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[80] from the classic, and not from the Christian fountains. The examples of Greece and Rome fed his soul. The Revolution of 1688, partly by force, and partly by the popular voice, brought a foreigner to the crown of Great Britain, and according to the boast of loyal Englishmen, the establishment of Freedom throughout the land. But the Bill of Rights did not declare, nor did the genius of Somers or Maynard conceive the political axiom, that all men are born equal. It may find acceptance in our day from individuals in England; but it is disowned by English institutions.

It is to France that we must pass for the earliest development of this idea, for its amplest illustration, and for its most complete, accurate, and logical expression. In the middle of the last century appeared the renowned Encyclopedie, edited by D'Alembert and Diderot. This remarkable production, where science, religion, and government were all discussed with a revolutionary freedom, contains an article on Equality, which was published in 1755. Here we find the boldest expression that had then been given to this sentiment. ‘Natural Equality,’ says the Encyclopedia, ‘is that which exists between all men by the constitution of their nature only. This Equality is the principle and the foundation of liberty. Natural or moral equality is then founded upon the constitution of human nature, common to all men, who are born, grow, subsist, and die in the same manner. Since human nature finds itself the same in all men, it is clear, that, according to nature's law, each ought to esteem and treat the others as beings who are naturally equal to himself; that is to say, who are men as well as himself.’

When we consider the period at which this article was written, we shall be astonished less by its incompleteness and vagueness, than by its bravery and generosity. The dissolute despotism of Louis XV. overshadowed France. Selfish nobles and fawning courtiers filled the royal antechambers. The councils of Government were controlled by royal mistresses. Only a few years before, in 1751, the King had founded, in defiance of the principles of Equality,—but in entire harmony with the conduct of the School Committee in Boston—a military school, for nobles only, carrying into education the distinction of Caste. At such a period the Encyclopedia did well in uttering such important and effective truth. The sentiment of Equality was here fully declared. Nor should we be disappointed, that, at this early day, even the boldest philosophers did not adequately perceive, or if they perceived, did not dare to utter, our axiom of liberty, that all men are born equal, in civil and political rights.

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