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to instruct the mind ! Let them reflect, that their conduct will make it their glory or their reproach. Let them feel that similarity of manners, not proximity of blood, gives them an interest in this statue.
Remember ; resemble ; persevere.
ROLAND was the chief and the most accredited of the faction :-His morals had furnished little matter of exception against him; old, domestic, and uxorious, he led a private life sufficiently blameless.He was therefore set up as the Cato of the republican party, which did not abound in such characters.
This man like most of the chiefs, was the manager of a newspaper, in which he promoted the interest of his party. He was a fatal present made by the revolutionists to the unhappy king, as one of his ministers under the new constitution.
We have had the great professor and founder of the philosophy of vanity in England. As I had good opportunities of knowing his proceedings almost from day to day, he left no doubt on my mind, that he entertained no principle either to influence his heart, or to guide his understanding, but vanity. With this vice he was possessed to a degree little short of madness. It is from the same deranged eccentric vanity, that this, the insane Socrates of the national assembly,
was impelled to publish a mad confession of his mad faults, and to attempt a new sort of glory, from bringing hardily to light the obscure and vulgar vices which we know may sometimes be blended with eminent talents. He has not observed on the nature of vanity, who does not know that it is omnivorous ; that it has no choice in its food ; that it is fond to talk even of its own faults and vices, as what will excite surprize and draw attention, and what will pass at worst for openness and candour. It was this abuse and perversion, which vanity makes even of hypocrisy, which has driven Rousseau to record a life not so much as chequered, or spotted here and'there, with virtues, or even distinguished by a single good action. It is such a life he chooses to offer to the attention of mankind. It is such a life, that with a wild defiance, he Alings in the face of his Creator, whom he acknowledges only to brave. Your assembly, knowing how much more powerful example is found than precept, has chosen this man (by his own account without a single virtue) for a model. To him they erect their first statue. From him they commence their series of honours and distinctions.
It is that new-invented virtue which your masters canonize, that led their moral hero constantly to exhaust the stores of his powerful rhetoric in the expression of universal benevolence; whilst his heart was incapable of harbouring one spark of common parental affection. Benevolence to the whole species, and want of feeling for every individual with whom the professors come in contact, form the character of the new philosophy. Setting up for an unsocial independence, this their hero of vanity refuses the just price of common labour, as well as the tribute which opulence owes to genius, and which, when paid, honours the giver and the receiver ; and then he pleads his beggary as an excuse for his crimes. He melts with tenderness for those only who touch him by the remotest relation, and then, without one natural pang, casts away, as a sort of offal and excrement, the spawn of his disgustful amours, and sends his children to the hospital of foundlings. The bear loves, licks, and forms her young ; but bears are not philosophers. Vanity, however, finds its account in reversing the train of our natural feelings. Thousands admire the sentimental writer; the affectionate father is hardly known in his parish.
Under this philosophic instructor in the ethics of vanity, they have attempted in France a regeneration of the moral constitution of man. Statesmen, like your présent rulers, exist by every thing which is spurious, fictitious, and false; by every thing which takes the man from his house, and sets him on a stage, which makes him up an artificial creature, with painted theatric sentiments, fit to be seen by the glare of candle-light, and formed to be contemplated at a due distance. Vanity is too apt to prevail in all of us, and in all countries. To the improvement of Frenchmen it seems not absolutely necessary that it should be taught upon system. But it is plain that the present rebellion was its legitimate offspring, and it is piously fed by that rebellion with a daily dole.
If the system of institution recommended by the assembly, is false and theatric, it is because their system of government is of the same character. To that, and to that alone, it is strictly conformable. To understand either, we must connect the morals with
the politics of the legislators. Your practical philosophers, systematic in every thing, have wisely began at the source. As the relation between parents and children is the first among the elements of vulgar, natural morality *, they erect statues to a wild, ferocious, low-minded, hard-hearted father, of fine general feelings; a lover his kind, but a hater of his kin. dred. Your masters reject the duties of this vulgar relation, as contrary to liberty ; as not founded in the social compact, and not binding according to the rights of men ; because the relation is not, of course, the result of free election ; never so on the side of the children, not always on the part of the parents.
The next relation which they regenerate by their statues to Rousseau, is that which is next in sanctity to that of a father. They differ from those oldfashioned thinkers, who considered pedagogues as sober and venerable characters, and allied to the parental. The moralists of the dark times, preceptorem sancti voluere parentis esse loco. In this age of light, they teach the people, that preceptors ought to be in the place of gallants. They systematically corrupt a very corruptible race, (for some time a growing nuisance amongst you) a set of pert, petulant literators, to whom, instead of their proper, but severe unostentatious duties, they assign the brilliant part of
* Filiola tua te delectari lætor et probari tibi quoruny esse, wopos TA TEXVA : etenim, si hæc non est, nulla potest homini esse ad hominem naturæ adjunctio: qua sublata vitæ societas tollitur. Valete Patron (Rousseau) et tui condiscipuli ! (L'Assemblée Nationale.)-Cic. Ep. ad Atticum.
men of wit and pleasure, of gay, young, military sparks, and danglers at toilets. They call on the rising generation in France, to take a sympathy in the adventures and fortunes, and they endeavour to engage their sensibility on the side of pedagogues, who betray the most awful family trusts, and vitiate their female pupils. They teach the people, that the debauchers of virgins, almost in the arms of their parents, may be safe inmates in their house, and even fit guardians of the honour of those who succeed legally to the office which the young literators had pre-occupied, without asking leave of law or conscience.
Thus they dispose of all the family relations of parents and children, husbands and wives. Through this same instructor, by whom they corrupt the morals, they corrupt the taste. Taste and elegance, though they are reckoned only among the smaller and secondary morals, yet are of no mean importance in the regulation of life. A moral taste is not of force to turn vice into virtue ; but it recommends virtue with something like the blandishments of pleasure; and it infinitely abates the evils of vice. Rousseau, a writer of great force and vivacity, is totally destitute of taste in any sense of the word. Your masters, who are his scholars, conceive that all refinement has an aristocratic character. The last age had exhausted all its powers in giving a grace and nobleness to our natural appetites, and in raising them into higher class and order than seemed justly to belong to them.Through Rousseau, your masters are resolved to destroy these aristocratic prejudices. The passion called love, has so general and powerful an influence ; it makes so much of the entertainment, and indeed so much the occupation of that part of life which decides