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discovery, but he was stopped at the fearful of the effect of his redoubtable third by a Roman soldier who demanded eloquence, ran him through the body. where he was going. Losing his pre- This was the signal for a general assault, sence of mind, he no longer attempted and the ex-Tribune soon expired beconcealment. He was led to the foot of neath the blows of a hundred weapons. the stairs of the Capitol, in front of the His head was cut off, and his mutilated lion of porphyry, where he had himself trunk dragged disgracefully through the aforetime passed so many sentences of city. death.
Thus perished Cola di Rienzo, the At his appearance a profound silence last of the Roman Tribunessucceeded to the furious outcries of the whose undoubted patriotism renders rioters, not one of whom had the cou- him a subject of interest as well to the rage to touch him. With his arms historian as to all lovers of their councrossed upon his breast he awaited their try, who can but mourn over the crimes decision, and availing himself of their and follies which, originating in boundsilence, he was about to address them, less vanity, were consummated in death when Cecco del Vecchio, an artisan, I and ruin.
JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU. SINCE antiquity no man ever influenced Of such a man, whose life was like more powerfully the intellect and the a storm in the torrid zone-half cloud, feelings of his country than JEAN half fire,with lulls ofunimaginable peace, JACQUES ROUSSEAU. Since antiquity no and episodes fraught with the very spirit man bas been more libelled or more ad- of romance, it is not easy to describe mired. Halfa century of criticism, wher- the idiosyncrasies, or to relate the story. ever literature is known, has exhausted Even if a narrative of his acts and all the forms of apology and all the thoughts were faithfully given, the sumresources of vituperation to clear or to mary of his character as a whole, would calumniate his name. A third, stream be a difficult task. There is so much that. has broken from the confluence of these is strange to be comprehended, so much hostile tides, to receive the truth of both; that seems contradictory to be reconbut in a war of ideas few eyes are turn- ciled, so much that appears unintelligied upon the neutral ground. The mo- ble to attribute to its true cause, that derators remain obscure while the enemy the colours become confused, and the and the advocate attract the observatior light, flashing through the shade, leaves of mankind. In one respect, however, a picture which art considers grotesque, there is a universal harmony of opi- and philosophy can scarcely undernion. Rousseau possessed, it is acknow-stand. ledged, a mind which rose above the If, however, there be still doubt and level of his age like Caucasus over the controversy about Rousseau, it is not plains of Asia. They who describe this that the records of his life are few. He mighty genius of the Alps as making of is the priest of his own shrine, the intera whole nation his proselytes and his preter of a mystery created by himself. victims, speak of him, nevertheless, as it was his vanity to believe that nature, an imperial master of language, as after making him, broke the mould in one whose declamation, passionate as it which he had been formed; that whewas, ornate with the richest imagery, ther he was better or worse than other and modulated to a lyrical sweetness, men, he was at least unlike them, and was frequently inspired by pure senti- that the sincere explanation of his acts ments, and ruled by perfect reason. would be a lesson of eternal value to The bland persuasion of his pen, indeed, the world. From his cradle, therefore, could almost change an illusion into a almost to the approach of his tomb we reality; but in his most fantastic reveries have his career reflected in his own there were often grand speculations on estimate of his own deeds, passions, and truth, and amid the moral chaos of his ideas. Whatever our judgment may be, mind a knowledge and a reverential Rousseau's defence remains as immortal love of virtue.
as his fame; and when his critics are in
temperate his confessions form a perpe- him unconquerable and fierce, incapatual tribunal of appeal.
ble of submission and impatient of auHe was born at Geneva in 1712. His thority. Scævola and Curtius were the father Isaac, was a skilful watchmaker; heroes of his waking dreams-Athens his mother Susannah, the daughter of and Rome, the cradles and the tomb of a minister. They were poor, but their public liberty and virtue. But from affection strengthened with many trials that tomb he early imagined that patriotuntil Jean came into the world, a feeble ism might again be invoked to adorn child, whose birth was from a death- with a similar virtue the degenerated bed. The husband grieved bitterly for states of Europe. his loss, never embraced his infant, but He had an elder brother, spoiled in with sobs, taught him earliest the words his childhood, and then, as usual, seof lamentation, and long remained de- verely treated when a boy. For him he solate himself, but when, forty years felt a strong affection, and willingly afterwards, he died, it was in the arms suffered to spare him from punishment; of a second wife. His sister took care but at length the young fellow ran away, of little Jean, and by her tenderness, he disappeared altogether from sight, and was rescued from the sickly state which left Jean Jacques in the position of an at first seemed to leave no hope of his only son. Like most only sons he was being reared.
idolized by all around him, and like Rousseau began early to emerge from most children similarly treated gave the ethereal, unconscious innocence of way to wanton habits and the impulse infancy. He felt before he thought, as of weak desires. He became greedy, all do; but he stimulated his feelings at and indifferent to the truth; he became the very dawn of life by the excitement mischievous, and even inclined to steal; of romances, which his father often read but he was humane, and never malito him all night, until startled at sun- ciously injured another. Thus the rise by the caroling of the birds. By morning of his existence passed, and this dangerous process he acquired not loving his friends as well as beloved by only an acquaintance with books, but a them, the future star of those Alps rose familiarity with the passions which pre- faintly above the horizon of infancy. pared him to be the sport of every emo- His aunt was a woman of gentle chartion known to the human breast. But acter, not to be forgotten in history, bewhen he had every feeling active, he cause from her Rousseau derived that had no ideas. The picture of man's taste for music which afterwards devenature, therefore, which suggested itself loped into one of the passions of his to him, was one fantastic and grotesque mind. But this serene course of his illusion, never entirely dispelled by the early life was interrupted by an occurexperience of his later years. This rence which strongly influenced all the succession of visions, however, did not rest. Isaac, the watchmaker, in consecontinue to fill his whole intellectual quence of a quarrel, exiled himself from prospect. In 1719, at an age when | Geneva, and Jean Jacques was left common children spin their first top, under the tutelage of his uncle, an and fly their first kite, he began a new engineer. By him he was placed, with series of studies,-modern history and a little cousin of the same age, at a the classics. He read the eloquent dis- school at Boisey, under a minister, courses of Bossuet, whom the French Lambercier. There he first began to claim as a greater than Demosthenes; study with any system, though the the Lives of Plutarch, the story of the usage he received being tender and Venetian Republic, the fables of Ovid kind, no reminiscences of irksomeness and La Fontaine, and the dramas of Mo- appear to have remained of his schoollière. He loved to pause over the achieve- boy days. ments of the heroic warriors and states- Already the fatal disease of Rousseau's men, the orators and poets of antiquity, character was spreading with frightful and the inventions of fiction now seem- virulence through his heart and mind. ed to him less brilliant than historical The predominance of animal passions truth. Juba he forgot for Brutus, developed itself, and the humiliating Orondates for Agesilaus. And the pe- account of it in his confessions remains rusal of these works influenced his mind unique among the voluntary revelations with a double power. They nurtured in of vice. Already, too, the happiness of him a free, republican spirit; they made bis childhood was drawing towards a close. The power of feeling which with whom he held brief and secret inmade him peculiarly susceptible of in- terviews, as the more playful passages nocent as well as criminal pleasures, of his early sentimentalisms. With her rendered him keenly alive to insult, suf- he felt like a Turk or a tiger, if she fering, or disappointment. An unjust dared to spare a smile for any one else. punishment inflicted on him at Boisey With the other he was a stern, subdued, rankled in his breast. The place was and peremptory despot, and so in these the same-beautiful, serene, with orch- fantastic follies, colouring his mind with ards, gardens, and pleasant walks, but it every unnatural hue, forcing his feelings was Eden without innocence, and the to a preternatural growth, and renderwhole charm of it was gone. With his ing him a stranger to the common little cousin Rousseau became a rebel crowd of his own race, Rousseau against the authority of Monsieur and spent a part of his life which might Mademoiselle Lambercier. He became have been dedicated to a fruitful edusly, he disobeyed, he uttered falsehoods cation. to conceal his faults. They became But this illusion was not of long exweary of him, as he of them, and after istence. The friends who had neglected a residence of many months, he went him till now, at last determined on his back to his uncle at Geneva.
career, and he was apprenticed to There he passed two or three years M. Ducommon, a metal-graver of Gewhile his friends concerted how to dis- neva. His master was a rough and pose him for the great experiments of violent young man, who appeared re Iife. His cousin was studying to be solved to break the spirit of his new come an engineer, and with him Jean servitor into a humility consistent, as Jacques took lessons, though he never he thought, with his condition. All displayed so fine an aptitude for this as elegant acquirements were now forgotfor that other science which taught him ten — Latin, history, romances,- and how to undermine and blast a throne. were replaced by the manipulations of The persons he was with aided little in the engraver. Still, this was not altoguiding his pursuits or elevating his gether repulsive to the youthful Rousdesires. His uncle was dissipated and seau. He had a talent for designing, careless; his aunt devoted to super- and since the requirements of his craft stition, and more charmed with the were very limited, hoped to arrive at a psaltery than with training to good the speedy perfection. In this probably he minds of the children. Rousseau and would have succeeded had not the bruhis little companion therefore enjoyed tality and despotism of his master en. a licence, which encouraged them in in- tirely quenched the aspiration. Instead dolent habits, or rather habits of frivol- of steady application to the legitimate ous activity. They made cages, flutes, branches of his art, he soothed his ennui kites, tambourines, huts, and bowers; by kindred occupations more congenial they imitated the marionettes brought to his mind. He engraved medals to to Geneva by some strolling Italians, imitate the decorations of chivalry, was and Jean Jacques wrote comedies for detected by Ducommon and savagely representation. Thus a glimmering of punished, because, as the petty tyrant his genius was already visible, and the pretended, he was coining base money author of the “ New Heloise” may be and forging the arms of the Republic. imagined declaiming as a child the ear- The invariable influence of tyranny, liest effusions of his pen among those is to corrupt. Rousseau was corrupted lakes and mountains which gave to him by the tyranny of his master. He went his inspiration. There too, among his to his service with a determination to playfellows, he might have been seen act honourably, but the treatment he attempting to redress the wrongs of any received disgusted him with his own rethat were injured, and to be a paladin solve. He began by idleness, he went in perfection he must engage in some on to falsehood--from a liar he degraded amorous adventures to emulate the himself into a thief. With his father chivalry of the Crusades. There was a he had been free and high-spirited; Madame de Vulson, who caressed him with his schoolmaster independent; sometimes, and with her this half-grown with his uncle cautious and discreet; boy played the part of a tyrannical but now he became timid, cunning, lover. And then as a Dora to this intriguing, “ lost already,” according to Agnes there was Mademoiselle. Goton, his own confession. He had been ac
customed to an equality with all around to be in time. Coming within sight of him; to share in all they had; to enter the postern he saw the platoon of solinto all their amusements; but now he diers moving down to close it. He fled was compelled to silence; to leave the forward, cried aloud, and was all but table before the repast was over, to sub- on the drawbridge when it reared backmit to every command, whether reason- wards, and its ponderous iron arms were able or not, and to refrain from uttering fung up into the air. a word in his own behalf. The results Rousseau, in a convulsion of that were lamentable. They were also not passionate rage, which was a symptom surprising I do not inean that they of his character, flung himself on the were inevitable, but they were inevi- glacis, and ground the dust between his table on Rousseau. Many a character teeth. Then starting up, he swore has come out purged from such an never to enter again his master's house. ordeal, and no one commands respect To his companions he made an adieu, who yields to influences so continually telling them to confide in his cousin the active in society. But the young poet place of his flight, and then he turned of Geneva had not within him that un- his back upon Geneva. Had it not failing faith in virtue which is the been, he solemnly avers, for the cruelty foundation of self-respect; he had not of his master, he would never have gone that love of the good for its own sake, thence; he would never have resigned which is at once the revenge and the his country, or forgotten his religion, or consolation of other men. When he exchanged the life of a simple repubwas injured, he injured himself still lican burgher, for that of an Ishmael, more; he reckoned always with the pouring out against the rulers of earth world, and never with himself.
an imperial eloquence from the midst Be this as it may, it is undoubted of a desert of his own creation. that under M. Ducommon he practised Here was Jean Jacques quitting his dissimulation, lying, and even theft. He country, his parents, his means of living, was not allowed to share in the delica- to plunge, though still a boy, into an cies of the table—so he stole asparagus; unknown labyrinth of adventure. He he was excluded from the dessert--so he was not yet sufficiently skilled in his stole apples. But amid all these inven- calling to gain a livelihood by it; but tions to beguile his weariness reading he was free, independent, full of heart was the supreme pleasure of his mind: and soul, and he struck out boldly upon and thus he entered on his seventeenth the wilderness of the world. Wealth, year, a son of Hagar, a tutored enemy pleasure, excitement, friends ready to to all the powerful among mankind. serve him, beauty glad to smile on him On Sundays it was his custom to stroll —these were the pictures of his reverie; with some companions in the neigh- not a tumultuous confusion of all the bourhood of the city. Twice he delayed earth's delights, but one light, brilliant, his return so long that the gates were happy castle in the air. Some one to closed, and on the morrow he suffered respect, and some one to love, and some the harshest punishment which his mas- one to be tenderly caressed by—this was ter's severity could devise. The third the triple-tinted star that glimmered time, he was warned, would expose him far off, over the fleeting horizon of his to a more disgraceful penalty. That he hope. determined to avoid. Accordingly he For some days he remained near the was more watchful of the hours, and for city, lodging in the cottages of peasants a long time was not again shut out. who knew him well, and hospitably But at length the unfortunate chance entertained him. Then he went to the occurred again. There was a certain house of M. de Pontverre, the minister captain of the guard, whose usage it of Cassignon, about two leagues from was to close the barriers half an hour Geneva. This good man first spoke to earlier than any of his colleagues. By him of hierarchical disputes, and herethis the vigilance of Jean Jacques was sies in general, finishing by an invitadefeated. Returning one evening from tion to dinner. To an argument so cona ramble, he heard, when about a milecluded Jean Jacques had little to say. and a half off, the sound of the evening He was too convivial to be a good theofife. He redoubled his pace. The logian. And thus he listened willingly beating of the drum began. With all to the diatribes of his host against the the power of his limbs he ran, in order Reformed Church, which prepared him for an apostacy to the superstition of read it. When she had finished, she Rome.
raised her face, looked at him mildly, M. de Pontverre directed his young and said, “Well, my boy, you are very friend to go to Auncey, where he would young to be alone in the world.” The find a charitable lady, a new convert to voice made him tremble, and when she Catholicism, who, living on a pension said she would talk to him after mass, from the King of Sardinia, shared it he gave no answer. with the needy. Rousseau was hum- Madame de Warens belonged to an bled by the necessity obey. He de- ancient family of Vevay, in the Pays de sired to be provided, but not by alms; Vaud. She had married early, but, and the acceptance of these was not the crossed by some troubles, deserted her less painful, because they came from a husband and fled to Victor Amadeus, of religious devotee. Nevertheless he went Savoy. He gave her a pension, and to Auncey, walked up to the chateau, sent à guard of horse to escort her to and sang a song under the most at- Auncey, where she became a recluse tractive window. There was a sort of devotee, at twenty-eight years of age. madness of romance in his mind. He Her youthful graces were still fresh, expected that some beautiful maiden because they blended in all her countewould be in the chamber above, sooth- nance, instead of being inserted in each ing her heart by listening to the modu- particular feature. She had, says Rouslations of his voice; or that some train seau, a tender and caressing manner, of stately ladies would appear and invite a sweet look, an angelic smile, a mouth him to partake of the hospitality of small
, like his own, and blond hair distheir abode.
posed in classic tresses. Tall she was It was the day of a religious festival, not; but, he adds, it was impossible to in 1728. Rousseau stood trembling see a more beautiful head, a more beaubetween excitement and timidity. Who tiful bosom, more beautiful hands, or that, looking at that humbly attired more beautiful arms. youth, trilling madrigals under a win- The education of this celebrated dow, could have prophesied that his woman had been one not very dissimilar genius would vibrate in the heart of a in its irregularity to that of Rousseau. whole nation for a hundred years, and Philosopher and charlatan divided the be repeated from mother to child, in empire of her mind; but her heart was songs and proverbs, which speak of him compassionate and forgiving, while her as another Muse born among the Alps? disposition was cheerful and even gay. He was then in the middle of his seven- Whether it was a sudden perception of teenth year. Without being handsome any of these qualities, with the nameless he was of attractive appearance. His essence of them all combined, that inform was good; his carriage was easy; spired the Genevese youth who now his face was animated; and his black stood before her, certain it is that her hair and brows gave additional ex- first word, her first look, chained her to pression to the small deep-set eyes him by a feeling more than admiration which shot forth some of the fire that if less than love. It was a sympathy, a heated all the blood in his frame. perfect confidence, a yearning to remain
There was still a little more delay, for with her and converse with her as his the lady of the chateau was at church; friend. She apparently, also, conceived but she soon returned, and Rousseau some fondness for Jean Jacques, and was introduced to Louise Eleonore de she immediately asked him to stay and Warens. Her countenance composed dine with her, that she might talk with of every grace, her large blue eyes filled him at her ease. It was the first time with sweet expression, her delicately in his life, he tells us, that he ever sat tinted cheeks, her neck of lovely con- down to a meal without being hungry. tour and white as snow, made an abso- He was looking into her blue eyes when lute enchantment for his fancy. Pro- he should have been eating, and his selyte he already was, but the beauty of brain was already too bewildered to this woman baptized him, as it were, by need the stimulus of wine. a second sacrament into his new reli- He related his story to Madame de gion. He had written a letter, in which Warens; she expressed her pity, and the eloquence of a poet was combined sought to induce him to go back to his with the phraseology of an apprentice, father, but every eloquent word imbued and he stood abashed while the lady him with a deeper resolution not to leave