The Confessions of J. J. Rousseau, Book 11
Jean Jacques Rousseau

This etext was produced by David Widger

[NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, or pointers, at the end of the
file for those who may wish to sample the author's ideas before making an
entire meal of them. D.W.]

(In 12 books)

Privately Printed for the Members of the Aldus Society

London, 1903


Although Eloisa, which for a long time had been in the press, did not
yet, at the end of the year, 1760, appear, the work already began to make
a great noise. Madam de Luxembourg had spoken of it at court, and Madam
de Houdetot at Paris. The latter had obtained from me permission for
Saint Lambert to read the manuscript to the King of Poland, who had been
delighted with it. Duclos, to whom I had also given the perusal of the
work, had spoken of it at the academy. All Paris was impatient to see
the novel; the booksellers of the Rue Saint Jacques, and that of the
Palais Royal, were beset with people who came to inquire when it was to
be published. It was at length brought out, and the success it had,
answered, contrary to custom, to the impatience with which it had been
expected. The dauphiness, who was one of the first who read it, spoke of
it to, M. de Luxembourg as a ravishing performance. The opinions of men
of letters differed from each other, but in those of any other class
approbation was general, especially with the women, who became so
intoxicated with the book and the author, that there was not one in high
life with whom I might not have succeeded had I undertaken to do it.
Of this I have such proofs as I will not commit to paper, and which
without the aid of experience, authorized my opinion. It is singular
that the book should have succeeded better in France than in the rest of
Europe, although the French, both men and women, are severely treated in
it. Contrary to my expectation it was least successful in Switzerland,
and most so in Paris. Do friendship, love and virtue reign in this
capital more than elsewhere? Certainly not; but there reigns in it an
exquisite sensibility which transports the heart to their image, and
makes us cherish in others the pure, tender and virtuous sentiments we no
longer possess. Corruption is everywhere the same; virtue and morality
no longer exist in Europe; but if the least love of them still remains,
it is in Paris that this will be found.--[I wrote this in 1769.]

In the midst of so many prejudices and feigned passions, the real
sentiments of nature are not to be distinguished from others, unless we
well know to analyze the human heart. A very nice discrimination, not to
be acquired except by the education of the world, is necessary to feel
the finesses of the heart, if I dare use the expression, with which this
work abounds. I do not hesitate to place the fourth part of it upon an
equality with the Princess of Cleves; nor to assert that had these two
works been read nowhere but in the provinces, their merit would never
have been discovered. It must not, therefore, be considered as a matter
of astonishment, that the greatest success of my work was at court. It
abounds with lively but veiled touches of the pencil, which could not but
give pleasure there, because the persons who frequent it are more
accustomed than others to discover them. A distinction must, however, be
made. The work is by no means proper for the species of men of wit who
have nothing but cunning, who possess no other kind of discernment than
that which penetrates evil, and see nothing where good only is to be
found. If, for instance, Eloisa had been published in a certain country,
I am convinced it would not have been read through by a single person,
and the work would have been stifled in its birth.

I have collected most of the letters written to me on the subject of this
publication, and deposited them, tied up together, in the hands of Madam
de Nadillac. Should this collection ever be given to the world, very
singular things will be seen, and an opposition of opinion, which shows
what it is to have to do with the public. The thing least kept in view,
and which will ever distinguish it from every other work, is the
simplicity of the subject and the continuation of the interest, which,
confined to three persons, is kept up throughout six volumes, without
episode, romantic adventure, or anything malicious either in the persons
or actions. Diderot complimented Richardson on the prodigious variety of
his portraits and the multiplicity of his persons. In fact, Richardson
has the merit of having well characterized them all; but with respect to
their number, he has that in common with the most insipid writers of
novels who attempt to make up for the sterility of their ideas by
multiplying persons and adventures. It is easy to awaken the attention
by incessantly presenting unheard of adventures and new faces, which pass
before the imagination as the figures in a magic lanthorn do before the
eye; but to keep up that attention to the same objects, and without the
aid of the wonderful, is certainly more difficult; and if, everything
else being equal, the simplicity of the subject adds to the beauty of the
work, the novels of Richardson, superior in so many other respects,
cannot in this be compared to mine. I know it is already forgotten,
and the cause of its being so; but it will be taken up again. All my
fear was that, by an extreme simplicity, the narrative would be
fatiguing, and that it was not sufficiently interesting to engage the
attention throughout the whole. I was relieved from this apprehension by
a circumstance which alone was more flattering to my pride than all the
compliments made me upon the work.

It appeared at the beginning of the carnival; a hawker carried it to the
Princess of Talmont--[It was not the princess, but some other lady,
whose name I do not know.]--on the evening of a ball night at the opera.
After supper the Princess dressed herself for the ball, and until the
hour of going there, took up the new novel. At midnight she ordered the
horses to be put into the carriage, and continued to read. The servant
returned to tell her the horses were put to; she made no answer. Her
people perceiving she forgot herself, came to tell her it was two
o'clock. "There is yet no hurry," replied the princess, still reading
on. Some time afterwards, her watch having stopped, she rang to know the
hour. She was told it was four o'clock. "That being the case," she
said, "it is too late to go to the ball; let the horses be taken off."
She undressed herself and passed the rest of the night in reading.

Ever since I came to the knowledge of this circumstance, I have had a
constant desire to see the lady, not only to know from herself whether or
not what I have related be exactly true, but because I have always
thought it impossible to be interested in so lively a manner in the
happiness of Julia, without having that sixth and moral sense with which
so few hearts are endowed, and without which no person whatever can
understand the sentiments of mine.

What rendered the women so favorable to me was, their being persuaded
that I had written my own history, and was myself the hero of the
romance. This opinion was so firmly established, that Madam de Polignac
wrote to Madam de Verdelin, begging she would prevail upon me to show her
the portrait of Julia. Everybody thought it was impossible so strongly
to express sentiments without having felt them, or thus to describe the
transports of love, unless immediately from the feelings of the heart.
This was true, and I certainly wrote the novel during the time my
imagination was inflamed to ecstasy; but they who thought real objects
necessary to this effect were deceived, and far from conceiving to what
a degree I can at will produce it for imaginary beings. Without Madam
d'Houdetot, and the recollection of a few circumstances in my youth,
the amours I have felt and described would have been with fairy nymphs.
I was unwilling either to confirm or destroy an error which was
advantageous to me. The reader may see in the preface a dialogue, which
I had printed separately, in what manner I left the public in suspense.
Rigorous people say, I ought to have explicity declared the truth. For
my part I see no reason for this, nor anything that could oblige me to
it, and am of opinion there would have been more folly than candor in the
declaration without necessity.

Much about the same time the 'Paix Perpetuelle' made its appearance,
of this I had the year before given the manuscript to a certain M. de
Bastide, the author of a journal called Le Monde, into which he would at
all events cram all my manuscripts. He was known to M. Duclos, and came
in his name to beg I would help him to fill the Monde. He had heard
speak of Eloisa, and would have me put this into his journal; he was also
desirous of making the same use of Emilius; he would have asked me for
the Social Contract for the same purpose, had he suspected it to be
written. At length, fatigued with his importunities, I resolved upon
letting him have the Paix Perpetuelle, which I gave him for twelve louis.
Our agreement was, that he should print it in his journal; but as soon as
he became the proprietor of the manuscript, he thought proper to print it
separately, with a few retrenchments, which the censor required him to
make. What would have happened had I joined to the work my opinion of
it, which fortunately I did not communicate to M. de Bastide, nor was it
comprehended in our agreement? This remains still in manuscript amongst
my papers. If ever it be made public, the world will see how much the
pleasantries and self-sufficient manner of M. de Voltaire on the subject
must have made me, who was so well acquainted with the short-sightedness
of this poor man in political matters, of which he took it into his head
to speak, shake my sides with laughter.

In the midst of my success with the women and the public, I felt I lost
ground at the Hotel de Luxembourg, not with the marechal, whose goodness
to me seemed daily to increase, but with his lady. Since I had had
nothing more to read to her, the door of her apartment was not so
frequently open to me, and during her stay at Montmorency, although I
regularly presented myself, I seldom saw her except at table. My place
even there was not distinctly marked out as usual. As she no longer
offered me that by her side, and spoke to me but seldom, not having on my
part much to say to her, I was well satisfied with another, where I was
more at my ease, especially in the evening; for I mechanically contracted
the habit of placing myself nearer and nearer to the marechal.

Apropos of the evening: I recollect having said I did not sup at the
castle, and this was true, at the beginning of my acquaintance there; but
as M. de Luxembourg did not dine, nor even sit down to table, it happened
that I was for several months, and already very familiar in the family,
without ever having eaten with him. This he had the goodness to remark,
upon which I determined to sup there from time to time, when the company
was not numerous; I did so, and found the suppers very agreeable, as the
dinners were taken almost standing; whereas the former were long,
everybody remaining seated with pleasure after a long walk; and very good
and agreeable, because M. de Luxembourg loved good eating, and the honors
of them were done in a charming manner by madam de marechale. Without
this explanation it would be difficult to understand the end of a letter
from M. de Luxembourg, in which he says he recollects our walks with the
greatest pleasure; especially, adds he, when in the evening we entered
the court and did not find there the traces of carriages. The rake being
every morning drawn over the gravel to efface the marks left by the coach
wheels, I judged by the number of ruts of that of the persons who had
arrived in the afternoon.

This year, 1761, completed the heavy losses this good man had suffered
since I had had the honor of being known to him. As if it had been
ordained that the evils prepared for me by destiny should begin by the
man to whom I was most attached, and who was the most worthy of esteem .
The first year he lost his sister, the Duchess of Villeroy; the second,
his daughter, the Princess of Robeck; the third, he lost in the Duke of
Montmorency his only son; and in the Comte de Luxembourg, his grandson,
the last two supporters of the branch of which he was, and of his name.
He supported all these losses with apparent courage, but his heart
incessantly bled in secret during the rest of his life, and his health
was ever after upon the decline. The unexpected and tragical death of
his son must have afflicted him the more, as it happened immediately
after the king had granted him for his child, and given him the promise
for his grandson, the reversion of the commission he himself then held of
the captain of the Gardes de Corps. He had the mortification to see the
last, a most promising young man, perish by degrees from the blind
confidence of the mother in the physician, who giving the unhappy youth
medicines for food, suffered him to die of inanition. Alas! had my
advice been taken, the grandfather and the grandson would both still have
been alive. What did not I say and write to the marechal, what
remonstrances did I make to Madam de Montmorency, upon the more than
severe regimen, which, upon the faith of physicians, she made her son
observe! Madam de Luxembourg, who thought as I did, would not usurp the
authority of the mother; M. de Luxembourg, a man of mild and easy
character, did not like to contradict her. Madam de Montmorency had in
Borden a confidence to which her son at length became a victim. How
delighted was the poor creature when he could obtain permission to come
to Mont Louis with Madam de Boufflers, to ask Theresa for some victuals
for his famished stomach! How did I secretly deplore the miseries of
greatness in seeing this only heir to a immense fortune, a great name,
and so many dignified titles, devour with the greediness of a beggar a
wretched morsel of bread! At length, notwithstanding all I could say and
do, the physician triumphed, and the child died of hunger.

The same confidence in quacks, which destroyed the grandson, hastened the
dissolution of the grandfather, and to this he added the pusillanimity of
wishing to dissimulate the infirmities of age. M. de Luxembourg had at
intervals a pain in the great toe; he was seized with it at Montmorency,
which deprived him of sleep, and brought on slight fever. I had courage
enough to pronounce the word gout. Madam de Luxembourg gave me a
reprimand. The surgeon, valet de chambre of the marechal, maintained it
was not the gout, and dressed the suffering part with beaume tranquille.
Unfortunately the pain subsided, and when it returned the same remedy was
had recourse to. The constitution of the marechal was weakened, and his
disorder increased, as did his remedies in the same proportion. Madam de
Luxembourg, who at length perceived the primary disorder to be the gout,
objected to the dangerous manner of treating it. Things were afterwards
concealed from her, and M. de Luxembourg in a few years lost his life in
consequence of his obstinate adherence to what he imagined to be a method
of cure. But let me not anticipate misfortune: how many others have I to
relate before I come to this!

It is singular with what fatality everything I could say and do seemed of
a nature to displease Madam de Luxembourg, even when I had it most at
heart to preserve her friendship. The repeated afflictions which fell
upon M. de Luxembourg still attached me to him the more, and consequently
to Madam de Luxembourg; for they always seemed to me to be so sincerely
united, that the sentiments in favor of the one necessarily extended to
the other. The marechal grew old. His assiduity at court, the cares
this brought on, continually hunting, fatigue, and especially that of the
service during the quarter he was in waiting, required the vigor of a
young man, and I did not perceive anything that could support his in that
course of life; since, besides after his death, his dignities were to be
dispersed and his name extinct, it was by no means necessary for him to
continue a laborious life of which the principal object had been to
dispose the prince favorably to his children. One day when we three were
together, and he complained of the fatigues of the court, as a man who
had been discouraged by his losses, I took the liberty to speak of
retirement, and to give him the advice Cyneas gave to Pyrrhus. He
sighed, and returned no positive answer. But the moment Madam de
Luxembourg found me alone she reprimanded me severely for what I had
said, at which she seemed to be alarmed. She made a remark of which I so
strongly felt the justness that I determined never again to touch upon
the subject: this was, that the long habit of living at court made that
life necessary, that it was become a matter of amusement for M. de
Luxembourg, and that the retirement I proposed to him would be less a
relaxation from care than an exile, in which inactivity, weariness and
melancholy would soon put an end to his existence. Although she must
have perceived I was convinced, and ought to have relied upon the promise
I made her, and which I faithfully kept, she still seemed to doubt of it;
and I recollect that the conversations I afterwards had with the marechal
were less frequent and almost always interrupted.

Whilst my stupidity and awkwardness injured me in her opinion, persons
whom she frequently saw and most loved, were far from being disposed to
aid me in gaining what I had lost. The Abbe de Boufflers especially, a
young man as lofty as it was possible for a man to be, never seemed well
disposed towards me; and besides his being the only person of the society
of Madam de Luxembourg who never showed me the least attention, I thought
I perceived I lost something with her every time he came to the castle.
It is true that without his wishing this to be the case, his presence
alone was sufficient to produce the effect; so much did his graceful and
elegant manner render still more dull my stupid propositi. During the
first two years he seldom came to Montmorency, and by the indulgence of
Madam de Luxembourg I had tolerably supported myself, but as soon as his
visits began to be regular I was irretrievably lost. I wished to take
refuge under his wing, and gain his friendship; but the same awkwardness
which made it necessary I should please him prevented me from succeeding
in the attempt I made to do it, and what I did with that intention
entirely lost me with Madam de Luxembourg, without being of the least
service to me with the abbe. With his understanding he might have
succeeded in anything, but the impossibility of applying himself, and his
turn for dissipation, prevented his acquiring a perfect knowledge of any
subject. His talents are however various, and this is sufficient for the
circles in which he wishes to distinguish himself. He writes light
poetry and fashionable letters, strums on the cithern, and pretends to
draw with crayon. He took it into his head to attempt the portrait of
Madam de Luxembourg; the sketch he produced was horrid. She said it did
not in the least resemble her and this was true. The traitorous abbe
consulted me, and I like a fool and a liar, said there was a likeness.
I wished to flatter the abbe, but I did not please the lady who noted
down what I had said, and the abbe, having obtained what he wanted,
laughed at me in his turn. I perceived by the ill success of this my
late beginning the necessity of making another attempt to flatter 'invita

My talent was that of telling men useful but severe truths with energy
and courage; to this it was necessary to confine myself. Not only I was
not born to flatter, but I knew not how to commend. The awkwardness of
the manner in which I have sometimes bestowed eulogium has done me more
harm than the severity of my censure. Of this I have to adduce one
terrible instance, the consequences of which have not only fixed my fate
for the rest of my life, but will perhaps decide on my reputation
throughout all posterity.

During the residence of M. de Luxembourg at Montmorency, M. de Choiseul
sometimes came to supper at the castle. He arrived there one day after I
had left it. My name was mentioned, and M. de Luxembourg related to him
what had happened at Venice between me and M. de Montaigu. M. de
Choiseul said it was a pity I had quitted that track, and that if I chose
to enter it again he would most willingly give me employment. M. de
Luxembourg told me what had passed. Of this I was the more sensible as I
was not accustomed to be spoiled by ministers, and had I been in a better
state of health it is not certain that I should not have been guilty of a
new folly. Ambition never had power over my mind except during the short
intervals in which every other passion left me at liberty; but one of
these intervals would have been sufficient to determine me. This good
intention of M. de Choiseul gained him my attachment and increased the
esteem which, in consequence of some operations in his administration,
I had conceived for his talents; and the family compact in particular had
appeared to me to evince a statesman of the first order. He moreover
gained ground in my estimation by the little respect I entertained for
his predecessors, not even excepting Madam de Pompadour, whom I
considered as a species of prime minister, and when it was reported that
one of these two would expel the other, I thought I offered up prayers
for the honor of France when I wished that M. de Choiseul might triumph.
I had always felt an antipathy to Madam de Pompadour, even before her
preferment; I had seen her with Madam de la Popliniere when her name was
still Madam d'Etioles. I was afterwards dissatisfied with her silence on
the subject of Diderot, and with her proceedings relative to myself, as
well on the subject of the 'Muses Galantes', as on that of the 'Devin du
Village', which had not in any manner produced me advantages proportioned
to its success; and on all occasions I had found her but little disposed
to serve me. This however did not prevent the Chevalier de Lorenzy from
proposing to me to write something in praise of that lady, insinuating
that I might acquire some advantage by it. The proposition excited my
indignation, the more as I perceived it did not come from himself,
knowing that, passive as he was, he thought and acted according to the
impulsion he received. I am so little accustomed to constraint that it
was impossible for me to conceal from him my disdain, nor from anybody
the moderate opinion I had of the favorite; this I am sure she knew, and
thus my own interest was added to my natural inclination in the wishes I
formed for M. de Choiseul. Having a great esteem for his talents, which
was all I knew of him, full of gratitude for his kind intentions, and
moreover unacquainted in my retirement with his taste and manner of
living, I already considered him as the avenger of the public and myself;
and being at that time writing the conclusion of my Social Contract,
I stated in it, in a single passage, what I thought of preceding
ministers, and of him by whom they began to be eclipsed. On this
occasion I acted contrary to my most constant maxim; and besides, I did
not recollect that, in bestowing praise and strongly censuring in the
same article, without naming the persons, the language must be so
appropriated to those to whom it is applicable, that the most ticklish
pride cannot find in it the least thing equivocal. I was in this respect
in such an imprudent security, that I never once thought it was possible
any one should make a false application. It will soon appear whether or
not I was right.

One of my misfortunes was always to be connected with some female author.
This I thought I might avoid amongst the great. I was deceived; it still
pursued me. Madam de Luxembourg was not, however; at least that I know
of, attacked with the mania of writing; but Madam de Boufflers was. She
wrote a tragedy in prose, which, in the first place, was read, handed
about, and highly spoken of in the society of the Prince Conti, and upon
which, not satisfied with the encomiums she received, she would
absolutely consult me for the purpose of having mine. This she obtained,
but with that moderation which the work deserved. She besides had with
it the information I thought it my duty to give her, that her piece,
entitled 'L'Esclave Genereux', greatly resembled the English tragedy of
'Oroonoko', but little known in France, although translated into the
French language. Madam de Bouffiers thanked me for the remark, but,
however, assured me there was not the least resemblance between her piece
and the other. I never spoke of the plagiarisms except to herself, and I
did it to discharge a duty she had imposed on me; but this has not since
prevented me from frequently recollecting the consequences of the
sincerity of Gil Blas to the preaching archbishop.

Besides the Abbe de Bouffiers, by whom I was not beloved, and Madam de
Bouffiers, in whose opinion I was guilty of that which neither women nor
authors ever pardon, the other friends of Madam de Luxembourg never
seemed much disposed to become mine, particularly the President Henault,
who, enrolled amongst authors, was not exempt from their weaknesses; also
Madam du Deffand, and Mademoiselle de Lespinasse, both intimate with
Voltaire and the friends of D'Alembert, with whom the latter at length
lived, however upon an honorable footing, for it cannot be understood I
mean otherwise. I first began to interest myself for Madam du Deffand,
whom the loss of her eyes made an object of commiseration in mine; but
her manner of living so contrary to my own, that her hour of going to bed
was almost mine for rising; her unbounded passion for low wit, the
importance she gave to every kind of printed trash, either complimentary
or abusive, the despotism and transports of her oracles, her excessive
admiration or dislike of everything, which did not permit her to speak
upon any subject without convulsions, her inconceivable prejudices,
invincible obstinacy, and the enthusiasm of folly to which this carried
her in her passionate judgments; all disgusted me and diminished the
attention I wished to pay her. I neglected her and she perceived it;
this was enough to set her in a rage, and, although I was sufficiently
aware how much a woman of her character was to be feared, I preferred
exposing myself to the scourge of her hatred rather than to that of her

My having so few friends in the society of Madam de Luxembourg would not
have been in the least dangerous had I had no enemies in the family.
Of these I had but one, who, in my then situation, was as powerful as a
hundred. It certainly was not M. de Villeroy, her brother; for he not
only came to see me, but had several times invited me to Villeroy;
and as I had answered to the invitation with all possible politeness
and respect, he had taken my vague manner of doing it as a consent,
and arranged with Madam de Luxembourg a journey of a fortnight, in which
it was proposed to me to make one of the party. As the cares my health
then required did not permit me to go from home without risk, I prayed
Madam de Luxembourg to have the goodness to make my apologies. Her
answer proves this was done with all possible ease, and M. de Villeroy
still continued to show me his usual marks of goodness. His nephew and
heir, the young Marquis of Villeroy, had not for me the same benevolence,
nor had I for him the respect I had for his uncle. His harebrained
manner rendered him insupportable to me, and my coldness drew upon me his
aversion. He insultingly attacked me one evening at table, and I had the
worst of it because I am a fool, without presence of mind; and because
anger, instead of rendering my wit more poignant, deprives me of the
little I have. I had a dog which had been given me when he was quite
young, soon after my arrival at the Hermitage, and which I had called
Duke. This dog, not handsome, but rare of his kind, of which I had made
my companion and friend, a title which he certainly merited much more
than most of the persons by whom it was taken, became in great request at
the castle of Montmorency for his good nature and fondness, and the
attachment we had for each other; but from a foolish pusillanimity I had
changed his name to Turk, as if there were not many dogs called Marquis,
without giving the least offence to any marquis whatsoever. The Marquis
of Villeroy, who knew of the change of name, attacked me in such a manner
that I was obliged openly at table to relate what I had done. Whatever
there might be offensive in the name of duke, it was not in my having
given but in my having taken it away. The worst of it all was, there
were many dukes present, amongst others M. de Luxembourg and his son; and
the Marquis de Villeroy, who was one day to have, and now has the title,
enjoyed in the most cruel manner the embarrassment into which he had
thrown me. I was told the next day his aunt had severely reprimanded
him, and it may be judged whether or not, supposing her to have been
serious, this put me upon better terms with him.

To enable me to support his enmity I had no person, neither at the Hotel
de Luxembourg nor at the Temple, except the Chevalier de Lorenzy, who
professed himself my friend; but he was more that of D'Alembert, under
whose protection he passed with women for a great geometrician. He was
more, over the cicisbe, or rather the complaisant chevalier of the
Countess of Boufflers, a great friend also to D'Alembert, and the
Chevalier de Lorenzy was the most passive instrument in her hands.
Thus, far from having in that circle any counter-balance to my
inaptitude, to keep me in the good graces of Madam de Luxembourg,
everybody who approached her seemed to concur in injuring me in her good
opinion. Yet, besides Emilius, with which she charged herself, she gave
me at the same time another mark of her benevolence, which made me
imagine that, although wearied with my conversation, she would still
preserve for me the friendship she had so many times promised me for

As soon as I thought I could depend upon this, I began to ease my heart,
by confessing to her all my faults, having made it an inviolable maxim to
show myself to my friends such as I really was, neither better nor worse.
I had declared to her my connection with Theresa, and everything that had
resulted from it, without concealing the manner in which I had disposed
of my children. She had received my confessions favorably, and even too
much so, since she spared me the censures I so much merited; and what
made the greatest impression upon me was her goodness to Theresa, making
her presents, sending for her, and begging her to come and see her,
receiving her with caresses, and often embracing her in public. This
poor girl was in transports of joy and gratitude, of which I certainly
partook; the friendship Madam de Luxembourg showed me in her
condescensions to Theresa affected me much more than if they had been
made immediately to myself.

Things remained in this state for a considerable time; but at length
Madam de Luxembourg carried her goodness so far as to have a desire to
take one of my children from the hospital. She knew I had put a cipher
into the swaddling clothes of the eldest; she asked me for the
counterpart of the cipher,, and I gave it to her. In this research she
employed La Roche, her valet de chambre and confidential servant, who
made vain inquiries, although after only about twelve or fourteen years,
had the registers of the foundling hospital been in order, or the search
properly made, the original cipher ought to have been found. However
this may be, I was less sorry for his want of success than I should have
been had I from time to time continued to see the child from its birth
until that moment. If by the aid of the indications given, another child
had been presented as my own, the doubt of its being so in fact, and the
fear of having one thus substituted for it, would have contracted my
affections, and I should not have tasted of the charm of the real
sentiment of nature. This during infancy stands in need of being
supported by habit. The long absence of a child whom the father has seen
but for an instant, weakens, and at length annihilates paternal
sentiment, and parents will never love a child sent to nurse, like that
which is brought up under their eyes. This reflection may extenuate my
faults in their effects, but it must aggravate them in their source.

It may not perhaps be useless to remark that by the means of Theresa, the
same La Roche became acquainted with Madam le Vasseur, whom Grimm still
kept at Deuil, near La Chevrette, and not far from Montmorency.

After my departure it was by means of La Roche that I continued to send
this woman the money I had constantly sent her at stated times, and I am
of opinion he often carried her presents from Madam de Luxembourg;
therefore she certainly was not to be pitied, although she constantly
complained. With respect to Grimm, as I am not fond of speaking of
persons whom I ought to hate, I never mentioned his name to Madam de
Luxembourg, except when I could not avoid it; but she frequently made him
the subject of conversation, without telling me what she thought of the
man, or letting me discover whether or not he was of her acquaintance.
Reserve with people I love and who are open with me being contrary to my
nature, especially in things relating to themselves, I have since that
time frequently thought of that of Madam de Luxembourg; but never, except
when other events rendered the recollection natural.

Having waited a long time without hearing speak of Emilius, after I had
given it to Madam de Luxembourg, I at last heard the agreement was made
at Paris, with the bookseller Duchesne, and by him with Neaulme, of
Amsterdam. Madam de Luxembourg sent me the original and the duplicate of
my agreement with Duchesne, that I might sign them. I discovered the
writing to be by the same hand as that of the letters of M. de
Malesherbes, which he himself did not write. The certainty that my
agreement was made by the consent, and under the eye of that magistrate,
made me sign without hesitation. Duchesne gave me for the manuscript six
thousand livres(two hundred and fifty pounds), half in specie, and one or
two hundred copies. After having signed the two parts, I sent them both
to Madam de Luxembourg, according to her desire; she gave one to
Duchesne, and instead of returning the other kept it herself, so that I
never saw it afterwards.

My acquaintance with M. and Madam de Luxembourg, though it diverted me a
little from my plan of retirement, did not make me entirely renounce it.
Even at the time I was most in favor with Madam de Luxembourg, I always
felt that nothing but my sincere attachment to the marechal and herself
could render to me supportable the people with whom they were connected,
and all the difficulty I had was in conciliating this attachment with a
manner of life more agreeable to my inclination, and less contrary to my
health, which constraint and late suppers continually deranged,
notwithstanding all the care taken to prevent it; for in this, as in
everything else, attention was carried as far as possible; thus, for
instance, every evening after supper the marechal, who went early to bed,
never failed, notwithstanding everything that could be said to the
contrary, to make me withdraw at the same time. It was not until some
little time before my catastrophe that, for what reason I know not, he
ceased to pay me that attention. Before I perceived the coolness of
Madam de Luxembourg, I was desirous, that I might not expose myself to
it, to execute my old project; but not having the means to that effect,
I was obliged to wait for the conclusion of the agreement for 'Emilius',
and in the time I finished the 'Social Contract', and sent it to Rey,
fixing the price of the manuscript at a thousand livres (forty-one
pounds), which he paid me.

I ought not perhaps to omit a trifling circumstance relative to this
manuscript. I gave it, well sealed up, to Du Voisin, a minister in the
pays de Vaud and chaplain at the Hotel de Hollande, who sometimes came to
see me, and took upon himself to send the packet to Rey, with whom he was
connected. The manuscript, written in a small letter, was but very
trifling, and did not fill his pocket. Yet, in passing the barriere, the
packet fell, I know not by what means, into the hands of the Commis, who
opened and examined it, and afterwards returned it to him, when he had
reclaimed it in the name of the ambassador. This gave him an opportunity
of reading it himself, which he ingeniously wrote me he had done,
speaking highly of the work, without suffering a word of criticism or
censure to escape him; undoubtedly reserving to himself to become the
avenger of Christianity as soon as the work should appear. He resealed
the packet and sent it to Rey. Such is the substance of his narrative in
the letter in which he gave an account of the affair, and is all I ever
knew of the matter.

Besides these two books and my dictionary of music, at which I still did
something as opportunity offered, I had other works of less importance
ready to make their appearance, and which I proposed to publish either
separately or in my general collection, should I ever undertake it. The
principal of these works, most of which are still in manuscript in the
hands of De Peyrou, was an essay on the origin of Languages, which I had
read to M. de Malesherbes and the Chevalier de Lorenzy, who spoke
favorably of it. I expected all the productions together would produce
me a net capital of from eight to ten thousand livres (three to four
hundred pounds), which I intended to sink in annuities for my life and
that of Theresa; after which, our design, as I have already mentioned,
was to go and live together in the midst of some province, without
further troubling the public about me, or myself with any other project
than that of peacefully ending my days and still continuing to do in my
neighborhood all the good in my power, and to write at leisure the
memoirs which I intended.

Such was my intention, and the execution of it was facilitated by an act
of generosity in Rey, upon which I cannot be silent. This bookseller, of
whom so many unfavorable things were told me in Paris, is,
notwithstanding, the only one with whom I have always had reason to be
satisfied. It is true, we frequently disagreed as to the execution of my
works. He was heedless and I was choleric; but in matters of interest
which related to them, although I never made with him an agreement in
form, I always found in him great exactness and probity. He is also the
only person of his profession who frankly confessed to me he gained
largely by my means; and he frequently, when he offered me a part of his
fortune, told me I was the author of it all. Not finding the means of
exercising his gratitude immediately upon myself, he wished at least to
give me proofs of it in the person of my governante, upon whom he settled
an annuity of three hundred livres (twelve pounds), expressing in the
deed that it was an acknowledgment for the advantages I had procured him.
This he did between himself and me, without ostentation, pretension, or
noise, and had not I spoken of it to anybody, not a single person would
ever have known anything of the matter. I was so pleased with this
action that I became attached to Rey, and conceived for him a real
friendship. Sometime afterwards he desired I would become godfather to
one of his children; I consented, and a part of my regret in the
situation to which I am reduced, is my being deprived of the means of
rendering in future my attachment of my goddaughter useful to her and her
parents. Why am I, who am so sensible of the modest generosity of this
bookseller, so little so of the noisy eagerness of many persons of the
highest rank, who pompously fill the world with accounts of the services
they say they wished to render me, but the good effects of which I never
felt? Is it their fault or mine? Are they nothing more than vain; is my
insensibility purely ingratitude? Intelligent reader weigh and
determine; for my part I say no more.

This pension was a great resource to Theresa and considerable alleviation
to me, although I was far from receiving from it a direct advantage, any
more than from the presents that were made her.

She herself has always disposed of everything. When I kept her money I
gave her a faithful account of it, without ever applying any part of the
deposit to our common expenses, not even when she was richer than
myself." What is mine is ours," said I to her; "and what is thine is
thine. "I never departed from this maxim. They who have had the
baseness to accuse me of receiving by her hands that which I refused to
take with mine, undoubtedly judged of my heart by their own, and knew but
little of me. I would willingly eat with her the bread she should have
earned, but not that she should have had given her. For a proof of this
I appeal to herself, both now and hereafter, when, according to the
course of nature, she shall have survived me. Unfortunately, she
understands but little of economy in any respect, and is, besides,
careless and extravagant, not from vanity nor gluttony, but solely from
negligence. No creature is perfect here below, and since the excellent
qualities must be accompanied with some detects; I prefer these to vices;
although her defects are more prejudicial to us both. The efforts I have
made, as formerly I did for mamma, to accumulate something in advance
which might some day be to her a never-failing resource, are not to be
conceived; but my cares were always ineffectual.

Neither of these women ever called themselves to an account, and,
notwithstanding all my efforts, everything I acquired was dissipated as
fast as it came. Notwithstanding the great simplicity of Theresa's
dress, the pension from Rey has never been sufficient to buy her clothes,
and I have every year been under the necessity of adding something to it
for that purpose. We are neither of us born to be rich, and this I
certainly do not reckon amongst our misfortunes.

The 'Social Contract' was soon printed. This was not the case with
'Emilius', for the publication of which I waited to go into the
retirement I meditated. Duchesne, from time to time, sent me specimens
of impression to choose from; when I had made my choice, instead of
beginning he sent me others. When, at length, we were fully determined
on the size and letter, and several sheets were already printed off, on
some trifling alteration I made in a proof, he began the whole again; and
at the end of six months we were in less forwardness than on the first
day. During all these experiments I clearly perceived the work was
printing in France as well as in Holland, and that two editions of it
were preparing at the same time. What could I do? The manuscript was no
longer mine. Far from having anything to do with the edition in France,
I was always against it; but since, at length, this was preparing in
spite of all opposition, and was to serve as a model to the other, it was
necessary I should cast my eyes over it and examine the proofs, that my
work might not be mutilated. It was, besides, printed so much by the
consent of the magistrate, that it was he who, in some measure, directed
the undertaking; he likewise wrote to me frequently, and once came to see
me and converse on the subject upon an occasion of which I am going to

Whilst Duchesne crept like a snail, Neaulme, whom he withheld, scarcely
moved at all. The sheets were not regularly sent him as they were
printed. He thought there was some trick in the manoeuvre of Duchesne,
that is, of Guy who acted for him; and perceiving the terms of the
agreement to be departed from, he wrote me letter after letter full of
complaints, and it was less possible for me to remove the subject of them
than that of those I myself had to make. His friend Guerin, who at that
time came frequently to see my house, never ceased speaking to me about
the work, but always with the greatest reserve. He knew and he did not
know that it was printing in France, and that the magistrate had a hand
in it. In expressing his concern for my embarrassment, he seemed to
accuse me of imprudence without ever saying in what this consisted; he
incessantly equivocated, and seemed to speak for no other purpose than to
hear what I had to say. I thought myself so secure that I laughed at his
mystery and circumspection as at a habit he had contracted with ministers
and magistrates whose offices he much frequented. Certain of having
conformed to every rule with the work, and strongly persuaded that I had
not only the consent and protection of the magistrate, but that the book
merited and had obtained the favor of the minister, I congratulated
myself upon my courage in doing good, and laughed at my pusillanimous
friends who seemed uneasy on my account. Duclos was one of these, and I
confess my confidence in his understanding and uprightness might have
alarmed me, had I had less in the utility of the work and in the probity
of those by whom it was patronized. He came from the house of M. Baille
to see me whilst 'Emilius' was in the press; he spoke to me concerning
it; I read to him the 'Profession of Faith of the Savoyard Vicar',
to which he listened attentively and, as it seemed to me with pleasure.
When I had finished he said: "What! citizen, this is a part of a work
now printing in Paris?"--"Yes," answered I, and it ought to be printed at
the Louvre by order of the king."--I confess it," replied he; "but pray
do not mention to anybody your having read to me this fragment."

This striking manner of expressing himself surprised without alarming me.
I knew Duclos was intimate with M. de Malesherbes, and I could not
conceive how it was possible he should think so differently from him upon
the same subject.

I had lived at Montmorency for the last four years without ever having
had there one day of good health. Although the air is excellent, the
water is bad, and this may possibly be one of the causes which
contributed to increase my habitual complaints. Towards the end of the
autumn of 1767, I fell quite ill, and passed the whole winter in
suffering almost without intermission. The physical ill, augmented by a
thousand inquietudes, rendered these terrible. For some time past my
mind had been disturbed by melancholy forebodings without my knowing to
what these directly tended. I received anonymous letters of an
extraordinary nature, and others, that were signed, much of the same
import. I received one from a counsellor of the parliament of Paris,
who, dissatisfied with the present constitution of things, and foreseeing
nothing but disagreeable events, consulted me upon the choice of an
asylum at Geneva or in Switzerland, to retire to with his family. An
other was brought me from M. de -----, 'president a mortier' of the
parliament of -----, who proposed to me to draw up for this Parliament,
which was then at variance with the court, memoirs and remonstrances, and
offering to furnish me with all the documents and materials necessary for
that purpose.

When I suffer I am subject to ill humor. This was the case when I
received these letters, and my answers to them, in which I flatly refused
everything that was asked of me, bore strong marks of the effect they had
had upon my mind. I do not however reproach myself with this refusal, as
the letters might be so many snares laid by my enemies,

[I knew, for instance, the President de----- to be connected with
the Encyclopedists and the Holbachiens]

and what was required of me was contrary to the principles from which I
was less willing than ever to swerve. But having it within my power to
refuse with politeness I did it with rudeness, and in this consists my

The two letters of which I have just spoken will be found amongst my
papers. The letter from the chancellor did not absolutely surprise me,
because I agreed with him in opinion, and with many others, that the
declining constitution of France threatened an approaching destruction.
The disasters of an unsuccessful war, all of which proceeded from a fault
in the government; the incredible confusion in the finances; the
perpetual drawings upon the treasury by the administration, which was
then divided between two or three ministers, amongst whom reigned nothing
but discord, and who, to counteract the operations of each other, let the
kingdom go to ruin; the discontent of the people, and of every other rank
of subjects; the obstinacy of a woman who, constantly sacrificing her
judgment, if she indeed possessed any, to her inclinations, kept from
public employment persons capable of discharging the duties of them, to
place in them such as pleased her best; everything occurred in justifying
the foresight of the counsellor, that of the public, and my own. This,
made me several times consider whether or not I myself should seek an
asylum out of the kingdom before it was torn by the dissensions by which
it seemed to be threatened; but relieved from my fears by my
insignificance, and the peacefulness of my disposition, I thought that in
the state of solitude in which I was determined to live, no public
commotion could reach me. I was sorry only that, in this state of
things, M. de Luxembourg should accept commissions which tended to injure
him in the opinion of the persons of the place of which he was governor.
I could have wished he had prepared himself a retreat there, in case the
great machine had fallen in pieces, which seemed much to be apprehended;
and still appears to me beyond a doubt, that if the reins of government
had not fallen into a single hand, the French monarchy would now be at
the last gasp.

Whilst my situation became worse the printing of 'Emilius' went on more
slowly, and was at length suspended without my being able to learn the
reason why; Guy did not deign to answer my letter of inquiry, and I could
obtain no information from any person of what was going forward. M. de
Malesherbes being then in the country. A misfortune never makes me
uneasy provided I know in what it consists; but it is my nature to be
afraid of darkness, I tremble at the appearance of it; mystery always
gives me inquietude, it is too opposite to my natural disposition, in
which there is an openness bordering on imprudence. The sight of the
most hideous monster would, I am of opinion, alarm me but little; but if
by night I were to see a figure in a white sheet I should be afraid of
it. My imagination, wrought upon by this long silence, was now employed
in creating phantoms. I tormented myself the more in endeavoring to
discover the impediment to the printing of my last and best production,
as I had the publication of it much at heart; and as I always carried
everything to an extreme, I imagined that I perceived in the suspension
the suppression of the work. Yet, being unable to discover either the
cause or manner of it, I remained in the most cruel state of suspense.
I wrote letter after letter to Guy, to M. de Malesherbes and to Madam de
Luxembourg, and not receiving answers, at least when I expected them, my
head became so affected that I was not far from a delirium.
I unfortunately heard that Father Griffet, a Jesuit, had spoken of
'Emilius' and repeated from it some passages. My imagination instantly
unveiled to me the mystery of iniquity; I saw the whole progress of it as
clearly as if it had been revealed to me. I figured to myself that the
Jesuits, furious on account of the contemptuous manner in which I had
spoken of colleges, were in possession of my work; that it was they who
had delayed the publication; that, informed by their friend Guerin of my
situation, and foreseeing my approaching dissolution, of which I myself
had no manner of doubt, they wished to delay the appearance of the work
until after that event, with an intention to curtail and mutilate it, and
in favor of their own views, to attribute to me sentiments not my own.
The number of facts and circumstances which occurred to my mind, in
confirmation of this silly proposition, and gave it an appearance of
truth supported by evidence and demonstration, is astonishing. I knew
Guerin to be entirely in the interest of the Jesuits. I attributed to
them all the friendly advances he had made me; I was persuaded he had,
by their entreaties, pressed me to engage with Neaulme, who had given
them the first sheets of my work; that they had afterwards found means to
stop the printing of it by Duchesne, and perhaps to get possession of the
manuscript to make such alterations in it as they should think proper,
that after my death they might publish it disguised in their own manner.
I had always perceived, notwithstanding the wheedling of Father Berthier,
that the Jesuits did not like me, not only as an Encyclopedist, but
because all my principles were more in opposition to their maxims and
influence than the incredulity of my colleagues, since atheistical and
devout fanaticism, approaching each other by their common enmity to
toleration, may become united; a proof of which is seen in China, and in
the cabal against myself; whereas religion, both reasonable and moral,
taking away all power over the conscience, deprives those who assume that
power of every resource. I knew the chancellor was a great friend to the
Jesuits, and I had my fears less the son, intimidated by the father,
should find himself under the necessity of abandoning the work he had
protected. I besides imagined that I perceived this to be the case in
the chicanery employed against me relative to the first two volumes, in
which alterations were required for reasons of which I could not feel the
force; whilst the other two volumes were known to contain things of such
a nature as, had the censor objected to them in the manner he did to the
passages he thought exceptionable in the others, would have required
their being entirely written over again. I also understood, and M. de
Malesherbes himself told me of it, that the Abbe de Grave, whom he had
charged with the inspection of this edition, was another partisan of the
Jesuits. I saw nothing but Jesuits, without considering that, upon the
point of being suppressed, and wholly taken up in making their defence,
they had something which interested them much more than the cavillings
relative to a work in which they were not in question. I am wrong,
however, in saying this did not occur to me; for I really thought of it,
and M. de Malesherbes took care to make the observation to me the moment
he heard of my extravagant suspicions. But by another of those
absurdities of a man, who, from the bosom of obscurity, will absolutely
judge of the secret of great affairs, with which he is totally
unacquainted. I never could bring myself to believe the Jesuits were in
danger, and I considered the rumor of their suppression as an artful
manoeuvre of their own to deceive their adversaries. Their past
successes, which had been uninterrupted, gave me so terrible an idea of
the power, that I already was grieved at the overthrow of the parliament.
I knew M. de Choiseul had prosecuted his studies under the Jesuits, that
Madam de Pompadour was not upon bad terms with them, and that their
league with favorites and ministers had constantly appeared advantageous
to their order against their common enemies. The court seemed to remain
neuter, and persuaded as I was that should the society receive a severe
check it would not come from the parliament, I saw in the inaction of
government the ground of their confidence and the omen of their triumph.

In fine, perceiving in the rumors of the day nothing more than art and
dissimulation on their part, and thinking they, in their state of
security, had time to watch over all their interests, I had had not the
least doubt of their shortly crushing Jansenism, the parliament and the
Encyclopedists, with every other association which should not submit to
their yoke; and that if they ever suffered my work to appear, this would
not happen until it should be so transformed as to favor their
pretensions, and thus make use of my name the better to deceive my

I felt my health and strength decline; and such was the horror with which
my mind was filled, at the idea of dishonor to my memory in the work most
worthy of myself, that I am surprised so many extravagant ideas did not
occasion a speedy end to my existence. I never was so much afraid of
death as at this time, and had I died with the apprehensions I then had
upon my mind, I should have died in despair. At present, although I
perceived no obstacle to the execution of the blackest and most dreadful
conspiracy ever formed against the memory of a man, I shall die much more
in peace, certain of leaving in my writings a testimony in my favor, and
one which, sooner or later, will triumph over the calumnies of mankind.

M. de Malesherbes, who discovered the agitation of my mind, and to whom I
acknowledged it, used such endeavors to restore me to tranquility as
proved his excessive goodness of heart. Madam de Luxembourg aided him in
his good work, and several times went to Duchesne to know in what state
the edition was. At length the impression was again begun, and the
progress of it became more rapid than ever, without my knowing for what
reason it had been suspended. M. de Malesherbes took the trouble to come
to Montmorency to calm my mind; in this he succeeded, and the full
confidence I had in his uprightness having overcome the derangement of my
poor head, gave efficacy to the endeavors he made to restore it. After
what he had seen of my anguish and delirium, it was natural he should
think I was to be pitied; and he really commiserated my situation. The
expressions, incessantly repeated, of the philosophical cabal by which he
was surrounded, occurred to his memory. When I went to live at the
Hermitage, they, as I have already remarked, said I should not remain
there long. When they saw I persevered, they charged me with obstinacy
and pride, proceeding from a want of courage to retract, and insisted
that my life was there a burden to me; in short, that I was very
wretched. M. de Malesherbes believed this really to be the case, and
wrote to me upon the subject. This error in a man for whom I had so much
esteem gave me some pain, and I wrote to him four letters successively,
in which I stated the real motives of my conduct, and made him fully
acquainted with my taste, inclination and character, and with the most
interior sentiments of my heart. These letters, written hastily, almost
without taking pen from paper, and which I neither copied, corrected,
nor even read, are perhaps the only things I ever wrote with facility,
which, in the midst of my sufferings, was, I think, astonishing.
I sighed, as I felt myself declining, at the thought of leaving in the
midst of honest men an opinion of me so far from truth; and by the sketch
hastily given in my four letters, I endeavored, in some measure, to
substitute them to the memoirs I had proposed to write. They are
expressive of my grief to M. de Malesherbes, who showed them in Paris,
and are, besides, a kind of summary of what I here give in detail, and,
on this account, merit preservation. The copy I begged of them some
years afterwards will be found amongst my papers.

The only thing which continued to give me pain, in the idea of my
approaching dissolution, was my not having a man of letters for a friend,
to whom I could confide my papers, that after my death he might take a
proper choice of such as were worthy of publication.

After my journey to Geneva, I conceived a friendship for Moulton; this
young man pleased me, and I could have wished him to receive my last
breath. I expressed to him this desire, and am of opinion he would
readily have complied with it, had not his affairs prevented him from so
doing. Deprived of this consolation, I still wished to give him a mark
of my confidence by sending him the 'Profession of Faith of the Savoyard
Vicar' before it was published. He was pleased with the work, but did
not in his answer seem so fully to expect from it the effect of which I
had but little doubt. He wished to receive from me some fragment which I
had not given to anybody else. I sent him the funeral oration of the
late Duke of Orleans; this I had written for the Abbe Darty, who had not
pronounced it, because, contrary to his expectation, another person was
appointed to perform that ceremony.

The printing of Emilius, after having been again taken in hand, was
continued and completed without much difficulty; and I remarked this
singularity, that after the curtailings so much insisted upon in the
first two volumes, the last two were passed over without an objection,
and their contents did not delay the publication for a moment. I had,
however, some uneasiness which I must not pass over in silence. After
having been afraid of the Jesuits, I begun to fear the Jansenists and
philosophers. An enemy to party, faction and cabal, I never heard the
least good of parties concerned in them. The gossips had quitted their
old abode and taken up their residence by the side of me, so that in
their chamber, everything said in mine, and upon the terrace, was
distinctly heard; and from their garden it would have been easy to scale
the low wall by which it was separated from my alcove. This was become
my study; my table was covered with proofsheets of Emilius and the Social
Contract and stitching these sheets as they were sent to me, I had all my
volumes a long time before they were published. My negligence and the
confidence I had in M. Mathas, in whose garden I was shut up, frequently
made me forget to lock the door at night, and in the morning I several
times found it wide open; this, however, would not have given me the
least inquietude had I not thought my papers seemed to have been
deranged. After having several times made the same remark, I became more
careful, and locked the door. The lock was a bad one, and the key turned
in it no more than half round. As I became more attentive, I found my
papers in a much greater confusion than they were when I left everything
open. At length I missed one of my volumes without knowing what was
become of it until the morning of the third day, when I again found it
upon the table. I never suspected either M. Mathas or his nephew M. du
Moulin, knowing myself to be beloved by both, and my confidence in them
was unbounded. That I had in the gossips began to diminish. Although
they were Jansenists, I knew them to have some connection with
D' Alembert, and moreover they all three lodged in the same house. This
gave me some uneasiness, and put me more upon my guard. I removed my
papers from the alcove to my chamber, and dropped my acquaintance with
these people, having learned they had shown in several houses the first
volume of 'Emilius', which I had been imprudent enough to lend them.
Although they continued until my departure to be my neighbors I never,
after my first suspicions, had the least communication with them. The
'Social Contract' appeared a month or two before 'Emilius'. Rey, whom I
had desired never secretly to introduce into France any of my books,
applied to the magistrate for leave to send this book by Rouen, to which
place he sent his package by sea. He received no answer, and his bales,
after remaining at Rouen several months, were returned to him, but not
until an attempt had been made to confiscate them; this, probably, would
have been done had not he made a great clamor. Several persons, whose
curiosity the work had excited, sent to Amsterdam for copies, which were
circulated without being much noticed. Maulion, who had heard of this,
and had, I believe, seen the work, spoke to me on the subject with an air
of mystery which surprised me, and would likewise have made me uneasy if,
certain of having conformed to every rule, I had not by virtue of my
grand maxim, kept my mind calm. I moreover had no doubt but M. de
Choiseul, already well disposed towards me, and sensible of the eulogium
of his administration, which my esteem for him had induced me to make in
the work, would support me against the malevolence of Madam de Pompadour.

I certainly had then as much reason as ever to hope for the goodness of
M. de Luxembourg, and even for his assistance in case of need; for he
never at any time had given me more frequent and more pointed marks of
his friendship. At the journey of Easter, my melancholy state no longer
permitting me to go to the castle, he never suffered a day to pass
without coming to see me, and at length, perceiving my sufferings to be
incessant, he prevailed upon me to determine to see Friar Come. He
immediately sent for him, came with him, and had the courage, uncommon to
a man of his rank, to remain with me during the operation which was cruel
and tedious. Upon the first examination, Come thought he found a great
stone, and told me so; at the second, he could not find it again. After
having made a third attempt with so much care and circumspection that I
thought the time long, he declared there was no stone, but that the
prostate gland was schirrous and considerably thickened. He besides
added, that I had a great deal to suffer, and should live a long time.
Should the second prediction be as fully accomplished as the first, my
sufferings are far from being at an end.

It was thus I learned after having been so many years treated for
disorders which I never had, that my incurable disease, without being
mortal, would last as long as myself. My imagination, repressed by this
information, no longer presented to me in prospective a cruel death in
the agonies of the stone.

Delivered from imaginary evils, more cruel to me than those which were
real, I more patiently suffered the latter. It is certain I have since
suffered less from my disorder than I had done before, and every time I
recollect that I owe this alleviation to M. de Luxembourg, his memory
becomes more dear to me.

Restored, as I may say, to life, and more than ever occupied with the
plan according to which I was determined to pass the rest of my days, all
the obstacle to the immediate execution of my design was the publication
of 'Emilius'. I thought of Touraine where I had already been and which
pleased me much, as well on account of the mildness of the climate, as on
that of the character of the inhabitants.

'La terra molle lieta a dilettosa
Simile a se l'habitator produce.'

I had already spoken of my project to M. de Luxembourg, who endeavored to
dissuade me from it; I mentioned it to him a second time as a thing
resolved upon. He then offered me the castle of Merlon, fifteen leagues
from Paris, as an asylum which might be agreeable to me, and where he and
Madam de Luxembourg would have a real pleasure in seeing me settled. The
proposition made a pleasing impression on my mind. But the first thing
necessary was to see the place, and we agreed upon a day when the
marechal was to send his valet de chambre with a carriage to take me to
it. On the day appointed, I was much indisposed; the journey was
postponed, and different circumstances prevented me from ever making it.
I have since learned the estate of Merlou did not belong to the marechal
but to his lady, on which account I was the less sorry I had not gone to
live there.

'Emilius' was at length given to the public, without my having heard
further of retrenchments or difficulties. Previous to the publication,
the marechal asked me for all the letters M. de Malesherbes had written
to me on the subject of the work. My great confidence in both, and the
perfect security in which I felt myself, prevented me from reflecting
upon this extraordinary and even alarming request. I returned all the
letters excepting one or two which, from inattention, were left between
the leaves of a book. A little time before this, M. de Malesherbes told
me he should withdraw the letters I had written to Duchesne during my
alarm relative to the Jesuits, and, it must be confessed, these letters
did no great honor to my reason. But in my answer I assured him I would
not in anything pass for being better than I was, and that he might leave
the letters where they were. I know not what he resolved upon.

The publication of this work was not succeeded by the applause which had
followed that of all my other writings. No work was ever more highly
spoken of in private, nor had any literary production ever had less
public approbation. What was said and written to me upon the subject by
persons most capable of judging, confirmed me in my opinion that it was
the best, as well as the most important of all the works I had produced.
But everything favorable was said with an air of the most extraordinary
mystery, as if there had been a necessity of keeping it a secret. Madam
de Boufflers, who wrote to me that the author of the work merited a
statue, and the homage of mankind, at the end of her letter desired it
might be returned to her. D'Alembert, who in his note said the work gave
me a decided superiority, and ought to place me at the head of men of
letters, did not sign what he wrote, although he had signed every note I
had before received from him. Duclos, a sure friend, a man of veracity,
but circumspect, although he had a good opinion of the work, avoided
mentioning it in his letters to me. La Condomine fell upon the
Confession of Faith, and wandered from the subject. Clairaut confined
himself to the same part; but he was not afraid of expressing to me the
emotion which the reading of it had caused in him, and in the most direct
terms wrote to me that it had warmed his old imagination: of all those to
whom I had sent my book, he was the only person who spoke freely what he
thought of it.

Mathas, to whom I also had given a copy before the publication, lent it
to M. de Blaire, counsellor in the parliament of Strasbourg. M. de
Blaire had a country-house at St. Gratien, and Mathas, his old
acquaintance, sometimes went to see him there. He made him read Emilius
before it was published. When he returned it to him, M. de Blaire
expressed himself in the following terms, which were repeated to me the
same day: "M. Mathas, this is a very fine work, but it will in a short
time be spoken of more than, for the author might be wished." I laughed
at the prediction, and saw in it nothing more than the importance of a
man of the robe, who treats everything with an air of mystery. All the
alarming observations repeated to me made no impression upon my mind,
and, far from foreseeing the catastrophe so near at hand, certain of the
utility and excellence of my work, and that I had in every respect
conformed to established rules; convinced, as I thought I was that I
should be supported by all the credit of M. de Luxembourg and the favor
of the ministry, I was satisfied with myself for the resolution I had
taken to retire in the midst of my triumphs, and at my return to crush
those by whom I was envied.

One thing in the publication of the work alarmed me, less on account of
my safety than for the unburdening of my mind. At the Hermitage and at
Montmorency I had seen with indignation the vexations which the jealous
care of the pleasures of princes causes to be exercised on wretched
peasants, forced to suffer the havoc made by game in their fields,
without daring to take any other measure to prevent this devastation than
that of making a noise, passing the night amongst the beans and peas,
with drums, kettles and bells, to keep off the wild boars. As I had been
a witness to the barbarous cruelty with which the Comte de Charolois
treated these poor people, I had toward the end of Emilius exclaimed
against it. This was another infraction of my maxims, which has not
remained unpunished. I was informed that the people of the Prince of
Conti were but little less severe upon his, estates; I trembled less that
prince, for whom I was penetrated with respect and gratitude, should take
to his own account what shocked humanity had made me say on that of
others, and feel himself offended. Yet, as my conscience fully acquitted
me upon this article, I made myself easy, and by so doing acted wisely:
at least, I have not heard that this great prince took notice of the
passage, which, besides, was written long before I had the honor of being
known to him.

A few days either before or after the publication of my work, for I do
not exactly recollect the time, there appeared another work upon the same
subject, taken verbatim from my first volume, except a few stupid things
which were joined to the extract. The book bore the name of a Genevese,
one Balexsert, and, according to the title-page, had gained the premium
in the Academy of Harlem. I easily imagined the academy and the premium
to be newly founded, the better to conceal the plagiarism from the eyes
of the public; but I further perceived there was some prior intrigue
which I could not unravel; either by the lending of my manuscript,
without which the theft could not have been committed, or for the purpose
of forging the story of the pretended premium, to which it was necessary
to give some foundation. It was not until several years afterwards, that
by a word which escaped D'Ivernois, I penetrated the mystery and
discovered those by whom Balexsert had been brought forward.

The low murmurings which precede a storm began to be heard, and men of
penetration clearly saw there was something gathering, relative to me and
my book, which would shortly break over my head. For my part my
stupidity was such, that, far from foreseeing my misfortune, I did not
suspect even the cause of it after I had felt its effect. It was
artfully given out that while the Jesuits were treated with severity,
no indulgence could be shown to books nor the authors of them in which
religion was attacked. I was reproached with having put my name to
Emilius, as if I had not put it to all my other works of which nothing
was said. Government seemed to fear it should be obliged to take some
steps which circumstances rendered necessary on account of my imprudence.
Rumors to this effect reached my ears, but gave me not much uneasiness:
it never even came into my head, that there could be the least thing in
the whole affair which related to me personally, so perfectly
irreproachable and well supported did I think myself; having besides
conformed to every ministerial regulation, I did not apprehend Madam de
Luxembourg would leave me in difficulties for an error, which, if it
existed, proceeded entirely from herself. But knowing the manner of
proceeding in like cases, and that it was customary to punish booksellers
while authors were favored; I had some uneasiness on account of poor
Duchesne, whom I saw exposed to danger, should M. de Malesherbes abandon

My tranquility still continued. Rumors increased and soon changed their
nature. The public, and especially the parliament, seemed irritated by
my composure. In a few days the fermentation became terrible, and the
object of the menaces being changed, these were immediately addressed to
me. The parliamentarians were heard to declare that burning books was of
no effect, the authors also should be burned with them; not a word was
said of the booksellers. The first time these expressions, more worthy
of an inquisitor of Goa than a senator, were related to me, I had no
doubt of their coming from the Holbachiques with an intention to alarm me
and drive me from France. I laughed at their puerile manoeuvre, and said
they would, had they known the real state of things, have thought of some
other means of inspiring me with fear; but the rumor at length became
such that I perceived the matter was serious. M. and Madam de Luxembourg
had this year come to Montmorency in the month of June, which, for their
second journey, was more early than common. I heard but little there of
my new books, notwithstanding the noise they made in Paris; neither the
marechal nor his lady said a single word to me on the subject. However,
one morning, when M. de Luxembourg and I were together, he asked me if,
in the 'Social Contract', I had spoken ill of M. de Choiseul. "I?" said
I, retreating a few steps with surprise; "no, I swear to you I have not;
but on the contrary, I have made on him, and with a pen not given to
praise, the finest eulogium a minister ever received." I then showed him
the passage. "And in Emilius?" replied he. "Not a word," said I;
"there is not in it a single word which relates to him."--"Ah!" said he,
with more vivacity than was common to him, "you should have taken the
same care in the other book, or have expressed yourself more clearly!"
"I thought," replied I, "what I wrote could not be misconstrued; my
esteem for him was such as to make me extremely cautious not to be

He was again going to speak; I perceived him ready to open his mind: he
stopped short and held his tongue. Wretched policy of a courtier, which
in the best of hearts, subjugates friendship itself!

This conversation although short, explained to me my situation, at least
in certain respects, and gave me to understand that it was against myself
the anger of administration was raised. The unheard of fatality, which
turned to my prejudice all the good I did and wrote, afflicted my heart.
Yet, feeling myself shielded in this affair by Madam de Luxembourg and M.
de Malesherbes, I did not perceive in what my persecutors could deprive
me of their protection. However, I, from that moment was convinced
equity and judgment were no longer in question, and that no pains would
be spared in examining whether or not I was culpable. The storm became
still more menacing. Neaulme himself expressed to me, in the excess of
his babbling, how much he repented having had anything to do in the
business, and his certainty of the fate with which the book and the
author were threatened. One thing, however, alleviated my fears: Madam
de Luxembourg was so calm, satisfied and cheerful, that I concluded she
must necessarily be certain of the sufficiency of her credit, especially
if she did not seem to have the least apprehension on my account;
moreover, she said not to me a word either of consolation or apology, and
saw the turn the affair took with as much unconcern as if she had nothing
to do with it or anything else that related to me. What surprised me
most was her silence. I thought she should have said something on the
subject. Madam de Boufflers seemed rather uneasy. She appeared
agitated, strained herself a good deal, assured me the Prince of Conti
was taking great pains to ward off the blow about to be directed against
my person, and which she attributed to the nature of present
circumstances, in which it was of importance to the parliament not to
leave the Jesuits an opening whereby they might bring an accusation
against it as being indifferent with respect to religion. She did not,
however, seem to depend much either upon the success of her own efforts
or even those of the prince. Her conversations, more alarming than
consolatory, all tended to persuade me to leave the kingdom and go to
England, where she offered me an introduction to many of her friends,
amongst others one to the celebrated Hume, with whom she had long been
upon a footing of intimate friendship. Seeing me still unshaken, she had
recourse to other arguments more capable of disturbing my tranquillity.
She intimated that, in case I was arrested and interrogated, I should be
under the necessity of naming Madam de Luxembourg, and that her
friendship for me required, on my part, such precautions as were
necessary to prevent her being exposed. My answer was, that should what
she seemed to apprehend come to pass, she need not be alarmed; that I
should do nothing by which the lady she mentioned might become a
sufferer. She said such a resolution was more easily taken than adhered
to, and in this she was right, especially with respect to me, determined
as I always have been neither to prejudice myself nor lie before judges,
whatever danger there might be in speaking the truth.

Perceiving this observation had made some impression upon my mind,
without however inducing me to resolve upon evasion, she spoke of the
Bastile for a few weeks, as a means of placing me beyond the reach of the
jurisdiction of the parliament, which has nothing to do with prisoners of
state. I had no objection to this singular favor, provided it were not
solicited in my name. As she never spoke of it a second time, I
afterwards thought her proposition was made to sound me, and that the
party did not think proper to have recourse to an expedient which would
have put an end to everything.

A few days afterwards the marechal received from the Cure de Dueil, the
friend of Grimm and Madam d'Epinay, a letter informing him, as from good
authority, that the parliament was to proceed against me with the
greatest severity, and that, on a day which he mentioned, an order was to
be given to arrest me. I imagined this was fabricated by the
Holbachiques; I knew the parliament to be very attentive to forms,
and that on this occasion, beginning by arresting me before it was
juridically known I avowed myself the author of the book was violating
them all. I observed to Madam de Boufflers that none but persons accused
of crimes which tend to endanger the public safety were, on a simple
information ordered to be arrested lest they should escape punishment.
But when government wish to punish a crime like mine, which merits honor
and recompense, the proceedings are directed against the book, and the
author is as much as possible left out of the question.

Upon this she made some subtle distinction, which I have forgotten, to
prove that ordering me to be arrested instead of summoning me to be heard
was a matter of favor. The next day I received a letter from Guy, who
informed me that having in the morning been with the attorney-general, he
had seen in his office a rough draft of a requisition against Emilius and
the author. Guy, it is to be remembered, was the partner of Duchesne,
who had printed the work, and without apprehensions on his own account,
charitably gave this information to the author. The credit I gave to him
maybe judged of.

It was, no doubt, a very probable story, that a bookseller, admitted to
an audience by the attorney-general, should read at ease scattered rough
drafts in the office of that magistrate! Madam de Boufflers and others
confirmed what he had said. By the absurdities which were incessantly
rung in my ears, I was almost tempted to believe that everybody I heard
speak had lost their senses.

Clearly perceiving that there was some mystery, which no one thought
proper to explain to me, I patiently awaited the event, depending upon my
integrity and innocence, and thinking myself happy, let the persecution
which awaited me be what it would, to be called to the honor of suffering
in the cause of truth. Far from being afraid and concealing myself,
I went every day to the castle, and in the afternoon took my usual walk.
On the eighth of June, the evening before the order was concluded on, I
walked in company with two professors of the oratory, Father Alamanni and
Father Mandard. We carried to Champeaux a little collation, which we ate
with a keen appetite. We had forgotten to bring glasses, and supplied
the want of them by stalks of rye, through which we sucked up the wine
from the bottle, piquing ourselves upon the choice of large tubes to vie
with each other in pumping up what we drank. I never was more cheerful
in my life.

I have related in what manner I lost my sleep during my youth. I had
since that time contracted a habit of reading every night in my bed,
until I found my eyes begin to grow heavy. I then extinguished my wax
taper, and endeavored to slumber for a few moments, which were in general
very short. The book I commonly read at night was the Bible, which, in
this manner I read five or six times from the beginning to the end. This
evening, finding myself less disposed to sleep than ordinary, I continued
my reading beyond the usual hour, and read the whole book which finishes
at the Levite of Ephraim, the Book of judges, if I mistake not, for since
that time I have never once seen it. This history affected me
exceedingly, and, in a kind of a dream, my imagination still ran on it,
when suddenly I was roused from my stupor by a noise and light. Theresa
carrying a candle, lighted M. la Roche, who perceiving me hastily raise
myself up, said: "Do not be alarmed; I come from Madam de Luxembourg,
who, in her letter incloses you another from the Prince of Conti.
"In fact, in the letter of Madam de Luxembourg I found another, which an
express from the prince had brought her, stating that, notwithstanding
all his efforts, it was determined to proceed against me with the utmost
rigor. "The fermentation," said he, "is extreme; nothing can ward off
the blow; the court requires it, and the parliament will absolutely
proceed; at seven o'clock in the morning an order will be made to arrest
him, and persons will immediately be sent to execute it. I have obtained
a promise that he shall not be pursued if he makes his escape; but if he
persists in exposing himself to be taken this will immediately happen."
La Roche conjured me in behalf of Madam de Luxembourg to rise and go and
speak to her. It was two o'clock and she had just retired to bed.
"She expects you," added he, "and will not go to sleep without speaking
to you." I dressed myself in haste and ran to her.

She appeared to be agitated; this was for the first time. Her distress
affected me. In this moment of surprise and in the night, I myself was
not free from emotion; but on seeing her I forgot my own situation, and
thought of nothing but the melancholy part she would have to act should I
suffer myself to be arrested; for feeling I had sufficient courage
strictly to adhere to truth, although I might be certain of its being
prejudicial or even destructive to me, I was convinced I had not presence
of mind, address, nor perhaps firmness enough, not to expose her should I
be closely pressed. This determined me to sacrifice my reputation to her
tranquillity, and to do for her that which nothing could have prevailed
upon me to do for myself. The moment I had come to this resolution,
I declared it, wishing not to diminish the magnitude of the sacrifice by
giving her the least trouble to obtain it. I am sure she could not
mistake my motive, although she said not a word, which proved to me she
was sensible of it. I was so much shocked at her indifference that I,
for a moment, thought of retracting; but the marechal came in, and Madam
de Bouffiers arrived from Paris a few moments afterwards. They did what
Madam de Luxembourg ought to have done. I suffered myself to be
flattered; I was ashamed to retract; and the only thing that remained to
be determined upon was the place of my retreat and the time of my
departure. M. de Luxembourg proposed to me to remain incognito a few
days at the castle, that we might deliberate at leisure, and take such
measures as should seem most proper; to this I would not consent, no more
than to go secretly to the temple. I was determined to set off the same
day rather than remain concealed in any place whatever.

Knowing I had secret and powerful enemies in the kingdom, I thought,
notwithstanding my attachment to France, I ought to quit it, the better
to insure my future tranquillity. My first intention was to retire to
Geneva, but a moment of reflection was sufficient to dissuade me from
committing that act of folly; I knew the ministry of France, more
powerful at Geneva than at Paris, would not leave me more at peace in one
of these cities than in the other, were a resolution taken to torment me.
I was also convinced the 'Discourse upon Inequality' had excited against
me in the council a hatred the more dangerous as the council dared not
make it manifest. I had also learned, that when the New Eloisa appeared,
the same council had immediately forbidden the sale of that work, upon
the solicitation of Doctor Tronchin; but perceiving the example not to be
imitated, even in Paris, the members were ashamed of what they had done,
and withdrew the prohibition.

I had no doubt that, finding in the present case a more favorable
opportunity, they would be very careful to take advantage of it.
Notwithstanding exterior appearances, I knew there reigned against me in
the heart of every Genevese a secret jealousy, which, in the first
favorable moment, would publicly show itself. Nevertheless, the love of
my country called me to it, and could I have flattered myself I should
there have lived in peace, I should not have hesitated; but neither honor
nor reason permitting me to take refuge as a fugitive in a place of which
I was a citizen, I resolved to approach it only, and to wait in
Switzerland until something relative to me should be determined upon in
Geneva. This state of uncertainty did not, as it will soon appear,
continue long.

Madam de Boufflers highly disapproved this resolution, and renewed her
efforts to induce me to go to England, but all she could say was of no
effect; I had never loved England nor the English, and the eloquence of
Madam de Boufflers, far from conquering my repugnancy, seemed to increase
it without my knowing why. Determined to set off the same day, I was
from the morning inaccessible to everybody, and La Roche, whom I sent to
fetch my papers, would not tell Theresa whether or not I was gone. Since
I had determined to write my own memoirs, I had collected a great number
of letters and other papers, so that he was obliged to return several
times. A part of these papers, already selected, were laid aside, and I
employed the morning in sorting the rest, that I might take with me such
only as were necessary and destroy what remained.

M. de Luxembourg, was kind enough to assist me in this business, which we
could not finish before it was necessary I should set off, and I had not
time to burn a single paper. The marechal offered to take upon himself
to sort what I should leave behind me, and throw into the fire every
sheet that he found useless, without trusting to any person whomsoever,
and to send me those of which he should make choice. I accepted his
offer, very glad to be delivered from that care, that I might pass the
few hours I had to remain with persons so dear to me, from whom I was
going to separate forever. He took the key of the chamber in which I had
left these papers; and, at my earnest solicitation, sent for my poor
aunt, who, not knowing what had become of me, or what was to become of
herself, and in momentary expectation of the arrival of the officers of
justice, without knowing how to act or what to answer them, was miserable
to an extreme. La Roche accompanied her to the castle in silence; she
thought I was already far from Montmorency; on perceiving me, she made
the place resound with her cries, and threw herself into my arms. Oh,
friendship, affinity of sentiment, habit and intimacy.

In this pleasing yet cruel moment, the remembrance of so many days of
happiness, tenderness and peace, passed together augmented the grief of a
first separation after an union of seventeen years during which we had
scarcely lost sight of each other for a single day.

The marechal who saw this embrace, could not suppress his tears.
He withdrew. Theresa determined never more to leave me out of her sight.
I made her feel the inconvenience of accompanying me at that moment, and
the necessity of her remaining to take care of my effects and collect my
money. When an order is made to arrest a man, it is customary to seize
his papers and put a seal upon his effects, or to make an inventory of
them and appoint a guardian to whose care they are intrusted. It was
necessary Theresa should remain to observe what passed, and get
everything settled in the most advantageous manner possible. I promised
her she should shortly come to me; the marechal confirmed my promise;
but I did not choose to tell her to what place I was going, that, in case
of being interrogated by the persons who came to take me into custody,
she might with truth plead ignorance upon that head. In embracing her
the moment before we separated I felt within me a most extraordinary
emotion, and I said to her with an agitation which, alas! was but too
prophetic: "My dear girl, you must arm yourself with courage. You have
partaken of my prosperity; it now remains to you, since you have chosen
it, to partake of my misery. Expect nothing in future but insult and
calamity in following me. The destiny begun for me by this melancholy
day will pursue me until my latest hour."

I had now nothing to think of but my departure. The officers were to
arrive at ten o'clock. It was four in the afternoon when I set off, and
they were not yet come. It was determined I should take post. I had no
carriage, The marechal made me a present of a cabriolet, and lent me
horses and a postillion the first stage, where, in consequence of the
measures he had taken, I had no difficulty in procuring others.

As I had not dined at table, nor made my appearance in the castle, the
ladies came to bid me adieu in the entresol where I had passed the day.
Madam de Luxembourg embraced me several times with a melancholy air;
but I did not in these embraces feel the pressing I had done in those she
had lavished upon me two or three years before. Madam de Boufflers also
embraced me, and said to me many civil things. An embrace which
surprised me more than all the rest had done was one from Madam de
Mirepoix, for she also was at the castle. Madam la Marechale de Mirepoix
is a person extremely cold, decent, and reserved, and did not, at least
as she appeared to me, seem quite exempt from the natural haughtiness of
the house of Lorraine. She had never shown me much attention. Whether,
flattered by an honor I had not expected, I endeavored to enhance the
value of it; or that there really was in the embrace a little of that
commiseration natural to generous hearts, I found in her manner and look
something energetical which penetrated me. I have since that time
frequently thought that, acquainted with my destiny, she could not
refrain from a momentary concern for my fate.

The marechal did not open his mouth; he was as pale as death. He would
absolutely accompany me to the carriage which waited at the watering
place. We crossed the garden without uttering a single word. I had a
key of the park with which I opened the gate, and instead of putting it
again into my pocket, I held it out to the marechal without saying a
word. He took it with a vivacity which surprised me, and which has since
frequently intruded itself upon my thoughts.

I have not in my whole life had a more bitter moment than that of this
separation. Our embrace was long and silent: we both felt that this was
our last adieu.

Between Barre and Montmorency I met, in a hired carriage, four men in
black, who saluted me smilingly. According to what Theresa has since
told me of the officers of justice, the hour of their arrival and their
manner of behavior, I have no doubt, that they were the persons I met,
especially as the order to arrest me, instead of being made out at seven
o'clock, as I had been told it would, had not been given till noon. I
had to go through Paris. A person in a cabriolet is not much concealed.
I saw several persons in the streets who saluted me with an air of
familiarity but I did not know one of them. The same evening I changed
my route to pass Villeroy. At Lyons the couriers were conducted to the
commandant. This might have been embarrassing to a man unwilling either
to lie or change his name. I went with a letter from Madam de Luxembourg
to beg M. de Villeroy would spare me this disagreeable ceremony. M. de
Villeroy gave me a letter of which I made no use, because I did not go
through Lyons. This letter still remains sealed up amongst my papers.
The duke pressed me to sleep at Villeroy, but I preferred returning to
the great road, which I did, and travelled two more stages the same

My carriage was inconvenient and uncomfortable, and I was too much
indisposed to go far in a day. My appearance besides was not
sufficiently distinguished for me to be well served, and in France post-
horses feel the whip in proportion to the favorable opinion the
postillion has of his temporary master. By paying the guides generously
thought I should make up for my shabby appearance: this was still worse.
They took me for a worthless fellow who was carrying orders, and, for the
first time in my life, travelling post. From that moment I had nothing
but worn-out hacks, and I became the sport of the postillions. I ended
as I should have begun by being patient, holding my tongue, and suffering
myself to be driven as my conductors thought proper.

I had sufficient matter of reflection to prevent me from being weary on
the road, employing myself in the recollection of that which had just
happened; but this was neither my turn of mind nor the inclination of my
heart. The facility with which I forget past evils, however recent they
may be, is astonishing. The remembrance of them becomes feeble, and,
sooner or later, effaced, in the inverse proportion to the greater degree
of fear with which the approach of them inspires me. My cruel
imagination, incessantly tormented by the apprehension of evils still at
a distance, diverts my attention, and prevents me from recollecting those
which are past. Caution is needless after the evil has happened, and it
is time lost to give it a thought. I, in some measure, put a period to
my misfortunes before they happen: the more I have suffered at their
approach the greater is the facility with which I forget them; whilst, on
the contrary, incessantly recollecting my past happiness, I, if I may so
speak, enjoy it a second time at pleasure. It is to this happy
disposition I am indebted for an exemption from that ill humor which
ferments in a vindictive mind, by the continual remembrance of injuries
received, and torments it with all the evil it wishes to do its enemy.
Naturally choleric, I have felt all the force of anger, which in the
first moments has sometimes been carried to fury, but a desire of
vengeance never took root within me. I think too little of the offence
to give myself much trouble about the offender. I think of the injury I
have received from him on account of that he may do me a second time, but
were I certain he would never do me another the first would be instantly
forgotten. Pardon of offences is continually preached to us. I knew not
whether or not my heart would be capable of overcoming its hatred, for it
never yet felt that passion, and I give myself too little concern about
my enemies to have the merit of pardoning them. I will not say to what a
degree, in order to torment me, they torment themselves. I am at their
mercy, they have unbounded power, and make of it what use they please.
There is but one thing in which I set them at defiance: which is in
tormenting themselves about me, to force me to give myself the least
trouble about them.

The day after my departure I had so perfectly forgotten what had passed,
the parliament, Madam de Pompadour, M. de Choiseul, Grimm, and
D'Alembert, with their conspiracies, that had not it been for the
necessary precautions during the journey I should have thought no more of
them. The remembrance of one thing which supplied the place of all these
was what I had read the evening before my departure. I recollect, also,
the pastorals of Gessner, which his translator Hubert had sent me a
little time before. These two ideas occurred to me so strongly, and were
connected in such a manner in my mind, that I was determined to endeavor
to unite them by treating after the manner of Gessner, the subject of the
Levite of Ephraim. His pastoral and simple style appeared to me but
little fitted to so horrid a subject, and it was not to be presumed the
situation I was then in would furnish me with such ideas as would enliven
it. However, I attempted the thing, solely to amuse myself in my
cabriolet, and without the least hope of success. I had no sooner begun
than I was astonished at the liveliness of my ideas, and the facility
with which I expressed them. In three days I composed the first three
cantos of the little poem I finished at Motiers, and I am certain of not
having done anything in my life in which there is a more interesting
mildness of manners, a greater brilliancy of coloring, more simple
delineations, greater exactness of proportion, or more antique simplicity
in general, notwithstanding the horror of the subject which in itself is
abominable, so that besides every other merit I had still that of a
difficulty conquered. If the Levite of Ephraim be not the best of my
works, it will ever be that most esteemed. I have never read, nor shall
I ever read it again without feeling interiorly the applause of a heart
without acrimony, which, far from being embittered by misfortunes, is
susceptible of consolation in the midst of them, and finds within itself
a resource by which they are counterbalanced. Assemble the great
philosophers, so superior in their books to adversity which they do not
suffer, place them in a situation similar to mine, and, in the first
moments of the indignation of their injured honor, give them a like work
to compose, and it will be seen in what manner they will acquit
themselves of the task.

When I set of from Montmorency to go into Switzerland, I had resolved to
stop at Yverdon, at the house of my old friend Roguin, who had several
years before retired to that place, and had invited me to go and see him.
I was told Lyons was not the direct road, for which reason I avoided
going through it. But I was obliged to pass through Besancon, a
fortified town, and consequently subject to the same inconvenience. I
took it into my head to turn about and to go to Salins, under the
pretense of going to see M. de Marian, the nephew of M. Dupin, who had an
employment at the salt-works, and formerly had given me many invitations
to his house. The expedition succeeded: M. de Marian was not in the
way, and, happily, not being obliged to stop, I continued my journey
without being spoken to by anybody.

The moment I was within the territory of Berne, I ordered the postillion
to stop; I got out of my carriage, prostrated myself, kissed the ground,
and exclaimed in a transport of joy: "Heaven, the protector of virtue be
praised, I touch a land of liberty!" Thus blind and unsuspecting in my
hopes, have I ever been passionately attached to that which was to make
me unhappy. The man thought me mad. I got into the carriage, and a few
hours afterwards I had the pure and lively satisfaction of feeling myself
pressed within the arms of the respectable Rougin. Ah! let me breathe
for a moment with this worthy host! It is necessary I should gain
strength and courage before I proceed further. I shall soon find that in
my way which will give employment to them both. It is not without reason
that I have been diffuse in the recital of all the circumstances I have
been able to recollect. Although they may seem uninteresting, yet, when
once the thread of the conspiracy is got hold of, they may throw some
light upon the progress of it; and, for instance, without giving the
first idea of the problem I am going to propose, afford some aid in
solving it.

Suppose that, for the execution of the conspiracy of which I was the
object, my absence was absolutely necessary, everything tending to that
effect could not have happened otherwise than it did; but if without
suffering myself to be alarmed by the nocturnal embassy of Madam de
Luxembourg, I had continued to hold out, and, instead of remaining at the
castle, had returned to my bed and quietly slept until morning, should I
have equally had an order of arrest made out against me? This is a great
question upon which the solution of many others depends, and for the
examination of it, the hour of the comminatory decree of arrest, and that
of the real decree may be remarked to advantage. A rude but sensible
example of the importance of the least detail in the exposition of facts,
of which the secret causes are sought for to discover them by induction.


Caution is needless after the evil has happened
Her excessive admiration or dislike of everything
More folly than candor in the declaration without necessity
Multiplying persons and adventures
That which neither women nor authors ever pardon


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