his vices, and possessing a deep and real feeling for
humanity, in an age of skepticism and in the agony of want, tossed from faith to faith, as from country to country, he read the signs of death on the features of the past civilization; and in tones of sadness, but not of despair—clinging always to faith in man's spiritual nature, and solacing the ills of life by trust in God1
— he breathed the spirit of revolution into words of flame.
Fearlessly questioning all the grandeurs of the world—despots and prelates, and philosophers and aristocrats, and men of letters; the manners, the systems of education, the creeds, the political institutions, the superstitions of his time;—he aroused Europe
to the inquiry, if there did not exist a people.
What though the church cursed his writings with its ban, and parliaments burned them at the gibbet by the hangman's hand?
What though France
drove him from her soil, and the republic of his birth disowned her son?
What though the men of letters hooted at his wildness, and the humane Voltaire
himself led the cry against this ‘savage charlatan,’2
‘this beggar,’ who sought ‘fraternal union among men’ by setting ‘the poor to plunder all the rich?’
Without learning or deep philosophy, from the woes of the world in which he had suffered, from the wrongs of the down-trodden which he had shared,3
he derived an eloquence which went to the heart of Europe
He lit up the darkness