1694-1778 Voltaire.

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Limited to one thousand sets
for America and Great Britain.

"Between two servants of Humanity, who appeared
eighteen hundred years apart, there is a mysterious relation.
* * * * Let us say it with a sentiment of
profound respect: JESUS WEPT: VOLTAIRE SMILED.
Of that divine tear and of that human smile is composed the
sweetness of the present civilization."



































ACCORDING to our custom, we confine ourselves
on this subject to the statement of a few queries
which we cannot resolve. Has a Jew a country? If
he is born at Coimbra, it is in the midst of a crowd
of ignorant and absurd persons, who will dispute
with him, and to whom he makes foolish answers,
if he dare reply at all. He is surrounded by inquis-
itors, who would burn him if they knew that he
declined to eat bacon, and all his wealth would be-
long to them. Is Coimbra his country? Can he
exclaim, like the Horatii in Corneille:

Mourir Pour lapatrie est un si digne sort
Quon briguerait enfoule, une si belle mart.

So high his meed who for his country dies,
Men should contend to gain the glorious prize.

He might as well exclaim, "fiddlestick !" Again !
is Jerusalem his country? He has probably heard
of his ancestors of old ; that they had formerly in-
habited a sterile and stony country, which is bor-
dered by a horrible desert, of which little country
the Turks are at present masters, but derive little
or nothing from it. Jerusalem is, therefore, not
his country. In short, he has no country: there is


6 Philosophical

not a square foot of land on the globe which belongs
to him.

The Gueber, more ancient, and a hundred times
more respectable than the Jew, a slave of the Turks,
the Persians, or the Great Mogul, can he regard as
his country the fire-altars which he raises in secret
among the mountains ? The Banian, the Armenian,
who pass their lives in wandering through all the
east, in the capacity of money-brokers, can they ex-
claim, "My dear country, my dear country" who
have no other country than their purses and their
account-books ?

Among the nations of Europe, all those cut-
throats who let out their services to hire, and sell
their blood to the first king who will purchase it
have they a country? Not so much so as a bird of
prey, who returns every evening to the hollow of
the rock where its mother built its nest! The
monks will they venture to say that they have a
country? It is in heaven, they say. All in good
time ; but in this world I know nothing about one.

This expression, "my country," how sounds it
from the mouth of a Greek, who, altogether ig-
norant of the previous existence of a Miltiades, an
Agesilaus, only knows that he is the slave of a jan-
issary, who is the slave of an aga, who is the slave
of a pasha, who is the slave of a vizier, who is the
slave of an individual whom we call, in Paris, the
Grand Turk ?

What, then, is country? Is it not, probably, a

Dictionary. 7

good piece of ground, in the midst- of which the
owner, residing in a well-built and commodious
house, may say: "This field which I cultivate, this
house which I have built, is my own ; I live under
the protection of laws which no tyrant can infringe.
When those who, like me, possess fields and houses
assemble for their common interests, I have a voice
in such assembly. I am a part of the whole, one of
the community, a portion of the sovereignty : be-
hold my country!" What cannot be included in
this description too often amounts to little beyond
studs of horses under the command of a groom,
who employs the whip at his pleasure. People may
have a country under a good king, but never under
a bad one.


A young pastry-cook who had been to college,
and who had mustered some phrases from Cicero,
gave himself airs one day about loving his country.
"What dost thou mean by country?" said a neigh-
bor to him. "Is it thy oven ? Is it the village where
thou wast born, which thou hast never seen, and to
which thou wilt never return? Is it the street in
which thy father and mother reside ? Is it the town
hall, where thou wilt never become so much as a
clerk or an alderman? Is it the church of Notre
Dame, in which thou hast not been able to obtain
a place among the boys of the choir, although a very
silly person, who is archbishop and duke, obtains

8 Philosophical

from it an annual income of twenty-four thousand
louis d'or?"

The young pastry-cook knew not how to reply;
and a person of reflection, who overheard the con-
versation, was led to infer that a country of mod-
erate extent may contain many millions of men who
have no country at all. And thou, voluptuous Pa-
risian, who hast never made a longer voyage than
to Dieppe, to feed upon fresh sea-fish who art
acquainted only with thy splendid town-house, thy
pretty villa in the country, thy box at that opera
which all the world makes it a point to feel tiresome
but thyself who speakest thy own language agree-
ably enough, because thou art ignorant of every
other; thou lovest all this, no doubt, as well as thy
brilliant champagne from Rheims, and thy rents,
payable every six months ; and loving these, thou
dwellest upon thy love for thy country.

Speaking conscientiously, can a financier cor-
dially love his country ? Where was the country of
the duke of Guise, surnamed Balafre at Nancy, at
Paris, at Madrid, or at Rome? What country had
your cardinals Balue, Duprat, Lorraine, and Ma-
zarin? Where was the country of Attila situated,
or that of a hundred other heroes of the same kind,
who, although eternally travelling, make themselves
always at home? I should be much obliged to any
one who would acquaint me with the country of

The first who observed that every land is our

Dictionary. 9

country in which we "do well," was, I believe, Eu-
ripides, in his "Phcedo" :

"Q$ itavTaxcut; ye itarpit; Boaxooaa. fT],

The first man, however, who left the place of his
birth to seek a greater share of welfare in another,
said it before him.


A country is a composition of many families;
and as a family is commonly supported on the prin-
ciple of self-love, when, by an opposing interest,
the same self-love extends to our town, our province,
or our nation, it is called love of country. The
greater a country becomes, the less we love it ; for
love is weakened by diffusion. It is impossible to
love a family so numerous that all the members can
scarcely be known.

He who is burning with ambition to be edile,
tribune, praetor, consul, or dictator, exclaims that he
loves his country, while he loves only himself.
Every man wishes to possess the power of sleeping
quietly at home, and of preventing any other man
from possessing the power of sending him to sleep
elsewhere. Every one would be certain of his prop-
erty and his life. Thus, all forming the same wishes,
the particular becomes the general interest. The
welfare of the republic is spoken of, while all that
is signified is love of self.

It is impossible that a state was ever formed on
earth, which was not governed in the first instance

io Philosophical

as a republic : it is the natural march of human na-
ture. On the discovery of America, all the people
were found divided into republics; there were but
two kingdoms in all that part of the world. Of a
thousand nations, but two were found subjugated.

It was the same in the ancient world ; all was
republican in Europe before the little kinglings of
Etruria and of Rome. There are yet republics in
Africa: the Hottentots, towards the south, still live
as people are said to have lived in the first ages of
the world free, equal, without masters, without
subjects, without money, and almost without wants.
The flesh of their sheep feeds them ; they are clothed
with their skins ; huts of wood and clay form their
habitations. They are the most dirty of all men,
but they feel it not, but live and die more easily than
we do. There remain eight republics in Europe
without monarchs Venice, Holland, Switzerland,
Genoa, Lucca, Ragusa, Geneva, and San Marino.
Poland, Sweden, and England may be regarded as
republics under a king, but Poland is the only one
of them which takes the name.

But which of the two is to be preferred for a
country a monarchy or a republic? The question
has been agitated for four thousand years. Ask the
rich, and they will tell you an aristocracy; ask the
people, and they will reply a democracy ; kings alone
prefer royalty. Why, then, is almost all the earth
governed by monarchs? Put that question to the
rats who proposed to hang a bell around the cat's

Dictionary. 1 1

neck. In truth, the genuine reason is, because men
are rarely worthy of governing themselves.

It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot we
must become the enemy of the rest of mankind.
That good citizen, the ancient Cato, always gave
it as his opinion, that Carthage must be destroyed :
"Delenda est Carthago!' To be a good patriot is
to wish our own country enriched by commerce,
and powerful by arms ; but such is the condition of
mankind, that to wish the greatness of our own
country is often to wish evil to our neighbors. He
who could bring himself to wish that his country
should always remain as it is, would be a citizen of
toe universe.

Of Time and Place.

A ROMAN in Egypt very unfortunately killed a
consecrated cat, and the infuriated people punished
this sacrilege by tearing him to pieces. If this Ro-
man had been carried before the tribunal, and the
judges had possessed common sense, he would have
been condemned to ask pardon of the Egyptians and
the cats, and to pay a heavy fine, either in money or
mice. They would have told him that he ought to
respect the follies of the people, since he was not
strong enough to correct them.

The venerable chief justice should have spoken
to him in this manner: "Every country has its
legal impertinences, and its offences of time and

1 2 Philosophical

place. If in your Rome, which has become the sov-
ereign of Europe, Africa, and Asia Minor, you were
to kill a sacred fowl, at the precise time that you
give it grain in order to ascertain the just will of
the gods, you would be severely punished. We be-
lieve that you have only killed our cat accidentally.
The court admonishes you. Go in peace, and be
more circumspect in future."

It seems a very indifferent thing to have a statue
in our hall; but if, when Octavius, surnamed Au-
gustus, was absolute master, a Roman had placed in
his house the statue of Brutus, he would have been
punished as seditious. If a citizen, under a reign-
ing emperor, had the statue of the competitor to the
empire, it is said that it was accounted a crime of
high treason.

An Englishman, having nothing to do, went to
Rome, where he met Prince Charles Edward at the
house of a cardinal. Pleased at the incident, on his
return he drank in a tavern to the health of Prince
Charles Edward, and was immediately accused of
high treason. But whom did he highly betray in
wishing the prince well? If he had conspired to
place him on the throne, then he would have been
guilty towards the nation ; but I do not see that the
most rigid justice of parliament could require more
from him than to drink four cups to the health of
the house of Hanover, supposing he had drunk two
to the house of Stuart.

Dictionary. 13

Of Crimes of Time and Place, which Ought to Be

It is well known how much our Lady of Loretto
ought to be respected in the March of Ancona.
Three young people happened to be joking on the
house of our lady, which has travelled through the
air to Dalmatia; which has two or three times
changed its situation, and has only found itself com-
fortable at Loretto. Our three scatterbrains sang
a song at supper, formerly made by a Huguenot,
in ridicule of the translation of the santa casa of
Jerusalem to the end of the Adriatic Gulf. A fa-
natic, having heard by chance what passed at their
supper, made strict inquiries, sought witnesses, and
engaged a magistrate to issue a summons. This pro-
ceeding alarmed all consciences. Every one trem-
bled in speaking of it. Chambermaids, vergers, inn-
keepers, lackeys, servants, all heard what was never
said, and saw what was never done: there was an
uproar, a horrible scandal throughout the whole
March of Ancona. It was said, half a league from
Loretto, that these youths had killed our lady ; and
a league farther, that they had thrown the santa
casa into the sea. In short, they were condemned.
The sentence was, that their hands should be cut off,
and their tongues be torn out ; after which they were
to be put to the torture, to learn at least by signs
how many couplets there were in the song. Fi-
nally, they were to be burnt to death by a slow fire.

14 Philosophical

An advocate of Milan, who happened to be at
Loretto at this time, asked the principal judge to
what he would have condemned these boys if they
had violated their mother, and afterwards killed and
eaten her? "Oh!" replied the judge, "there is a
great deal of difference; to assassinate and devour
their father and mother is only a crime against
men." "Have you an express law," said the Milan-
ese, "which obliges you to put young people scarcely
out of their nurseries to such a horrible death, for
having indiscreetly made game of the santa casa,
which is contemptuously laughed at all over the
world, except in the March of Ancona?" "No,"
said the judge, "the wisdom of our jurisprudence
leaves all to our discretion." "Very well, you
ought to have discretion enough to remember that
one of these children is the grandson of a general
who has shed his blood for his country, and the
nephew of an amiable and respectable abbess; the
youth and his companions are giddy boys, who de-
serve paternal correction. You tear citizens from
the state, who might one day serve it; you imbrue
yourself in innocent blood, and are more cruel than
cannibals. You will render yourselves execrable to
posterity. What motive has been powerful enough,
thus to extinguish reason, justice, and humanity in
your minds, and to change you into ferocious
beasts?" The unhappy judge at last replied: "We
have been quarrelling with the clergy of Ancona;
they accuse us of being too zealous for the liberties

Dictionary. 1 5

of the Lombard Church, and consequently of having
no religion." "I understand, then," said the Milan-
ese, "that you have made yourselves assassins to
appear Christians." At these words the judge fell
to the ground, as if struck by a thunderbolt; and
his brother judges having been since deprived of
office, they cry out that injustice is done them. They
forget what they have done, and perceive not that
the hand of God is upon them.

For seven persons legally to amuse themselves
by making an eighth perish on a public scaffold by
blows from iron bars ; take a secret and malignant
pleasure in witnessing his torments; speak of it
afterwards at table with their wives and neighbors ;
for the executioners to perform this office gaily,
and joyously anticipate their reward ; for the pub-
lic to run to this spectacle as to a fair all this re-
quires that a crime merit this horrid punishment in
the opinion of all well-governed nations, and, as we
here treat of universal humanity, that it is necessary
to the well-being of society. Above all, the actual
perpetration should be demonstrated beyond con-
tradiction. If against a hundred thousand proba-
bilities that the accused be guilty there is a single
one that he is innocent, that alone should balance
all the rest.

Query: Are Two Witnesses Enough to Condemn
a Man to be Hanged?

It has been for a long time imagined, and the
proverb assures us, that two witnesses are enough to

1 6 Philosophical

hang a man, with a safe conscience. Another am-
biguity! The world, then, is to be governed by
equivoques. It is said in St. Matthew that two
or three witnesses will suffice to reconcile two
divided friends; and after this text has criminal
jurisprudence been regulated, so far as to decree
that by divine law a citizen may be condemned to
die on the uniform deposition of two witnesses who
may be villains? It has been already said that a
crowd of according witnesses cannot prove an im-
probable thing when denied by the accused. What,
then, must be done in such a case? Put off the
judgment for a hundred years, like the Athenians !
We shall here relate a striking example of what
passed under our eyes at Lyons. A woman sud-
denly missed her daughter; she ran everywhere in
search of her in vain, and at length suspected a
neighbor of having secreted the girl, and of having
caused her violation. Some weeks after some fish-
ermen found a female drowned, and in a state of
putrefaction, in the Rhone at Condmeux. The
woman of whom we have spoken immediately be-
lieved that it was her daughter. She was persuaded
by the enemies of her neighbor that the latter had
caused the deceased to be dishonored, strangled,
and thrown into the Rhone. She made this accusa-
tion publicly, and the populace repeated it; per-
sons were found who knew the minutest circum-
stances of the crime. The rumor ran through all
the town, and all mouths cried out for vengeance.

Dictionary. 17

There is nothing more common than this in a popu-
lace without judgment; but here follows the most
prodigious part of the affair. This neighbor's own
son, a child of five years and a half old, accused
his mother of having caused the unhappy girl who
was found in the Rhone to be violated before his
eyes, and to be held by five men, while the sixth
committed the crime. He had heard the words
which pronounced her violated ; he painted her at-
titudes ; he saw his mother and these villains
strangle this unfortunate girl after the consumma-
tion of the act. He also saw his mother and the
assassins throw her into a well, draw her out of it,
wrap her up in a cloth, carry her about in triumph,
dance round the corpse, and, at last, throw her into
the Rhone. The judges were obliged to put all the
pretended accomplices deposed against in chains.
The child is again heard, and still maintains, with
the simplicity of his age, all that he had said of
them and of his mother. How could it be imagined
that this child had not spoken the pure truth ? The
crime was not probable, but it was still less so that
a child of the age of five years and a half should
thus calumniate his mother, and repeat with exact-
ness all the circumstances of an abominable and
unheard-of crime ; if he had not been the eye-wit-
ness of it, and been overcome with the force of the
truth, such things would not have been wrung from

v* Every one expected to feast his eyes on the
Vol. 82

1 8 Philosophical

torment of the accused; but what was the end of
this strange criminal process? There was not a
word of truth in the accusation. There was no
girl violated, no young men assembled at the house
of the accused, no murder, not the least transaction
of the sort, nor the least noise. The child had been
suborned; and by whom? Strange, but true, by
two other children, who were the sons of the ac-
cused. He had been on the point of burning his
mother to get some sweetmeats.

The heads of the accusation were clearly in-
compatible. The sage and enlightened court of
judicature, after having yielded to the public fury
so far as to seek every possible testimony for and
against the accused, fully and unanimously acquitted
them. Formerly, perhaps, this innocent prisoner
would have been broken on the wheel, or judicially
burned, for the pleasure of supplying an execution
the tragedy of the mob.


Criminal Prosecution.

VERY innocent actions have been frequently
punished with death. Thus in England, Richard
III., and Edward IV., effected by the judges the
condemnation of those whom they suspected of dis-
affection. Such are not criminal processes; they
are assassinations committed by privileged mur-
derers. It is the last degree of abuse to make the
laws the instruments of injustice.

Dictionary. 1 9

It is said that the Athenians punished with death
every stranger who entered their areopagus or sov-
ereign tribunal. But if this stranger was actuated
by mere curiosity, nothing was more cruel than to
take away his life. It is observed, in ''The Spirit
of Laws," that this vigor was exercised, "because
he usurped the rights of a citizen."

But a Frenchman in London who goes to the
House of Commons to hear the debates, does not
aspire to the rights of a citizen. He is received
with politeness. If any splenetic member calls for
the clearing of the house, the traveller clears it by
withdrawing; he is not hanged. It is probable that,
if the Athenians passed this temporary law, it was
at a time when it was suspected that every stranger
might be a spy, and not from the fear that he would
arrogate to himself the rights of citizenship. Every
Athenian voted in his tribe; all the individuals in
the tribe knew each other; no stranger could have
put in his bean.

We speak here only of a real criminal prosecution,
and among the Romans every criminal prosecution
was public. The citizen accused of the most enor-
mous crimes had an advocate who pleaded in his
presence ; who even interrogated the adverse party ;
who investigated everything before his judges. All
the witnesses, for and against, were produced in
open court; nothing was secret. Cicero pleaded
for Milo, who had assassinated Clodius, in the
presence of a thousand citizens. The same Cicero

2O Philosophical

undertook the defence of Roscius Amerinus, ac-
cused of parricide. A single judge did not in secret
examine witnesses, generally consisting of the dregs
of the people, who may be influenced at pleasure.

A Roman citizen was not put to the torture at
the arbitrary order of another Roman citizen, in-
vested with this cruel authority by purchase. That
horrible outrage against humanity was not perpe-
trated on the persons of those who were regarded as
the first of men, but only on those of their slaves,
scarcely regarded as men. It would have been bet-
ter not to have employed torture, even against

The method of conducting a criminal prosecu-
tion at Rome accorded with the magnanimity and
liberality of the nation. It is nearly the same in
London. The assistance of an advocate is never
in any case refused. Every one is judged by his
peers. Every citizen has the power, out of thirty-
six jurymen sworn, to challenge twelve without
reasons, twelve with reasons, and, consequently, of
choosing his judges in the remaining twelve. The
judges cannot deviate from or go beyond the law.
No punishment is arbitrary. No judgment can be
executed before it has been reported to the king,
who may, and who ought to bestow pardon on those
who are deserving of it, and to whom the law can-
not extend it. This case frequently occurs. A man
outrageously wronged kills the offender under the
impulse of venial passion ; he is condemned by the

Dictionary. 21

rigor of the law, and saved by that mercy which
ought to be the prerogative of the sovereign.

It deserves particular remark that in the same
country where the laws are as favorable to the ac-
cused as they are terrible for the guilty, not only is
false imprisonment in ordinary cases punished by
heavy damages and severe penalties, but if an illegal
imprisonment has been ordered by a minister of

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