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TO THE HOMES OF EMINENT ORATORS "
Vol. XIII. JULY, 1903. No. i
By ELBERT HUBBARD
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TOT HE HOMES OF
By ELBERT HUBBARD
SUBJECTS AS F O L L O W S:
1 Pericles 7 Marat
2 Mark Antony . 8 Robert Ingersoll
3 Savonarola 9 John Randolph
4 Martin Luther 10 Thomas Starr King
5 Edmund Burke n Henry Ward Beecher
6 William Pitt : 12 Wendell Phillips
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THE SEW ^ "
Jean Paul Marat
JEAN PAUL MARAT
CITIZENS: You see before you the widow of Marat. I do not
^^ come here to ask your favors, such as cupidity would covet, or
even such as would relieve indigence, Marat's widow needs no
more than a tomb. Before arriving at that happy termination to my
existence, however, I come to ask that justice may be done in respect
to the reports recently put forth in this body against the memory of
at once the most intrepid and the most outraged defender of the
SIMONNE EVRARD MARAT, to the Convention.
JEAN PAUL MARAT
SHE French Revolution traces a lineal
descent direct from Voltaire and Jean
Jacques Rousseau. These men were
contemporaries ; they came to the same
conclusions, expressing the same
thought, each in his own way, absolute-
ly independent of the other. And as
genius seldom recognizes genius, neither
knew the greatness of the other.
Voltaire was an aristocrat the friend
of kings and courtiers, the brilliant
cynic, the pet of the salons and the cen-
ter of the culture and brains of his time.
Q Rousseau was a man of the people,
plain and unpretentious a man with-
out ambition a dreamer. His first writ-
ings were mere debating-society mono-
logues, done for his own amusement
and the half dozen or so cronies who
cared to listen.
But, as he wrote, things came to him
the significance of his words became to
him apparent. Opposition made it neces-
sary to define his position, and threat
made it wise to amplify and explain.
He grew through exercise, as all men
do who grow at all; the spirit of the
times acted upon him, and knowledge
unrolled as a scroll.
JEAN PAUL MARAT
The sum of Rousseau's political philosophy found
embodiment in his book, "The Social Contract," and
his ideas on education in "Lavania." "The Social
Contract" became the bible of the Revolution, and as
Emerson says all of our philosophy will be found in
Plato, so in a more exact sense can every argument
of the men of the Revolution be found in "The Social
Contract." But Rousseau did not know what fire-
brands he was supplying. He was essentially a man
of peace he launched these children of his brain, in-
differently, like his children of the flesh, upon the
world and left their fate to the god of Chance.
OUT of the dust and din of the French Revo-
lution, now seen by us on the horizon of time,
there emerge four names : Robespierre, Mira-
beau, Danton and Marat.
Undaunted men all, hated and loved, feared and idol-
ized, despised and deified even yet we find it hard to
gauge their worth, and give due credit for the good
that was in each.
Oratory played a most important part in bringing
about the explosion. Oratory arouses passion fear,
vengeance, hate and draws a beautiful picture of
peace and plenty just beyond.
Without oratory there would have been no political
revolution in France, nor elsewhere.
Politics, more than any other function of human affairs,
JEAN PAUL MARAT
turns on oratory. Orators make and unmake kings,
but kings are seldom orators, and orators never secure
thrones. Orators are made to die the cross, the torch,
the noose, the guillotine, the dagger awaits them.
They die through the passion that they fan to flame
the fear they generate turns upon themselves, and
they are no more.
But they have their reward. Their names are not writ
in water, rather are they traced in blood on history's
page. We know them, while the ensconced smug and
successful have sunk into oblivion; and if now and
then a name like that of Pilate or Caiphas or Judas
comes to us, it is only because fate has linked the
man to his victim, like unto that Roman soldier who
thrust his spear into the side of the Unselfish Man.
Q In the qualities that mark the four chief orators of the
French Revolution, there is much alloy much that
seems like clay. Each had undergone an apprentice-
ship to Fate each had been preparing for his work;
and in this preparation who shall say what lessons
could have been omitted and what not! Explosions
require time to prepare revolutions, political and
domestic, are a long time getting ready. Orators, like
artists, must go as did Dante, down into the nether
regions and get a glimpse of hell.
JEAN PAUL MARAT
JEAN PAUL MARAT was exactly five feet high,
and his weight when at his best was one hundred
and twenty pounds just the weight of Shakes-
peare. Jean Paul had a nose like the beak of a hawk,
an eye like an eagle, a mouth that matched his nose,
and a chin that argued trouble. Not only did he have
red hair, but Carlyle refers to him as "red-headed."
QHis parents were poor and obscure people, and his
relationship with them seems a pure matter of acci-
dent. He was born at the village of Beaudry, Switzer-
land, in 1743. His childhood and boyhood were that of
any other peasant boy born into a family where poverty
held grim sway, and toil and hardship never relaxed
their chilling grasp.
His education was of the chance kind but education
anyway depends upon yourself colleges only supply
a few opportunities, and it lies with the student
whether he will improve them or not.
The ignorance of his parents and the squalor of his
surroundings acted upon Jean Paul Marat as a spur,
and from his fourteenth year the idea of cultivating
his mental estate was strong upon him.
Switzerland has ever been the refuge of the man who
dares to think. It was there John Calvin lived, de-
manding the right to his own belief, but occasionally
denying others that precious privilege ; a few miles
away at beautiful Coppet resided Madame de Stael,
the daughter of Necker; at Geneva, Rousseau wrote,
and to name that beautiful little island in the Rhone
JEAN PAUL MARAT
after him, was not necessary to make his fame endure ;
but a little way from Beaudry lived Voltaire, pointing
his bony finger at every hypocrite in Christendom.
QBut as in Greece, in her days of glory, the thinkers
were few; so in Switzerland, the land of freedom, the
many have been, and are, chained to superstition.
Jean Paul Marat saw their pride was centered in a
silver crucifix, "that keeps a man from harm," their
conscience committed to a priest; their labors for the
rich; their days the same, from the rising of the sun
to its going down. They did not love, and their hate
was but a peevish dislike. They followed their dull
routine and died the death, hopeful that they would
get the reward in another world which was denied
them in this. QAnd Jean Paul Marat grew to scorn
the few who would thus enslave the many. For priest
and publican he had only aversion.
Jean Paul Marat, the bantam, read Voltaire and
steeped himself in Rousseau, and the desire grew
strong upon him to do, and dare, and to become.
Tourists had told him of England, and like all hopeful
and child-like minds, he imagined the excellent to be
far-off, and the splendid at a distance : Great Britain
was to him the Land of Promise.
In the countenance of young Marat was a strange
mixture of the ludicrous and terrible. This, with
his insignificant size, and a bodily strength that
was a miracle of surprise, won the admiration of an
English gentleman ; and when the tourist started back
JEAN PAUL MARAT
for Albion, the lusty dwarf rode on the box, duly ar-
ticled, without consent of his parents, as a valet.
QAs a servant he was active, alert, intelligent, atten-
tive. He might have held his position indefinitely, and
been handed down to the next generation with the
family plate, had he kept a civil tongue in his red
head and not quoted Descartes and Jean Jacques.
QHe had ideas, and he expressed them. He was the
central sun below-stairs, and passed judgment upon
the social order without stint, even to occasionally
argufying economics with his master, the Baron, as
he brushed his breeches.
This Baron is known to history through two facts
one, that Jean Paul Marat brushed his breeches, and
second, that he evolved a new breed offices.
Now the master was rich, with an entail of six thou-
sand acres and an income of five thousand pounds, and
very naturally he was surprised amazed to hear
that any one should question the divine origin of the
social order jf &
Religion and government being at that time not merely
second cousins, but Siamese twins, Jean Paul had ex-
pressed himself on things churchly as well as secular.
QAnd now, behold, one fine day he found himself
confronted with a charge of blasphemy, not to men-
tion another damning count of contumacy and con-
travention if iff
In fact, he was commanded not to think, and was
cautioned as to the sin of having ideas. The penalties
JEAN PAUL MARAT
were pointed out to Jean Paul, and in all kindness he
was asked to make choice between immediate punish-
ment and future silence.
Thus was the wee philosopher raised at once to the
dignity of a martyr ; and the sweet satisfaction of be-
ing persecuted for what he believed, was his.
The city of Edinburgh was not far away, and thither
by night the victim of persecution made his way.
There is a serio-comic touch to this incident that
Marat was never quite able to appreciate the man
was not a humorist. In fact, men headed for the
noose, the block, or destined for immortality by the
assassin's dagger, very seldom are jokers John Brown
and his like do not jest. Of all the emancipators of
men, Lincoln alone stands out as one who was per-
fectly sane. An ability to see the ridiculous side of
things marks the man of perfect balance.
The martyr type, whose blood is not only the seed of
the church, but of heresy, is touched with madness.
To get the thing done, Nature sacrifices the man.
Q Arriving in Edinburgh, Marat thought it necessary
for a time to live in hiding, but finally he came out
and was duly installed as bar-keep at a tavern, and a
student in the medical department of the University
of St. Andrews a rather peculiar combination.
Marat's sister and biographer, Albertine, tells us that
Jean Paul was never given to the use of stimulants,
and in fact, for the greater part of his career, was a
total abstainer. And the man who knows somewhat
8 JEAN PAUL MARAT
of the eternal paradox of things can readily under-
stand how this little tapster, proud and defiant, had a
supreme contempt for the patrons who gulped down
the stuff that he handed out over the bar. He dealt
in that for which he had no use ; and the American
bartender to-day who wears his kohinoor and draws
the pay of a bank cashier, is one who "never touches
a drop of anything." The security with which he
holds his position is on that very account.
Marat was hungry for knowledge and thirsty for
truth, and in his daily life he was as abstemious as
was Benjamin Franklin, whom he was to meet, know,
and reverence shortly afterward.
Jean Paul was studying medicine at the same place
where Oliver Goldsmith, another exile, studied some
years before. Each got his doctor's degree, just how we
do not know. No one ever saw Goldsmith's diploma
Dr. Johnson once hinted that it was an astral one
but Marat's is still with us, yellow with age, but
plain and legible with all of its signatures and the
big seal with a ribbon that surely might impress the
chance sufferers waiting in an outer room to see the
doctor, who is busy enjoying his siesta on the other
side of the partition.
JEAN PAUL MARAT
IF it is ever your sweet privilege to clap eyes upon
a diploma issued by the ancient and honorable
University of St. Andrews, Edinburgh, you will
see that it reads thus :
" Whereas : Since it is just and reasonable that one
who has diligently attained a high degree of knowl-
edge in some great and useful science, should be dis-
tinguished from the ignorant-vulgar," etc., etc.
The intent of the document, it will be observed, is to
certify that the holder is not one of the " ignorant-
vulgar," and the inference is that those who are not
possessed of like certificates probably are.
A copy of the diploma issued to Dr. Jean Paul Marat
is before me, wherein, in most flattering phrase, is
set forth the attainments of the holder, in the science
of medicine. And even before the ink was dry upon
that diploma, the "science" of which it boasted, had
been discarded as inept and puerile, and a new one
inaugurated. And in our day, within the last twenty-
five years, the entire science of healing has shifted
ground and the materia medica of the "Centennial"
is now considered obsolete.
In view of these things, how vain is a college degree
that certifies, as the diplomas of St. Andrews still
certify, that the holder is not one of the "ignorant-
vulgar! ' Is n't a man who prides himself on not be-
longing to the "ignorant-vulgar" apt to be atrociously
ignorant and outrageously vulgar ?
Wisdom is a point of view, and knowledge, for the
io JEAN PAUL MARAT
most part, is a shifting product depending upon envi-
ronment, atmosphere and condition. The eternal
verities are plain and simple, known to babes and
sucklings, but often unseen by men of learning, who
focus on the difficult, soar high and dive deep, but
seldom pay cash. In the sky of truth the fixed stars
are few, and the shepherds who tend their flocks by
night, are quite as apt to know them as are the pro-
fessed and professional 'Wise Men of the East and
BUT never mind our little digression the value
of study lies in study. The reward of thinking
is the ability to think, and whether one comes
to right conclusions or wrong, matters little, says John
Stuart Mill in his essay "On Liberty."
Thinking is a form of exercise, and growth comes
only through exercise ; that is to say, expression.
QWe learn things only to throw them away: no man
ever wrote well until he had forgotten every rule of
rhetoric, and no orator ever spake straight to the
hearts of men until he had tumbled his elocution into
the Irish Sea & &
To hold on to things is to lose them. To clutch is to
act the part of the late Mullah Bah, the Turkish
wrestler, who came to America and secured through
his prowess a pot of gold. Going back to his native
country, the steamer upon which he had taken passage
JEAN PAUL MARAT ix
collided in mid-ocean with a sunken derelict. Mullah
Bah, hearing the alarm, jumped from his berth and
strapped to his person a belt containing five thousand
dollars in gold. He rushed to the side of the sinking
ship, leaped over the rail, and went to Davy Jones'
Locker like a plummet, while all about frail women
and weak men in life preservers bobbed on the sur-
face and were soon picked up by the boats. The fate
of Mullah Bah is only another proof that athletes die
young, and that it is harder to withstand prosperity
than its opposite.
But knowledge did not turn the head of Marat. His
restless spirit was reaching out for expression, and
we find him drifting to London for a wider field.
England was then as now the refuge of the exile.
There is to-day just as much liberty, and a little
more free speech, in England than in America. We
have hanged witches and burned men at the stake
since England has, and she emancipated her slaves
long before we did ours. Over against the home-
thrust that respectable women drink at public bars
from John O'Groat's to Land's End, can be placed the
damning count that in the United States more men
are lynched every year than Great Britain legally exe-
cutes in double the time.
A too ready expression of the Rousseau philosophy
had made things a bit unpleasant for Marat in Edin-
burgh, but in London he found ready listeners, and
the coffee-houses echoed back his radical sentiments.
12 JEAN PAUL MARAT
QThese underground debating clubs of London started
more than one man off on the oratorical transverse.
Swift, Johnson, Reynolds, Goldsmith, Garrick, Burke
all sharpened their wits at the coffee-houses. I see the
same idea is now being revived in New York and
Chicago : little clubs of a dozen or so will rent a room
in some restaurant, and fitting it up for themselves,
will dine daily and discuss great themes, or small,
according to the mental calibre of the members.
During the latter part of the eighteenth century these
clubs were very popular in London. Men who could
talk or speak were made welcome, and if the new
member generated caloric, so much the better ex-
citement was at a premium.
Marat was now able to speak English -with precision,
and his slight French accent only added a charm to
his words. He was fiery, direct, impetuous. He was a
fighter by disposition and care was taken never to
cross him beyond a point where the sparks began to
fly. The man was immensely diverting and his size
was to his advantage orators should be very big or
very little anything but commonplace. The Duke of
Mantua would have gloried in Jean Paul, and later
might have cut off his head as a precautionary
measure $T jf
Among the visitors at one of the coffee-house clubs
was one B. Franklin, big, patient, kind. He weighed
twice as much as Marat: and his years were sixty,
while Marat's were thirty.
JEAN PAUL MARAT 13
Franklin listened with amused smiles at the little
man, and the little man grew to have an idolatrous
regard for the big 'un. Franklin carried copies of a
pamphlet called " Common Sense," written by one T.
Paine. Paine was born in England, but was always
pleased to be spoken of as an American, yet he called
himself "A Citizen of the World."
Paine's pamphlet, "The Crisis," was known by heart
to Marat, and the success of Franklin and Paine as
writers had fired him to write as well as orate.
As a result, we have "The Chains of Slavery." The
work to-day has no interest to us excepting as a liter-
ary curiosity. It is a composite of Rousseau and Paine,
done by a sophomore in a mood of exaltation, and
might serve well as a graduation essay, done in F
major. It lacks the poise of Paine, and the reserve of
Rousseau, and all the fine indifference of Franklin is
noticeable by its absence.
They say that Marat's name was "Mara' and his
ancestors came from County Down. But never mind
that his heart was right. Of all the inane imbecilities
and stupid untruths of history, none are worse than
the statements that Jean Paul Marat was a dema-
gogue, hotly intent on the main chance.
In this man's character there was nothing subtle,
secret, nor untrue. He was simplicity itself, and his
undiplomatic bluntness bears witness to his honesty.
Qln London, he lived as the Mayor of Boston said
William Lloyd Garrison lived in a hole in the ground.
14 JEAN PAUL MARAT
His services as a physician were free to all if they
could pay, all right, if not, it made no difference. He
looked after the wants of political refugees, and head,
heart and pocket-book were at the disposal of those
who needed them. His lodging place was a garret, a
cellar anywhere, he was homeless, and his public
appearances were only at the coffee-house clubs, or
the parks where he would stand on a barrel and speak
to the crowd on his one theme of liberty, fraternity
and equality. His plea was for the individual. In order
to have a strong and excellent society, we must have
strong and excellent men and women. That phrase of
Paine's, "The world is my country: to do good is my
religion," he repeated over and over again.
IN the year 1779, Marat moved to Paris. He was
then thirty-six years old. In Paris he lived very
much the same life that he had in London. He
established himself as a physician, and might have
made a decided success had he put all of his eggs
in one basket and then watched the basket.
But he did n't. Franklin had inspired him with a pas-
sion for invention : he rubbed amber with wool, made
a battery and applied the scheme in a crude way to
the healing art. He wrote articles on electricity and
even foreshadowed the latter day announcement that
electricity is life. And all the time he discussed eco-
nomics, and gave out through speech and -written
JEAN PAUL MARAT 15
word his views as to the rights of the people. He saw
the needs of the poor he perceived how through lack
of nourishment there developed a craving for stimu-
lants, and observed how disease and death fasten
themselves upon the ill-fed and the ill-taught. To al-
leviate the suffering of the poor, he opened a dispen-
sary as he had done in London, and gave free medical
attendance to all who applied. At this dispensary, he
gave lectures on certain days upon hygiene, at which
times he never failed to introduce his essence of
Rousseau and Voltaire.
Some one called him "the people's friend." The name
stuck he liked it.
In August, 1789, this "terrible dwarf" was standing
on his barrel in Paris haranguing crowds with an
oratory that was tremendous in its impassioned qual-
ity. Men stopped to laugh and remained to applaud.
QNot only did he denounce the nobility, but he saw
danger in the liberal leaders, and among others, Mira-
beau came in for scathing scorn. Of all the insane
paradoxes this one is the most paradoxical that men
will hate those who are most like themselves. Family
feuds, and the wrangles of denominations that, to
outsiders, hold the same faith, are common. When
churches are locked in America, it is done to keep
Christians out. Christians fight Christians much more
than they fight the devil.
Marat had grown to be a power among the lower
classes he was their friend, their physician, their
16 JEAN PAUL MARAT
advocate. He feared no interruption and never sought
to pacify. At his belt, within easy reach, and in open
sight, he carried a dagger.
His impassioned eloquence swayed the crowds that
hung upon his words to rank unreason.
Marat fell a victim to his own eloquence, and the
madness of the mob reacted upon him. Like the
dyer's hand, he became subdued to that which he
worked in. Suspicion and rebellion filled his soul.
Wealth to him was an offense he had not the
prophetic vision to see the rise of capitalism and
all the splendid industrial evolution which the
world is to-day working out. Society to him was
all founded on -wrong premises and he would up-
root it tff &
In bitter words he denounced the Assembly and de-
clared that all of its members, including Mirabeau,
should be hanged for their inaction in not giving the
people relief from their oppressors.
Mirabeau was very much like Marat. He, too, was
working for the people, only he occupied a public
office, while Marat was a private citizen. Mirabeau
and his friends became alarmed at the influence
Marat was gaining over the people, and he was or-
dered to cease public speaking. As he failed to comply,
a price was put upon his head.
Then it was that he began putting out a daily address
in the form of a tiny pamphlet. This was at first called
"The Publiciste," but was soon changed to "The
JEAN PAUL MARAT 17
People's Friend." Q Marat was now in hiding, but
still his words were making their impress.
In 1791, Mirabeau, the terrible, died died peacefully
in his bed. Paris went in universal mourning, and the
sky of Marat's popularity was darkened.
Marat lived in hiding until August of 1792, when he
again publicly appeared and led the riots. The people
hailed him as their deliverer. The insignificant size of