. The Chevalier de Lorenzy had even written it down to give it to D’Alembert, and I had no doubt but D’ Alembert had taken care to make my court with it to the prince. I had also aggravated this first fault by a passage in ‘Emilius’, where under the name of Adrastus, king of the Daunians, it was clearly seen whom I had in view, and the remark had not escaped critics, because Madam de Boufflers had several times mentioned the subject to me. I was, therefore, certain of being inscribed in red ink in the registers of the King of Prussia, and besides, supposing his majesty to have the principles I had dared to attribute to him, he, for that reason, could not but be displeased with my writings and their author; for everybody knows the worthless part of mankind, and tyrants have never failed to conceive the most mortal hatred against me, solely on reading my works, without being acquainted with my person.

However, I had presumption enough to depend upon his mercy, and was far from thinking I ran much risk. I knew none but weak men were slaves to the base passions, and that these had but little power over strong minds, such as I had always thought his to be. According to his art of reigning, I thought he could not but show himself magnanimous on this occasion, and that being so in fact was not above his character. I thought a mean and easy vengeance would not for a moment counterbalance his love of glory, and putting myself in his place, his taking advantage of circumstances to overwhelm with the weight of his generosity a man who had dared to think ill of him, did not appear to me impossible. I therefore went to settle at Motiers, with a confidence of which I imagined he would feel all the value, and said to myself: When Jean Jacques rises to the elevation of Coriolanus, will Frederick sink below the General of the Volsci?

Colonel Roguin insisted on crossing the mountain with me, and installing me at Moiters. A sister-in-law to Madam Boy de la Tour, named Madam Girardier, to whom the house in which I was going to live was very convenient, did not see me arrive there with pleasure; however, she with a good grace put me in possession of my lodgings, and I ate with her until Theresa came, and my little establishment was formed.

Perceiving at my departure from Montmorency I should in future be a fugitive upon the earth, I hesitated about permitting her to come to me and partake of the wandering life to which I saw myself condemned. I felt the nature of our relation to each other was about to change, and that what until then had on my part been favor and friendship, would in future become so on hers. If her attachment was proof against my misfortunes, to this I knew she must become a victim, and that her grief would add to my pain. Should my disgrace weaken her affections, she would make me consider her constancy as a sacrifice, and instead of feeling the pleasure I had in dividing with her my last morsel of bread, she would see nothing but her own merit in following me wherever I was driven by fate.

I must say everything; I have never concealed the vices either of my poor mamma or myself; I cannot be more favorable to Theresa, and whatever pleasure I may have in doing honor to a person who is dear to me, I will not disguise the truth, although it may discover in her an error, if an involuntary change of the affections of the heart be one. I had long perceived hers to grow cooler towards me, and that she was no longer for me what she had been in our younger days. Of this I was the more sensible, as for her I was what I had always been. I fell into the same inconvenience as that of which I had felt the effect with mamma, and this effect was the same now I was with Theresa. Let us not seek for perfection, which nature never produces; it would be the same thing with any other woman. The manner in which I had disposed of my children, however reasonable it had appeared to me, had not always left my heart at ease. While writing my ‘Treatise on Education’, I felt I had neglected duties with which it was not possible to dispense. Remorse at length became so strong that it almost forced from me a public confession of my fault at the beginning of my ‘Emilius’, and the passage is so clear, that it is astonishing any person should, after reading it, have had the courage to reproach me with my error. My situation was however still the same, or something worse, by the animosity of my enemies, who sought to find me in a fault. I feared a relapse, and unwilling to run the risk, I preferred abstinence to exposing Theresa to a similar mortification. I had besides remarked that a connection with women was prejudicial to my health; this double reason made me form resolutions to which I had but sometimes badly kept, but for the last three or four years I had more constantly adhered to them. It was in this interval I had remarked Theresa’s coolness; she had the same attachment to me from duty, but not the least from love. Our intercourse naturally became less agreeable, and I imagined that, certain of the continuation of my cares wherever she might be, she would choose to stay at Paris rather than to wander with me. Yet she had given such signs of grief at our parting, had required of me such positive promises that we should meet again, and, since my departure, had expressed to the Prince de Conti and M. de Luxembourg so strong a desire of it, that, far from having the courage to speak to her of separation, I scarcely had enough to think of it myself; and after having felt in my heart how impossible it was for me to do without her, all I thought of afterwards was to recall her to me as soon as possible. I wrote to her to this effect, and she came. It was scarcely two months since I had quitted her; but it was our first separation after a union of so many years. We had both of us felt it most cruelly. What emotion in our first embrace! O how delightful are the tears of tenderness and joy! How does my heart drink them up! Why have I not had reason to shed them more frequently?

On my arrival at Motiers I had written to Lord Keith, marshal of Scotland and governor of Neuchatel, informing him of my retreat into the states of his Prussian majesty, and requesting of him his protection. He answered me with his well-known generosity, and in the manner I had expected from him. He invited me to his house. I went with M. Martinet, lord of the manor of Val de Travers, who was in great favor with his excellency. The venerable appearance of this illustrious and virtuous Scotchman powerfully affected my heart, and from that instant began between him and me the strong attachment, which on my part still remains the same, and would be so on his, had not the traitors, who have deprived me of all the consolation of life, taken advantage of my absence to deceive his old age and depreciate me in his esteem.

George Keith, hereditary marshal of Scotland, and brother to the famous General Keith, who lived gloriously and died in the bed of honor, had quitted his country at a very early age, and was proscribed on account of his attachment to the house of Stuart. With that house, however, he soon became disgusted with the unjust and tyrannical spirit he remarked in the ruling character of the Stuart family. He lived a long time in Spain, the climate of which pleased him exceedingly, and at length attached himself, as his brother had done, to the service of the King of Prussia, who knew men and gave them the reception they merited. His majesty received a great return for this reception, in the services rendered him by Marshal Keith, and by what was infinitely more precious, the sincere friendship of his lordship. The great mind of this worthy man, haughty and republican, could stoop to no other yoke than that of friendship, but to this it was so obedient, that with very different maxims he saw nothing but Frederic the moment he became attached to him. The king charged the marshal with affairs of importance, sent him to Paris, to Spain, and at length, seeing he was already advanced in years, let him retire with the government of Neuchatel, and the delightful employment of passing there the remainder of his life in rendering the inhabitants happy.

The people of Neuchatel, whose manners are trivial, know not how to distinguish solid merit, and suppose wit to consist in long discourses. When they saw a sedate man of simple manners appear amongst them, they mistook his simplicity for haughtiness, his candor for rusticity, his laconism for stupidity, and rejected his benevolent cares, because, wishing to be useful, and not being a sycophant, he knew not how to flatter people he did not esteem. In the ridiculous affair of the minister Petitpierre, who was displaced by his colleagues, for having been unwilling they should be eternally damned, my lord, opposing the usurpations of the ministers, saw the whole country of which he took the part, rise up against him, and when I arrived there the stupid murmur had not entirely subsided. He passed for a man influenced by the prejudices with which he was inspired by others, and of all the imputations brought against him it was the most devoid of truth. My first sentiment on seeing this venerable old man, was that of tender commiseration, on account of his extreme leanness of body, years having already left him little else but skin and bone; but when I raised my eyes to his animated, open, noble countenance, I felt a respect, mingled with confidence, which absorbed every other sentiment. He answered the very short compliment I made him when I first came into his presence by speaking of something else, as if I had already been a week in his house. He did not bid us sit down. The stupid chatelain, the lord of the manor, remained standing. For my part I at first sight saw in the fine and piercing eye of his lordship something so conciliating that, feeling myself entirely at ease, I without ceremony, took my seat by his side upon the sofa. By the familiarity of his manner I immediately perceived the liberty I took gave him pleasure, and that he said to himself: This is not a Neuchatelois.

Singular effect of the similarity of characters! At an age when the heart loses its natural warmth, that of this good old man grew warm by his attachment to me to a degree which surprised everybody. He came to see me at Motiers under the pretence of quail shooting, and stayed there two days without touching a gun. We conceived such a friendship for each other that we knew not how to live separate; the castle of Colombier, where he passed the summer, was six leagues from Motiers; I went there at least once a fortnight, and made a stay of twenty-four hours, and then returned like a pilgrim with my heart full of affection for my host. The emotion I had formerly experienced in my journeys from the Hermitage to Eaubonne was certainly very different, but it was not more pleasing than that with which I approached Columbier.

What tears of tenderness have I shed when on the road to it, while thinking of the paternal goodness, amiable virtues, and charming philosophy of this respectable old man! I called him father, and he called me son. These affectionate names give, in some measure, an idea of the attachment by which we were united, but by no means that of the want we felt of each other, nor of our continual desire to be together. He would absolutely give me an apartment at the castle of Columbier, and for a long time pressed me to take up my residence in that in which I lodged during my visits. I at length told him I was more free and at my ease in my own house, and that I had rather continue until the end of my life to come and see him. He approved of my candor, and never afterwards spoke to me on the subject. Oh, my good lord! Oh, my worthy father! How is my heart still moved when I think of your goodness? Ah, barbarous wretches! how deeply did they wound me when they deprived me of your friendship? But no, great man, you are and ever will be the same for me, who am still the same. You have been deceived, but you are not changed. My lord marechal is not without faults; he is a man of wisdom, but he is still a man. With the greatest penetration, the nicest discrimination, and the most profound knowledge of men, he sometimes suffers himself to be deceived, and never recovers his error. His temper is very singular and foreign to his general turn of mind. He seems to forget the people he sees every day, and thinks of them in a moment when they least expect it; his attention seems ill-timed; his presents are dictated by caprice and not by propriety. He gives or sends in an instant whatever comes into his head, be the value of it ever so small. A young Genevese, desirous of entering into the service of Prussia, made a personal application to him; his lordship, instead of giving him a letter, gave him a little bag of peas, which he desired him to carry to the king. On receiving this singular recommendation his majesty gave a commission to the bearer of it. These elevated geniuses have between themselves a language which the vulgar will never understand. The whimsical manner of my lord marechal, something like the caprice of a fine woman, rendered him still more interesting to me. I was certain, and afterwards had proofs, that it had not the least influence over his sentiments, nor did it affect the cares prescribed by friendship on serious occasions, yet in his manner of obliging there is the same singularity as in his manners in general. Of this I will give one instance relative to a matter of no great importance. The journey from Motiers to Colombier being too long for me to perform in one day, I commonly divided it by setting off after dinner and sleeping at Brot, which is half way. The landlord of the house where I stopped, named Sandoz, having to solicit at Berlin a favor of importance to him, begged I would request his excellency to ask it in his behalf. “Most willingly,” said I, and took him with me. I left him in the antechamber, and mentioned the matter to his lordship, who returned me no answer. After passing with him the whole morning, I saw as I crossed the hall to go to dinner, poor Sandoz, who was fatigued to death with waiting. Thinking the governor had forgotten what I had said to him, I again spoke of the business before we sat down to table, but still received no answer. I thought this manner of making me feel I was importunate rather severe, and, pitying the poor man in waiting, held my tongue. On my return the next day I was much surprised at the thanks he returned me for the good dinner his excellency had given him after receiving his paper. Three weeks afterwards his lordship sent him the rescript he had solicited, dispatched by the minister, and signed by the king, and this without having said a word either to myself or Sandoz concerning the business, about which I thought he did not wish to give himself the least concern.

I could wish incessantly to speak of George Keith; from him proceeds my recollection of the last happy moments I have enjoyed: the rest of my life, since our separation, has been passed in affliction and grief of heart. The remembrance of this is so melancholy and confused that it was impossible for me to observe the least order in what I write, so that in future I shall be under the necessity of stating facts without giving them a regular arrangement.

I was soon relieved from my inquietude arising from the uncertainty of my asylum, by the answer from his majesty to the lord marshal, in whom, as it will readily be believed, I had found an able advocate. The king not only approved of what he had done, but desired him, for I must relate everything, to give me twelve louis. The good old man, rather embarrassed by the commission, and not knowing how to execute it properly, endeavored to soften the insult by transforming the money into provisions, and writing to me that he had received orders to furnish me with wood and coal to begin my little establishment; he moreover added, and perhaps from himself, that his majesty would willingly build me a little house, such a one as I should choose to have, provided I would fix upon the ground. I was extremely sensible of the kindness of the last offer, which made me forget the weakness of the other. Without accepting either, I considered Frederic as my benefactor and protector, and became so sincerely attached to him, that from that moment I interested myself as much in his glory as until then I had thought his successes unjust. At the peace he made soon after, I expressed my joy by an illumination in a very good taste: it was a string of garlands, with which I decorated the house I inhabited, and in which, it is true, I had the vindictive haughtiness to spend almost as much money as he had wished to give me. The peace ratified, I thought as he was at the highest pinnacle of military and political fame, he would think of acquiring that of another nature, by reanimating his states, encouraging in them commerce and agriculture, creating a new soil, covering it with a new people, maintaining peace amongst his neighbors, and becoming the arbitrator, after having been the terror, of Europe. He was in a situation to sheath his sword without danger, certain that no sovereign would oblige him again to draw it. Perceiving he did not disarm, I was afraid he would profit but little by the advantages he had gained, and that he would be great only by halves. I dared to write to him upon the subject, and with a familiarity of a nature to please men of his character, conveying to him the sacred voice of truth, which but few kings are worthy to hear. The liberty I took was a secret between him and myself. I did not communicate it even to the lord marshal, to whom I sent my letter to the king sealed up. His lordship forwarded my dispatch without asking what it contained. His majesty returned me no answer and the marshal going soon after to Berlin, the king told him he had received from me a scolding. By this I understood my letter had been ill received, and the frankness of my zeal had been mistaken for the rusticity of a pedant. In fact, this might possibly be the case; perhaps I did not say what was necessary, nor in the manner proper to the occasion. All I can answer for is the sentiment which induced me to take up the pen.

Shortly after my establishment at Motiers, Travers having every possible assurance that I should be suffered to remain there in peace, I took the Armenian habit. This was not the first time I had thought of doing it. I had formerly had the same intention, particularly at Montmorency, where the frequent use of probes often obliging me to keep my chamber, made me more clearly perceive the advantages of a long robe. The convenience of an Armenian tailor, who frequently came to see a relation he had at Montmorency, almost tempted me to determine on taking this new dress, troubling myself but little about what the world would say of it. Yet, before I concluded about the matter, I wished to take the opinion of M. de Luxembourg, who immediately advised me to follow my inclination. I therefore procured a little Armenian wardrobe, but on account of the storm raised against me, I was induced to postpone making use of it until I should enjoy tranquillity, and it was not until some months afterwards that, forced by new attacks of my disorder, I thought I could properly, and without the least risk, put on my new dress at Motiers, especially after having consulted the pastor of the place, who told me I might wear it even in the temple without indecency. I then adopted the waistcoat, caffetan, fur bonnet, and girdle; and after having in this dress attended divine service, I saw no impropriety in going in it to visit his lordship. His excellency in seeing me clothed in this manner made me no other compliment than that which consisted in saying “Salaam aleki,” i.e., “Peace be with you;” the common Turkish salutation; after which nothing more was said upon the subject, and I continued to wear my new dress.

Having quite abandoned literature, all I now thought of was leading a quiet life, and one as agreeable as I could make it. When alone, I have never felt weariness of mind, not even in complete inaction; my imagination filling up every void, was sufficient to keep up my attention. The inactive babbling of a private circle, where, seated opposite to each other, they who speak move nothing but the tongue, is the only thing I have ever been unable to support. When walking and rambling about there is some satisfaction in conversation; the feet and eyes do something; but to hear people with their arms across speak of the weather, of the biting of flies, or what is still worse, compliment each other, is to me an insupportable torment. That I might not live like a savage, I took it into my head to learn to make laces. Like the women, I carried my cushion with me, when I went to make visits, or sat down to work at my door, and chatted with passers-by. This made me the better support the emptiness of babbling, and enabled me to pass my time with my female neighbors without weariness. Several of these were very amiable and not devoid of wit. One in particular, Isabella d’Ivernois, daughter of the attorney-general of Neuchatel, I found so estimable as to induce me to enter with her into terms of particular friendship, from which she derived some advantage by the useful advice I gave her, and the services she received from me on occasions of importance, so that now a worthy and virtuous mother of a family, she is perhaps indebted to me for her reason, her husband, her life, and happiness. On my part, I received from her gentle consolation, particularly during a melancholy winter, throughout the whole of which when my sufferings were most cruel, she came to pass with Theresa and me long evenings, which she made very short for us by her agreeable conversation, and our mutual openness of heart. She called me papa, and I called her daughter, and these names, which we still give to each other, will, I hope, continue to be as dear to her as they are to me. That my laces might be of some utility, I gave them to my young female friends at their marriages, upon condition of their suckling their children; Isabella’s eldest sister had one upon these terms, and well deserved it by her observance of them; Isabella herself also received another, which, by intention, she as fully merited. She has not been happy enough to be able to pursue her inclination. When I sent the laces to the two sisters, I wrote each of them a letter; the first has been shown about in the world; the second has not the same celebrity: friendship proceeds with less noise.

Amongst the connections I made in my neighborhood, of which I will not enter into a detail, I must mention that with Colonel Pury, who had a house upon the mountain, where he came to pass the summer. I was not anxious to become acquainted with him, because I knew he was upon bad terms at court, and with the lord marshal, whom he did not visit. Yet, as he came to see me, and showed me much attention, I was under the necessity of returning his visit; this was repeated, and we sometimes dined with each other. At his house I became acquainted with M. du Perou, and afterwards too intimately connected with him to pass his name over in silence.

M. du Perou was an American, son to a commandant of Surinam, whose successor, M. le Chambrier, of Neuchatel, married his widow. Left a widow a second time, she came with her son to live in the country of her second husband.

Du Perou, an only son, very rich, and tenderly beloved by his mother, had been carefully brought up, and his education was not lost upon him. He had acquired much knowledge, a taste for the arts, and piqued himself upon his having cultivated his rational faculty: his Dutch appearance, yellow complexion, and silent and close disposition, favored this opinion. Although young, he was already deaf and gouty. This rendered his motions deliberate and very grave, and although he was fond of disputing, he in general spoke but little because his hearing was bad. I was struck with his exterior, and said to myself, this is a thinker, a man of wisdom, such a one as anybody would be happy to have for a friend. He frequently addressed himself to me without paying the least compliment, and this strengthened the favorable opinion I had already formed of him. He said but little to me of myself or my books, and still less of himself; he was not destitute of ideas, and what he said was just. This justness and equality attracted my regard. He had neither the elevation of mind, nor the discrimination of the lord marshal, but he had all his simplicity: this was still representing him in something. I did not become infatuated with him, but he acquired my attachment from esteem; and by degrees this esteem led to friendship, and I totally forgot the objection I made to the Baron Holbach: that he was too rich.

For a long time I saw but little of Du Perou, because I did not go to Neuchatel, and he came but once a year to the mountain of Colonel Pury. Why did I not go to Neuchatel? This proceeded from a childishness upon which I must not be silent.

Although protected by the King of Prussia and the lord marshal, while I avoided persecution in my asylum, I did not avoid the murmurs of the public, of municipal magistrates and ministers. After what had happened in France it became fashionable to insult me; these people would have been afraid to seem to disapprove of what my persecutors had done by not imitating them. The ‘classe’ of Neuchatel, that is, the ministers of that city, gave the impulse, by endeavoring to move the council of state against me. This attempt not having succeeded, the ministers addressed themselves to the municipal magistrate, who immediately prohibited my book, treating me on all occasions with but little civility, and saying, that had I wished to reside in the city I should not have been suffered to do it. They filled their Mercury with absurdities and the most stupid hypocrisy, which, although, it makes every man of sense laugh, animated the people against me. This, however, did not prevent them from setting forth that I ought to be very grateful for their permitting me to live at Motiers, where they had no authority; they would willingly have measured me the air by the pint, provided I had paid for it a dear price. They would have it that I was obliged to them for the protection the king granted me in spite of the efforts they incessantly made to deprive me of it. Finally, failing of success, after having done me all the injury they could, and defamed me to the utmost of their power, they made a merit of their impotence, by boasting of their goodness in suffering me to stay in their country. I ought to have laughed at their vain efforts, but I was foolish enough to be vexed at them, and had the weakness to be unwilling to go to Neuchatel, to which I yielded for almost two years, as if it was not doing too much honor to such wretches, to pay attention to their proceedings, which, good or bad, could not be imputed to them, because they never act but from a foreign impulse. Besides, minds without sense or knowledge, whose objects of esteem are influence, power and money, and far from imagining even that some respect is due to talents, and that it is dishonorable to injure and insult them.

A certain mayor of a village, who from sundry malversations had been deprived of his office, said to the lieutenant of Val de Travers, the husband of Isabella: “I am told this Rousseau has great wit,—bring him to me that I may see whether he has or not.” The disapprobation of such a man ought certainly to have no effect upon those on whom it falls.

After the treatment I had received at Paris, Geneva, Berne, and even at Neuchatel, I expected no favor from the pastor of this place. I had, however, been recommended to him by Madam Boy de la Tour, and he had given me a good reception; but in that country where every new-comer is indiscriminately flattered, civilities signify but little. Yet, after my solemn union with the reformed church, and living in a Protestant country, I could not, without failing in my engagements, as well as in the duty of a citizen, neglect the public profession of the religion into which I had entered; I therefore attended divine service. On the other hand, had I gone to the holy table, I was afraid of exposing myself to a refusal, and it was by no means probable, that after the tumult excited at Geneva by the council, and at Neuchatel by the classe (the ministers), he would, without difficulty, administer to me the sacrament in his church. The time of communion approaching, I wrote to M. de Montmollin, the minister, to prove to him my desire of communicating, and declaring myself heartily united to the Protestant church; I also told him, in order to avoid disputing upon articles of faith, that I would not hearken to any particular explanation of the point of doctrine. After taking these steps I made myself easy, not doubting but M. de Montmollin would refuse to admit me without the preliminary discussion to which I refused to consent, and that in this manner everything would be at an end without any fault of mine. I was deceived: when I least expected anything of the kind, M. de Montmollin came to declare to me not only that he admitted me to the communion under the condition which I had proposed, but that he and the elders thought themselves much honored by my being one of their flock. I never in my whole life felt greater surprise or received from it more consolation. Living always alone and unconnected appeared to me a melancholy destiny, especially in adversity. In the midst of so many proscriptions and persecutions, I found it extremely agreeable to be able to say to myself: I am at least amongst my brethren; and I went to the communion with an emotion of heart, and my eyes suffused with tears of tenderness, which perhaps were the most agreeable preparation to Him to whose table I was drawing near.

Sometime afterwards his lordship sent me a letter from Madam de Boufflers, which he had received, at least I presumed so, by means of D’Alembert, who was acquainted with the marechal. In this letter, the first this lady had written to me after my departure from Montmorency, she rebuked me severely for having written to M. de Montmollin, and especially for having communicated. I the less understood what she meant by her reproof, as after my journey to Geneva, I had constantly declared myself a Protestant, and had gone publicly to the Hotel de Hollande without incurring the least censure from anybody. It appeared to me diverting enough, that Madam de Boufflers should wish to direct my conscience in matters of religion. However, as I had no doubt of the purity of her intention, I was not offended by this singular sally, and I answered her without anger, stating to her my reasons.

Calumnies in print were still industriously circulated, and their benign authors reproached the different powers with treating me too mildly. For my part, I let them say and write what they pleased, without giving myself the least concern about the matter. I was told there was a censure from the Sorbonne, but this I could not believe. What could the Sorbonne have to do in the matter? Did the doctors wish to know to a certainty that I was not a Catholic? Everybody already knew I was not one. Were they desirous of proving I was not a good Calvinist? Of what consequence was this to them? It was taking upon themselves a singular care, and becoming the substitutes of our ministers. Before I saw this publication I thought it was distributed in the name of the Sorbonne, by way of mockery: and when I had read it I was convinced this was the case. But when at length there was not a doubt of its authenticity, all I could bring myself to believe was, that the learned doctors would have been better placed in a madhouse than they were in the college.

I was more affected by another publication, because it came from a man for whom I always had an esteem, and whose constancy I admired, though I pitied his blindness. I mean the mandatory letter against me by the archbishop of Paris. I thought to return an answer to it was a duty I owed myself. This I felt I could do without derogating from my dignity; the case was something similar to that of the King of Poland. I had always detested brutal disputes, after the manner of Voltaire. I never combat but with dignity, and before I deign to defend myself I must be certain that he by whom I am attacked will not dishonor my retort. I had no doubt but this letter was fabricated by the Jesuits, and although they were at that time in distress, I discovered in it their old principle of crushing the wretched. I was therefore at liberty to follow my ancient maxim, by honoring the titulary author, and refuting the work which I think I did completely.

I found my residence at Motiers very agreeable, and nothing was wanting to determine me to end my days there, but a certainty of the means of subsistence. Living is dear in that neighborhood, and all my old projects had been overturned by the dissolution of my household arrangements at Montmorency, the establishment of others, the sale or squandering of my furniture, and the expenses incurred since my departure. The little capital which remained to me daily diminished. Two or three years were sufficient to consume the remainder without my having the means of renewing it, except by again engaging in literary pursuits: a pernicious profession which I had already abandoned. Persuaded that everything which concerned me would change, and that the public, recovered from its frenzy, would make my persecutors blush, all my endeavors tended to prolong my resources until this happy revolution should take place, after which I should more at my ease choose a resource from amongst those which might offer themselves. To this effect I took up my Dictionary of Music, which ten years’ labor had so far advanced as to leave nothing wanting to it but the last corrections. My books which I had lately received, enabled me to finish this work; my papers sent me by the same conveyance, furnished me with the means of beginning my memoirs to which I was determined to give my whole attention. I began by transcribing the letters into a book, by which my memory might be guided in the order of fact and time. I had already selected those I intended to keep for this purpose, and for ten years the series was not interrupted. However, in preparing them for copying I found an interruption at which I was surprised. This was for almost six months, from October, 1756, to March following. I recollected having put into my selection a number of letters from Diderot, De Leyre, Madam d’ Epinay, Madam de Chenonceaux, etc., which filled up the void and were missing. What was become of them? Had any person laid their hands upon my papers whilst they remained in the Hotel de Luxembourg? This was not conceivable, and I had seen M. de Luxembourg take the key of the chamber in which I had deposited them. Many letters from different ladies, and all those from Diderot, were without date, on which account I had been under the necessity of dating them from memory before they could be put in order, and thinking I might have committed errors, I again looked them over for the purpose of seeing whether or not I could find those which ought to fill up the void. This experiment did not succeed. I perceived the vacancy to be real, and that the letters had certainly been taken away. By whom and for what purpose? This was what I could not comprehend. These letters, written prior to my great quarrels, and at the time of my first enthusiasm in the composition of ‘Eloisa’, could not be interesting to any person. They contained nothing more than cavillings by Diderot, jeerings from De Leyre, assurances of friendship from M. de Chenonceaux, and even Madam d’Epinay, with whom I was then upon the best of terms. To whom were these letters of consequence? To what use were they to be put? It was not until seven years afterwards that I suspected the nature of the theft.

The deficiency being no longer doubtful, I looked over my rough drafts to see whether or not it was the only one. I found several, which on account of the badness of my memory, made me suppose others in the multitude of my papers. Those I remarked were that of the ‘Morale Sensitive’, and the extract of the adventures of Lord Edward. The last, I confess, made me suspect Madam de Luxembourg. La Roche, her valet de chambre, had sent me the papers, and I could think of nobody but herself to whom this fragment could be of consequence; but what concern could the other give her, any more than the rest of the letters missing, with which, even with evil intentions, nothing to my prejudice could be done, unless they were falsified? As for the marechal, with whose friendship for me, and invariable integrity, I was perfectly acquainted, I never could suspect him for a moment. The most reasonable supposition, after long tormenting my mind in endeavoring to discover the author of the theft, was that which imputed it to D’Alembert, who, having thrust himself into the company of Madam de Luxembourg, might have found means to turn over these papers, and take from amongst them such manuscripts and letters as he might have thought proper, either for the purpose of endeavoring to embroil me with the writer of them, or to appropriate those he should find useful to his own private purposes. I imagined that, deceived by the title of Morale Sensitive, he might have supposed it to be the plan of a real treatise upon materialism, with which he would have armed himself against me in a manner easy to be imagined. Certain that he would soon be undeceived by reading the sketch and determined to quit all literary pursuits, these larcenies gave me but little concern. They besides were not the first the same hand had committed upon me without having complained of these pilferings.

[I had found in his ‘Elemens de Musique’ (Elements of Music)
several things taken from what I had written for the ‘Encyclopedie’,
and which were given to him several years before the publication of
his elements. I know not what he may have had to do with a book
entitled ‘Dictionaire des Beaux Arts’ (Dictionary of the Fine Arts)
but I found in it articles transcribed word for word from mine, and
this long before the same articles were printed in the

In a very little time I thought no more of the trick that had been played me than if nothing had happened, and began to collect the materials I had left for the purpose of undertaking my projected confessions.

I had long thought the company of ministers, or at least the citizens and burgesses of Geneva, would remonstrate against the infraction of the edict in the decree made against me. Everything remained quiet, at least to all exterior appearance; for discontent was general, and ready, on the first opportunity, openly to manifest itself. My friends, or persons calling themselves such, wrote letter after letter exhorting me to come and put myself at their head, assuring me of public separation from the council. The fear of the disturbance and troubles which might be caused by my presence, prevented me from acquiescing with their desires, and, faithful to the oath I had formerly made, never to take the least part in any civil dissension in my country, I chose rather to let the offence remain as it was, and banish myself forever from the country, than to return to it by means which were violent and dangerous. It is true, I expected the burgesses would make legal remonstrances against an infraction in which their interests were deeply concerned; but no such steps were taken. They who conducted the body of citizens sought less the real redress of grievances than an opportunity to render themselves necessary. They caballed but were silent, and suffered me to be bespattered by the gossips and hypocrites set on to render me odious in the eyes of the populace, and pass off their misdemeanors as religious zeal.

After having, during a whole year, vainly expected that some one would remonstrate against an illegal proceeding, and seeing myself abandoned by my fellow-citizens, I determined to renounce my ungrateful country in which I never had lived, from which I had not received either inheritance or services, and by which, in return for the honor I had endeavored to do it, I saw myself so unworthily treated by unanimous consent, since they, who should have spoken, had remained silent. I therefore wrote to the first syndic for that year, to M. Favre, if I remember right, a letter in which I solemnly gave up my freedom of the city of Geneva, carefully observing in it, however, that decency and moderation, from which I have never departed in the acts of haughtiness which, in my misfortunes, the cruelty of my enemies have frequently forced upon me.
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Re: The Confessions of Jean Jacques Rousseau, by Jean Jacque

Postby admin » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:27 am

Part 2 of 3

This step opened the eyes of the citizens, who feeling they had neglected their own interests by abandoning my defence, took my part when it was too late. They had wrongs of their own which they joined to mine, and made these the subject of several well-reasoned representations, which they strengthened and extended, as the refusal of the council, supported by the ministry of France, made them more clearly perceive the project formed to impose on them a yoke. These altercations produced several pamphlets which were undecisive, until that appeared entitled ‘Lettres ecrites de la Campagne’, a work written in favor of the council, with infinite art, and by which the remonstrating party, reduced to silence, was crushed for a time. This production, a lasting monument of the rare talents of its author, came from the Attorney-General Tronchin, a man of wit and an enlightened understanding, well versed in the laws and government of the republic. ‘Siluit terra’.

The remonstrators, recovered from their first overthrow, undertook to give an answer, and in time produced one which brought them off tolerably well. But they all looked to me, as the only person capable of combating a like adversary with hope of success. I confess I was of their opinion, and excited by my former fellow-citizens, who thought it was my duty to aid them with my pen, as I had been the cause of their embarrassment, I undertook to refute the ‘Lettres ecrites de la Campagne’, and parodied the title of them by that of ‘Lettres ecrites de la Montagne,’ which I gave to mine. I wrote this answer so secretly, that at a meeting I had at Thonon, with the chiefs of the malcontents to talk of their affairs, and where they showed me a sketch of their answer, I said not a word of mine, which was quite ready, fearing obstacles might arise relative to the impression of it, should the magistrate or my enemies hear of what I had done. This work was, however known in France before the publication; but government chose rather to let it appear, than to suffer me to guess at the means by which my secret had been discovered. Concerning this I will state what I know, which is but trifling: what I have conjectured shall remain with myself.

I received, at Motiers, almost as many visits as at the Hermitage and Montmorency; but these, for the most part were a different kind. They who had formerly come to see me were people who, having taste, talents, and principles, something similar to mine, alleged them as the causes of their visits, and introduced subjects on which I could converse. At Motiers the case was different, especially with the visitors who came from France. They were officers or other persons who had no taste for literature, nor had many of them read my works, although, according to their own accounts, they had travelled thirty, forty, sixty, and even a hundred leagues to come and see me, and admire the illustrious man, the very celebrated, the great man, etc. For from the time of my settling at Motiers, I received the most impudent flattery, from which the esteem of those with whom I associated had formerly sheltered me. As but few of my new visitors deigned to tell me who or what they were, and as they had neither read nor cast their eye over my works, nor had their researches and mine been directed to the same objects, I knew not what to speak to them upon: I waited for what they had to say, because it was for them to know and tell me the purpose of their visit. It will naturally be imagined this did not produce conversations very interesting to me, although they, perhaps, were so to my visitors, according to the information they might wish to acquire; for as I was without suspicion, I answered without reserve, to every question they thought proper to ask me, and they commonly went away as well informed as myself of the particulars of my situation.

I was, for example, visited in this manner by M. de Feins, equerry to the queen, and captain of cavalry, who had the patience to pass several days at Motiers, and to follow me on foot even to La Ferriere, leading his horse by the bridle, without having with me any point of union, except our acquaintance with Mademoiselle Fel, and that we both played at ‘bilboquet’. [A kind of cup and ball.]

Before this I had received another visit much more extraordinary. Two men arrived on foot, each leading a mule loaded with his little baggage, lodging at the inn, taking care of their mules and asking to see me. By the equipage of these muleteers they were taken for smugglers, and the news that smugglers were come to see me was instantly spread. Their manner of addressing me sufficiently showed they were persons of another description; but without being smugglers they might be adventurers, and this doubt kept me for some time on my guard. They soon removed my apprehensions. One was M. de Montauban, who had the title of Comte de la Tour du Pin, gentleman to the dauphin; the other, M. Dastier de Carpentras, an old officer who had his cross of St. Louis in his pocket, because he could not display it. These gentlemen, both very amiable, were men of sense, and their manner of travelling, so much to my own taste, and but little like that of French gentlemen, in some measure gained them my attachment, which an intercourse with them served to improve. Our acquaintance did not end with the visit; it is still kept up, and they have since been several times to see me, not on foot, that was very well for the first time; but the more I have seen of these gentlemen the less similarity have I found between their taste and mine; I have not discovered their maxims to be such as I have ever observed, that my writings are familiar to them, or that there is any real sympathy between them and myself. What, therefore, did they want with me? Why came they to see me with such an equipage? Why repeat their visit? Why were they so desirous of having me for their host? I did not at that time propose to myself these questions; but they have sometimes occurred to me since.

Won by their advances, my heart abandoned itself without reserve, especially to M. Dastier, with whose open countenance I was more particularly pleased. I even corresponded with him, and when I determined to print the ‘Letters from the Mountains’, I thought of addressing myself to him, to deceive those by whom my packet was waited for upon the road to Holland. He had spoken to me a good deal, and perhaps purposely, upon the liberty of the press at Avignon; he offered me his services should I have anything to print there: I took advantage of the offer and sent him successively by the post my first sheets. After having kept these for some time, he sent them back to me, “Because,” said he, “no bookseller dared to sell them;” and I was obliged to have recourse to Rey taking care to send my papers, one after the other, and not to part with those which succeeded until I had advice of the reception of those already sent. Before the work was published, I found it had been seen in the office of the ministers, and D’Escherny, of Neuchatel, spoke to me of the book, entitled ‘De l’Homme de la Montagne’, which D’Holbach had told him was by me. I assured him, and it was true, that I never had written a book which bore that title. When the letters appeared he became furious, and accused me of falsehood; although I had told him truth. By this means I was certain my manuscript had been read; as I could not doubt the fidelity of Rey, the most rational conjecture seemed to be, that my packets had been opened at the post-house.

Another acquaintance I made much about the same time, but which was begun by letters, was that with M. Laliand of Nimes, who wrote to me from Paris, begging I would send him my profile; he said he was in want of it for my bust in marble, which Le Moine was making for him to be placed in his library. If this was a pretence invented to deceive me, it fully succeeded. I imagined that a man who wished to have my bust in marble in his library had his head full of my works, consequently of my principles, and that he loved me because his mind was in unison with mine. It was natural this idea should seduce me. I have since seen M. Laliand. I found him very ready to render me many trifling services, and to concern himself in my little affairs, but I have my doubts of his having, in the few books he ever read, fallen upon any one of those I have written. I do not know that he has a library, or that such a thing is of any use to him; and for the bust he has a bad figure in plaster, by Le Moine, from which has been engraved a hideous portrait that bears my name, as if it bore to me some resemblance.

The only Frenchman who seemed to come to see me, on account of my sentiments, and his taste for my works, was a young officer of the regiment of Limousin, named Seguier de St. Brisson. He made a figure in Paris, where he still perhaps distinguishes himself by his pleasing talents and wit. He came once to Montmorency, the winter which preceded my catastrophe. I was pleased with his vivacity. He afterwards wrote to me at Motiers, and whether he wished to flatter me, or that his head was turned with Emilius, he informed me he was about to quit the service to live independently, and had begun to learn the trade of a carpenter. He had an elder brother, a captain in the same regiment, the favorite of the mother, who, a devotee to excess, and directed by I know not what hypocrite, did not treat the youngest son well, accusing him of irreligion, and what was still worse, of the unpardonable crime of being connected with me. These were the grievances, on account of which he was determined to break with his mother, and adopt the manner of life of which I have just spoken, all to play the part of the young Emilius. Alarmed at his petulance, I immediately wrote to him, endeavoring to make him change his resolution, and my exhortations were as strong as I could make them. They had their effect. He returned to his duty, to his mother, and took back the resignation he had given the colonel, who had been prudent enough to make no use of it, that the young man might have time to reflect upon what he had done. St. Brisson, cured of these follies, was guilty of another less alarming, but, to me, not less disagreeable than the rest: he became an author. He successively published two or three pamphlets which announced a man not devoid of talents, but I have not to reproach myself with having encouraged him by my praises to continue to write.

Some time afterwards he came to see me, and we made together a pilgrimage to the island of St. Pierre. During this journey I found him different from what I saw of him at Montmorency. He had, in his manner, something affected, which at first did not much disgust me, although I have since thought of it to his disadvantage. He once visited me at the hotel de St. Simon, as I passed through Paris on my way to England. I learned there what he had not told me, that he lived in the great world, and often visited Madam de Luxembourg. Whilst I was at Trie, I never heard from him, nor did he so much as make inquiry after me, by means of his relation Mademoiselle Seguier, my neighbor. This lady never seemed favorably disposed towards me. In a word, the infatuation of M. de St. Brisson ended suddenly, like the connection of M. de Feins: but this man owed me nothing, and the former was under obligations to me, unless the follies I prevented him from committing were nothing more than affectation; which might very possibly be the case.

I had visits from Geneva also. The Delucs, father and son, successively chose me for their attendant in sickness. The father was taken ill on the road, the son was already sick when he left Geneva; they both came to my house. Ministers, relations, hypocrites, and persons of every description came from Geneva and Switzerland, not like those from France, to laugh at and admire me, but to rebuke and catechise me. The only person amongst them who gave me pleasure, was Moultou, who passed with me three or four days, and whom I wished to remain much longer; the most persevering of all, the most obstinate, and who conquered me by importunity, was a M. d’Ivernois, a merchant at Geneva, a French refugee, and related to the attorney-general of Neuchatel. This man came from Geneva to Motiers twice a year, on purpose to see me, remained with me several days together from morning to night, accompanied me in my walks, brought me a thousand little presents, insinuated himself in spite of me into my confidence, and intermeddled in all my affairs, notwithstanding there was not between him and myself the least similarity of ideas, inclination, sentiment, or knowledge. I do not believe he ever read a book of any kind throughout, or that he knows upon what subject mine are written. When I began to herbalize, he followed me in my botanical rambles, without taste for that amusement, or having anything to say to me or I to him. He had the patience to pass with me three days in a public house at Goumoins, whence, by wearying him and making him feel how much he wearied me, I was in hopes of driving him away. I could not, however, shake his incredible perseverance, nor by any means discover the motive of it.

Amongst these connections, made and continued by force, I must not omit the only one that was agreeable to me, and in which my heart was really interested: this was that I had with a young Hungarian who came to live at Neuchatel, and from that place to Motiers, a few months after I had taken up my residence there. He was called by the people of the country the Baron de Sauttern, by which name he had been recommended from Zurich. He was tall, well made, had an agreeable countenance, and mild and social qualities. He told everybody, and gave me also to understand that he came to Neuchatel for no other purpose, than that of forming his youth to virtue, by his intercourse with me. His physiognomy, manner, and behavior, seemed well suited to his conversation, and I should have thought I failed in one of the greatest duties had I turned my back upon a young man in whom I perceived nothing but what was amiable, and who sought my acquaintance from so respectable a motive. My heart knows not how to connect itself by halves. He soon acquired my friendship, and all my confidence, and we were presently inseparable. He accompanied me in all my walks, and became fond of them. I took him to the marechal, who received him with the utmost kindness. As he was yet unable to explain himself in French, he spoke and wrote to me in Latin, I answered in French, and this mingling of the two languages did not make our conversations either less smooth or lively. He spoke of his family, his affairs, his adventures, and of the court of Vienna, with the domestic details of which he seemed well acquainted. In fine, during two years which we passed in the greatest intimacy, I found in him a mildness of character proof against everything, manners not only polite but elegant, great neatness of person, an extreme decency in his conversation, in a word, all the marks of a man born and educated a gentleman, and which rendered him in my eyes too estimable not to make him dear to me.

At the time we were upon the most intimate and friendly terms, D’ Ivernois wrote to me from Geneva, putting me upon my guard against the young Hungarian who had taken up his residence in my neighborhood; telling me he was a spy whom the minister of France had appointed to watch my proceedings. This information was of a nature to alarm me the more, as everybody advised me to guard against the machinations of persons who were employed to keep an eye upon my actions, and to entice me into France for the purpose of betraying me. To shut the mouths, once for all, of these foolish advisers, I proposed to Sauttern, without giving him the least intimation of the information I had received, a journey on foot to Pontarlier, to which he consented. As soon as we arrived there I put the letter from D’Ivernois into his hands, and after giving him an ardent embrace, I said: “Sauttern has no need of a proof of my confidence in him, but it is necessary I should prove to the public that I know in whom to place it.” This embrace was accompanied with a pleasure which persecutors can neither feel themselves, nor take away from the oppressed.

I will never believe Sauttern was a spy, nor that he betrayed me: but I was deceived by him. When I opened to him my heart without reserve, he constantly kept his own shut, and abused me by lies. He invented I know not what kind of story, to prove to me his presence was necessary in his own country. I exhorted him to return to it as soon as possible. He set off, and when I thought he was in Hungary, I learned he was at Strasbourgh. This was not the first time he had been there. He had caused some disorder in a family in that city; and the husband knowing I received him in my house, wrote to me. I used every effort to bring the young woman back to the paths of virtue, and Sauttern to his duty.

When I thought they were perfectly detached from each other, they renewed their acquaintance, and the husband had the complaisance to receive the young man at his house; from that moment I had nothing more to say. I found the pretended baron had imposed upon me by a great number of lies. His name was not Sauttern, but Sauttersheim. With respect to the title of baron, given him in Switzerland, I could not reproach him with the impropriety, because he had never taken it; but I have not a doubt of his being a gentleman, and the marshal, who knew mankind, and had been in Hungary, always considered and treated him as such.

He had no sooner left my neighborhood, than the girl at the inn where he ate, at Motiers, declared herself with child by him. She was so dirty a creature, and Sauttern, generally esteemed in the country for his conduct and purity of morals, piqued himself so much upon cleanliness, that everybody was shocked at this impudent pretension. The most amiable women of the country, who had vainly displayed to him their charms, were furious: I myself was almost choked with indignation. I used every effort to get the tongue of this impudent woman stopped, offering to pay all expenses, and to give security for Sauttersheim. I wrote to him in the fullest persuasion, not only that this pregnancy could not relate to him, but that it was feigned, and the whole a machination of his enemies and mine. I wished him to return and confound the strumpet, and those by whom she was dictated to. The pusillanimity of his answer surprised me. He wrote to the master of the parish to which the creature belonged, and endeavored to stifle the matter. Perceiving this, I concerned myself no more about it, but I was astonished that a man who could stoop so low should have been sufficiently master of himself to deceive me by his reserve in the closest familiarity.

From Strasbourgh, Sauttersheim went to seek his fortune in Paris, and found there nothing but misery. He wrote to me acknowledging his error. My compassion was excited by the recollection of our former friendship, and I sent him a sum of money. The year following, as I passed through Paris, I saw him much in the same situation; but he was the intimate friend of M. de Laliand, and I could not learn by what means he had formed this acquaintance, or whether it was recent or of long standing. Two years afterwards Sauttersheim returned to Strasbourgh, whence he wrote to me and where he died. This, in a few words, is the history of our connection, and what I know of his adventures; but while I mourn the fate of the unhappy young man, I still, and ever shall, believe he was the son of people of distinction, and the impropriety of his conduct was the effect of the situations to which he was reduced.

Such were the connections and acquaintance I acquired at Motiers. How many of these would have been necessary to compensate the cruel losses I suffered at the same time.

The first of these was that of M. de Luxembourg, who, after having been long tormented by the physicians, at length became their victim, by being treated for the gout which they would not acknowledge him to have, as for a disorder they thought they could cure.

According to what La Roche, the confidential servant of Madam de Luxembourg, wrote to me relative to what had happened, it is by this cruel and memorable example that the miseries of greatness are to be deplored.

The loss of this good nobleman afflicted me the more, as he was the only real friend I had in France, and the mildness of his character was such as to make me quite forget his rank, and attach myself to him as his equal. Our connection was not broken off on account of my having quitted the kingdom; he continued to write to me as usual.

I nevertheless thought I perceived that absence, or my misfortune, had cooled his affection for me. It is difficult to a courtier to preserve the same attachment to a person whom he knows to be in disgrace with courts. I moreover suspected the great ascendancy Madam de Luxembourg had over his mind had been unfavorable to me, and that she had taken advantage of our separation to injure me in his esteem. For her part, notwithstanding a few affected marks of regard, which daily became less frequent, she less concealed the change in her friendship. She wrote to me four or five times into Switzerland, after which she never wrote to me again, and nothing but my prejudice, confidence and blindness, could have prevented my discovering in her something more than a coolness towards me.

Guy the bookseller, partner with Duchesne, who, after I had left Montmorency, frequently went to the hotel de Luxembourg, wrote to me that my name was in the will of the marechal. There was nothing in this either incredible or extraordinary, on which account I had no doubt of the truth of the information. I deliberated within myself whether or not I should receive the legacy. Everything well considered, I determined to accept it, whatever it might be, and to do that honor to the memory of an honest man, who, in a rank in which friendship is seldom found, had had a real one for me. I had not this duty to fulfill. I heard no more of the legacy, whether it were true or false; and in truth I should have felt some pain in offending against one of the great maxims of my system of morality, in profiting by anything at the death of a person whom I had once held dear. During the last illness of our friend Mussard, Leneips proposed to me to take advantage of the grateful sense he expressed for our cares, to insinuate to him dispositions in our favor. “Ah! my dear Leneips,” said I, “let us not pollute by interested ideas the sad but sacred duties we discharge towards our dying friend. I hope my name will never be found in the testament of any person, at least not in that of a friend.” It was about this time that my lord marshal spoke to me of his, of what he intended to do in it for me, and that I made him the answer of which I have spoken in the first part of my memoirs.

My second loss, still more afflicting and irreparable, was that of the best of women and mothers, who, already weighed down with years, and overburthened with infirmities and misery, quitted this vale of tears for the abode of the blessed, where the amiable remembrance of the good we have done here below is the eternal reward of our benevolence. Go, gentle and beneficent shade, to those of Fenelon, Bernex, Catinat, and others, who in a more humble state have, like them, opened their hearts to pure charity; go and taste of the fruit of your own benevolence, and prepare for your son the place he hopes to fill by your side. Happy in your misfortunes that Heaven, in putting to them a period, has spared you the cruel spectacle of his! Fearing, lest I should fill her heart with sorrow by the recital of my first disasters, I had not written to her since my arrival in Switzerland; but I wrote to M. de Conzie, to inquire after her situation, and it was from him I learned she had ceased to alleviate the sufferings of the afflicted, and that her own were at an end. I myself shall not suffer long; but if I thought I should not see her again in the life to come, my feeble imagination would less delight in the idea of the perfect happiness I there hope to enjoy.

My third and last loss, for since that time I have not had a friend to lose, was that of the lord marshal. He did not die but tired of serving the ungrateful, he left Neuchatel, and I have never seen him since. He still lives, and will, I hope, survive me: he is alive, and thanks to him all my attachments on earth are not destroyed. There is one man still worthy of my friendship; for the real value of this consists more in what we feel than in that which we inspire; but I have lost the pleasure I enjoyed in his, and can rank him in the number of those only whom I love, but with whom I am no longer connected. He went to England to receive the pardon of the king, and acquired the possession of the property which formerly had been confiscated. We did not separate without an intention of again being united, the idea of which seemed to give him as much pleasure as I received from it. He determined to reside at Keith Hall, near Aberdeen, and I was to join him as soon as he was settled there: but this project was too flattering to my hopes to give me any of its success. He did not remain in Scotland. The affectionate solicitations of the King of Prussia induced him to return to Berlin, and the reason of my not going to him there will presently appear.

Before this departure, foreseeing the storm which my enemies began to raise against me, he of his own accord sent me letters of naturalization, which seemed to be a certain means of preventing me from being driven from the country. The community of the Convent of Val de Travers followed the example of the governor, and gave me letters of Communion, gratis, as they were the first. Thus, in every respect, become a citizen, I was sheltered from legal expulsion, even by the prince; but it has never been by legitimate means, that the man who, of all others, has shown the greatest respect for the laws, has been persecuted. I do not think I ought to enumerate, amongst the number of my losses at this time, that of the Abbe Malby. Having lived sometime at the house of his mother, I have been acquainted with the abbe, but not very intimately, and I have reason to believe the nature of his sentiments with respect to me changed after I acquired a greater celebrity than he already had. But the first time I discovered his insincerity was immediately after the publication of the ‘Letters from the Mountain’. A letter attributed to him, addressed to Madam Saladin, was handed about in Geneva, in which he spoke of this work as the seditious clamors of a furious demagogue.

The esteem I had for the Abbe Malby, and my great opinion of his understanding, did not permit me to believe this extravagant letter was written by him. I acted in this business with my usual candor. I sent him a copy of the letter, informing him he was said to be the author of it. He returned me no answer. This silence astonished me: but what was my surprise when by a letter I received from Madam de Chenonceaux, I learned the Abbe was really the author of that which was attributed to him, and found himself greatly embarrassed by mine. For even supposing for a moment that what he stated was true, how could he justify so public an attack, wantonly made, without obligation or necessity, for the sole purpose of overwhelming in the midst of his greatest misfortunes, a man to whom he had shown himself a well-wisher, and who had not done anything that could excite his enmity? In a short time afterwards the ‘Dialogues of Phocion’, in which I perceived nothing but a compilation, without shame or restraint, from my writings, made their appearance.

In reading this book I perceived the author had not the least regard for me, and that in future I must number him among my most bitter enemies. I do not believe he has ever pardoned me for the Social Contract, far superior to his abilities, or the Perpetual Peace; and I am, besides, of opinion that the desire he expressed that I should make an extract from the Abbe de St. Pierre, proceeded from a supposition in him that I should not acquit myself of it so well.

The further I advance in my narrative, the less order I feel myself capable of observing. The agitation of the rest of my life has deranged in my ideas the succession of events. These are too numerous, confused, and disagreeable to be recited in due order. The only strong impression they have left upon my mind is that of the horrid mystery by which the cause of them is concealed, and of the deplorable state to which they have reduced me. My narrative will in future be irregular, and according to the events which, without order, may occur to my recollection. I remember about the time to which I refer, full of the idea of my confessions, I very imprudently spoke of them to everybody, never imagining it could be the wish or interest, much less within the power of any person whatsoever, to throw an obstacle in the way of this undertaking, and had I suspected it, even this would not have rendered me more discreet, as from the nature of my disposition it is totally impossible for me to conceal either my thoughts or feelings. The knowledge of this enterprise was, as far as I can judge, the cause of the storm that was raised to drive me from Switzerland, and deliver me into the hands of those by whom I might be prevented from executing it.

I had another project in contemplation which was not looked upon with a more favorable eye by those who were afraid of the first: this was a general edition of my works. I thought this edition of them necessary to ascertain what books, amongst those to which my name was affixed, were really written by me, and to furnish the public with the means of distinguishing them from the writings falsely attributed to me by my enemies, to bring me to dishonor and contempt. This was besides a simple and an honorable means of insuring to myself a livelihood, and the only one that remained to me. As I had renounced the profession of an author, my memoirs not being of a nature to appear during my lifetime; as I no longer gained a farthing in any manner whatsoever, and constantly lived at a certain expense, I saw the end of my resources in that of the produce of the last things I had written. This reason had induced me to hasten the finishing of my Dictionary of Music, which still was incomplete. I had received for it a hundred louis (guineas) and a life annuity of three hundred livres; but a hundred louis could not last long in the hands of a man who annually expended upwards of sixty, and three-hundred livres (twelve guineas) a year was but a trifling sum to one upon whom parasites and beggarly visitors lighted like a swarm of flies.

A company of merchants from Neuchatel came to undertake the general edition, and a printer or bookseller of the name of Reguillat, from Lyons, thrust himself, I know not by what means, amongst them to direct it. The agreement was made upon reasonable terms, and sufficient to accomplish my object. I had in print and manuscript, matter for six volumes in quarto. I moreover agreed to give my assistance in bringing out the edition. The merchants were, on their part, to pay me a thousand crowns (one hundred and twenty-five pounds) down, and to assign me an annuity of sixteen hundred livres (sixty-six pounds) for life.

The agreement was concluded but not signed, when the Letters from the Mountain appeared. The terrible explosion caused by this infernal work, and its abominable author, terrified the company, and the undertaking was at an end. I would compare the effect of this last production to that of the Letter on French Music, had not that letter, while it brought upon me hatred, and exposed me to danger, acquired me respect and esteem. But after the appearance of the last work, it was a matter of astonishment at Geneva and Versailles that such a monster as the author of it should be suffered to exist. The little council, excited by the French resident, and directed by the attorney-general, made a declaration against my work, by which, in the most severe terms, it was declared to be unworthy of being burned by the hands of the hangman, adding, with an address which bordered upon the burlesque, there was no possibility of speaking of or answering it without dishonor. I would here transcribe the curious piece of composition, but unfortunately I have it not by me. I ardently wish some of my readers, animated by the zeal of truth and equity, would read over the Letters from the Mountain: they will, I dare hope, feel the stoical moderation which reigns throughout the whole, after all the cruel outrages with which the author was loaded. But unable to answer the abuse, because no part of it could be called by that name nor to the reasons because these were unanswerable, my enemies pretended to appear too much enraged to reply: and it is true, if they took the invincible arguments it contains for abuse, they must have felt themselves roughly treated.

The remonstrating party, far from complaining of the odious declaration, acted according to the spirit of it, and instead of making a trophy of the Letters from the Mountain, which they veiled to make them serve as a shield, were pusillanimous enough not to do justice or honor to that work, written to defend them, and at their own solicitation. They did not either quote or mention the letters, although they tacitly drew from them all their arguments, and by exactly following the advice with which they conclude, made them the sole cause of their safety and triumph. They had imposed on me this duty: I had fulfilled it, and unto the end had served their cause and the country. I begged of them to abandon me, and in their quarrels to think of nobody but themselves. They took me at my word, and I concerned myself no more about their affairs, further than constantly to exhort them to peace, not doubting, should they continue to be obstinate, of their being crushed by France; this however did not happen; I know the reason why it did not, but this is not the place to explain what I mean.

The effect produced at Neuchatel by the Letters from the Mountain was at first very mild. I sent a copy of them to M. de Montmollin, who received it favorably, and read it without making any objection. He was ill as well as myself; as soon as he recovered he came in a friendly manner to see me, and conversed on general subjects. A rumor was however begun; the book was burned I know not where. From Geneva, Berne, and perhaps from Versailles, the effervescence quickly passed to Neuchatel, and especially to Val de Travers, where, before even the ministers had taken any apparent steps, an attempt was secretly made to stir up the people. I ought, I dare assert, to have been beloved by the people of that country in which I have lived, giving alms in abundance, not leaving about me an indigent person without assistance, never refusing to do any service in my power, and which was consistent with justice, making myself perhaps too familiar with everybody, and avoiding, as far as it was possible for me to do it, all distinction which might excite the least jealousy. This, however, did not prevent the populace, secretly stirred up against me, by I know not whom, from being by degrees irritated against me, even to fury, nor from publicly insulting me, not only in the country and upon the road, but in the street. Those to whom I had rendered the greatest services became most irritated against me, and even people who still continued to receive my benefactions, not daring to appear, excited others, and seemed to wish thus to be revenged of me for their humiliation, by the obligations they were under for the favors I had conferred upon them. Montmollin seemed to pay no attention to what was passing, and did not yet come forward. But as the time of communion approached, he came to advise me not to present myself at the holy table, assuring me, however, he was not my enemy, and that he would leave me undisturbed. I found this compliment whimsical enough; it brought to my recollection the letter from Madam de Boufflers, and I could not conceive to whom it could be a matter of such importance whether I communicated or not. Considering this condescension on my part as an act of cowardice, and moreover, being unwilling to give to the people a new pretext under which they might charge me with impiety, I refused the request of the minister, and he went away dissatisfied, giving me to understand I should repent of my obstinacy.

He could not of his own authority forbid me the communion: that of the Consistory, by which I had been admitted to it, was necessary, and as long as there was no objection from that body I might present myself without the fear of being refused. Montmollin procured from the Classe (the ministers) a commission to summon me to the Consistory, there to give an account of the articles of my faith, and to excommunicate me should I refuse to comply. This excommunication could not be pronounced without the aid of the Consistory also, and a majority of the voices. But the peasants, who under the appellation of elders, composed this assembly, presided over and governed by their minister, might naturally be expected to adopt his opinion, especially in matters of the clergy, which they still less understood than he did. I was therefore summoned, and I resolved to appear.

What a happy circumstance and triumph would this have been to me could I have spoken, and had I, if I may so speak, had my pen in my mouth! With what superiority, with what facility even, should I have overthrown this poor minister in the midst of his six peasants! The thirst after power having made the Protestant clergy forget all the principles of the reformation, all I had to do to recall these to their recollection and to reduce them to silence, was to make comments upon my first ‘Letters from the Mountain’, upon which they had the folly to animadvert.

My text was ready, and I had only to enlarge on it, and my adversary was confounded. I should not have been weak enough to remain on the defensive; it was easy to me to become an assailant without his even perceiving it, or being able to shelter himself from my attack. The contemptible priests of the Classe, equally careless and ignorant, had of themselves placed me in the most favorable situation I could desire to crush them at pleasure. But what of this? It was necessary I should speak without hesitation, and find ideas, turn of expression, and words at will, preserving a presence of mind, and keeping myself collected, without once suffering even a momentary confusion. For what could I hope, feeling as I did, my want of aptitude to express myself with ease? I had been reduced to the most mortifying silence at Geneva, before an assembly which was favorable to me, and previously resolved to approve of everything I should say. Here, on the contrary, I had to do with a cavalier who, substituting cunning to knowledge, would spread for me a hundred snares before I could perceive one of them, and was resolutely determined to catch me in an error let the consequence be what it would. The more I examined the situation in which I stood, the greater danger I perceived myself exposed to, and feeling the impossibility of successfully withdrawing from it, I thought of another expedient. I meditated a discourse which I intended to pronounce before the Consistory, to exempt myself from the necessity of answering. The thing was easy. I wrote the discourse and began to learn it by memory, with an inconceivable ardor. Theresa laughed at hearing me mutter and incessantly repeat the same phrases, while endeavoring to cram them into my head. I hoped, at length, to remember what I had written: I knew the chatelain as an officer attached to the service of the prince, would be present at the Consistory, and that notwithstanding the manoeuvres and bottles of Montmollin, most of the elders were well disposed towards me. I had, moreover, in my favor, reason, truth, and justice, with the protection of the king, the authority of the council of state, and the good wishes of every real patriot, to whom the establishment of this inquisition was threatening. In fine, everything contributed to encourage me.

On the eve of the day appointed, I had my discourse by rote, and recited it without missing a word. I had it in my head all night: in the morning I had forgotten it. I hesitated at every word, thought myself before the assembly, became confused, stammered, and lost my presence of mind. In fine, when the time to make my appearance was almost at hand, my courage totally failed me. I remained at home and wrote to the Consistory, hastily stating my reasons, and pleaded my disorder, which really, in the state to which apprehension had reduced me, would scarcely have permitted me to stay out the whole sitting.

The minister, embarrassed by my letter, adjourned the Consistory. In the interval, he of himself, and by his creatures, made a thousand efforts to seduce the elders, who, following the dictates of their consciences, rather than those they received from him, did not vote according to his wishes, or those of the Classe. Whatever power his arguments drawn from his cellar might have over this kind of people, he could not gain one of them, more than the two or three who were already devoted to his will, and who were called his ‘ames damnees’.—[damned souls]—The officer of the prince, and the Colonel Pury, who, in this affair, acted with great zeal, kept the rest to their duty, and when Montmollin wished to proceed to excommunication, his Consistory, by a majority of voices, flatly refused to authorize him to do it. Thus reduced to the last expedient, that of stirring up the people against me, he, his colleagues, and other persons, set about it openly, and were so successful, that not-withstanding the strong and frequent rescripts of the king, and the orders of the council of state, I was at length obliged to quit the country, that I might not expose the officer of the king to be himself assassinated while he protected me.

The recollection of the whole of this affair is so confused, that it is impossible for me to reduce to or connect the circumstances of it. I remember a kind of negotiation had been entered into with the Classe, in which Montmollin was the mediator. He feigned to believe it was feared I should, by my writings, disturb the peace of the country, in which case, the liberty I had of writing would be blamed. He had given me to understand that if I consented to lay down my pen, what was past would be forgotten. I had already entered into this engagement with myself, and did not hesitate in doing it with the Classe, but conditionally and solely in matters of religion. He found means to have a duplicate of the agreement upon some change necessary to be made in it, the condition having been rejected by the Classe; I demanded back the writing, which was returned to me, but he kept the duplicate, pretending it was lost. After this, the people, openly excited by the ministers, laughed at the rescripts of the king, and the orders of the council of state, and shook off all restraint. I was declaimed against from the pulpit, called antichrist, and pursued in the country like a mad wolf. My Armenian dress discovered me to the populace; of this I felt the cruel inconvenience, but to quit it in such circumstances, appeared to me an act of cowardice. I could not prevail upon myself to do it, and I quietly walked through the country with my caffetan and fur bonnet in the midst of the hootings of the dregs of the people, and sometimes through a shower of stones. Several times as I passed before houses, I heard those by whom they were inhabited call out: “Bring me my gun that I may fire at him.” As I did not on this account hasten my pace, my calmness increased their fury, but they never went further than threats, at least with respect to firearms.

During the fermentation I received from two circumstances the most sensible pleasure. The first was my having it in my power to prove my gratitude by means of the lord marshal. The honest part of the inhabitants of Neuchatel, full of indignation at the treatment I received, and the manoeuvres of which I was the victim, held the ministers in execration, clearly perceiving they were obedient to a foreign impulse, and the vile agents of people, who, in making them act, kept themselves concealed; they were moreover afraid my case would have dangerous consequences, and be made a precedent for the purpose of establishing a real inquisition.

The magistrates, and especially M. Meuron, who had succeeded M. d’ Ivernois in the office of attorney-general, made every effort to defend me. Colonel Pury, although a private individual, did more and succeeded better. It was the colonel who found means to make Montmollin submit in his Consistory, by keeping the elders to their duty. He had credit, and employed it to stop the sedition; but he had nothing more than the authority of the laws, and the aid of justice and reason, to oppose to that of money and wine: the combat was unequal, and in this point Montmollin was triumphant. However, thankful for his zeal and cares, I wished to have it in my power to make him a return of good offices, and in some measure discharge a part of the obligations I was under to him. I knew he was very desirous of being named a counsellor of state; but having displeased the court by his conduct in the affair of the minister Petitpierre, he was in disgrace with the prince and governor. I however undertook, at all risks, to write to the lord marshal in his favor: I went so far as even to mention the employment of which he was desirous, and my application was so well received that, contrary to the expectations of his most ardent well wishers, it was almost instantly conferred upon him by the king. In this manner fate, which has constantly raised me to too great an elevation, or plunged me into an abyss of adversity, continued to toss me from one extreme to another, and whilst the populace covered me with mud I was able to make a counsellor of state.

The other pleasing circumstance was a visit I received from Madam de Verdelin with her daughter, with whom she had been at the baths of Bourbonne, whence they came to Motiers and stayed with me two or three days. By her attention and cares, she at length conquered my long repugnancy; and my heart, won by her endearing manner, made her a return of all the friendship of which she had long given me proofs. This journey made me extremely sensible of her kindness: my situation rendered the consolations of friendship highly necessary to support me under my sufferings. I was afraid she would be too much affected by the insults I received from the populace, and could have wished to conceal them from her that her feelings might not be hurt, but this was impossible; and although her presence was some check upon the insolent populace in our walks, she saw enough of their brutality to enable her to judge of what passed when I was alone. During the short residence she made at Motiers, I was still attacked in my habitation. One morning her chambermaid found my window blocked up with stones, which had been thrown at it during the night. A very heavy bench placed in the street by the side of the house, and strongly fastened down, was taken up and reared against the door in such a manner as, had it not been perceived from the window, to have knocked down the first person who should have opened the door to go out. Madam de Verdelin was acquainted with everything that passed; for, besides what she herself was witness to, her confidential servant went into many houses in the village, spoke to everybody, and was seen in conversation with Montmollin. She did not, however, seem to pay the least attention to that which happened to me, nor never mentioned Montmollin nor any other person, and answered in a few words to what I said to her of him. Persuaded that a residence in England would be more agreeable to me than any other, she frequently spoke of Mr. Hume who was then at Paris, of his friendship for me, and the desire he had of being of service to me in his own country. It is time I should say something of Hume.

He had acquired a great reputation in France amongst the Encyclopedists by his essays on commerce and politics, and in the last place by his history of the House of Stuart, the only one of his writings of which I had read a part, in the translation of the Abbe Prevot. For want of being acquainted with his other works, I was persuaded, according to what I heard of him, that Mr. Hume joined a very republican mind to the English Paradoxes in favor of luxury. In this opinion I considered his whole apology of Charles I. as a prodigy of impartiality, and I had as great an idea of his virtue as of his genius. The desire of being acquainted with this great man, and of obtaining his friendship, had greatly strengthened the inclination I felt to go to England, induced by the solicitations of Madam de Boufflers, the intimate friend of Hume. After my arrival in Switzerland, I received from him, by means of this lady, a letter extremely flattering; in which, to the highest encomiums on my genius, he subjoined a pressing invitation to induce me to go to England, and the offer of all his interest, and that of his friends, to make my residence there agreeable. I found in the country to which I had retired, the lord marshal, the countryman and friend of Hume, who confirmed my good opinion of him, and from whom I learned a literary anecdote, which did him great honor in the opinion of his lordship and had the same effect in mine. Wallace, who had written against Hume upon the subject of the population of the ancients, was absent whilst his work was in the press. Hume took upon himself to examine the proofs, and to do the needful to the edition. This manner of acting was according to my way of thinking. I had sold at six sous (three pence) a piece, the copies of a song written against myself. I was, therefore, strongly prejudiced in favor of Hume, when Madam de Verdelin came and mentioned the lively friendship he expressed for me, and his anxiety to do me the honors of England; such was her expression. She pressed me a good deal to take advantage of this zeal and to write to him. As I had not naturally an inclination to England, and did not intend to go there until the last extremity, I refused to write or make any promise; but I left her at liberty to do whatever she should think necessary to keep Mr. Hume favorably disposed towards me. When she went from Motiers, she left me in the persuasion, by everything she had said to me of that illustrious man, that he was my friend, and she herself still more his.

After her departure, Montmollin carried on his manoeuvres with more vigor, and the populace threw off all restraint. Yet I still continued to walk quietly amidst the hootings of the vulgar; and a taste for botany, which I had begun to contract with Doctor d’Ivernois, making my rambling more amusing, I went through the country herbalising, without being affected by the clamors of this scum of the earth, whose fury was still augmented by my calmness. What affected me most was, seeing families of my friends, or of persons who gave themselves that name, openly join the league of my persecutors; such as the D’Ivernois, without excepting the father and brother of my Isabel le Boy de la Tour, a relation to the friend in whose house I lodged, and Madam Girardier, her sister-in-law.

[This fatality had begun with my residence at Yverdon; the banneret
Roguin dying a year or two after my departure from that city, the
old papa Roguin had the candor to inform me with grief, as he said,
that in the papers of his relation, proofs had been found of his
having been concerned in the conspiracy to expel me from Yverdon and
the state of Berne. This clearly proved the conspiracy not to be,
as some people pretended to believe, an affair of hypocrisy; since
the banneret, far from being a devotee, carried materialism and
incredulity to intolerance and fanaticism. Besides, nobody at
Yverdon had shown me more constant attention, nor had so prodigally
bestowed upon me praises and flattery as this banneret. He
faithfully followed the favorite plan of my persecutors.]

This Peter Boy was such a brute; so stupid, and behaved so uncouthly, that, to prevent my mind from being disturbed, I took the liberty to ridicule him; and after the manner of the ‘Petit Prophete’, I wrote a pamphlet of a few pages, entitled, ‘la Vision de Pierre de la Montagne dit le Voyant,—[The vision of Peter of the Mountain called the Seer.]—in which I found means to be diverting enough on the miracles which then served as the great pretext for my persecution. Du Peyrou had this scrap printed at Geneva, but its success in the country was but moderate; the Neuchatelois with all their wit, taste but weakly attic salt or pleasantry when these are a little refined.

In the midst of decrees and persecutions, the Genevese had distinguished themselves by setting up a hue and cry with all their might; and my friend Vernes amongst others, with an heroical generosity, chose that moment precisely to publish against me letters in which he pretended to prove I was not a Christian. These letters, written with an air of self-sufficiency, were not the better for it, although it was positively said the celebrated Bonnet had given them some correction: for this man, although a materialist, has an intolerant orthodoxy the moment I am in question. There certainly was nothing in this work which could tempt me to answer it; but having an opportunity of saying a few words upon it in my ‘Letters from the Mountain’, I inserted in them a short note sufficiently expressive of disdain to render Vernes furious. He filled Geneva with his furious exclamations, and D’Ivernois wrote me word he had quite lost his senses. Sometime afterwards appeared an anonymous sheet, which instead of ink seemed to be written with water of Phlegethon. In this letter I was accused of having exposed my children in the streets, of taking about with me a soldier’s trull, of being worn out with debaucheries..., and other fine things of a like nature. It was not difficult for me to discover the author. My first idea on reading this libel, was to reduce to its real value everything the world calls fame and reputation amongst men; seeing thus a man who was never in a brothel in his life, and whose greatest defect was in being as timid and shy as a virgin, treated as a frequenter of places of that description; and in finding myself charged with being......, I, who not only never had the least taint of such disorder, but, according to the faculty, was so constructed as to make it almost impossible for me to contract it. Everything well considered, I thought I could not better refute this libel than by having it printed in the city in which I longest resided, and with this intention I sent it to Duchesne to print it as it was with an advertisement in which I named M. Vernes and a few short notes by way of eclaircissement. Not satisfied with printing it only, I sent copies to several persons, and amongst others one copy to the Prince Louis of Wirtemberg, who had made me polite advances and with whom I was in correspondence. The prince, Du Peyrou, and others, seemed to have their doubts about the author of the libel, and blamed me for having named Vernes upon so slight a foundation. Their remarks produced in me some scruples, and I wrote to Duchesne to suppress the paper. Guy wrote to me he had suppressed it: this may or may not be the case; I have been deceived on so many occasions that there would be nothing extraordinary in my being so on this, and from the time of which I speak, was so enveloped in profound darkness that it was impossible for me to come at any kind of truth.
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Re: The Confessions of Jean Jacques Rousseau, by Jean Jacque

Postby admin » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:27 am

Part 3 of 3

M. Vernes bore the imputation with a moderation more than astonishing in a man who was supposed not to have deserved it, and after the fury with which he was seized on former occasions. He wrote me two or three letters in very guarded terms, with a view, as it appeared to me, to endeavor by my answers to discover how far I was certain of his being the author of the paper, and whether or not I had any proofs against him. I wrote him two short answers, severe in the sense, but politely expressed, and with which he was not displeased. To his third letter, perceiving he wished to form with me a kind of correspondence, I returned no answer, and he got D’Ivernois to speak to me. Madam Cramer wrote to Du Peyrou, telling him she was certain the libel was not by Vernes. This however, did not make me change my opinion. But as it was possible I might be deceived, and as it is certain that if I were, I owed Vernes an explicit reparation, I sent him word by D’Ivernois that I would make him such a one as he should think proper, provided he would name to me the real author of the libel, or at least prove that he himself was not so. I went further: feeling that, after all, were he not culpable, I had no right to call upon him for proofs of any kind, I stated in a memoir of considerable length, the reasons whence I had inferred my conclusion, and determined to submit them to the judgment of an arbitrator, against whom Vernes could not except. But few people would guess the arbitrator of whom I made choice. I declared at the end of the memoir, that if, after having examined it, and made such inquiries as should seem necessary, the council pronounced M. Vernes not to be the author of the libel, from that moment I should be fully persuaded he was not, and would immediately go and throw myself at his feet, and ask his pardon until I had obtained it. I can say with the greatest truth that my ardent zeal for equity, the uprightness and generosity of my heart, and my confidence in the love of justice innate in every mind never appeared more fully and perceptible than in this wise and interesting memoir, in which I took, without hesitation, my most implacable enemies for arbitrators between a calumniator and myself. I read to Du Peyrou what I had written: he advised me to suppress it, and I did so. He wished me to wait for the proofs Vernes promised, and I am still waiting for them: he thought it best that I should in the meantime be silent, and I held my tongue, and shall do so the rest of my life, censured as I am for having brought against Vernes a heavy imputation, false and unsupportable by proof, although I am still fully persuaded, nay, as convinced as I am of my existence, that he is the author of the libel. My memoir is in the hands of Du Peyrou. Should it ever be published my reasons will be found in it, and the heart of Jean Jacques, with which my contemporaries would not be acquainted, will I hope be known.

I have now to proceed to my catastrophe at Motiers, and to my departure from Val de Travers, after a residence of two years and a half, and an eight months suffering with unshaken constancy of the most unworthy treatment. It is impossible for me clearly to recollect the circumstances of this disagreeable period, but a detail of them will be found in a publication to that effect by Du Peyrou, of which I shall hereafter have occasion to speak.

After the departure of Madam de Verdelin the fermentation increased, and, notwithstanding the reiterated rescripts of the king, the frequent orders of the council of state, and the cares of the chatelain and magistrates of the place, the people, seriously considering me as antichrist, and perceiving all their clamors to be of no effect, seemed at length determined to proceed to violence; stones were already thrown after me in the roads, but I was however in general at too great a distance to receive any harm from them. At last, in the night of the fair of Motiers, which is in the beginning of September, I was attacked in my habitation in such a manner as to endanger the lives of everybody in the house.

At midnight I heard a great noise in the gallery which ran along the back part of the house. A shower of stones thrown against the window and the door which opened to the gallery fell into it with so much noise and violence, that my dog, which usually slept there, and had begun to bark, ceased from fright, and ran into a corner gnawing and scratching the planks to endeavor to make his escape. I immediately rose, and was preparing to go from my chamber into the kitchen, when a stone thrown by a vigorous arm crossed the latter, after having broken the window, forced open the door of my chamber, and fell at my feet, so that had I been a moment sooner upon the floor I should have had the stone against my stomach. I judged the noise had been made to bring me to the door, and the stone thrown to receive me as I went out. I ran into the kitchen, where I found Theresa, who also had risen, and was tremblingly making her way to me as fast as she could. We placed ourselves against the wall out of the direction of the window to avoid the stones, and deliberate upon what was best to be done; for going out to call assistance was the certain means of getting ourselves knocked on the head. Fortunately the maid-servant of an old man who lodged under me was waked by the noise, and got up and ran to call the chatelain, whose house was next to mine. He jumped from his bed, put on his robe de chambre, and instantly came to me with the guard, which, on account of the fair, went the round that night, and was just at hand. The chatelain was so alarmed at the sight of the effects of what had happened that he turned pale and on seeing the stones in the gallery, exclaimed, “Good God! here is a quarry!” On examining below stairs, a door of a little court was found to have been forced, and there was an appearance of an attempt having been made to get into the house by the gallery. On inquiring the reason why the guard had neither prevented nor perceived the disturbance, it came out that the guards of Motiers had insisted upon doing duty that night, although it was the turn of those of another village.

The next day the chatelain sent his report to the council of state, which two days afterwards sent an order to inquire into the affair, to promise a reward and secrecy to those who should impeach such as were guilty, and in the meantime to place, at the expense of the king, guards about my house, and that of the chatelain, which joined to it. The day after the disturbance, Colonel Pury, the Attorney-General Meuron, the Chatelain Martinet, the Receiver Guyenet, the Treasurer d’Ivernois and his father, in a word, every person of consequence in the country, came to see me, and united their solicitations to persuade me to yield to the storm and leave, at least for a time, a place in which I could no longer live in safety nor with honor. I perceived that even the chatelain was frightened at the fury of the people, and apprehending it might extend to himself, would be glad to see me depart as soon as possible, that he might no longer have the trouble of protecting me there, and be able to quit the parish, which he did after my departure. I therefore yielded to their solicitations, and this with but little pain, for the hatred of the people so afflicted my heart that I was no longer able to support it.

I had a choice of places to retire to. After Madam de Verdelin returned to Paris, she had, in several letters, mentioned a Mr. Walpole, whom she called my lord, who, having a strong desire to serve me, proposed to me an asylum at one of his country houses, of the situation of which she gave me the most agreeable description; entering, relative to lodging and subsistence, into a detail which proved she and Lord Walpole had held particular consultations upon the project. My lord marshal had always advised me to go to England or Scotland, and in case of my determining upon the latter, offered me there an asylum. But he offered me another at Potsdam, near to his person, and which tempted me more than all the rest.

He had just communicated to me what the king had said to him about my going there, which was a kind of invitation to me from that monarch, and the Duchess of Saxe-Gotha depended so much upon my taking the journey that she wrote to me desiring I should go to see her in my way to the court of Prussia, and stay some time before I proceeded farther; but I was so attached to Switzerland that I could not resolve to quit it so long as it was possible for me to live there, and I seized this opportunity to execute a project of which I had for several months conceived the idea, and of which I have deferred speaking, that I might not interrupt my narrative.

This project consisted in going to reside in the island of St. Peter, an estate belonging to the Hospital of Berne, in the middle of the lake of Bienne. In a pedestrian pilgrimage I had made the preceding year with Du Peyrou we had visited this isle, with which I was so much delighted that I had since that time incessantly thought of the means of making it my place of residence. The greatest obstacle to my wishes arose from the property of the island being vested in the people of Berne, who three years before had driven me from amongst them; and besides the mortification of returning to live with people who had given me so unfavorable a reception, I had reason to fear they would leave me no more at peace in the island than they had done at Yverdon. I had consulted the lord marshal upon the subject, who thinking as I did, that the people of Berne would be glad to see me banished to the island, and to keep me there as a hostage for the works I might be tempted to write, and sounded their dispositions by means of M. Sturler, his old neighbor at Colombier. M. Sturler addressed himself to the chiefs of the state, and, according to their answer assured the marshal the Bernois, sorry for their past behavior, wished to see me settled in the island of St. Peter, and to leave me there at peace. As an additional precaution, before I determined to reside there, I desired the Colonel Chaillet to make new inquiries. He confirmed what I had already heard, and the receiver of the island having obtained from his superiors permission to lodge me in it, I thought I might without danger go to the house, with the tacit consent of the sovereign and the proprietors; for I could not expect the people of Berne would openly acknowledge the injustice they had done me, and thus act contrary to the most inviolable maxim of all sovereigns.

The island of St. Peter, called at Neuchatel the island of La Motte, in the middle of the lake of Bienne, is half a league in circumference; but in this little space all the chief productions necessary to subsistence are found. The island has fields, meadows, orchards, woods, and vineyards, and all these, favored by variegated and mountainous situations, form a distribution of the more agreeable, as the parts, not being discovered all at once, are seen successively to advantage, and make the island appear greater than it really is. A very elevated terrace forms the western part of it, and commands Gleresse and Neuverville. This terrace is planted with trees which form a long alley, interrupted in the middle by a great saloon, in which, during the vintage, the people from the neighboring shores assemble and divert themselves. There is but one house in the whole island, but that is very spacious and convenient, inhabited by the receiver, and situated in a hollow by which it is sheltered from the winds.

Five or six hundred paces to the south of the island of St. Peter is another island, considerably less than the former, wild and uncultivated, which appears to have been detached from the greater island by storms: its gravelly soil produces nothing but willows and persicaria, but there is in it a high hill well covered with greensward and very pleasant. The form of the lake is an almost regular oval. The banks, less rich than those of the lake of Geneva and Neuchatel, form a beautiful decoration, especially towards the western part, which is well peopled, and edged with vineyards at the foot of a chain of mountains, something like those of Cote-Rotie, but which produce not such excellent wine. The bailiwick of St. John, Neuveville, Berne, and Bienne, lie in a line from the south to the north, to the extremity of the lake, the whole interspersed with very agreeable villages.

Such was the asylum I had prepared for myself, and to which I was determined to retire after quitting Val de Travers.

[It may perhaps be necessary to remark that I left there an enemy in
M. du Teneaux, mayor of Verrieres, not much esteemed in the country,
but who has a brother, said to be an honest man, in the office of M.
de St. Florentin. The mayor had been to see him some time before my
adventure. Little remarks of this kind, though of no consequence,
in themselves, may lead to the discovery of many underhand

This choice was so agreeable to my peaceful inclinations, and my solitary and indolent disposition, that I consider it as one of the pleasing reveries of which I became the most passionately fond. I thought I should in that island be more separated from men, more sheltered from their outrages, and sooner forgotten by mankind: in a word, more abandoned to the delightful pleasures of the inaction of a contemplative life. I could have wished to have been confined in it in such a manner as to have had no intercourse with mortals, and I certainly took every measure I could imagine to relieve me from the necessity of troubling my head about them.

The great question was that of subsistence, and by the dearness of provisions, and the difficulty of carriage, this is expensive in the island; the inhabitants are besides at the mercy of the receiver. This difficulty was removed by an arrangement which Du Peyrou made with me in becoming a substitute to the company which had undertaken and abandoned my general edition. I gave him all the materials necessary, and made the proper arrangement and distribution. To the engagement between us I added that of giving him the memoirs of my life, and made him the general depositary of all my papers, under the express condition of making no use of them until after my death, having it at heart quietly to end my days without doing anything which should again bring me back to the recollection of the public. The life annuity he undertook to pay me was sufficient to my subsistence. My lord marshal having recovered all his property, had offered me twelve hundred livres (fifty pounds) a year, half of which I accepted. He wished to send me the principal, and this I refused on account of the difficulty of placing it. He then sent the amount to Du Peyrou, in whose hands it remained, and who pays me the annuity according to the terms agreed upon with his lordship. Adding therefore to the result of my agreement with Du Peyrou, the annuity of the marshal, two-thirds of which were reversible to Theresa after my death, and the annuity of three hundred livres from Duchesne, I was assured of a genteel subsistence for myself, and after me for Theresa, to whom I left seven hundred livres (twenty-nine pounds) a year, from the annuities paid me by Rey and the lord marshal; I had therefore no longer to fear a want of bread. But it was ordained that honor should oblige me to reject all these resources which fortune and my labors placed within my reach, and that I should die as poor as I had lived. It will be seen whether or not, without reducing myself to the last degree of infamy, I could abide by the engagements which care has always taken to render ignominious, by depriving me of every other resource to force me to consent to my own dishonor. How was it possible anybody could doubt of the choice I should make in such an alternative? Others have judged of my heart by their own.

My mind at ease relative to subsistence was without care upon every other subject. Although I left in the world the field open to my enemies, there remained in the noble enthusiasm by which my writings were dictated, and in the constant uniformity of my principles, an evidence of the uprightness of my heart which answered to that deducible from my conduct in favor of my natural disposition. I had no need of any other defense against my calumniators. They might under my name describe another man, but it was impossible they should deceive such as were unwilling to be imposed upon. I could have given them my whole life to animadvert upon, with a certainty, notwithstanding all my faults and weaknesses, and my want of aptitude to support the lightest yoke, of their finding me in every situation a just and good man, without bitterness, hatred, or jealousy, ready to acknowledge my errors, and still more prompt to forget the injuries I received from others; seeking all my happiness in love, friendship, and affection, and in everything carrying my sincerity even to imprudence and the most incredible disinterestedness.

I therefore in some measure took leave of the age in which I lived and my contemporaries, and bade adieu to the world, with an intention to confine myself for the rest of my days to that island; such was my resolution, and it was there I hoped to execute the great project of the indolent life to which I had until then consecrated the little activity with which Heaven had endowed me. The island was to become to me that of Papimanie, that happy country where the inhabitants sleep:

On n’y fait plus, on n’y fait nulle chose.

[There they do no more: there they do nothing.]

This ‘no more’ was everything for me, for I never much regretted sleep; indolence is sufficient to my happiness, and provided I do nothing, I had rather dream waking than asleep. Being past the age of romantic projects, and having been more stunned than flattered by the trumpet of fame, my only hope was that of living at ease, and constantly at leisure. This is the life of the blessed in the world to come, and for the rest of mine here below I made it my supreme happiness.

They who reproach me with so many contradictions, will not fail here to add another to the number. I have observed the indolence of great companies made them unsupportable to me, and I am now seeking solitude for the sole purpose of abandoning myself to inaction. This however is my disposition; if there be in it a contradiction, it proceeds from nature and not from me; but there is so little that it is precisely on that account that I am always consistent. The indolence of company is burdensome because it is forced. That of solitude is charming because it is free, and depends upon the will. In company I suffer cruelly by inaction, because this is of necessity. I must there remain nailed to my chair, or stand upright like a picket, without stirring hand or foot, not daring to run, jump, sing, exclaim, nor gesticulate when I please, not allowed even to dream, suffering at the same time the fatigue of inaction and all the torment of constraint; obliged to pay attention to every foolish thing uttered, and to all the idle compliments paid, and constantly to keep my mind upon the rack that I may not fail to introduce in my turn my jest or my lie. And this is called idleness! It is the labor of a galley slave.

The indolence I love is not that of a lazy fellow who sits with his arms across in total inaction, and thinks no more than he acts, but that of a child which is incessantly in motion doing nothing, and that of a dotard who wanders from his subject. I love to amuse myself with trifles, by beginning a hundred things and never finishing one of them, by going or coming as I take either into my head, by changing my project at every instant, by following a fly through all its windings, in wishing to overturn a rock to see what is under it, by undertaking with ardor the work of ten years, and abandoning it without regret at the end of ten minutes; finally, in musing from morning until night without order or coherence, and in following in everything the caprice of a moment.

Botany, such as I have always considered it, and of which after my own manner I began to become passionately fond, was precisely an idle study, proper to fill up the void of my leisure, without leaving room for the delirium of imagination or the weariness of total inaction. Carelessly wandering in the woods and the country, mechanically gathering here a flower and there a branch; eating my morsel almost by chance, observing a thousand and a thousand times the same things, and always with the same interest, because I always forgot them, were to me the means of passing an eternity without a weary moment. However elegant, admirable, and variegated the structure of plants may be, it does not strike an ignorant eye sufficiently to fix the attention. The constant analogy, with, at the same time, the prodigious variety which reigns in their conformation, gives pleasure to those only who have already some idea of the vegetable system. Others at the sight of these treasures of nature feel nothing more than a stupid and monotonous admiration. They see nothing in detail because they know not for what to look, nor do they perceive the whole, having no idea of the chain of connection and combinations which overwhelms with its wonders the mind of the observer. I was arrived at that happy point of knowledge, and my want of memory was such as constantly to keep me there, that I knew little enough to make the whole new to me, and yet everything that was necessary to make me sensible to the beauties of all the parts. The different soils into which the island, although little, was divided, offered a sufficient variety of plants, for the study and amusement of my whole life. I was determined not to leave a blade of grass without analyzing it, and I began already to take measures for making, with an immense collection of observations, the ‘Flora Petrinsularis’.

I sent for Theresa, who brought with her my books and effects. We boarded with the receiver of the island. His wife had sisters at Nidau, who by turns came to see her, and were company for Theresa. I here made the experiment of the agreeable life which I could have wished to continue to the end of my days, and the pleasure I found in it only served to make me feel to a greater degree the bitterness of that by which it was shortly to be succeeded.

I have ever been passionately fond of water, and the sight of it throws me into a delightful reverie, although frequently without a determinate object.

Immediately after I rose from my bed I never failed, if the weather was fine, to run to the terrace to respire the fresh and salubrious air of the morning, and glide my eye over the horizon of the lake, bounded by banks and mountains, delightful to the view. I know no homage more worthy of the divinity than the silent admiration excited by the contemplation of his works, and which is not externally expressed. I can easily comprehend the reason why the inhabitants of great cities, who see nothing but walls, and streets, have but little faith; but not whence it happens that people in the country, and especially such as live in solitude, can possibly be without it. How comes it to pass that these do not a hundred times a day elevate their minds in ecstasy to the Author of the wonders which strike their senses. For my part, it is especially at rising, wearied by a want of sleep, that long habit inclines me to this elevation which imposes not the fatigue of thinking. But to this effect my eyes must be struck with the ravishing beauties of nature. In my chamber I pray less frequently, and not so fervently; but at the view of a fine landscape I feel myself moved, but by what I am unable to tell. I have somewhere read of a wise bishop who in a visit to his diocese found an old woman whose only prayer consisted in the single interjection “Oh!”—“Good mother,” said he to her, “continue to pray in this manner; your prayer is better than ours.” This better prayer is mine also.

After breakfast, I hastened, with a frown on my brow, to write a few pitiful letters, longing ardently for the moment after which I should have no more to write. I busied myself for a few minutes about my books and papers, to unpack and arrange them, rather than to read what they contained; and this arrangement, which to me became the work of Penelope, gave me the pleasure of musing for a while. I then grew weary, and quitted my books to spend the three or four hours which remained to me of the morning in the study of botany, and especially of the system of Linnaeus, of which I became so passionately fond, that, after having felt how useless my attachment to it was, I yet could not entirely shake it off. This great observer is, in my opinion, the only one who, with Ludwig, has hitherto considered botany as a naturalist, and a philosopher; but he has too much studied it in herbals and gardens, and not sufficiently in nature herself. For my part, whose garden was always the whole island, the moment I wanted to make or verify an observation, I ran into the woods or meadows with my book under my arm, and there laid myself upon the ground near the plant in question, to examine it at my ease as it stood. This method was of great service to me in gaining a knowledge of vegetables in their natural state, before they had been cultivated and changed in their nature by the hands of men. Fagon, first physician to Louis XIV., and who named and perfectly knew all the plants in the royal garden, is said to have been so ignorant in the country as not to know how to distinguish the same plants. I am precisely the contrary. I know something of the work of nature, but nothing of that of the gardener.

I gave every afternoon totally up to my indolent and careless disposition, and to following without regularity the impulse of the moment. When the weather was calm, I frequently went immediately after I rose from dinner, and alone got into the boat. The receiver had taught me to row with one oar; I rowed out into the middle of the lake. The moment I withdrew from the bank, I felt a secret joy which almost made me leap, and of which it is impossible for me to tell or even comprehend the cause, if it were not a secret congratulation on my being out of the reach of the wicked. I afterwards rowed about the lake, sometimes approaching the opposite bank, but never touching at it. I often let my boat float at the mercy of the wind and water, abandoning myself to reveries without object, and which were not the less agreeable for their stupidity. I sometimes exclaimed, “O nature! O my mother! I am here under thy guardianship alone; here is no deceitful and cunning mortal to interfere between thee and me.” In this manner I withdrew half a league from land; I could have wished the lake had been the ocean. However, to please my poor dog, who was not so fond as I was of such a long stay on the water, I commonly followed one constant course; this was going to land at the little island where I walked an hour or two, or laid myself down on the grass on the summit of the hill, there to satiate myself with the pleasure of admiring the lake and its environs, to examine and dissect all the herbs within my reach, and, like another Robinson Crusoe, built myself an imaginary place of residence in the island. I became very much attached to this eminence. When I brought Theresa, with the wife of the receiver and her sisters, to walk there, how proud was I to be their pilot and guide! We took there rabbits to stock it. This was another source of pleasure to Jean Jacques. These animals rendered the island still more interesting to me. I afterwards went to it more frequently, and with greater pleasure to observe the progress of the new inhabitants.

To these amusements I added one which recalled to my recollection the delightful life I led at the Charmettes, and to which the season particularly invited me. This was assisting in the rustic labors of gathering of roots and fruits, of which Theresa and I made it a pleasure to partake with the wife of the receiver and his family. I remember a Bernois, one M. Kirkeberguer, coming to see me, found me perched upon a tree with a sack fastened to my waist, and already so full of apples that I could not stir from the branch on which I stood. I was not sorry to be caught in this and similar situations. I hoped the people of Berne, witnesses to the employment of my leisure, would no longer think of disturbing my tranquillity but leave me at peace in my solitude. I should have preferred being confined there by their desire: this would have rendered the continuation of my repose more certain.

This is another declaration upon which I am previously certain of the incredulity of many of my readers, who obstinately continue to judge me by themselves, although they cannot but have seen, in the course of my life, a thousand internal affections which bore no resemblance to any of theirs. But what is still more extraordinary is, that they refuse me every sentiment, good or indifferent, which they have not, and are constantly ready to attribute to me such bad ones as cannot enter into the heart of man: in this case they find it easy to set me in opposition to nature, and to make of me such a monster as cannot in reality exist. Nothing absurd appears to them incredible, the moment it has a tendency to blacken me, and nothing in the least extraordinary seems to them possible, if it tends to do me honor.

But, notwithstanding what they may think or say, I will still continue faithfully to state what J. J. Rousseau was, did, and thought; without explaining, or justifying, the singularity of his sentiments and ideas, or endeavoring to discover whether or not others have thought as he did. I became so delighted with the island of St. Peter, and my residence there was so agreeable to me that, by concentrating all my desires within it, I formed the wish that I might stay there to the end of my life. The visits I had to return in the neighborhood, the journeys I should be under the necessity of making to Neuchatel, Bienne, Yverdon, and Nidau, already fatigued my imagination. A day passed out of the island, seemed to me a loss of so much happiness, and to go beyond the bounds of the lake was to go out of my element. Past experience had besides rendered me apprehensive. The very satisfaction that I received from anything whatever was sufficient to make me fear the loss of it, and the ardent desire I had to end my days in that island, was inseparable from the apprehension of being obliged to leave it. I had contracted a habit of going in the evening to sit upon the sandy shore, especially when the lake was agitated. I felt a singular pleasure in seeing the waves break at my feet. I formed of them in my imagination the image of the tumult of the world contrasted with the peace of my habitation; and this pleasing idea sometimes softened me even to tears. The repose I enjoyed with ecstasy was disturbed by nothing but the fear of being deprived of it, and this inquietude was accompanied with some bitterness. I felt my situation so precarious as not to dare to depend upon its continuance. “Ah! how willingly,” said I to myself, “would I renounce the liberty of quitting this place, for which I have no desire, for the assurance of always remaining in it. Instead of being permitted to stay here by favor, why am I not detained by force! They who suffer me to remain may in a moment drive me away, and can I hope my persecutors, seeing me happy, will leave me here to continue to be so? Permitting me to live in the island is but a trifling favor. I could wish to be condemned to do it, and constrained to remain here that I may not be obliged to go elsewhere.” I cast an envious eye upon Micheli du Cret, who, quiet in the castle of Arbourg, had only to determine to be happy to become so. In fine, by abandoning myself to these reflections, and the alarming apprehensions of new storms always ready to break over my head, I wished for them with an incredible ardor, and that instead of suffering me to reside in the island, the Bernois would give it me for a perpetual prison; and I can assert that had it depended upon me to get myself condemned to this, I would most joyfully have done it, preferring a thousand times the necessity of passing my life there to the danger of being driven to another place.

This fear did not long remain on my mind. When I least expected what was to happen, I received a letter from the bailiff of Nidau, within whose jurisdiction the island of St. Peter was; by his letter he announced to me from their excellencies an order to quit the island and their states. I thought myself in a dream. Nothing could be less natural, reasonable, or foreseen than such an order: for I considered my apprehensions as the result of inquietude in a man whose imagination was disturbed by his misfortunes, and not to proceed from a foresight which could have the least foundation. The measures I had taken to insure myself the tacit consent of the sovereign, the tranquillity with which I had been left to make my establishment, the visits of several people from Berne, and that of the bailiff himself, who had shown me such friendship and attention, and the rigor of the season in which it was barbarous to expel a man who was sickly and infirm, all these circumstances made me and many people believe that there was some mistake in the order and that ill-disposed people had purposely chosen the time of the vintage and the vacation of the senate suddenly to do me an injury.

Had I yielded to the first impulse of my indignation, I should immediately have departed. But to what place was I to go? What was to become of me at the beginning of the winter, without object, preparation, guide or carriage? Not to leave my papers and effects at the mercy of the first comer, time was necessary to make proper arrangements, and it was not stated in the order whether or not this would be granted me. The continuance of misfortune began to weigh down my courage. For the first time in my life I felt my natural haughtiness stoop to the yoke of necessity, and, notwithstanding the murmurs of my heart, I was obliged to demean myself by asking for a delay. I applied to M. de Graffenried, who had sent me the order, for an explanation of it. His letter, conceived in the strongest terms of disapprobation of the step that had been taken, assured me it was with the greatest regret he communicated to me the nature of it, and the expressions of grief and esteem it contained seemed so many gentle invitations to open to him my heart: I did so. I had no doubt but my letter would open the eyes of my persecutors, and that if so cruel an order was not revoked, at least a reasonable delay, perhaps the whole winter, to make the necessary preparations for my retreat, and to choose a place of abode, would be granted me.

Whilst I waited for an answer, I reflected upon my situation, and deliberated upon the steps I had to take. I perceived so many difficulties on all sides, the vexation I had suffered had so strongly affected me, and my health was then in such a bad state, that I was quite overcome, and the effect of my discouragement was to deprive me of the little resource which remained in my mind, by which I might, as well as it was possible to do it, have withdrawn myself from my melancholy situation. In whatever asylum I should take refuge, it appeared impossible to avoid either of the two means made use of to expel me. One of which was to stir up against me the populace by secret manoeuvres; and the other to drive me away by open force, without giving a reason for so doing. I could not, therefore, depend upon a safe retreat, unless I went in search of it farther than my strength and the season seemed likely to permit. These circumstances again bringing to my recollection the ideas which had lately occurred to me, I wished my persecutors to condemn me to perpetual imprisonment rather than oblige me incessantly to wander upon the earth, by successively expelling me from the asylums of which I should make choice: and to this effect I made them a proposal. Two days after my first letter to M. de Graffenried, I wrote him a second, desiring he would state what I had proposed to their excellencies. The answer from Berne to both was an order, conceived in the most formal and severe terms, to go out of the island, and leave every territory, mediate and immediate of the republic, within the space of twenty-four hours, and never to enter them again under the most grievous penalties.

This was a terrible moment. I have since that time felt greater anguish, but never have I been more embarrassed. What afflicted me most was being forced to abandon the project which had made me desirous to pass the winter in the island. It is now time I should relate the fatal anecdote which completed my disasters, and involved in my ruin an unfortunate people, whose rising virtues already promised to equal those of Rome and Sparta, I had spoken of the Corsicans in the ‘Social Contract’ as a new people, the only nation in Europe not too worn out for legislation, and had expressed the great hope there was of such a people, if it were fortunate enough to have a wise legislator. My work was read by some of the Corsicans, who were sensible of the honorable manner in which I had spoken of them; and the necessity under which they found themselves of endeavoring to establish their republic, made their chiefs think of asking me for my ideas upon the subject. M. Buttafuoco, of one of the first families in the country, and captain in France, in the Royal Italians, wrote to me to that effect, and sent me several papers for which I had asked to make myself acquainted with the history of the nation and the state of the country. M. Paoli, also, wrote to me several times, and although I felt such an undertaking to be superior to my abilities; I thought I could not refuse to give my assistance to so great and noble a work, the moment I should have acquired all the necessary information. It was to this effect I answered both these gentlemen, and the correspondence lasted until my departure.

Precisely at the same time, I heard that France was sending troops to Corsica, and that she had entered into a treaty with the Genoese. This treaty and sending of troops gave me uneasiness, and, without imagining I had any further relation with the business, I thought it impossible and the attempt ridiculous, to labor at an undertaking which required such undisturbed tranquillity as the political institution of a people in the moment when perhaps they were upon the point of being subjugated. I did not conceal my fears from M. Buttafuoco, who rather relieved me from them by the assurance that, were there in the treaty things contrary to the liberty of his country, a good citizen like himself would not remain as he did in the service of France. In fact, his zeal for the legislation of the Corsicans, and his connections with M. Paoli, could not leave a doubt on my mind respecting him; and when I heard he made frequent journeys to Versailles and Fontainebleau, and had conversations with M. de Choiseul, all I concluded from the whole was, that with respect to the real intentions of France he had assurances which he gave me to understand, but concerning which he did not choose openly to explain himself by letter.

This removed a part of my apprehensions. Yet, as I could not comprehend the meaning of the transportation of troops from France, nor reasonably suppose they were sent to Corsica to protect the liberty of the inhabitants, which they of themselves were very well able to defend against the Genoese, I could neither make myself perfectly easy, nor seriously undertake the plan of the proposed legislation, until I had solid proofs that the whole was serious, and that the parties meant not to trifle with me. I much wished for an interview with M. Buttafuoco, as that was certainly the best means of coming at the explanation I wished. Of this he gave me hopes, and I waited for it with the greatest impatience. I know not whether he really intended me any interview or not; but had this even been the case, my misfortunes would have prevented me from profiting by it.

The more I considered the proposed undertaking, and the further I advanced in the examination of the papers I had in my hands, the greater I found the necessity of studying, in the country, the people for whom institutions were to be made, the soil they inhabited, and all the relative circumstances by which it was necessary to appropriate to them that institution. I daily perceived more clearly the impossibility of acquiring at a distance all the information necessary to guide me. This I wrote to M. Buttafuoco, and he felt as I did. Although I did not form the precise resolution of going to Corsica. I considered a good deal of the means necessary to make that voyage. I mentioned it to M. Dastier, who having formerly served in the island under M. de Maillebois, was necessarily acquainted with it. He used every effort to dissuade me from this intention, and I confess the frightful description he gave me of the Corsicans and their country, considerably abated the desire I had of going to live amongst them.

But when the persecutions of Motiers made me think of quitting Switzerland, this desire was again strengthened by the hope of at length finding amongst these islanders the repose refused me in every other place. One thing only alarmed me, which was my unfitness for the active life to which I was going to be condemned, and the aversion I had always had to it. My disposition, proper for meditating at leisure and in solitude, was not so for speaking and acting, and treating of affairs with men. Nature, which had endowed me with the first talent, had refused me the last. Yet I felt that, even without taking a direct and active part in public affairs, I should as soon as I was in Corsica, be under the necessity of yielding to the desires of the people, and of frequently conferring with the chiefs. The object even of the voyage required that, instead of seeking retirement, I should in the heart of the country endeavor to gain the information of which I stood in need. It was certain that I should no longer be master of my own time, and that, in spite of myself, precipitated into the vortex in which I was not born to move, I should there lead a life contrary to my inclination, and never appear but to disadvantage. I foresaw that ill-supporting by my presence the opinion my books might have given the Corsicans of my capacity, I should lose my reputation amongst them, and, as much to their prejudice as my own, be deprived of the confidence they had in me, without which, however, I could not successfully produce the work they expected from my pen. I am certain that, by thus going out of my sphere, I should become useless to the inhabitants, and render myself unhappy.

Tormented, beaten by storms from every quarter, and, for several years past, fatigued by journeys and persecution, I strongly felt a want of the repose of which my barbarous enemies wantonly deprived me: I sighed more than ever after that delicious indolence, that soft tranquillity of body and mind, which I had so much desired, and to which, now that I had recovered from the chimeras of love and friendship, my heart limited its supreme felicity. I viewed with terror the work I was about to undertake; the tumultuous life into which I was to enter made me tremble, and if the grandeur, beauty, and utility of the object animated my courage, the impossibility of conquering so many difficulties entirely deprived me of it.

Twenty years of profound meditation in solitude would have been less painful to me than an active life of six months in the midst of men and public affairs, with a certainty of not succeeding in my undertaking.

I thought of an expedient which seemed proper to obviate every difficulty. Pursued by the underhand dealings of my secret persecutors to every place in which I took refuge, and seeing no other except Corsica where I could in my old days hope for the repose I had until then been everywhere deprived of, I resolved to go there with the directions of M. Buttafuoco as soon as this was possible, but to live there in tranquillity; renouncing, in appearance, everything relative to legislation, and, in some measure, to make my hosts a return for their hospitality, to confine myself to writing in the country the history of the Corsicans, with a reserve in my own mind of the intention of secretly acquiring the necessary information to become more useful to them should I see a probability of success. In this manner, by not entering into an engagement, I hoped to be enabled better to meditate in secret and more at my ease, a plan which might be useful to their purpose, and this without much breaking in upon my dearly beloved solitude, or submitting to a kind of life which I had ever found insupportable.

But the journey was not, in my situation, a thing so easy to get over. According to what M. Dastier had told me of Corsica, I could not expect to find there the most simple conveniences of life, except such as I should take with me; linen, clothes, plate, kitchen furniture, and books, all were to be conveyed thither. To get there myself with my gouvernante, I had the Alps to cross, and in a journey of two hundred leagues to drag after me all my baggage; I had also to pass through the states of several sovereigns, and according to the example set to all Europe, I had, after what had befallen me, naturally to expect to find obstacles in every quarter, and that each sovereign would think he did himself honor by overwhelming me with some new insult, and violating in my person all the rights of persons and humanity. The immense expense, fatigue, and risk of such a journey made a previous consideration of them, and weighing every difficulty, the first step necessary. The idea of being alone, and, at my age, without resource, far removed from all my acquaintance, and at the mercy of these semi-barbarous and ferocious people, such as M. Dastier had described them to me, was sufficient to make me deliberate before I resolved to expose myself to such dangers. I ardently wished for the interview for which M. Buttafuoco had given me reason to hope, and I waited the result of it to guide me in my determination.

Whilst I thus hesitated came on the persecutions of Motiers, which obliged me to retire. I was not prepared for a long journey, especially to Corsica. I expected to hear from Buttafuoco; I took refuge in the island of St. Peter, whence I was driven at the beginning of winter, as I have already stated. The Alps, covered with snow, then rendered my emigration impracticable, especially with the promptitude required from me. It is true, the extravagant severity of a like order rendered the execution of it almost impossible; for, in the midst of that concentred solitude, surrounded by water, and having but twenty-four hours after receiving the order to prepare for my departure, and find a boat and carriages to get out of the island and the territory, had I had wings, I should scarcely have been able to pay obedience to it. This I wrote to the bailiff of Nidau, in answer to his letter, and hastened to take my departure from a country of iniquity. In this manner was I obliged to abandon my favorite project, for which reason, not having in my oppression been able to prevail upon my persecutors to dispose of me otherwise, I determined, in consequence of the invitation of my lord marshal, upon a journey to Berlin, leaving Theresa to pass the winter in the island of St. Peter, with my books and effects, and depositing my papers in the hands of M. du Peyrou. I used so much diligence that the next morning I left the island and arrived at Bienne before noon. An accident, which I cannot pass over in silence, had here well nigh put an end to my journey.

As soon as the news or my having received an order to quit my asylum was circulated, I received a great number of visits from the neighborhood, and especially from the Bernois, who came with the most detestable falsehood to flatter and soothe me, protesting that my persecutors had seized the moment of the vacation of the senate to obtain and send me the order, which, said they, had excited the indignation of the two hundred. Some of these comforters came from the city of Bienne, a little free state within that of Berne, and amongst others a young man of the name of Wildremet whose family was of the first rank, and had the greatest credit in that city. Wildremet strongly solicited me in the name of his fellow-citizens to choose my retreat amongst them, assuring me that they were anxiously desirous of it, and that they would think it an honor and their duty to make me forget the persecutions I had suffered; that with them I had nothing to fear from the influence of the Bernois, that Bienne was a free city, governed by its own laws, and that the citizens were unanimously resolved not to hearken to any solicitation which should be unfavorable to me.

Wildremet perceiving all he could say to be ineffectual, brought to his aid several other persons, as well from Bienne and the environs as from Berne; even, and amongst others, the same Kirkeberguer, of whom I have spoken, who, after my retreat to Switzerland had endeavored to obtain my esteem, and by his talents and principles had interested me in his favor. But I received much less expected and more weighty solicitations from M. Barthes, secretary to the embassy from France, who came with Wildremet to see me, exhorted me to accept his invitation, and surprised me by the lively and tender concern he seemed to feel for my situation. I did not know M. Barthes; however I perceived in what he said the warmth and zeal of friendship, and that he had it at heart to persuade me to fix my residence at Bienne. He made the most pompous eulogium of the city and its inhabitants, with whom he showed himself so intimately connected as to call them several times in my presence his patrons and fathers.

This from Barthes bewildered me in my conjectures. I had always suspected M. de Choisuel to be the secret author of all the persecutions I suffered in Switzerland. The conduct of the resident of Geneva, and that of the ambassador at Soleure but too much confirmed my suspicion; I perceived the secret influence of France in everything that happened to me at Berne, Geneva and Neuchatel, and I did not think I had any powerful enemy in that kingdom, except the Duke de Choiseul. What therefore could I think of the visit of Barthes and the tender concern he showed for my welfare? My misfortunes had not yet destroyed the confidence natural to my heart, and I had still to learn from experience to discern snares under the appearance of friendship. I sought with surprise the reason of the benevolence of M. Barthes; I was not weak enough to believe he had acted from himself; there was in his manner something ostentatious, an affectation even which declared a concealed intention, and I was far from having found in any of these little subaltern agents, that generous intrepidity which, when I was in a similar employment, had often caused a fermentation in my heart. I had formerly known something of the Chevalier Beauteville, at the castle of Montmorency; he had shown me marks of esteem; since his appointment to the embassy he had given me proofs of his not having entirely forgotten me, accompanied with an invitation to go and see him at Soleure. Though I did not accept this invitation, I was extremely sensible of his civility, not having been accustomed to be treated with such kindness by people in place. I presume M. de Beauteville, obliged to follow his instructions in what related to the affairs of Geneva, yet pitying me under my misfortunes, had by his private cares prepared for me the asylum of Bienne, that I might live there in peace under his auspices. I was properly sensible of his attention, but without wishing to profit by it and quite determined upon the journey to Berlin, I sighed after the moment in which I was to see my lord marshal, persuaded I should in future find real repose and lasting happiness nowhere but near his person.

On my departure from the island, Kirkeberguer accompanied me to Bienne. I found Wildremet and other Biennois, who, by the water side, waited my getting out of the boat. We all dined together at the inn, and on my arrival there my first care was to provide a chaise, being determined to set off the next morning. Whilst we were at dinner these gentlemen repeated their solicitations to prevail upon me to stay with them, and this with such warmth and obliging protestations, that notwithstanding all my resolutions, my heart, which has never been able to resist friendly attentions, received an impression from theirs; the moment they perceived I was shaken, they redoubled their efforts with so much effect that I was at length overcome, and consented to remain at Bienne, at least until the spring.

Wildremet immediately set about providing me with a lodging, and boasted, as of a fortunate discovery, of a dirty little chamber in the back of the house, on the third story, looking into a courtyard, where I had for a view the display of the stinking skins of a dresser of chamois leather. My host was a man of a mean appearance, and a good deal of a rascal; the next day after I went to his house I heard that he was a debauchee, a gamester, and in bad credit in the neighborhood. He had neither wife, children, nor servants, and shut up in my solitary chamber, I was in the midst of one of the most agreeable countries in Europe, lodged in a manner to make me die of melancholy in the course of a few days. What affected me most was, that, notwithstanding what I had heard of the anxious wish of the inhabitants to receive me amongst them, I had not perceived, as I passed through the streets, anything polite towards me in their manners, or obliging in their looks. I was, however, determined to remain there; but I learned, saw, and felt, the day after, that there was in the city a terrible fermentation, of which I was the cause. Several persons hastened obligingly to inform me that on the next day I was to receive an order conceived in the most severe terms, immediately to quit the state, that is the city. I had nobody in whom I could confide; they who had detained me were dispersed. Wildremet had disappeared; I heard no more of Barthes, and it did not appear that his recommendation had brought me into great favor with those whom he had styled his patrons and fathers. One M. de Van Travers, a Bernois, who had an agreeable house not far from the city, offered it to me for my asylum, hoping, as he said, that I might there avoid being stoned. The advantage this offer held out was not sufficiently flattering to tempt me to prolong my abode with these hospitable people.

Yet, having lost three days by the delay, I had greatly exceeded the twenty-four hours the Bernois had given me to quit their states, and knowing their severity, I was not without apprehensions as to the manner in which they would suffer me to cross them, when the bailiff of Nidau came opportunely and relieved me from my embarrassment. As he had highly disapproved of the violent proceedings of their excellencies, he thought, in his generosity, he owed me some public proof of his taking no part in them, and had courage to leave his bailiwick to come and pay me a visit at Bienne. He did me this favor the evening before my departure, and far from being incognito he affected ceremony, coming in fiocchi in his coach with his secretary, and brought me a passport in his own name that I might cross the state of Berne at my ease, and without fear of molestation. I was more flattered by the visit than by the passport, and should have been as sensible of the merit of it, had it had for object any other person whatsoever. Nothing makes a greater impression on my heart than a well-timed act of courage in favor of the weak unjustly oppressed.

At length, after having with difficulty procured a chaise, I next morning left this barbarous country, before the arrival of the deputation with which I was to be honored, and even before I had seen Theresa, to whom I had written to come to me, when I thought I should remain at Bienne, and whom I had scarcely time to countermand by a short letter, informing her of my new disaster. In the third part of my memoirs, if ever I be able to write them, I shall state in what manner, thinking to set off for Berlin, I really took my departure for England, and the means by which the two ladies who wished to dispose of my person, after having by their manoeuvres driven me from Switzerland, where I was not sufficiently in their power, at last delivered me into the hands of their friend.

I added what follows on reading my memoirs to M. and Madam, the Countess of Egmont, the Prince Pignatelli, the Marchioness of Mesme, and the Marquis of Juigne.

I have written the truth: if any person has heard of things contrary to those I have just stated, were they a thousand times proved, he has heard calumny and falsehood; and if he refuses thoroughly to examine and compare them with me whilst I am alive, he is not a friend either to justice or truth. For my part, I openly, and without the least fear declare, that whoever, even without having read my works, shall have examined with his own eyes, my disposition, character, manners, inclinations, pleasures, and habits, and pronounce me a dishonest man, is himself one who deserves a gibbet.

Thus I concluded, and every person was silent; Madam d’Egmont was the only person who seemed affected; she visibly trembled, but soon recovered herself, and was silent like the rest of the company. Such were the fruits of my reading and declaration.
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Re: The Confessions of Jean Jacques Rousseau, by Jean Jacque

Postby admin » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:28 am

[NOTE: Here is a short list of bookmarks, or pointers, for those who may wish to sample the author’s ideas before making an entire meal of them. D.W.]


A feeling heart the foundation of all my misfortunes
A religion preached by such missionaries must lead to paradise!
A subject not even fit to make a priest of
A man, on being questioned, is immediately on his guard
Adopted the jargon of books, than the knowledge they contained
All animals are distrustful of man, and with reason
All your evils proceed from yourselves!
An author must be independent of success
Ardor for learning became so far a madness
Aversion to singularity
Avoid putting our interests in competition with our duty
Being beat like a slave, I judged I had a right to all vices
Catholic must content himself with the decisions of others
Caution is needless after the evil has happened
Cemented by reciprocal esteem
Considering this want of decency as an act of courage
Conversations were more serviceable than his prescriptions
Degree of sensuality had mingled with the smart and shame
Die without the aid of physicians
Difficult to think nobly when we think for a livelihood
Dine at the hour of supper; sup when I should have been asleep
Disgusted with the idle trifling of a convent
Dissembler, though, in fact, I was only courteous
Dying for love without an object
Endeavoring to hide my incapacity, I rarely fail to show it
Endeavoring to rise too high we are in danger of falling
Ever appearing to feel as little for others as herself
Finding in every disease symptoms similar to mine
First instance of violence and oppression is so deeply engraved
First time in my life, of saying, “I merit my own esteem”
Flattery, or rather condescension, is not always a vice
Force me to be happy in the manner they should point out
Foresight with me has always embittered enjoyment
Hastening on to death without having lived
Hat, only fit to be carried under his arm
Have the pleasure of seeing an ass ride on horseback
Have ever preferred suffering to owing
Her excessive admiration or dislike of everything
Hold fast to aught that I have, and yet covet nothing more
Hopes, in which self-love was by no means a loser
How many wrongs are effaced by the embraces of a friend!
I never much regretted sleep
I strove to flatter my idleness
I never heard her speak ill of persons who were absent
I loved her too well to wish to possess her
I felt no dread but that of being detected
I was long a child, and am so yet in many particulars
I am charged with the care of myself only
I only wished to avoid giving offence
I did not fear punishment, but I dreaded shame
I had a numerous acquaintance, yet no more than two friends
Idea of my not being everything to her
Idleness is as much the pest of society as of solitude
If you have nothing to do, you must absolutely speak continually
In the course of their lives frequently unlike themselves
In company I suffer cruelly by inaction
In a nation of blind men, those with one eye are kings
Indolence, negligence and delay in little duties to be fulfilled
Indolence of company is burdensome because it is forced
Injustice of mankind which embitters both life and death
Insignificant trash that has obtained the name of education
Instead of being delighted with the journey only wished arrival
Is it possible to dissimulate with persons whom we love?
Jean Bapiste Rousseau
Knew how to complain, but not how to act
Law that the accuser should be confined at the same time
Left to nature the whole care of my own instruction
Less degree of repugnance in divulging what is really criminal
Letters illustrious in proportion as it was less a trade
Loaded with words and redundancies
Looking on each day as the last of my life
Love of the marvellous is natural to the human heart
Make men like himself, instead of taking them as they were
Making their knowledge the measure of possibilities
Making me sensible of every deficiency
Manoeuvres of an author to the care of publishing a good book
Men, in general, make God like themselves
Men of learning more tenaciously retain their predjudices
Mistake wit for sense
Moment I acquired literary fame, I had no longer a friend
Money that we possess is the instrument of liberty
Money we lack and strive to obtain is the instrument of slavery
More stunned than flattered by the trumpet of fame
More folly than candor in the declaration without necessity
Multiplying persons and adventures
My greatest faults have been omissions
Myself the principal object
Necessity, the parent of industry, suggested an invention
Neither the victim nor witness of any violent emotions
No sooner had lost sight of men than I ceased to despise them
No longer permitted to let old people remain out of Paris
Not so easy to quit her house as to enter it
Not knowing how to spend their time, daily breaking in upon me
Nothing absurd appears to them incredible
Obliged to pay attention to every foolish thing uttered
Obtain their wishes, without permitting or promising anything
One of those affronts which women scarcely ever forgive
Only prayer consisted in the single interjection “Oh!”
Painful to an honest man to resist desires already formed
Passed my days in languishing in silence for those I most admire
Piety was too sincere to give way to any affectation of it
Placing unbounded confidence in myself and others
Prescriptions serve to flatter the hopes of the patient
Priests ought never to have children—except by married women
Proportioned rather to her ideas than abilities
Protestants, in general, are better instructed
Rather bashful than modest
Rather appeared to study with than to instruct me
Read the hearts of others by endeavoring to conceal our own
Read description of any malady without thinking it mine
Read without studying
Remorse wakes amid the storms of adversity
Remorse sleeps in the calm sunshine of prosperity
Reproach me with so many contradictions
Return of spring seemed to me like rising from the grave
Rogues know how to save themselves at the expense of the feeble
Satisfaction of weeping together
Seeking, by fresh offences, a return of the same chastisement
Sin consisted only in the scandal
Slighting her favors, if within your reach, a unpardonable crime
Sometimes encourage hopes they never mean to realize
Substituting cunning to knowledge
Supposed that certain, which I only knew to be probable
Taught me it was not so terrible to thieve as I had imagined
That which neither women nor authors ever pardon
The malediction of knaves is the glory of an honest man
The conscience of the guilty would revenge the innocent
There is nothing in this world but time and misfortune
There is no clapping of hands before the king
This continued desire to control me in all my wishes
Though not a fool, I have frequently passed for one
To make him my apologies for the offence he had given me
True happiness is indescribable, it is only to be felt
Trusting too implicitly to their own innocence
Tyranny of persons who called themselves my friends
Virtuous minds, which vice never attacks openly
Voltaire was formed never to be happy
We learned to dissemble, to rebel, to lie
What facility everything which favors the malignity of man
When once we make a secret of anything to the person we love
When everyone is busy, you may continue silent
Whence comes it that even a child can intimidate a man
Where merit consists in belief, and not in virtue
Whole universe would be interested in my concerns
Whose discourses began by a distribution of millions
Wish thus to be revenged of me for their humiliation
Without the least scruple, freely disposing of my time
Writing for bread would soon have extinguished my genius
Yielded him the victory, or rather declined the contest
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