French critics tell us that no one now reads the New Heloisa in France except deliberate students of the works of Rousseau, and certainly few in this generation read it in our own country. The action is very slight, and the play of motives very simple, when contrasted with the ingenuity of invention, the elaborate subtleties of psychological analysis, the power of rapid change from one perturbing incident or excited humour to another, which mark the modern writer of sentimental fiction. As the title warns us, it is a story of a youthful tutor and a too fair disciple, straying away from the lessons of calm philosophy into the heated places of passion. The high pride of Julie's father forbade all hope of their union, and in very desperation the unhappy pair lost the self-control of virtue, and threw themselves into the pit that lies so ready to our feet. Remorse followed with quick step, for Julie had with her purity lost none of the other lovelinesses of a dutiful character. Her lover was hurried away from the country by the generous solicitude of an English nobleman, one of the bravest, tenderest, and best of men. Julie, left undisturbed by her lover's presence, stricken with affliction at the death of a sweet and affectionate mother, and pressed by the importunities of a father whom she dearly loved, in spite of all the disasters which his will had brought upon her, at length consented to marry a foreign baron from some northern court. Wolmar was much older than she was; a devotee of calm reason, without a system and without prejudices, benevolent, orderly, above all things judicious. The lover meditated suicide, from which he was only diverted by the arguments of Lord Edward, who did more than argue; he hurried the forlorn man on board the ship of Admiral Anson, then just starting for his famous voyage round the world. And this marks the end of the first episode.
Rousseau always urged that his story was dangerous for young girls, and maintained that Richardson was grievously mistaken in supposing that they could be instructed by romances. It was like setting fire to the house, he said, for the sake of making the pumps play. As he admitted so much, he is not open to attack on this side, except from those who hold the theory that no books ought to be written which may not prudently be put into the hands of the young,—a puerile and contemptible doctrine that must emasculate all literature and all art, by excluding the most interesting of human relations and the most powerful of human passions. There is not a single composition of the first rank outside of science, from the Bible downwards, that could undergo the test. The most useful standard for measuring the significance of a book in this respect is found in the manners of the time, and the prevailing tone of contemporary literature. In trying to appreciate the meaning of the New Heloisa and its popularity, it is well to think of it as a delineation of love, in connection not only with such a book as the Pucelle, where there is at least wit, but with a story like Duclos's, which all ladies both read and were not in the least ashamed to acknowledge that they had read; or still worse, such an abomination as Diderot's first stories; or a story like Laclos's, which came a generation later, and with its infinite briskness and devilry carried the tradition of artistic impurity to as vigorous a manifestation as it is capable of reaching. To a generation whose literature is as pure as the best English, American, and German literature is in the present day, the New Heloisa might without doubt be corrupting. To the people who read Crebillon and the Pucelle, it was without doubt elevating.
The case is just as strong if we turn from books to manners. Without looking beyond the circle of names that occur in Rousseau's own history, we see how deep the depravity had become. Madame d'Epinay's gallant sat at table with the husband, and the husband was perfectly aware of the relations between them. M. d'Epinay had notorious relations with two public women, and was not ashamed to refer to them in the presence of his wife, and even to seek her sympathy on an occasion when one of them was in some trouble. Not only this, but husband and lover used to pursue their debaucheries in the town together in jovial comradeship. An opera dancer presided at the table of a patrician abbe in his country house, and he passed weeks in her house in the town. As for shame, says Barbier on one occasion, "'tis true the king has a mistress, but who has not?—except the Duke of Orleans; he has withdrawn to Ste. Genevieve, and is thoroughly despised in consequence, and rightly." Reeking disorder such as all this illustrates, made the passion of the two imaginary lovers of the fair lake seem like a breath from the garden of Eden. One virtue was lost in that simple paradise, but even that loss was followed by circumstances of mental pain and far circling distress, which banished the sin into a secondary place; and what remained to strike the imagination of the time were delightful pictures of fast union between two enchanting women, of the patience and compassionateness of a grave mother, of the chivalrous warmth and helpfulness of a loyal friend. Any one anxious to pick out sensual strokes and turns of grossness could make a small collection of such defilements from the New Heloisa without any difficulty. They were in Rousseau's character, and so they came out in his work. Saint Preux afflicts us with touches of this kind, just as we are afflicted with similar touches in the Confessions. They were not noticed at that day, when people's ears did not affect to be any chaster than the rest of them.
A historian of opinion is concerned with the general effect that was actually produced by a remarkable book, and with the causes that produced it. It is not his easy task to produce a demonstration that if the readers had all been as wise and as virtuous as the moralist might desire them to be, or if they had all been discriminating and scientific critics, not this, but a very different impression would have followed. Today we may wonder at the effect of the New Heloisa. A long story told in letters has grown to be a form incomprehensible and intolerable to us. We find Richardson hard to be borne, and he put far greater vivacity and wider variety into his letters than Rousseau did, though he was not any less diffuse, and he abounds in repetitions as Rousseau does not. Rousseau was absolutely without humour; that belongs to the keenly observant natures, and to those who love men in the concrete, not only humanity in the abstract. The pleasantries of Julie's cousin, for instance, are heavy and misplaced. Thus the whole book is in one key, without the dramatic changes of Richardson, too few even as those are. And who now can endure that antique fashion of apostrophising men and women, hot with passion and eager with all active impulses, in oblique terms of abstract qualities, as if their passion and their activity were only the inconsiderable embodiment of fine general ideas? We have not a single thrill, when Saint Preux being led into the chamber where his mistress is supposed to lie dying, murmurs passionately, "What shall I now see in the same place of refuge where once all breathed the ecstasy that intoxicated my soul, in this same object who both caused and shared my transports! the image of death, virtue unhappy, beauty expiring!" This rhetorical artificiality of phrase, so repulsive to the more realistic taste of a later age, was as natural then as that facility of shedding tears, which appears so deeply incredible a performance to a generation that has lost that particular fashion of sensibility, without realising for the honour of its ancestors the physiological truth of the power of the will over the secretions.
The characters seem as stiff as some of the language, to us who are accustomed to an Asiatic luxuriousness of delineation. Yet the New Heloisa was nothing less than the beginning of that fresh, full, highly-coloured style which has now taught us to find so little charm in the source and original of it. Saint Preux is a personage whom no widest charity, literary, philosophic, or Christian, can make endurable. Egoism is made thrice disgusting by a ceaseless redundance of fine phrases. The exaggerated conceits of love in our old poets turn graciously on the lover's eagerness to offer every sacrifice at the feet of his mistress. Even Werther, stricken creature as he was, yet had the stoutness to blow his brains out, rather than be the instrument of surrounding the life of his beloved with snares. Saint Preux's egoism is unbrightened by a single ray of tender abnegation, or a single touch of the sweet humility of devoted passion. The slave of his sensations, he has no care beyond their gratification. With some rotund nothing on his lips about virtue being the only path to happiness, his heart burns with sickly desire. He writes first like a pedagogue infected by some cantharidean philter, and then like a pedagogue without the philter, and that is the worse of the two. Lovelace and the Count of Valmont are manly and hopeful characters in comparison. Werther, again, at least represents a principle of rebellion, in the midst of all his self-centred despair, and he retains strength enough to know that his weakness is shameful. His despair, moreover, is deeply coloured with repulsed social ambition. He feels the world about him. His French prototype, on the contrary, represents nothing but the unalloyed selfishness of a sensual love for which there is no universe outside of its own fevered pulsation.
Julie is much less displeasing, partly perhaps for the reason that she belongs to the less displeasing sex. At least, she preserves fortitude, self-control, and profound considerateness for others. At a certain point her firmness even moves a measure of enthusiasm. If the New Heloisa could be said to have any moral intention, it is here where women learn from the example of Julie's energetic return to duty, the possibility and the satisfaction of bending character back to comeliness and honour. Excellent as this is from a moral point of view, the reader may wish that Julie had been less of a preacher, as well as less of a sinner. And even as sinner, she would have been more readily forgiven if she had been less deliberate. A maiden who sacrifices her virtue in order that the visible consequences may force her parents to consent to a marriage, is too strategical to be perfectly touching. As was said by the cleverest, though not the greatest, of all the women whose youth was fascinated by Rousseau, when one has renounced the charms of virtue, it is at least well to have all the charms that entire surrender of heart can bestow. In spite of this, however, Julie struck the imagination of the time, and struck it in a way that was thoroughly wholesome. The type taught men some respect for the dignity of women, and it taught women a firmer respect for themselves. It is useless, even if it be possible, to present an example too lofty for the comprehension of an age. At this moment the most brilliant genius in the country was filling France with impish merriment at the expense of the greatest heroine that France had then to boast. In such an atmosphere Julie had almost the halo of saintliness.
We may say all we choose about the inconsistency, the excess of preaching, the excess of prudence, in the character of Julie. It was said pungently enough by the wits of the time. Nothing that could be said on all this affected the fact, that the women between 1760 and the Revolution were intoxicated by Rousseau's creation to such a pitch that they would pay any price for a glass out of which Rousseau had drunk, they would kiss a scrap of paper that contained a piece of his handwriting, and vow that no woman of true sensibility could hesitate to consecrate her life to him, if she were only certain to be rewarded by his attachment. The booksellers were unable to meet the demand. The book was let out at the rate of twelve sous a volume, and the volume could not be detained beyond an hour. All classes shared the excitement, courtiers, soldiers, lawyers, and bourgeois. Stories were told of fine ladies, dressed for the ball, who took the book up for half an hour until the time should come for starting; they read until midnight, and when informed that the carriage waited, answered not a word, and when reminded by and by that it was two o'clock, still read on, and then at four, having ordered the horses to be taken out of the carriage, disrobed, went to bed, and passed the remainder of the night in reading. In Germany the effect was just as astonishing. Kant only once in his life failed to take his afternoon walk, and this unexampled omission was due to the witchery of the New Heloisa. Gallantry was succeeded by passion, expansion, exaltation; moods far more dangerous for society, as all enthusiasm is dangerous, but also far higher and pregnant with better hopes for character. To move the sympathetic faculties is the first step towards kindling all the other energies which make life wiser and more fruitful. It is especially worth noticing that nothing in the character of Julie concentrates this outburst of sympathy in subjective broodings. Julie is the representative of one recalled to the straight path by practical, wholesome, objective sympathy for others, not of one expiring in unsatisfied yearnings for the sympathy of others for herself, and in moonstruck subjective aspirations. The women who wept over her romance read in it the lesson of duty, not of whimpering introspection. The danger lay in the mischievous intellectual direction which Rousseau imparted to this effusion.
The stir which the Julie communicated to the affections in so many ways, marked progress, but in all the elements of reason she was the most perilous of reactionaries. So hard it is with the human mind, constituted as it is, to march forward a space further to the light, without making some fresh swerve obliquely towards old darkness. The great effusion of natural sentiment was in the air before the New Heloisa appeared, to condense and turn it into definite channels. One beautiful character, Vauven argues (1715-1747), had begun to teach the culture of emotional instinct in some sayings of exquisite sweetness and moderation, as that "Great thoughts come from the heart." But he came too soon, and, alas for us all, he died young, and he made no mark. Moderation never can make a mark in the epochs when men are beginning to feel the urgent spirit of a new time. Diderot strove with more powerful efforts, in the midst of all his herculean labours for the acquisition and ordering of knowledge, in the same direction towards the great outer world of nature, and towards the great inner world of nature in the human breast. His criticisms on the paintings of each year, mediocre as the paintings were, are admirable even now for their richness and freshness. If Diderot had been endowed with emotional tenacity, as he was with tenacity of understanding and of purpose, the student of the eighteenth century would probably have been spared the not perfectly agreeable task of threading a way along the sinuosities of the character and work of Rousseau. But Rousseau had what Diderot lacked—sustained ecstatic moods, and fervid trances; his literary gesture was so commanding, his apparel so glistening, his voice so rich in long-drawn notes of plangent vibration. His words are the words of a prophet; a prophet, it is understood, who had lived in Paris, and belonged to the eighteenth century, and wrote in French instead of Hebrew. The mischief of his work lay in this, that he raised feeling, now passionate, now quietest, into the supreme place which it was to occupy alone, and not on an equal throne and in equal alliance with understanding. Instead of supplementing reason, he placed emotion as its substitute. And he made this evil doctrine come from the lips of a fictitious character, who stimulated fancy and fascinated imagination. Voltaire laughed at the baisers acres of Madame de Wolmar, and declared that a criticism of the Marquis of Ximenes had crushed the wretched romance. But Madame de Wolmar was so far from crushed, that she turned the flood of feeling which her own charms, passion, remorse, and conversion had raised, in a direction that Voltaire abhorred, and abhorred in vain.
It is after the marriage of Julie to Wolmar that the action of the story takes the turn which sensible men like Voltaire found laughable. Saint Preux is absent with Admiral Anson for some years. On his return to Europe he is speedily invited by the sage Wolmar, who knows his past history perfectly well, to pay them a visit. They all meet with leapings on the neck and hearty kisses, the unprejudiced Wolmar preserving an open, serene, and smiling air. He takes his young friend to a chamber, which is to be reserved for him and for him only. In a few days he takes an opportunity of visiting some distant property, leaving his wife and Saint Preux together, with the sublime of magnanimity. At the same time he confides to Claire his intention of entrusting to Saint Preux the education of his children. All goes perfectly well, and the household presents a picture of contentment, prosperity, moderation, affection, and evenly diffused happiness, which in spite of the disagreeableness of the situation is even now extremely charming. There is only one cloud. Julie is devoured by a source of hidden chagrin. Her husband, "so sage, so reasonable, so far from every kind of vice, so little under the influence of human passions, is without the only belief that makes virtue precious, and in the innocence of an irreproachable life he carries at the bottom of his heart the frightful peace of the wicked." He is an atheist. Julie is now a pietest, locking herself for hours in her chambers, spending days in self-examination and prayer, constantly reading the pages of the good Fenelon. "I fear," she writes to Saint Preux, "that you do not gain all you might from religion in the conduct of your life, and that philosophic pride disdains the simplicity of the Christian. You believe prayers to be of scanty service. That is not, you know, the doctrine of Saint Paul, nor what our Church professes. We are free, it is true, but we are ignorant, feeble, prone to ill. And whence should light and force come, if not from him who is their very well-spring?... Let us be humble, to be sage; let us see our weakness, and we shall be strong." This was the opening of the deistical reaction; it was thus, associated with everything that struck imagination and moved the sentiment of his readers, that Rousseau brought back those sophistical conclusions which Pascal had drawn from premisses of dark profound truth, and that enervating displacement of reason by celestial contemplation, which Fenelon had once made beautiful by the persuasion of virtuous example. He was justified in saying, as he afterwards did, that there was nothing in the Savoyard Vicar's Profession of Faith which was not to be found in the letters of Julie. These were the effective preparations for that more famous manifesto; they surrounded belief with all the attractions of an interesting and sympathetic preacher, and set it to a harmony of circumstance that touched softer fibres.
For, curiously enough, while the first half of the romance is a scene of disorderly passion, the second is the glorification of the family. A modern writer of genius has inveighed with whimsical bitterness against the character of Wolmar,—supposed, we may notice in passing, to be partially drawn from D'Holbach,—a man performing so long an experiment on these two souls, with the terrible curiosity of a surgeon engaged in vivisection. It was, however, much less difficult for contemporaries than it is for us to accept so unwholesome and prurient a situation. They forgot all the evil that was in it, in the charm of the account of Wolmar's active, peaceful, frugal, sunny household. The influence of this was immense. It may be that the overstrained scene where Saint Preux waits for Julie in her room, suggested the far lovelier passage of Faust in the chamber of the hapless Margaret. But we may, at least, be sure that Werther (1774) would not have found Charlotte cutting bread and butter, if Saint Preux had not gone to see Julie take cream and cakes with her children and her female servants. And perhaps the other and nobler Charlotte of the Wahlverwandtschaften (1809) would not have detained us so long with her moss hut, her terrace, her park prospect, if Julie had not had her elysium, where the sweet freshness of the air, the cool shadows, the shining verdure, flowers diffusing fragrance and colour, water running with soft whisper, and the song of a thousand birds, reminded the returned traveller of Tinian and Juan Fernandez. There is an animation, a variety, an accuracy, a realistic brightness in this picture, which will always make it enchanting, even to those who cannot make their way through any other letter in the New Heloisa. Such qualities place it as an idyllic piece far above such pieces in Goethe's two famous romances. They have a clearness and spontaneous freshness which are not among the bountiful gifts of Goethe. There are other admirable landscapes in the New Heloisa, though not too many of them, and the minute and careful way in which Rousseau made their features real to himself, is accidentally shown in his urgent prayer for exactitude in the engraving of the striking scene where Saint Preux and Julie visit the monuments of their old love for one another. "I have traversed all Rousseau's ground with the Heloisa before me," said Byron, "and am struck to a degree I cannot express, with the force and accuracy of his descriptions and the beauty of their reality." They were memories made true by long dreaming, by endless brooding. The painter lived with these scenes ever present to the inner eye. They were his real world, of which the tamer world of meadow and woodland actually around him only gave suggestion. He thought of the green steeps, the rocks, the mountain pines, the waters of the lake, "the populous solitude of bees and birds," as of some divine presence, too sublime for personality. And they were always benign, standing in relief with the malignity or folly of the hurtful insect, Man. He was never a manichaean towards nature. To him she was all good and bounteous. The demon forces that so fascinated Byron were to Rousseau invisible. These were the compositions that presently inspired the landscapes of Paul and Virginia (1788), of Atala and Rene (1801), and of Obermann (1804), as well as those punier imitators who resemble their masters as the hymns of a methodist negro resemble the psalms of David. They were the outcome of eager and spontaneous feeling for nature, and not the mere hackneyed common-form and inflated description of the literary pastoral.
This leads to another great and important distinction to be drawn between Rousseau and the school whom in other respects he inspired. The admirable Sainte Beuve perplexes one by his strange remark, that the union of the poetry of the family and the hearth with the poetry of nature is essentially wanting to Rousseau. It only shows that the great critic had for the moment forgotten the whole of the second part of the New Heloisa, and his failure to identify Cowper's allusion to the matinee a l'anglaise certainly proves that he had at any rate forgotten one of the most striking and delicious scenes of the hearth in French literature. The tendency to read Rousseau only in the Byronic sense is one of those foregone conclusions which are constantly tempting the critic to travel out of his record. Rousseau assuredly had a Byronic side, but he is just as often a Cowper done into splendid prose. His pictures are full of social animation and domestic order. He had exalted the simplicity of the savage state in his Discourses, but when he came to constitute an ideal life, he found it in a household that was more, and not less, systematically disciplined than those of the common society around him. The paradise in which his Julie moved with Wolmar and Saint Preux, was no more and no less than an establishment of the best kind of the rural middle-class, frugal, decorous, wholesome, tranquilly austere. No most sentimental savage could have found it endurable, or could himself without profound transformation of his manners have been endured in it. The New Heloisa ends by exalting respectability, and putting the spirit of insurrection to shame. Self-control, not revolt, is its last word.
This is what separates Rousseau here and throughout from Senancour, Byron, and the rest. He consummates the triumph of will, while their reigning mood is grave or reckless protest against impotence of will, the little worth of common aims, the fretting triviality of common rules. Franklin or Cobbett might have gloried in the regularity of Madame de Wolmar's establishment. The employment of the day was marked out with precision. By artful adjustment of pursuits, it was contrived that the men-servants should be kept apart from the maid-servants, except at their repasts. The women, namely, a cook, a housemaid, and a nurse, found their pastime in rambles with their mistress and her children, and lived mainly with them. The men were amused by games for which their master made regulated provision, now for summer, now for winter, offering prizes of a useful kind for prowess and adroitness. Often on a Sunday night all the household met in an ample chamber, and passed the evening in dancing. When Saint Preux inquired whether this was not a rather singular infraction of puritan rule, Julie wisely answered that pure morality is so loaded with severe duties, that if you add to them the further burden of indifferent forms, it must always be at the cost of the essential. The servants were taken from the country, never from the town. They entered the household young, were gradually trained, and never went away except to establish themselves.
The vulgar and obvious criticism on all this is that it is utopian, that such households do not generally exist, because neither masters nor servants possess the qualities needed to maintain these relations of unbroken order and friendliness. Perhaps not; and masters and servants will be more and more removed from the possession of such qualities, and their relations further distant from such order and friendliness, if writers cease to press the beauty and serviceableness of a domesticity that is at present only possible in a few rare cases, or to insist on the ugliness, the waste of peace, the deterioration of character, that are the results of our present system. Undoubtedly it is much easier for Rousseau to draw his picture of semi-patriarchal felicity, than for the rest of us to realise it. It was his function to press ideals of sweeter life on his contemporaries, and they may be counted fortunate in having a writer who could fulfil this function with Rousseau's peculiar force of masterly persuasion. His scornful diatribes against the domestic police of great houses, and the essential inhumanity of the ordinary household relations, are both excellent and of permanent interest. There is the full breath of a new humaneness in them. They were the right way of attacking the decrepitude of feudal luxury and insolence, and its imitation among the great farmers-general. This criticism of the conditions of domestic service marks a beginning of true democracy, as distinguished from the mere pulverisation of aristocracy. It rests on the claim of the common people to an equal consideration, as equally useful and equally capable of virtue and vice; and it implies the essential priority of social over political reform.
The story abounds in sumptuary detail. The table partakes of the general plenty, but this plenty is not ruinous. The senses are gratified without daintiness. The food is common, but excellent of its kind. The service is simple, yet exquisite. All that is mere show, all that depends on vulgar opinion, all fine and elaborate dishes whose value comes of their rarity, and whose names you must know before finding any goodness in them, are banished without recall. Even in such delicacies as they permit themselves, our friends abstain every day from certain things which are reserved for feasts on special occasions, and which are thus made more delightful without being more costly. What do you suppose these delicacies are? Rare game, or fish from the sea, or dainties from abroad? Better than all that; some delicious vegetable of the district, one of the savoury things that grow in our garden, some fish from the lake dressed in a peculiar way, some cheese from our mountains. The service is modest and rustic, but clean and smiling. Neither gold-laced liveries in sight of which you die of hunger, nor tall crystals laden with flowers for your only dessert, here take the place of honest dishes. Here people have not the art of nourishing the stomach through the eyes, but they know how to add grace to good cheer, to eat heartily without inconvenience, to drink merrily without losing reason, to sit long at table without weariness, and always to rise from it without disgust.
One singularity in this ideal household was the avoidance of those middle exchanges between production and consumption, which enrich the shopkeeper but impoverish his customers. Not one of these exchanges is made without loss, and the multiplication of these losses would weaken even a man of fortune. Wolmar seeks those real exchanges in which the convenience of each party to the bargain serves as profit for both. Thus the wool is sent to the factories, from which they receive cloth in exchange; wine, oil, and bread are produced in the house; the butcher pays himself in live cattle; the grocer receives grain in return for his goods; the wages of the labourers and the house-servants are derived from the produce of the land which they render valuable. It was reserved for Fourier, Cabet, and the rest, to carry to its highest point this confusion of what is so fascinating in a book with what is practicable in society.
The expatiation on the loveliness of a well-ordered interior may strike the impatient modern as somewhat long, and the movement as very slow, just as people complain of the same things in Goethe's Wahlverwandtschaften. Such complaint only proves inability, which is or is not justifiable, to seize the spirit of the writer. The expatiation was long and the movement slow, because Rousseau was full of his thoughts; they were a deep and glowing part of himself, and did not merely skim swiftly and lightly through his mind. Anybody who takes the trouble may find out the difference between this expression of long mental brooding, and a merely elaborated diction. The length is an essential part of the matter. The whole work is the reflection of a series of slow inner processes, the many careful weavings of a lonely and miserable man's dreams. And Julie expressed the spirit and the joy of these dreams when she wrote, "People are only happy before they are happy. Man, so eager and so feeble, made to desire all and obtain little, has received from heaven a consoling force which brings all that he desires close to him, which subjects it to his imagination, which makes it sensible and present before him, which delivers it over to him. The land of chimera is the only one in this world that is worth dwelling in, and such is the nothingness of the human lot, that except the being who exists in and by himself, there is nothing beautiful except that which does not exist."
Closely connected with the vigorous attempt to fascinate his public with the charm of a serene, joyful, and ordered house, is the restoration of marriage in the New Heloisa to a rank among high and honourable obligations, and its representation as the best support of an equable life of right conduct and fruitful harmonious emotion. Rousseau even invested it with the mysterious dignity as of some natural sacrament. "This chaste knot of nature is subject neither to the sovereign power nor to paternal authority," he cried, "but only to the authority of the common Father." And he pointed his remark by a bitter allusion to a celebrated case in which a great house had prevailed on the courts to annul the marriage of an elder son with a young actress, though her character was excellent, and though she had befriended him when he was abandoned by everybody else. This was one of the countless democratic thrusts in the book. In the case of its heroine, however, the author associated the sanctity of marriage not only with equality but with religion. We may imagine the spleen with which the philosophers, with both their hatred of the faith, and their light esteem of marriage bonds, read Julie's eloquent account of her emotions at the moment of her union with Wolmar. "I seemed to behold the organ of Providence and to hear the voice of God, as the minister gravely pronounced the words of the holy service. The purity, the dignity, the sanctity of marriage, so vividly set forth in the words of scripture; its chaste and sublime duties, so important to the happiness, order, and peace of the human race, so sweet to fulfil even for their own sake—all this made such an impression on me that I seemed to feel within my breast a sudden revolution. An unknown power seemed all at once to arrest the disorder of my affections, and to restore them to accordance with the law of duty and of nature. The eternal eye that sees everything, I said to myself, now reads to the depth of my heart." She has all the well-known fervour of the proselyte, and never wearies of extolling the peace of the wedded state. Love is no essential to its perfection. "Worth, virtue, a certain accord not so much in condition and age as in character and temper, are enough between husband and wife; and this does not prevent the growth from such a union of a very tender attachment, which is none the less sweet for not being exactly love, and is all the more lasting." Years after, when Saint Preux has returned and is settled in the household, she even tries to persuade him to imitate her example, and find contentment in marriage with her cousin. The earnestness with which she presses the point, the very sensible but not very delicate references to the hygienic drawbacks of celibacy, and the fact that the cousin whom she would fain have him marry, had complaisantly assisted them in their past loves, naturally drew the fire of Rousseau's critical enemies.
Such matters did not affect the general enthusiasm. When people are weary of a certain way of surveying life, and have their faces eagerly set in some new direction, they read in a book what it pleases them to read; they assimilate as much as falls in with their dominant mood, and the rest passes away unseen. The French public were bewitched by Julie, and were no more capable of criticising her than Julie was capable of criticising Saint Preux in the height of her passion for him. When we say that Rousseau was the author of this movement, all we mean is that his book and its chief personage awoke emotion to self-consciousness, gave it a dialect, communicated an impulse in favour of social order, and then very calamitously at the same moment divorced it from the fundamental conditions of progress, by divorcing it from disciplined intelligence and scientific reason.
Apart from the general tendency of the New Heloisa in numberless indirect ways to bring the manners of the great into contempt, by the presentation of the happiness of a simple and worthy life, thrifty, self-sufficing, and homely, there is one direct protest of singular eloquence and gravity. Julie's father is deeply revolted at the bare notion of marrying his daughter to a teacher. Rousseau puts his vigorous remonstrance against pride of birth into the mouth of an English nobleman. This is perhaps an infelicitous piece of prosopopoeia, but it is interesting as illustrative of the idea of England in the eighteenth century as the home of stout-hearted freedom. We may quote one piece from the numerous bits of very straightforward speaking in which our representative expressed his mind as to the significance of birth. "My friend has nobility," cried Lord Edward, "not written in ink on mouldering parchments, but graven in his heart in characters that can never be effaced. For my own part, by God, I should be sorry to have no other proof of my merit but that of a man who has been in his grave these five hundred years. If you know the English nobility, you know that it is the most enlightened, the best informed, the wisest, the bravest in Europe. That being so, I don't care to ask whether it is the oldest or not. We are not, it is true, the slaves of the prince, but his friends; nor the tyrants of the people, but their leaders. We hold the balance true between people, and monarch. Our first duty is towards the nation, our second towards him who governs; it is not his will but his right that we consider.... We suffer no one in the land to say God and my sword, nor more than this, God and my right." All this was only putting Montesquieu into heroics, it is true, but a great many people read the romance who were not likely to read the graver book. And there was a wide difference between the calm statement of a number of political propositions about government, and their transformation into dramatic invective against the arrogance of all social inequality that does not correspond with inequalities of worth.
There is no contradiction between this and the social quietism of other parts of the book. Moral considerations and the paramount place that they hold in Rousseau's way of thinking, explain at once his contempt for the artificial privileges and assumptions of high rank, and his contempt for anything like discontent with the conditions of humble rank. Simplicity of life was his ideal. He wishes us to despise both those who have departed from it, and those who would depart from it if they could. So Julie does her best to make the lot of the peasants as happy as it is capable of being made, without ever helping them to change it for another. She teaches them to respect their natural condition in respecting themselves. Her prime maxim is to discourage change of station and calling, but above all to dissuade the villager, whose life is the happiest of all, from leaving the true pleasures of his natural career for the fever and corruption of towns. Presently a recollection of the sombre things that he had seen in his rambles through France crossed Rousseau's pastoral visions, and he admitted that there were some lands in which the publican devours the fruits of the earth; where the misery that covers the fields, the bitter greed of some grasping farmer, the inflexible rigour of an inhuman master, take something from the charm of his rural scenes. "Worn-out horses ready to expire under the blows they receive, wretched peasants attenuated by hunger, broken by weariness, clad in rags, hamlets all in ruins—these things offer a mournful spectacle to the eye: one is almost sorry to be a man, as we think of the unhappy creatures on whose blood we have to feed."
Yet there is no hint in the New Heloisa of the socialism which Morelly and Mably flung themselves upon, as the remedy for all these desperate horrors. Property, in every page of the New Heloisa, is held in full respect; the master has the honourable burden of patriarchal duty; the servant the not less honourable burden of industry and faithfulness; disobedience or vice is promptly punished with paternal rigour and more than paternal inflexibility. The insurrectionary quality and effect of Rousseau's work lay in no direct preaching or vehement denunciation of the abuses that filled France with cruelty on the one hand and sodden misery on the other. It lay in pictures of a social state in which abuses and cruelty cannot exist, nor any miseries save those which are inseparable from humanity. The contrast between the sober, cheerful, prosperous scenes of romance, and the dreariness of the reality of the field life of France,—this was the element that filled generous souls with an intoxicating transport.
Rousseau's way of dealing with the portentous questions that lay about that tragic scene of deserted fields, ruined hamlets, tottering brutes, and hunger-stricken men, may be gathered from one of the many traits in Julie which endeared her to that generation, and might endear her even to our own if it only knew her. Wolmar's house was near a great high-road, and so was daily haunted by beggars. Not one of these was allowed to go empty away. And Julie had as many excellent reasons to give for her charity, as if she had been one of the philosophers of whom she thought so surpassingly ill. If you look at mendicancy merely as a trade, what is the harm of a calling whose end is to nourish feelings of humanity and brotherly love? From the point of view of talent, why should I not pay the eloquence of a beggar who stirs my pity, as highly as that of a player who makes me shed tears over imaginary sorrows? If the great number of beggars is burdensome to the state, of how many other professions that people encourage, may you not say the same? How can I be sure that the man to whom I give alms is not an honest soul, whom I may save from perishing? In short, whatever we may think of the poor wretches, if we owe nothing to the beggar, at least we owe it to ourselves to pay honour to suffering humanity or to its image. Nothing could be more admirably illustrative of the author's confidence that the first thing for us to do is to satisfy our fine feelings, and that then all the rest shall be added unto us. The doctrine spread so far, that Necker,—a sort of Julie in a frock-coat, who had never fallen, the incarnation of this doctrine on the great stage of affairs,—was hailed to power to ward off the bankruptcy of the state by means of a good heart and moral sentences, while Turgot with science and firmness for his resources was driven away as an economist and a philosopher.
At a first glance, it may seem that there was compensation for the triumph of sentiment over reason, and that if France was ruined by the dreams in which Rousseau encouraged the nation to exult, she was saved by the fervour and resoluteness of the aspirations with which he filled the most generous of her children. No wide movement, we may be sure, is thoroughly understood until we have mastered both its material and its ideal sides. Materially, Rousseau's work was inevitably fraught with confusion because in this sphere not to be scientific, not to be careful in tracing effects to their true causes, is to be without any security that the causes with which we try to deal will lead to the effects that we desire. A Roman statesman who had gone to the Sermon on the Mount for a method of staying the economic ruin of the empire, its thinning population, its decreasing capital, would obviously have found nothing of what he sought. But the moral nature of man is redeemed by teaching that may have no bearing on economics, or even a bearing purely mischievous, and which has to be corrected by teaching that probably goes equally far in the contrary direction of moral mischief. In the ideal sphere, the processes are very complex. In measuring a man's influence within it we have to balance. Rousseau's action was undoubtedly excellent in leading men and women to desire simple lives, and a more harmonious social order. Was this eminent benefit more than counterbalanced by the eminent disadvantage of giving a reactionary intellectual direction? By commending irrational retrogression from active use of the understanding back to dreamy contemplation?
To one teacher is usually only one task allotted. We do not reproach want of science to the virtuous and benevolent Channing; his goodness and effusion stirred women and the young, just as Rousseau did, to sentimental but humane aspiration. It was this kind of influence that formed the opinion which at last destroyed American slavery. We owe a place in the temple that commemorates human emancipation, to every man who has kindled in his generation a brighter flame of moral enthusiasm, and a more eager care for the realisation of good and virtuous ideals.
The story of the circumstances of the publication of Emilius and the persecution which befell its author in consequence, recalls us to the distinctively evil side of French history in this critical epoch, and carries us away from light into the thick darkness of political intrigue, obscurantist faction, and a misgovernment which was at once tyrannical and decrepit. It is almost impossible for us to realise the existence in the same society of such boundless license of thought, and such unscrupulous restraint upon its expression. Not one of Rousseau's three chief works, for instance, was printed in France. The whole trade in books was a sort of contraband, and was carried on with the stealth, subterfuge, daring, and knavery that are demanded in contraband dealings. An author or a bookseller was forced to be as careful as a kidnapper of coolies or the captain of a slaver would be in our own time. He had to steer clear of the court, of the parliament, of Jansenists, of Jesuits, of the mistresses of the king and the minister, of the friends of the mistresses, and above all of that organised hierarchy of ignorance and oppression in all times and places where they raise their masked heads,—the bishops and ecclesiastics of every sort and condition. Palissot produced his comedy to please the devout at the expense of the philosophers (1760). Madame de Robecq, daughter of Rousseau's marshal of Luxembourg, instigated and protected him, for Diderot had offended her. Morellet replied in a piece in which the keen vision of feminine spite detected a reference to Madame de Robecq. Though dying, she still had relations with Choiseul, and so Morellet was flung into the Bastile. Diderot was thrown for three months into Vincennes, where we saw him on a memorable occasion, for his Letter on the Blind (1748), nominally because it was held to contain irreligious doctrine, really because he had given offence to D'Argenson's mistress by hinting that she might be very handsome, but that her judgment on scientific experiment was of no value.
The New Heloisa could not openly circulate in France so long as it contained the words, "I would rather be the wife of a charcoal-burner than the mistress of a king." The last word was altered to "prince," and then Rousseau was warned that he would offend the Prince de Conti and Madame de Boufflers. No work of merit could appear without more or less of slavish mutilation, and no amount of slavish mutilation could make the writer secure against the accidental grudge of people who had influence in high quarters.
If French booksellers in the stirring intellectual time of the eighteenth century needed all the craft of a smuggler, their morality was reduced to an equally low level in dealing not only with the police, but with their own accomplices, the book-writers. They excused themselves from paying proper sums to authors, on the ground that they were robbed of the profits that would enable them to pay such sums, by the piracy of their brethren in trade. But then they all pirated the works of one another. The whole commerce was a mass of fraud and chicane, and every prominent author passed his life between two fires. He was robbed, his works were pirated, and, worse than robbery and piracy, they were defaced and distorted by the booksellers. On the other side he was tormented to death by the suspicion and timidity, alternately with the hatred and active tyranny of the administration. As we read the story of the lives of all these strenuous men, their struggles, their incessant mortifications, their constantly reviving and ever irrepressible vigour and interest in the fight, we may wish that the shabbiness and the pettiness of the daily lives of some of them had faded away from memory, and left us nothing to think of in connection with their names but the alertness, courage, tenacity, self-sacrifice, and faith with which they defended the cause of human emancipation and progress. Happily the mutual hate of the Christian factions, to which liberty owes at least as much as charity owes to their mutual love, prevented a common union for burning the philosophers as well as their books. All torments short of this they endured, and they had the great merit of enduring them without any hope of being rewarded after their death, as truly good men must always be capable of doing.
Rousseau had no taste for martyrdom, nor any intention of courting it in even its slightest forms. Holland was now the great printing press of France, and when we are counting up the contributions of Protestantism to the enfranchisement of Europe, it is just to remember the indispensable services rendered by the freedom of the press in Holland to the dissemination of French thought in the eighteenth century, as well as the shelter that it gave to the French thinkers in the seventeenth, including Descartes, the greatest of them all. The monstrous tediousness of printing a book at Amsterdam or the Hague, the delay, loss, and confusion in receiving and transmitting the proofs, and the subterranean character of the entire process, including the circulation of the book after it was once fairly printed, were as grievous to Rousseau as to authors of more impetuous temper. He agreed with Rey, for instance, the Amsterdam printer, to sell him the Social Contract for 1000 francs. The manuscript had then to be cunningly conveyed to Amsterdam. Rousseau wrote it out in very small characters, sealed it carefully up, and entrusted it to the care of the chaplain of the Dutch embassy, who happened to be a native of Vaud. In passing the barrier, the packet fell into the hands of the officials. They tore it open and examined it, happily unconscious that they were handling the most explosive kind of gunpowder that they had ever meddled with. It was not until the chaplain claimed it in the name of ambassadorial privilege, that the manuscript was allowed to go on its way to the press. Rousseau repeats a hundred times, not only in the Confessions, but also in letters to his friends, how resolutely and carefully he avoided any evasion of the laws of the country in which he lived. The French government was anxious enough on all grounds to secure for France the production of the books of which France was the great consumer, but the severity of its censorship prevented this. The introduction of the books, when printed, was tolerated or connived at, because the country would hardly have endured to be deprived of the enjoyment of its own literature. By a greater inconsistency the reprinting of a book which had once found admission into the country, was also connived at. Thus M. de Malesherbes, out of friendship for Rousseau, wished to have an edition of the New Heloisa printed in France, and sold for the benefit of the author. That he should have done so is a curious illustration of the low morality engendered by a repressive system imperfectly carried out. For Rousseau had sold the book to Rey. Rey had treated with a French bookseller in the usual way, that is, had sent him half the edition printed, the bookseller paying either in cash or other books for all the copies he received. Therefore to print an independent edition in Paris was to injure, not Rey the foreigner, but the French bookseller who stood practically in Rey's place. It was setting two French booksellers to ruin one another. Rousseau emphatically declined to receive any profit from such a transaction. But, said Malesherbes, you sold to Rey a right which you had not got, the right of sole proprietorship, excluding the competition of a pirated reprint. Then, answered Rousseau, if the right which I sold happens to prove less than I thought, it is clear that far from taking advantage of my mistake, I owe to Rey compensation for any loss that he may suffer.
The friendship of Malesherbes for the party of reason was shown on numerous occasions. As director of the book trade he was really the censor of the literature of the time. The story of his service to Diderot is well known—how he warned Diderot that the police were about to visit his house and overhaul his papers, and how when Diderot despaired of being able to put them out of sight in his narrow quarters, Malesherbes said, "Then send them all to me," and took care of them until the storm was overpast. The proofs of the New Heloisa came through his hands, and now he made himself Rousseau's agent in the affairs relative to the printing of Emilius. Rousseau entrusted the whole matter to him and to Madame de Luxembourg, being confident that, in acting through persons of such authority and position, he should be protected against any unwitting illegality. Instead of being sent to Rey, the manuscript was sold to a bookseller in Paris for six thousand francs. A long time elapsed before any proofs reached the author, and he soon perceived that an edition was being printed in France as well as in Holland. Still, as Malesherbes was in some sort the director of the enterprise, the author felt no alarm. Duclos came to visit him one day, and Rousseau read aloud to him the Savoyard Vicar's Profession of Faith. "What, citizen," he cried, "and that is part of a book that they are printing at Paris! Be kind enough not to tell any one that you read this to me." Still Rousseau remained secure. Then the printing came to a standstill, and he could not find out the reason, because Malesherbes was away, and the printer did not take the trouble to answer his letters. "My natural tendency," he says, and as the rest of his life only too abundantly proved, "is to be afraid of darkness; mystery always disturbs me, it is utterly antipathetic to my character, which is open even to the pitch of imprudence. The aspect of the most hideous monster would alarm me little, I verily believe; but if I discern at night a figure in a white sheet, I am sure to be terrified out of my life." So he at once fancied that by some means the Jesuits had got possession of his book, and knowing him to be at death's door, designed to keep the Emilius back until he was actually dead, when they would publish a truncated version of it to suit their own purposes. He wrote letter upon letter to the printer, to Malesherbes, to Madame de Luxembourg, and if answers did not come, or did not come exactly when he expected them, he grew delirious with anxiety. If he dropped his conviction that the Jesuits were plotting the ruin of his book and the defilement of his reputation, he lost no time in fastening a similar design upon the Jansenists, and when the Jansenists were acquitted, then the turn of the philosophers came. We have constantly to remember that all this time the unfortunate man was suffering incessant pain, and passing his nights in sleeplessness and fever. He sometimes threw off the black dreams of unfathomable suspicion, and dreamed in their stead of some sunny spot in pleasant Touraine, where under a mild climate and among a gentle people he should peacefully end his days. At other times he was fond of supposing M. de Luxembourg not a duke, nor a marshal of France, but a good country squire living in some old mansion, and himself not an author, not a maker of books, but with moderate intelligence and slight attainment, finding with the squire and his dame the happiness of his life, and contributing to the happiness of theirs. Alas, in spite of all his precautions, he had unwittingly drifted into the stream of great affairs. He and his book were sacrificed to the exigencies of faction; and a persecution set in, which destroyed his last chance of a composed life, by giving his reason, already disturbed, a final blow from which it never recovered.
Emilius appeared in the crisis of the movement against the Jesuits. That formidable order had offended Madame de Pompadour by a refusal to recognise her power and position,—a manly policy, as creditable to their moral vigour as it was contrary to the maxims which had made them powerful. They had also offended Choiseul by the part they had taken in certain hostile intrigues at Versailles. The parliaments had always been their enemies. This was due first to the jealousy with which corporations of lawyers always regard corporations of ecclesiastics, and next to their hatred of the bull Unigenitus, which had been not only an infraction of French liberties, but the occasion of special humiliation to the parliaments. Then the hostility of the parliaments to the Jesuits was caused by the harshness with which the system of confessional tickets was at this time being carried out. Finally, the once powerful house of Austria, the protector of all retrograde interests, was now weakened by the Seven Years' War; and was unable to bring effective influence to bear on Lewis XV. At last he gave his consent to the destruction of the order. The commercial bankruptcy of one of their missions was the immediate occasion of their fall, and nothing could save them. "I only know one man," said Grimm, "in a position to have composed an apology for the Jesuits in fine style, if it had been in his way to take the side of that tribe, and this man is M. Rousseau." The parliaments went to work with alacrity, but they were quite as hostile to the philosophers as they were to the Jesuits, and hence their anxiety to show that they were no allies of the one even when destroying the other.
Contemporaries seldom criticise the shades and variations of innovating speculation with any marked nicety. Anything with the stamp of rationality on its phrases or arguments was roughly set down to the school of the philosophers, and Rousseau was counted one of their number, like Voltaire or Helvetius. The Emilius appeared in May 1762. On the 11th of June the parliament of Paris ordered the book to be burnt by the public executioner, and the writer to be arrested. For Rousseau always scorned the devices of Voltaire and others; he courageously insisted on placing his name on the title-page of all his works, and so there was none of the usual difficulty in identifying the author. The grounds of the proceedings were alleged irreligious tendencies to be found in the book.
The indecency of the requisition in which the advocate-general demanded its proscription, was admitted even by people who were least likely to defend Rousseau. The author was charged with saying not only that man may be saved without believing in God, but even that the Christian religion does not exist—paradox too flagrant even for the writer of the Discourse on Inequality. No evidence was produced either that the alleged assertions were in the book, or that the name of the author was really the name on its title-page. Rousseau fared no worse, but better, than his fellows, for there was hardly a single man of letters of that time who escaped arbitrary imprisonment.
The unfortunate author had news of the ferment which his work was creating in Paris, and received notes of warning from every hand, but he could not believe that the only man in France who believed in God was to be the victim of the defenders of Christianity. On the 8th of June he spent a merry day with two friends, taking their dinner in the fields. "Ever since my youth I had a habit of reading at night in my bed until my eyes grew heavy. Then I put out the candle, and tried to fall asleep for a few minutes, but they seldom lasted long. My ordinary reading at night was the Bible, and I have read it continuously through at least five or six times in this way. That night, finding myself more wakeful than usual, I prolonged my reading, and read through the whole of the book which ends with the Levite of Ephraim, and which if I mistake not is the book of Judges. The story affected me deeply, and I was busy over it in a kind of dream, when all at once I was roused by lights and noises."
It was two o'clock in the morning. A messenger had come in hot haste to carry him to Madame de Luxembourg. News had reached her of the proposed decree of the parliament. She knew Rousseau well enough to be sure that if he were seized and examined, her own share and that of Malesherbes in the production of the condemned book would be made public, and their position uncomfortably compromised. It was to their interest that he should avoid arrest by flight, and they had no difficulty in persuading him to fall in with their plans. After a tearful farewell with Theresa, who had hardly been out of his sight for seventeen years, and many embraces from the greater ladies of the castle, he was thrust into a chaise and despatched on the first stage of eight melancholy years of wandering and despair, to be driven from place to place, first by the fatuous tyranny of magistrates and religious doctors, and then by the yet more cruel spectres of his own diseased imagination, until at length his whole soul became the home of weariness and torment.
 Conf., x. 62.
 Conf., x.
 Ib. x. 70.
 Louis Francois de Bourbon, Prince de Conti (1717-1776), was great-grandson of the brother of the Great Conde. He performed creditable things in the war of the Austrian Succession (in Piedmont 1744, in Belgium 1745); had a scheme of foreign policy as director of the secret diplomacy of Lewis XV. (1745-1756), which was to make Turkey, Poland, Sweden, Prussia, a barrier against Russia primarily, and Austria secondarily; lastly went into moderate opposition to the court, protesting against the destruction of the parlements (1771), and afterwards opposing the reforms of Turgot (1776). Finally he had the honour of refusing the sacraments of the church on his deathbed. See Martin's Hist. de France, xv. and xvi.
 Conf., 97. Corr., v. 215.
 Corr., ii. 144. Oct. 7, 1760.
 Conf., x. 98.
 The reader will distinguish this correspondent of Rousseau's, Comtesse de Boufflers-Rouveret (1727-18—), from the Duchesse de Boufflers, which was the title of Rousseau's Marechale de Luxembourg before her second marriage. And also from the Marquise de Boufflers, said to be the mistress of the old king Stanislaus at Luneville, and the mother of the Chevalier de Boufflers (who was the intimate of Voltaire, sat in the States General, emigrated, did homage to Napoleon, and finally died peaceably under Lewis XVIII.). See Jal's Dict. Critique, 259-262. Sainte Beuve has an essay on our present Comtesse de Boufflers (Nouveaux Lundis, iv. 163). She is the Madame de Boufflers who was taken by Beauclerk to visit Johnson in his Temple chambers, and was conducted to her coach by him in a remarkable manner (Boswell's Life, ch. li. p. 467). Also much talked of in H. Walpole's Letters. See D'Alembert to Frederick, April 15, 1768.
 Streckeisen, ii. 32.
 Conf., x. 71.
 For instance, Corr. ii. 85, 90, 92, etc. 1759.
 Streckeisen, ii. 28, etc.
 Ib., 29.
 Conf., x. 99.
 Ib., x. 57.
 Ib., xi. 119.
 Corr., ii. 196. Feb. 16, 1761.
 Ib., ii. 102, 176, etc.
 Conf., x. 60.
 Corr., ii. 12.
 As M. St. Marc Girardin has put it: "There are in all Rousseau's discussions two things to be carefully distinguished from one another; the maxims of the discourse, and the conclusions of the controversy. The maxims are ordinarily paradoxical; the conclusions are full of good sense." Rev. des Deux Mondes, Aug. 1852, p. 501.
 Corr., ii. 244-246. Oct. 24, 1761.
 Ib., 1766. Oeuv., lxxv. 364.
 Corr., ii. 32. (1758.)
 Corr., ii. 63. Jan. 15, 1779.
 Bernardin de St. Pierre, xii. 102.
 4th Letter, p. 375.
 Mem., ii. 299.
 Corr., ii. 98. July 10, 1759.
 Corr., ii. 106. Nov. 10, 1759.
 Ib., ii. 179. Jan. 18, 1761.
 Ib., ii. 268. Dec. 12, 1761.
 Ib., ii. 28. Dec. 23, 1761.
 Nouv. Hel., III. xxii. 147. In 1784 Hume's suppressed essays on "Suicide and the Immortality of the Soul" were published in London:—"With Remarks, intended as an Antidote to the Poison contained in these Performances, by the Editor; to which is added, Two Letters on Suicide, from Rousseau's Eloisa." In the preface the reader is told that these "two very masterly letters have been much celebrated." See Hume's Essays, by Green and Grose, i. 69, 70.
 Corr., iii. 235. Aug. 1, 1763.
 Corr., ii. 226. Sept. 29, 1761.
 P. 294. Jan. 11, 1762.
 Madame Latour (Nov. 7, 1730-Sept. 6, 1789) was the wife of a man in the financial world, who used her ill and dissipated as much of her fortune as he could, and from whom she separated in 1775. After that she resumed her maiden name and was known as Madame de Franqueville. Musset-Pathay, ii. 182, and Sainte Beuve, Causeries, ii. 63.
 Corr., ii. 214. Conf., ix. 289.
 English translations of Rousseau's works appeared very speedily after the originals. A second edition of the Heloisa was called for as early as May 1761. See Corr. ii. 223. A German translation of the Heloisa appeared at Leipzig in 1761, in six duodecimos.
 For instance, Corr., ii. 168. Nov. 19, 1762.
 Choderlos de La Clos: 1741-1803.
 Journal, iv. 496. (Ed. Charpentier, 1857.)
 Nouv. Hel., III. xiv. 48.
 E.g. Letters, 40-46.
 Madame de Stael (1765-1817), in her Lettres sur les ecrits et le caractere de J.J. Rousseau, written when she was twenty, and her first work of any pretensions. Oeuv., i. 41. Ed. 1820.
 Nowhere more pungently than in a little piece of some half-dozen pages, headed, Prediction tiree d'un vieux Manuscrit, the form of which is borrowed from Grimm's squib in the dispute about French music, Le petit Prophete de Boehmischbroda, though it seems to me to be superior to Grimm in pointedness. Here are a few verses from the supposed prophecy of the man who should come—and of what he should do. "Et la multitude courra sur ses pas et plusieurs croiront en lui. Et il leur dira: Vous etes des scelerats et des fripons, vos femmes sont toutes des femmes perdues, et je viens vivre parmi vous. Et il ajoutera tous les hommes sont vertueux dans le pays ou je suis ne, et je n'habiterai jamais le pays ou je suis ne.... Et il dira aussi qu'il est impossible d'avoir des moeurs, et de lire des Romans, et il fera un Roman; et dans son Roman le vice sera en action et la vertu en paroles, et ses personages seront forcenes d'amour et de philosophie. Et dans son Roman on apprendra l'art de suborner philosophiquement une jeune fille. Et l'Ecoliere perdra toute honte et toute pudeur, et elle fera avec son maitre des sottises et des maximes.... Et le bel Ami etant dans un Bateau seul avec sa Maitresse voudra le jetter dans l'eau et se precipiter avec elle. Et ils appelleront tout cela de la Philosophie et de la Vertu," and so on, humorously enough in its way.
 See passages in Goncourt's La Femme au 18ieme siecle, p. 380.
 Musset-Pathay, II. 361. See Madame Roland's Mem., i. 207.
 Corr., March 3, and March 19, 1761. The criticisms of Ximenes, a thoroughly mediocre person in all respects, were entirely literary, and were directed against the too strained and highly coloured quality of the phrases—"baisers acres"—among them.
 Nouv. Hel., V. v. 115.
 VI. vii.
 VI. vi.
 Michelet's Louis XV. et Louis XVI., p. 58.
 See Hettner's Literaturgeschichte, II. 486.
 IV. xi.
 IV. xvii. See vol. iii. 423.
 In 1816. Moore's Life, iii. 247; also 285. And the note to the stanzas in the Third Canto,—a note curious for a slight admixture of transcendentalism, so rare a thing with Byron, who, sentimental though he was, usually rejoiced in a truly Voltairean common sense.
 "The present fashion in France, of passing some time in the country, is new; at this time of the year, and for many weeks past, Paris is, comparatively speaking, empty. Everybody who has a country seat is at it, and such as have none visit others who have. This remarkable revolution in the French manners is certainly one of the best customs they have taken from England; and its introduction was effected the easier, being assisted by the magic of Rousseau's writings. Mankind are much indebted to that splendid genius, who, when living, was hunted from country to country, to seek an asylum, with as much venom as if he had been a mad dog; thanks to the vile spirit of bigotry, which has not received its death wound. Women of the first fashion in France are now ashamed of not nursing their own children; and stays are universally proscribed from the bodies of the poor infants, which were for so many ages torture to them, as they are still in Spain. The country residence may not have effects equally obvious; but they will be no less sure in the end, and in all respects beneficial to every class in the state." Arthur Young's Travels, i. 72.
 Causeries, xi. 195.
 Nouv. Hel., V. iii. "You remember Rousseau's description of an English morning: such are the mornings I spend with these good people."—Cowper to Joseph Hill, Oct. 25, 1765. Works, iii. 269. In a letter to William Unwin (Sept. 21, 1779), speaking of his being engaged in mending windows, he says, "Rousseau would have been charmed to have seen me so occupied, and would have exclaimed with rapture that he had found the Emilius who, he supposed, had subsisted only in his own idea." For a description illustrative of the likeness between Rousseau and Cowper in their feeling for nature, see letter to Newton (Sept. 18, 1784, v. 78), and compare it with the description of Les Charmettes, making proper allowance for the colour of prose.
 IV. x. 260.
 V. ii. 37.
 V. ii. 47-52.
 Rousseau considered that the Fourth and Sixth parts of the New Heloisa were masterpieces of diction. Conf. ix. 334.
 VI. viii.. 298. Conf., xi. 106.
 The La Bedoyere case, which began in 1745. See Barbier, iv. 54, 59, etc.
 III. xviii. 84.
 III. xx. 116. In the letter to Christopher de Beaumont (p. 102), he fires a double shot against the philosophers on the one hand, and the church on the other; exalting continence and purity, of which the philosophers in their reaction against asceticism thought lightly, and exalting marriage over the celibate state, which the churchmen associated with mysterious sanctity.
 I. lxii.
 V. ii.
 V. vii. 141.
 V. ii. 31-33.
 For the Robecq family, see Saint Simon, xviii. 58.
 Morellet's Mem., i. 89-93. Rousseau, Conf., x. 85, etc. This Vision is also in the style of Grimm's Petit Prophete, like the piece referred to in a previous note, vol. ii. p. 31.
 Madame de Vandeul's Mem. sur Diderot, p. 27. Rousseau, Conf., vii. 130.
 Nouv. Hel., V. xiii. 194. Conf., x. 43.
 The reader will find a fuller mention of the French book trade in my Diderot, ch. vi.
 Conf., xi. 127.
 See a letter from Rousseau to Malesherbes, Nov. 5, 1760. Corr., ii. 157.
 Corr., ii. 157.
 C.G. de Lamoignon de Malesherbes (p. 1721—guillotined, 1794), son of the chancellor, and one of the best instructed and most enlightened men of the century—a Turgot of the second rank—was Directeur de la Librairie from 1750-1763. The process was this: a book was submitted to him; he named a censor for it; on the censor's report the director gave or refused permission to print, or required alterations. Even after these formalities were complied with, the book was liable to a decree of the royal council, a decree of the parliament, or else a lettre-de-cachet might send the author to the Bastile. See Barbier, vii. 126.
After Lord Shelburne saw Malesherbes, he said, "I have seen for the first time in my life what I never thought could exist—a man whose soul is absolutely free from hope or fear, and yet who is full of life and ardour." Mdlle. Lespinasse's Lettres, 90.
 See note, p. 132.
 Conf., xi. 134.
 Conf., xi. 139.
 Ib., xi. 139. Corr., ii. 270, etc. Dec. 12, 1761, etc.
 Conf., xi. 150.
 Fourth Letter to Malesherbes, p. 377.
 With one trifling exception, the Letter to Grimm on the Opera of Omphale (1752): Ecrits sur la Musique, p. 337.
 See Barbier's Journal, viii. 45 (Ed. Charpentier, 1857). A succinct contemporary account of the general situation is to be found in D'Alembert's little book, the Destruction des Jesuites.
 Grimm, for instance: Corr. Lit., iii. 117.
 Corr., ii. 337. June 7, 1672. Conf., xi. 152, 162.
 Conf., xi. 162. The Levite's story is to be read in Judges, ch. xix.
Those to whom life consists in the immediate consciousness of their own direct relations with the people and circumstances that are in close contact with them, find it hard to follow the moods of a man to whom such consciousness is the least part of himself, and such relations the least real part of his life. Rousseau was no sooner in the post-chaise which was bearing him away towards Switzerland, than the troubles of the previous day at once dropped into a pale and distant past, and he returned to a world where was neither parliament, nor decree for burning books, nor any warrant for personal arrest. He took up the thread where harassing circumstances had broken it, and again fell musing over the tragic tale of the Levite of Ephraim. His dream absorbed him so entirely as to take specific literary form, and before the journey was at an end he had composed a long impassioned version of the Bible story. Though it has Rousseau's usual fine sonorousness in a high degree, no man now reads it; the author himself always preserved a certain tenderness for it. The contrast between this singular quietism and the angry stir that marked Voltaire's many flights in post-chaises, points like all else to the profound difference between the pair. Contrast with Voltaire's shrill cries under any personal vexation, this calm utterance:—"Though the consequences of this affair have plunged me into a gulf of woes from which I shall never come up again so long as I live, I bear these gentlemen no grudge. I am aware that their object was not to do me any harm, but only to reach ends of their own. I know that towards me they have neither liking nor hate. I was found in their way, like a pebble that you thrust aside with the foot without even looking at it. They ought not to say they have performed their duty, but that they have done their business." A new note from a persecuted writer.
Rousseau, in spite of the belief which henceforth possessed him that he was the victim of a dark unfathomable plot, and in spite of passing outbreaks of gloomy rage, was incapable of steady glowing and active resentments. The world was not real enough to him for this. A throng of phantoms pressed noiselessly before his sight, and dulled all sense of more actual impression. "It is amazing," he wrote, "with what ease I forget past ill, however fresh it may be. In proportion as the anticipation of it alarms and confuses me when I see it coming, so the memory of it returns feebly to my mind and dies out the moment after it has arrived. My cruel imagination, which torments itself incessantly in anticipating woes that are still unborn, makes a diversion for my memory, and hinders me from recalling those which have gone. I exhaust disaster beforehand. The more I have suffered in foreseeing it, the more easily do I forget it; while on the contrary, being incessantly busy with my past happiness, I recall it and brood and ruminate over it, so as to enjoy it over again whenever I wish." The same turn of humour saved him from vindictiveness. "I concern myself too little with the offence, to feel much concern about the offender. I only think of the hurt that I have received from him, on account of the hurt that he may still do me; and if I were sure he would do me no more, what he had already done would be forgotten straightway." Though he does not carry the analysis any further, we may easily perceive that the same explanation covers what he called his natural ingratitude. Kindness was not much more vividly understood by him than malice. It was only one form of the troublesome interposition of an outer world in his life; he was fain to hurry back from it to the real world of his dreams. If any man called practical is tempted to despise this dreaming creature, as he fares in his chaise from stage to stage, let him remember that one making that journey through France less than thirty years later might have seen the castles of the great flaring in the destruction of a most righteous vengeance, the great themselves fleeing ignobly from the land to which their selfishness, and heedlessness, and hatred of improvement, and inhuman pride had been a curse, while the legion of toilers with eyes blinded by the oppression of ages were groping with passionate uncertain hand for that divine something which they thought of as justice and right. And this was what Rousseau both partially foresaw and helped to prepare, while the common politicians, like Choiseul or D'Aiguillon, played their poor game—the elemental forces rising unseen into tempest around them.
He reached the territory of the canton of Berne, and alighted at the house of an old friend at Yverdun, where native air, the beauty of the spot, and the charms of the season, immediately repaired all weariness and fatigue. Friends at Geneva wrote letters of sincere feeling, joyful that he had not followed the precedent of Socrates too closely by remaining in the power of a government eager to destroy him. A post or two later brought worse news. The Council at Geneva ordered not only Emilius, but the Social Contract also, to be publicly burnt, and issued a warrant of arrest against their author, if he should set foot in the territory of the republic (June 19). Rousseau could hardly believe it possible that the free Government which he had held up to the reverence of Europe, could have condemned him unheard, but he took occasion in a highly characteristic manner to chide severely a friend at Geneva who had publicly taken his part. Within a fortnight this blow was followed by another. His two books were reported to the senate of Berne, and Rousseau was informed by one of the authorities that a notification was on its way admonishing him to quit the canton within the space of fifteen days. This stroke he avoided by flight to Motiers, a village in the principality of Neuchatel (July 10), then part of the dominions of the King of Prussia. Rousseau had some antipathy to Frederick, both because he had beaten the French, whom Rousseau loved, and because his maxims and his conduct alike seemed to trample under foot respect for the natural law and not a few human duties. He had composed a verse to the effect that Frederick thought like a philosopher and acted like a king, philosopher and king notoriously being words of equally evil sense in his dialect. There was also a passage in Emilius about Adrastus, King of the Daunians, which was commonly understood to mean Frederick, King of the Prussians. Still Rousseau was acute enough to know that mean passions usually only rule the weak, and have little hold over the strong. He boldly wrote both to the king and to Lord Marischal, the governor of the principality, informing them that he was there, and asking permission to remain in the only asylum left for him upon the earth. He compared himself loftily to Coriolanus among the Volscians, and wrote to the king in a vein that must have amused the strong man. "I have said much ill of you, perhaps I shall still say more; yet, driven from France, from Geneva, from the canton of Berne, I am come to seek shelter in your states. Perhaps I was wrong in not beginning there; this is eulogy of which you are worthy. Sire, I have deserved no grace from you, and I seek none, but I thought it my duty to inform your majesty that I am in your power, and that I am so of set design. Your majesty will dispose of me as shall seem good to you." Frederick, though no admirer of Rousseau or his writings, readily granted the required permission. He also, says Lord Marischal, "gave me orders to furnish him his small necessaries if he would accept them; and though that king's philosophy be very different from that of Jean Jacques, yet he does not think that a man of an irreproachable life is to be persecuted because his sentiments are singular. He designs to build him a hermitage with a little garden, which I find he will not accept, nor perhaps the rest, which I have not yet offered him." When the offer of the flour, wine, and firewood was at length made in as delicate terms as possible, Rousseau declined the gift on grounds which may raise a smile, but which are not without a rather touching simplicity. "I have enough to live on for two or three years," he said, "but if I were dying of hunger, I would rather in the present condition of your good prince, and not being of any service to him, go and eat grass and grub up roots, than accept a morsel of bread from him." Hume might well call this a phenomenon in the world of letters, and one very honourable for the person concerned. And we recognise its dignity the more when we contrast it with the baseness of Voltaire, who drew his pension from the King of Prussia while Frederick was in his most urgent straits, and while the poet was sportively exulting to all his correspondents in the malicious expectation that he would one day have to allow the King of Prussia himself a pension. And Rousseau was a poor man, living among the poor and in their style. His annual outlay at this time was covered by the modest sum of sixty louis. What stamps his refusal of Frederick's gifts as true dignity, is the fact that he not only did not refuse money for any work done, but expected and asked for it. Malesherbes at this very time begged him to collect plants for him. Joyfully, replied Rousseau, "but as I cannot subsist without the aid of my own labour, I never meant, in spite of the pleasure that it might otherwise have been to me, to offer you the use of my time for nothing." In the same year, we may add, when the tremendous struggle of the Seven Years' War was closing, the philosopher wrote a second terse epistle to the king, and with this their direct communication came to an end. "Sire, you are my protector and my benefactor; I would fain repay you if I can. You wish to give me bread; is there none of your own subjects in want of it? Take that sword away from my sight, it dazzles and pains me. It has done its work only too well; the sceptre is abandoned. Great is the career for kings of your stuff, and you are still far from the term; time presses, you have not a moment to lose. Fathom well your heart, O Frederick! Can you dare to die without having been the greatest of men? Would that I could see Frederick, the just and the redoubtable, covering his states with multitudes of men to whom he should be a father; then will J.J. Rousseau, the foe of kings, hasten to die at the foot of his throne." Frederick, strong as his interest was in all curious persons who could amuse him, was too busy to answer this, and Rousseau was not yet recognised as Voltaire's rival in power and popularity.
Motiers is one of the half-dozen decent villages standing in the flat bottom of the Val de Travers, a widish valley that lies between the gorges of the Jura and the Lake of Neuchatel, and is famous in our day for its production of absinthe and of asphalt. The flat of the valley, with the Reuss making a bald and colourless way through the midst of it, is nearly treeless, and it is too uniform to be very pleasing. In winter the climate is most rigorous, for the level is high, and the surrounding hills admit the sun's rays late and cut them off early. Rousseau's description, accurate and recognisable as it is, strikes an impartial tourist as too favourable. But when a piece of scenery is a home to a man, he has an eye for a thousand outlines, changes of light, soft variations of colour; the landscape lives for him with an unspoken suggestion and intimate association, to all of which the swift passing stranger is very cold.
His cottage, which is still shown, was in the midst of the other houses, and his walks, which were at least as important to him as the home in which he dwelt, lay mostly among woody heights with streaming cascades. The country abounded in natural curiosities of a humble sort, and here that interest in plants which had always been strong in him, began to grow into a passion. Rousseau had so curious a feeling about them, that when in his botanical expeditions he came across a single flower of its kind, he could never bring himself to pluck it. His sight, though not good for distant objects, was of the very finest for things held close; his sense of smell was so acute and subtle that, according to a good witness, he might have classified plants by odours, if language furnished as many names as nature supplies varieties of fragrance. He insisted in all botanising and other walking excursions on going bareheaded, even in the heat of the dog-days; he declared that the action of the sun did him good. When the days began to turn, the summer was straightway at an end for him: "My imagination," he said, in a phrase which went further through his life than he supposed, "at once brings winter." He hated rain as much as he loved sun, so he must once have lost all the mystic fascination of the green Savoy lakes gleaming luminous through pale showers, and now again must have lost the sombre majesty of the pines of his valley dripping in torn edges of cloud, and all those other sights in landscape that touch subtler parts of us than comforted sense.
One of his favourite journeys was to Colombier, the summer retreat of Lord Marischal. For him he rapidly conceived the same warm friendship which he felt for the Duke of Luxembourg, whom he had just left. And the sagacious, moderate, silent Scot had as warm a liking for the strange refugee who had come to him for shelter, or shall we call it a kind of shaggy compassion, as of a faithful inarticulate creature. His letters, which are numerous enough, abound in expressions of hearty good-will. These, if we reflect on the genuine worth, veracity, penetration, and experience of the old man who wrote them, may fairly be counted the best testimony that remains to the existence of something sterling at the bottom of Rousseau's character. It is here no insincere fine lady of the French court, but a homely and weather-beaten Scotchman, who speaks so often of his refugee's rectitude of heart and true sensibility.
He insisted on being allowed to settle a small sum on Theresa, who had joined Rousseau at Motiers, and in other ways he showed a true solicitude and considerateness both for her and for him. It was his constant dream, that on his return to Scotland, Jean Jacques should accompany him, and that with David Hume, they would make a trio of philosophic hermits; that this was no mere cheery pleasantry is shown by the pains he took in settling the route for the journey. The plan only fell through in consequence of Frederick's cordial urgency that his friend should end his days with him; he returned to Prussia and lived at Sans Souci until the close, always retaining something of his good-will for "his excellent savage," as he called the author of the Discourses. They had some common antipathies, including the fundamental one of dislike to society, and especially to the society of the people of Neuchatel, the Gascons of Switzerland. "Rousseau is gay in company," Lord Marischal wrote to Hume, "polite, and what the French call aimable, and gains ground daily in the opinion of even the clergy here. His enemies elsewhere continue to persecute him, and he is pestered with anonymous letters."
Some of these were of a humour that disclosed the master hand. Voltaire had been universally suspected of stirring up the feeling of Geneva against its too famous citizen, though for a man of less energy the affair of the Calas, which he was now in the thick of, might have sufficed. Voltaire's letters at this time show how hard he found it in the case of Rousseau to exercise his usual pity for the unfortunate. He could not forget that the man who was now tasting persecution had barked at philosophers and stage-plays; that he was a false brother, who had fatuously insulted the only men who could take his part; that he was a Judas who had betrayed the sacred cause. On the whole, however, we ought probably to accept his word, though not very categorically given, that he had nothing to do with the action taken against Rousseau. That action is quite adequately explained, first by the influence of the resident of France at Geneva, which we know to have been exerted against the two fatal books, and second by the anxiety of the oligarchic party to keep out of their town a man whose democratic tendencies they now knew so well and so justly dreaded. Moultou, a Genevese minister, in the full tide of devotion and enthusiasm for the author of Emilius, met Voltaire at the house of a lady in Geneva. All will turn out well, cried the patriarch; "the syndics will say M. Rousseau, you have done ill to write what you have written; promise for the future to respect the religion of your country. Jean Jacques will promise, and perhaps he will say that the printer took the liberty of adding a sheet or two to his book." "Never," cried the ardent Moultou; "Jean Jacques never puts his name to works to disown them after." Voltaire disowned his own books with intrepid and sustained mendacity, yet he bore no grudge to Moultou for his vehemence. He sent for him shortly afterwards, professed an extreme desire to be reconciled with Rousseau, and would talk of nothing else. "I swear to you," wrote Moultou, "that I could not understand him the least in the world; he is a marvellous actor; I could have sworn that he loved you." And there really was no acting in it. The serious Genevese did not see that he was dealing with "one all fire and fickleness, a child."
Rousseau soon found out that he had excited not only the band of professed unbelievers, but also the tormenting wasps of orthodoxy. The doctors of the Sorbonne, not to be outdone in fervour for truth by the lawyers of the parliament, had condemned Emilius as a matter of course. In the same spirit of generous emulation, Christopher de Beaumont, "by the divine compassion archbishop of Paris, Duke of Saint Cloud, peer of France, commander of the order of the Holy Ghost," had issued (Aug. 20, 1762) one of those hateful documents in which bishops, Catholic and Protestant, have been wont for the last century and a half to hide with swollen bombastic phrase their dead and decomposing ideas. The windy folly of these poor pieces is usually in proportion to the hierarchic rank of those who promulgate them, and an archbishop owes it to himself to blaspheme against reason and freedom in superlatives of malignant unction. Rousseau's reply (Nov. 18, 1762) is a masterpiece of dignity and uprightness. Turning to it from the mandate which was its provocative, we seem to grasp the hand of a man, after being chased by a nightmare of masked figures. Rousseau never showed the substantial quality of his character more surely and unmistakably than in controversy. He had such gravity, such austere self-command, such closeness of grip. Most of us feel pleasure in reading the matchless banter with which Voltaire assailed his theological enemies. Reading Rousseau's letter to De Beaumont we realise the comparative lowness of the pleasure which Voltaire had given us. We understand how it was that Rousseau made fanatics, while Voltaire only made sceptics. At the very first words, the mitre, the crosier, the ring, fall into the dust; the Archbishop of Paris, the Duke of Saint Cloud, the peer of France, the commander of the Holy Ghost, is restored from the disguises of his enchantment, and becomes a human being. We hear the voice of a man hailing a man. Voltaire often sank to the level of ecclesiastics. Rousseau raised the archbishop to his own level, and with magnanimous courtesy addressed him as an equal. "Why, my lord, have I anything to say to you? What common tongue can we use? How are we to understand one another? And what is there between me and you?" And he persevered in this distant lofty vein, hardly permitting himself a single moment of acerbity. We feel the ever-inspiring breath of seriousness and sincerity. This was because, as we repeat so often, Rousseau's ideas, all engendered of dreams as they were, yet lived in him and were truly rooted in his character. He did not merely say, as any of us can say so fluently, that he craved reality in human relations, that distinctions of rank and post count for nothing, that our lives are in our own hands and ought not to be blown hither and thither by outside opinion and words heedlessly scattered; that our faith, whatever it may be, is the most sacred of our possessions, organic, indissoluble, self-sufficing; that our passage across the world, if very short, is yet too serious to be wasted in frivolous disrespect for ourselves, and angry disrespect for others. All this was actually his mind. And hence the little difficulty he had in keeping his retort to the archbishop, as to his other antagonists, on a worthy level.