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[29] his vices, and possessing a deep and real feeling for
chap. II.} 1763.
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

1 See Rousseau to Voltaire.

2 ‘Un je ne sais quel charlatan sausage.’ Voltaire: Siecle de Louis XV. chap. XLIII.

3 Rousseau: Confessions; Partie I., livre IV. “Il me fit entendre qu'il cachoit son vin á cause des aides; quil cachoit son pain à cause de la taille; et qu'il seroit un hornme perdu, si l'on pouvoit se douter quil ne mourut pas de faim. Tout ce qu'il me dit à ce sujet, me fit une impression, qui ne s'effacera jamais. Ce fut la le germe de cette haine inextinguible qui se developpa depuis dans mon coeur contre les vexations qua éprouve le malheu reux peuple et contre ses oppress eurs.”

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