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Montmorency The New Helo'isa.


Conditions preceding the composition of the New Helo'isa , . . 1

The duke and duchess of Luxembourg 3

Rousseau and his patrician acquaintances ,' 4

Peaceful life at Montmorency . 9

Equivocal prudence occasionally shown by Rousseau . . . ,11

His want of gratitude for commonplace service 13

Bad health, and thoughts of suicide 15

Episode of madame Latour de Franqueville 17

Relation of the New Helo'isa to Rousseau's general doctrine ... 20

Action of the first part of the story 23

Contrasted with contemporary literature 24

And with contemporary manners 26

Criticism of the language and principal actors 27

Popularity of the New Helo'isa 31

Its reactionary intellectual direction ....... 33

Action of the second part 35

Its influence on Goethe and others 37

Distinction between Rousseau and his school 39

Singular pictures of domesticity . .41

Sumptuary details 43

The slowness of* movement in the work, justified 44

Exaltation of marriage 46

Equalitarian tendencies 48

Not inconsistent with social quietism 49

Compensation in the political consequences of the triumph of sentiment 52



Circumstances of the publication of the New Heloi'sa . . . .54

Nature of the trade in books 56

Malesherbes and the printing of Emilius 59

Rousseau's suspicions 61

The great struggle of the moment 62

Proscription of Emilius . . . . 64

Flight of the author . 65



Rousseau's journey from Switzerland 67

Absence of vindictiveness 68

Arrival at Yverdun 70

Repairs to Motiers 71

Relations with Frederick the Great 72

Life at Motiers 75

Lord Marischal 76

Voltaire 78

Rousseau's letter to the archbishop of Paris 80

Its dialectic ... 83

The ministers of Neuchatel 87

His singular costume 88

His throng of visitors 89

Lewis, prince of Wiirtemberg 92

Gibbon 94

Boswell 95

Corsican affairs 96

The feud at Geneva 99

Rousseau renounces his citizenship . . . : . . .100

The Letters from the Mountain 101

Their theological side 102

Political side 103

Consequent persecutions at Motiers 105

Flight to the isle of St. Peter 107

The fifth of the Reveries ". . .108

Proscription by the government of Berne .113

Rousseau's singular request 114

"His renewed flight 115

Persuaded to seek shelter in England 116


The Social Contract.


Eousseau's reaction against perfectibility 117

Abandonment of the position of the Discourses 118

Doubtful idea of equality 119

The Social Contract, a repudiation of the historic method . . .122

Yet it has glimpses of relativity 125

Influence of Greek examples .127

And of Geneva 129

Impression upon Eobespierre and Saint Just 130

Eousseau's schemes implied a small territory 132

Why the Social Contract made fanatics 134

Verbal quality of its propositions 136

The doctrine of public safety 139

The doctrine of the sovereignty of peoples 141

Its early phases 142

Its history in the sixteenth century 143

Hooker and Grotius 145

Locke 146

Hobbes 148

Central propositions of the Social Contract :

1. Origin of society in compact 150

Different conception held by the Physiocrats 152

2. Sovereignty of the body thus constituted 154

Difference from Hobbes and Locke 155

The root of socialism 157

Eepublican phraseology 157

3. Attributes of sovereignty 158

4. The law-making power 159

A contemporary illustration .161

Hints of confederation 162

5. Forms of government 164

Criticism on the common division 165

Eousseau's preference for elective aristocracy 167

6. Attitude of the state to religion 169

Eousseau's view, the climax of a reaction 172

Its effect at the French Ee volution 174

Its futility 175



Another method of approaching the philosophy of government :

Origin of society not a compact 179

The true reason of the submission of a minority to a majority . .181

Rousseau fails to touch actual problems 182

The doctrine of resistance, for instance 183

Historical illustrations 185

Historical effect of the Social Contract in France and Germany . .188
Socialist deductions from it 190



Rousseau touched by the enthusiasm of his time 192

Contemporary excitement as to education, part of the revival of

naturalism 195

I. Locke on education . . . 197

Difference between him and Rousseau 198

Exhortations to mothers 200

Importance of infantile habits 203

Rousseau's protest against reasoning with children .... 204

Criticised 205

The opposite theory 206

The idea of property .209

Artificially contrived incidents 211

Rousseau's omiseion of the principle of authority 213

Connected with his neglect of the faculty of sympathy . . . .217

II. Rousseau's ideal of living ..219

The training that follows from it 220

The duty of knowing a craft , . .221

Social conception involved in this moral conception .... 223

III.- Three aims before the instructor 227

Rousseau's omission of training for the social conscience . . .228

No contemplation of society as a whole 230

Personal interest, the foundation of the morality of Emilius . . .231

The sphere and definition of the social conscience 232

IV. The study of history 234

Rousseau's notions upon the subject 236

V. Ideals of life for women 240

Rousseau's repudiation of his own principles 241

His oriental and obscurantist position 242



Arising from his want of faith in improvement 244

His reactionary tendencies in this region eventually neutralised . . 246

VI. Sum of the merits of Einilius 248

Its influence in France and Germany . 249

In England 251


The Savoyard Vicar.

Shallow hopes entertained by the dogmatic atheists .... 254

The good side of the religious reaction 256

Its preservation of some parts of Christian influence . . . . 257

Earlier forms of deism 258

The deism of the Savoyard Vicar 262

The elevation of man, as well as the restoration of a divinity . .264

A divinity for fair weather 266

Religious self-denial 268

The Savoyard Vicar's vital omission 269

His position towards Christianity 271

Its effectiveness as a solvent 273

Weakness of the subjective test 275

Subordination of reason to devout emotion, not tenable . . .276
The Savoyard Vicar's deism not compatible with growing intellectual

conviction 277

The true satisfaction of the religious emotion . . . . .277



Rousseau's English portrait 282

His reception in Paris 283

And in London 284

Hume's account of him 285

Settlement at Wootton 287

The quarrel with Hume 288

Detail of the charges against Hume 289

Walpole' s pietended letter from Frederick 292

Baselessness of the whole delusion 293



Hume's conduct in the quarrel 294

The war of pamphlets 296

Common theory of Rousseau's madness 297

Preparatory conditions ' . . . 298

Extension of disorder from the affective life to the intelligence . .300

The Confessions 301

His life at Wootton 305

Flight from Derbyshire 306

And from England 308


The End.

The elder Mirabeau 309

Shelters Rousseau at Fleury 310

Rousseau at Trye 312

In Dauphiny i I 313

Return to Paris 314

The Reveries 315

Life in Paris 316

Bernardin de Saint Pierre's account of him . . . . .317

An Easter excursion 320

Rousseau's unsociality 322

Poland and Spain 324

Withdrawal to Ermenonville 325

His death . ,326




THE many conditions of intellectual productiveness
are still hidden in such profound obscurity, that
we are as yet unable to explain why in certain natures
a period of stormy moral agitation seems to be the
indispensable antecedent of their highest creative
effort. Byron is one instance, and Eousseau is
another, in which the current of stimulating force
made rapid way from the lower to the higher parts of
character, only expending itself after having traversed
the whole range of emotion and faculty, from their
meanest, most realistic, most personal forms of
exercise, up to the summit of what is lofty and ideal.
No man was ever involved in such an odious compli-
cation of moral maladies as beset Rousseau in the
winter of 1758. "Within three years of this miserable
epoch he had completed not only the New Heloisa,
which is the monument of his fall, but the Social
Contract, which was the most influential, and Emilius,



which was perhaps the most elevated and spiritual of
all the productions of the prolific genius of France
in the eighteenth century. A poor light-hearted
Marmontel thought that the secret of Eousseau' s
success lay in the circumstance that he began to write
late, and it is true that no other author so considerable
as Eousseau waited until the age of fifty for the full
vigour of his inspiration. No tale of years, however,
could have ripened such fruit without native strength
and incommunicable savour; nor can the splendid
mechanical movement of those characters which keep
the balance of the world even, impart to literature the
peculiar quality, peculiar but not the finest, that comes
from experience of the black and unlighted abysses of
the soul.

The period of actual production was externally
calm. The New Helo'isa was completed in 1759,
and published in 1761. The Social Contract was
published in the spring of 1762, and Emilius a few
weeks later. Throughout this period Eousseau was,
for the last time in his life, at peace with most of his
fellows ; that is to say, though he never relented from
his antipathy to the Holbachians, for the time it slum-
bered, until a more real and serious persecution than
any which he imputed to them, transformed his anti-
pathy into a gloomy frenzy.

The new friends whom he made at Montmorency
were among the greatest people in the kingdom. The
Duke of Luxembourg (1702 64) was a marshal of
France, and as intimate a friend of the king as the


king was capable of having. The marechale de
Luxembourg (1707 87) had been one of the most
beautiful, and continued to be one of the most bril-
liant leaders of the last aristocratic generation that
was destined to sport on the slopes of the volcano.
The former seems to have been a loyal and homely
soul; the latter, restless, imperious, penetrating,
unamiable. Their dealings with Eousseau were
marked by perfect sincerity and straightforward friend-
ship. They gave him a convenient apartment in a
small summer lodge in the park, to which he retreated
when he cared for a change from his narrow cottage.
He was a constant guest at their table, where he met
the highest names in France. The marshal did not
disdain to pay him visits, or to walk with him, or to
discuss his private affairs. Unable as ever to shine in
conversation, yet eager to show his great friends that
they had to do with no common mortal, Eousseau
bethought him of reading the New Heloisa aloud to
them. At ten in the morning he used to wait upon
the marechale, and there by her bedside he read the
story of the love, the sin, the repentance of Julie,
the distraction of Saint Preux, the wisdom of Wol-
mar, and the sage friendship of lord Edward, in
tones which enchanted her both with his book
and its author for all the rest of the day, as all the
women in Trance were so soon to be enchanted. 1
This, as he expected, amply reconciled her to the
uncouthness and clumsiness of his conversation, which

1 Conf., x. 62.


was at least as maladroit and as spiritless in the
presence of a duchess, as it was in presences less

One side of character is obviously tested by the
way in which a man bears himself in his relations
with persons of greater consideration. Eousseau was
taxed by some of his plebeian enemies with a most
unheroic deference to his patrician friends. He had
a dog whose name was Due. When he came to sit
at a duke's table, he changed his dog's name to Turc. 1
Again, one day in a transport of tenderness he
embraced the old marshal the duchess embraced
Rousseau ten times a day, for the age was effusive
1 Ah, monsieur le marechal, I used to hate the great
before I knew you, and I hate them still more, since
you make me feel so strongly how easy it would be for
them to have themselves adored.' 2 On another occa-
sion he happened to be playing at chess with the
prince of Conti, who had come to visit him in his
cottage. 3 In spite of the signs and grimaces of the
attendants, he insisted on beating the prince in a
couple of games. Then he said with respectful

1 Conf., x. 2 Ib., 70.

3 Louis Francois de Bourbon, prince de Conti (1717 76), 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 56), which was to make Turkey, Poland, Sweden, Prussia, a barrier
against Russia primarily, and Austria secondarily ; finally went into
moderate opposition to the court, protesting against the destruction of the
parlements (1771), and aiterwards opposing the reforms of Turgot (1776).
Finally he had the honour of refusing the sacraments of the church on his
death-bed. See Martin's Hist, de France, xv. and xvi.


gravity, l Monseigneur, I honour your serene highness
too much not to beat you at chess always.' l A few
days after, the vanquished prince sent him a present
of game, which Eousseau duly accepted. The present
was repeated, but this time Eousseau wrote to madame
de Boufflers that he would receive no more, and that
he loved the prince's conversation better than his
gifts. 2 He admits that this was an ungracious pro-
ceeding, and that to refuse game ' from a prince of the
blood who throws so much good feeling into the
present, is not so much the delicacy of a proud man
bent on preserving his independence, as the rusticity
of an unmannerly person who does not know his
place.' 3 Considering the extreme virulence with
which Eousseau always resented gifts even of the
most trifling kind from his friends, we find some
inconsistency in this condemnation of a sort of con-
duct to which he tenaciously clung, unless the fact of
the donor being a prince of the blood is allowed to
modify the quality of the donation, and that would be
a hardly defensible position in the austere citizen of
Geneva. Madame de Boufflers, 4 the intimate friend of

1 Conf., 97. Corr., v. 215. 2 Corr., ii. 144. Oct. 7, 1760.

3 Conf., 98.

4 The reader will distinguish this correspondent of .Rousseau's, Comtesse
de Boufflers- Rouveret (172718), 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 Diet. Critique, 259 62. 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


our sage Hume, and the yet more intimate friend of
the prince of Conti, gave him a judicious warning,
when she bade him beware of laying himself open to
a charge of affectation, lest it should obscure the
brightness of his virtue, and so hinder its usefulness.
i Fabius and Eegulus would have accepted such marks
of esteem without feeling in them any hurt to their
disinterestedness and frugality.' l ferhaps there is a
flutter of self- consciousness that is not far removed
from this affectation, in the pains which Eousseau takes ^
to tell us that after dining at the castle, he used to
return home gleefully to sup with a mason who was
his neighbour and his friend. 2 On the whole, how-
ever, and so far as we know, Rousseau conducted him-
self not unworthily with these high people. His
letters to them are for the most part marked by self-
respect and a moderate graciousness, though now and
again he makes rather too much case of the difference
of rank, and asserts his independence with something
too much of protestation. 3 Their relations with
him are a curious sign of the interest which the
members of the great world took in the men who were
quietly preparing the destruction both of them and
their world. The marechale de Luxembourg places
this squalid dweller in a hovel on her estate in the
place of honour at her table, and embraces his Theresa.

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 EL Walpole's

1 Streckeisen, ii. 32. 2 Conf., x. 71.

3 For instance, Con:, ii. 85, 90, 92, etc. 1759.


The prince of Conti pays visits of courtesy and sends
game to a man whom he employs at a few sous an
hour to copy manuscript for him. The countess of
Boufflers, in sending him the money, insists that he is
to count her his warmest friend. 1 When his dog dies,
the countess writes to sympathize with his chagrin,
and the prince begs to be allowed to replace it. 2 And
when persecution and trouble and infinite confusion
came upon him, they all stood as fast by him as their
own comfort would allow. Do we not feel that there
must have been in the unhappy man, besides all the
recorded pettinesses and perversities which revolt us
in him, a vein of something which touched men, and
made women devoted to him, until he drove both men
and women away? With madame d'Epinay and
madame d'Houdetot, as with the dearer and humbler
patroness of his youth, we have now parted com-
pany. But they are instantly succeeded by new
devotees. And the lovers of Eousseau, in all degrees,
were not silly women led captive by idle fancy.
Madame de Boufflers was one of the most dis-
tinguished spirits of her time. Her friendship for
him was such, that his sensuous vanity made Eousseau
against all reason or probability confound it with a
warmer form, and he plumes himself in a manner
most displeasing on the victory which he won over
his own feelings on the occasion. 3 As a matter of
fact he had no feelings to conquer, any more than the

1 Streckeisen, ii. 28, etc. 2 Ib., 29.

3 Conf., x. 99.


supposed object of them ever bore him any ill-will for
his indifference, as in his mania of suspicion he after-
wards believed.

There was a calm about the too few years he passed
at Montmorency, which leaves us in doubt whether
this mania would ever have afflicted him, if his
natural irritation had not been made intense and
irresistible by the cruel distractions that followed the
publication of Emilius. He was tolerably content with
his present friends. The simplicity of their way of
dealing with him contrasted singularly, as he thought,
with the never-ending solicitudes, as importunate as
they were officious, of the patronizing friends whom
he had just cast off. 1 Perhaps, too, he was soothed
by the companionship of persons whose rank may have
flattered his vanity, while unlike Diderot and his old
literary friends in Paris, they entered into no competi-
tion with him in the peculiar sphere of his own genius.
Madame de Boufflers, indeed, wrote a tragedy, but he
told her gruffly enough that it was a plagiarism from
Sou theme's Oroonoko. 2 That Rousseau was thoroughly
capable of this hateful emotion of sensitive literary
jealousy is proved, if by nothing else, by his readiness
to suspect that other authors were jealous of him.
"No one suspects others of a meanness of this kind,
unless he is capable of it himself. The resounding
success which followed the New Heloisa and Emilius
put an end to this apprehension, for it raised him to a
pedestal in popular esteem as high as that on which

1 Cof.,x. 57. 2 Ib., xi. 119.


Yoltaire stood triumpliant. This very success unfor-
tunately brought troubles which destroyed Bousseau's
last chance of ending his days in full reasonable-

Meanwhile he enjoyed his last interval of moderate
wholesomeness and peace. He felt his old healthy
joy in the green earth. One of the letters 1 com-
memorates his delight in the great scudding south-
west winds of February, soft forerunners of the spring,
so sweet to all who live with nature. At the end of
his garden was a summer-house, and here even on
wintry days he sat composing or copying. It was not '
music only that he copied. He took a curious
pleasure in making transcripts of his romance, which
he sold to the duchess of Luxembourg and other
ladies for some moderate fee. 2 Sometimes he moved
from his own lodging to the quarters in the park
which his great friends had induced him to accept.
c They were charmingly neat ; the furniture was of
white and blue. It was in this perfumed and deli-
cious solitude, in the midst of woods and streams and
choirs of birds of every kind, with the fragrance of the
orange-flower poured round me, that I composed in a
continual ecstasy the fifth book of Emilius. With what
eagerness did I hasten every morning at sunrise to
breathe the balmy air ! "What good coffee I used to
take under the porch in company with my Theresa !
My cat and my dog made the rest of our party. That

i Corr., ii. 196. Feb. 16, 176.1.
2 Corr., ii. 102, 176, etc.


would have sufficed for all my life, and I should never
have known weariness.' And so to the assurance, so
often repeated under so many different circumstances,
that here was a true heaven upon earth, where if fates
had only allowed, he would have known unbroken
innocence and lasting happiness. 1

Yet he had the wisdom to warn others against
attempting a life such as he craved for himself. As
on a more memorable occasion, there came to him a
young man who would fain have been with him
always, and whom he sent away exceeding sorrowful.
' The first lesson I should give you would be not to
surrender yourself to the taste you say you have for
the contemplative life, which is only an indolence of
the soul, to be condemned at any age, but especially so
at yours. Man is not made to meditate but to act.
Labour therefore in the condition of life in which you
have been placed by your family and by providence :
that is the first precept of the virtue which you wish
to follow ; and if residence at Paris, joined to the
business you have there, seems to you irreconcilable
with virtue, do better still, and return to your own pro-
vince ] go live in the bosom of your family, serve and
solace your honest parents ; there you will be truly
fulfilling the duties that virtue imposes on you.' 2
This intermixture of sound sense with unutterable
perversities almost suggests a doubt how far the per-
versities were sincere, until we remember that Rous-
seau, even in the most exalted part of his writings, was

1 Conf., x. 60. 2 Corr., ii. 12.


careful to separate immediate practical maxims from
his theoretical principles of social philosophy.}

Occasionally his good sense takes so stiff and un-
sympathetic a form, as. to fill us with a warmer dislike
for him than his worst paradoxes inspire. A corre-
spondent had written to him about the frightful
persecutions which were being inflicted on the pro-
testants in some district of France. Bousseau's letter
is a masterpiece in the style of Eliphaz the Temanite.
Our brethren must surely have given some pretext
for the evil treatment to which they were subjected.
One who is a Christian must learn to suffer, and every
man's conduct ought to conform to his doctrine.
Our brethren, moreover, ought to remember that the
word of god is express upon the duty of obeying the
laws set up by the prince. The writer cannot venture
to run any risk by interceding in favour of our
brethren with the government. ' Every one has his
own calling upon the earth ; mine is to tell the public
harsh but useful truths. I have preached humanity,
gentleness, tolerance, so far as it depended upon me ;

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