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[204] of it was suggested by his friend Rousseau during their pleasant walking excursions about the environs of Paris, in which the two enthusiastic philosophers, baffled by the evil passions and intractable materials of human nature as manifested in existing society, comforted themselves by appealing from the actual to the possible, from the real to the imaginary. Under the chestnut-trees of the Bois de Boulogne, through long summer days, the two friends, sick of the noisy world about them, yet yearning to become its benefactors,—gladly escaping from it, yet busy with schemes for its regeneration and happiness,—at once misanthropes and philanthropists,—amused and solaced themselves by imagining a perfect and simple state of society, in which the lessons of emulation and selfish ambition were never to be taught; where, on the contrary, the young were to obey their parents, and to prefer father, mother, brother, sister, wife, and friend to themselves. They drew beautiful pictures of a country blessed with peace, industry, and love, covered with no disgusting monuments of violence and pride and luxury, without columns, triumphal arches, hospitals, prisons, or gibbets; but presenting to view bridges over torrents, wells on the arid plain, groves of fruit-trees, and houses of shelter for the traveller in desert places, attesting everywhere the sentiment of humanity. Religion was to speak to all hearts in the eternal language of Nature. Death was no longer to be feared; perspectives of holy consolation were to open through the cypress shadows of the tomb; to live or to die was to be equally an object of desire.

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