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Saint-Simon was not eager, unlike most other nobility, to acquire profitable functions, and he did not use his influence to repair his finances, which were even further diminished by the extravagance of his embassy. After his return to France he had little to do with public affairs. He survived for more than thirty years; but little is known of the rest of his life.

His wife died in , his eldest son a little later; he had other family troubles, and he was loaded with debt; the dukedom in which he took such pride ended with him, and his only granddaughter was childless.

He died in Paris on 2 March , having almost entirely outlived his own generation and exhausted his family's wealth, though not its notoriety: a distant relative, Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon , born five years after the Duke's death, [1] is remembered as an intellectual forerunner of socialism. All his possessions, including his writings, were seized by the Crown on his death.

It can be said that the actual events of Saint-Simon's life, long as it was and exalted as was his position, are neither numerous nor noteworthy. Yet he posthumously acquired great literary fame. He was an indefatigable writer, and he began very early to record all the gossip he collected, all his interminable legal disputes over precedence, and a vast mass of unclassified material. Most of his manuscripts were retrieved by the Crown and it was long before their contents were fully published: partly in the form of notes in the marquis de Dangeau 's Journal , partly in both original and independent memoirs, partly in scattered and multifarious extracts, he had committed to paper an immense amount of material.

Memoirs of Louis XIV and the Regency Part Two

On the one hand, he is petty, unjust to private enemies and to those who espoused public views contrary to his as well as being an incessant gossip. Yet he shows a great skill for narrative and for character-drawing; he has been compared to Tacitus , and to historians such as Livy. He is at the same time not a writer who can be "sampled" easily, [1] inasmuch as his most characteristic passages sometimes occur in the midst of long stretches of quite uninteresting diatribe.

His vocabulary was extreme and inventive; he is deemed to have first used the word "intellectual" as a noun, and "patriot" and "publicity" are also accredited as being introduced by him in their current usage.

The Crisis of Civic Learning in France

A few critical studies of him, especially those of Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve , are the basis of much that has been written about him. His most famous passages, such as the account of the death of the Dauphin, or of the Bed of Justice where his enemy, Louis-Auguste de Bourbon, duc du Maine , was degraded, do not give a fair idea of his talent. These are his celebrated pieces, his great "engines," as French art slang calls them. Much more noteworthy as well as more frequent are the sudden touches which he gives.

The bishops are " cuistres violets " purple pedants ; " M. They had three children: [2]. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The neutrality of this section is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until conditions to do so are met.

December Learn how and when to remove this template message. Editions du Palais-Royal, , Paris. Too heavy on one side and too light on the other, the Jacobin mind turns violently over on that side to which it leans, and such is its incurable infirmity. Never has so much been said to so little purpose; all the truth that is uttered is drowned in the monotony and inflation of empty verbiage and vociferous bombast.

One experience in this direction is sufficient. It is a pedantic scholasticism set forth with fanatical rant.

INTRODUCTION

Its entire vocabulary consists of about a hundred words, while all ideas are reduced to one, that of man in himself; society, in their conception of it, consists of so many human units, all alike equal and independent, contracting together for the first time; none could be briefer, for, to arrive at it, man had to be reduced to a minimum. Never were political intellects so dried up, and so wilfully; for it is the attempt to systematise and to simplify which causes their impoverishment.

Louis XIV Documentary - Biography of the life of Louis XIV The Sun King

In that respect they follow the method of the century, keeping in the track of Jean-Jacques Rousseau: their mental mould is the classic mould, which mould, already contracted with the late philosophers, is yet more so with them hardened and toughened to excess. The best representatives of the type are Condorect, 17 among the Girondists, Edition: current; Page: [ ] and Robespierre, among the Montagnards, both mere dogmatists and pure logicians, the latter the most remarkable and with a perfection of intellectual sterility never surpassed.

Unlike that of the statesman, it has no drawback, no embarrassment arising from the necessity of making investigations, of respecting precedents, of looking into statistics, of calculating and tracing beforehand in different directions the near and remote consequences of its work as this affects the interests, habits, and passions of diverse classes.

All this is superannuated and superfluous; the Jacobin comprehends legitimate government and good laws instantaneously; his rectilinear process is the shortest and most efficient both for destruction and construction. In any event, a ratification by the people is sure; and should this not be forthcoming it is owing to their ignorance, disdain, or malice, in which case their response deserves to be considered as null; the best thing to do, consequently, through precaution and to protect the people from what is bad for them, is to dictate to them what is good for them.

As to the former, there is no need of being scrupulous because they are infatuated with prejudices and their opinions are mere drivelling; as for the latter, it is just the opposite: full of respect for the vainglorious images of his own theory, of spectres begotten by his own intellectual contrivance, the Jacobin always will bow down to responses that he himself has provided, for, the beings that he has created are more real in his eyes than living ones and it is their suffrage on which he counts.


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Accordingly, viewing things in the worst light, he has nothing against him but the momentary antipathy of a purblind generation. To offset this, he enjoys the approbation of humanity, self-obtained; that of a posterity which his acts have regenerated; that of men who, thanks to him, are again become what they should never have ceased to be. Hence, far from looking upon himself as an usurper or a tyrant, he considers himself the natural mandatory of a veritable people, the authorised executor of the common will.

Marching along in the procession formed for him by this imaginary crowd, sustained by millions of metaphysical wills created by himself in his own image, he has their unanimous assent, and, like a chorus of triumphant shouts, he will fill the outward world with the inward echo of his own voice. In every doctrine which wins men over to it, the sophistry it contains is less potent than the promises it makes; its power over them is Edition: current; Page: [ ] greater through their sensibility than through their intelligence; for, if the heart is often the dupe of the head, the latter is much more frequently the dupe of the former.

We do not accept a system because we deem it a true one, but because the truth we find in it suits us. Political or religious fanaticism, any theological or philosophical channel in which truth flows, always has its source in some ardent longing, some secret passion, some accumulation of intense, painful desire to which a theory affords an outlet; in the Jacobin, as well as in the Puritan, there is a fountain-head of this description.

What feeds this source with the Puritan is the anxieties of a disturbed conscience which, forming for itself some idea of perfect justice, becomes rigid and multiplies the commandments it believes that God has promulgated; on being constrained to disobey these it rebels, and, to impose them on others, it becomes tyrannical even to despotism.


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  • Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon;

The first effort of the Puritan, however, wholly internal, is self-control; before becoming political he becomes moral. With the Jacobin, on the contrary, the first precept is not moral, but political; it is not his duties which he exaggerates but his rights, while his doctrine, instead of being a prick to his conscience, flatters his pride. In the programme of the sect do not seek for the limited prerogatives growing out of self-respect which the proud-spirited man claims for himself, such as civil rights accompanied with those political liberties that serve as sentinels and guardians of these rights—security for life and property, the stability of the law, the integrity of courts, equality of citizens before the law and under taxation, the Edition: current; Page: [ ] abolition of privileges and arbitrary proceedings, the election of representatives and the administration of public funds; in short, the precious guarantees which render each citizen an inviolable sovereign on his limited domain, which protect his person and property against all species of public or private oppression and exaction, which maintain him calm and erect before competitors as well as adversaries, upright and respectful in the presence of magistrates and in the presence of the government.

A Malouet, a Mounier, a Mallet-Dupan, partisans of the English Constitution and Parliament, may be content with such trifling gifts, but the theory holds them all cheap, and, if need be, will trample them in the dust. Independence and security for the private citizen is not what it promises, not the right to vote every two years, not a moderate exercise of influence, not an indirect, limited and intermittent control of the commonwealth, but political dominion in the full and complete possession of France and the French people.

There is no doubt on this point. Whatever, accordingly, my condition may be, my incompetency, my ignorance, my insignificance in the career in which I have plodded along, I have full control over the fortunes, lives, and consciences of twenty-six millions of French people, being accordingly Czar and Pope, according to my share of authority. But if I adhere strictly to this doctrine, I am yet more so than my quota warrants. This royal prerogative with which I am endowed is only conferred on those who, like myself, sign the Social Contract in full; others, merely because they reject some clause of it, incur a forfeiture; no one must enjoy the advantages of a pact of which some of the conditions are repudiated.

Again, as this pact is based on natural right and is obligatory, he who rejects it or withdraws from it, becomes by that act a miscreant, a public wrong-doer and an enemy of the people. The dogma through which popular sovereignty is proclaimed thus actually ends in a dictatorship of the few, and a proscription of the many.

Outside of the sect you are outside of the law. We, five or six thousand Jacobins of Paris, are the legitimate monarch, the infallible Pontiff, and woe betide the refractory and the lukewarm, all government agents, all private persons, the clergy, the nobles, the rich, merchants, traders, the indifferent among all classes, who, steadily opposing or yielding uncertain adhesion, dare to throw doubt on our unquestionable right!

Memoirs of Louis Xiv and the Regency by Duke of Saint Simon

One by one all these consequences are to come into light, and it Edition: current; Page: [ ] is evident that, let the logical machinery by which they unfold themselves be what it may, no ordinary person, unless of consummate vanity, will fully adopt them. He must have an exalted opinion of himself to consider himself sovereign otherwise than by his vote, to conduct public business with no more misgivings than his private business, to directly and forcibly interfere with this, to set himself up, he and his clique, as guides, censors and rulers of his government, to persuade himself that, with his mediocre education and average intellect, with his few scraps of Latin and such information as is obtained in reading-rooms, coffee-houses, and newspapers, with no other experience than that of a club, or a municipal council, he could discourse wisely and well on the vast, complex questions which superior men, specially devoted to them, hesitate to take up.

At first this presumption existed in him only in germ, and, in ordinary times, it would have remained, for lack of nourishment, as dry-rot or creeping mould. But the heart knows not what strange seeds it contains! Any of these, feeble and seemingly inoffensive, needs only air and sunshine to become a noxious excrescence and a colossal plant. What a contrast between the meanness of his calling and the importance with which the theory invests him! With what rapture he accepts a dogma that raises him so high in his own estimation! Diligently conning the Declaration of Rights, the Constitution, all the official documents that confer on him such glorious prerogatives, charging his imagination with them, he immediately assumes a tone befitting his new position.

Nothing surpasses the haughtiness and arrogance of this tone. It declares itself at the outset in the harangues of the clubs and in the petitions to the Constituent Assembly. Just, always employ dictatorial language, that of the sect, and which finally becomes the jargon of their meanest valets.

MEMOIRS OF LOUIS XIV AND HIS COURT AND OF THE REGENCY

Good-breeding or toleration, anything that denotes regard or respect for others, find no place in their utterances nor in their acts; an usurping, tyrannical conceit creates for itself a language in its own image, and we see not only the foremost actors, but their commonest supernumeraries, enthroned on their grandiloquent platform.

Each in his own eyes is Roman, savior, hero, and great man. This infatuation is always on the increase, from the Girondists to the Montagnards. Just, at the age of twenty-four, and merely a private individual, is already consumed with suppressed ambition. Since it is virtue, no one may reject its dictates without committing a crime.

Thus construed, the theory divides Frenchmen into two groups—one consisting of aristocrats, fanatics, egoists, the corrupt, bad citizens in short, and the other patriots, philosophers, and the virtuous—that is to say, those belonging to the sect. To this end let us employ confiscation, imprisonment, exile, drowning and the guillotine. All means are justifiable and meritorious with traitors; now that the Jacobin has made his slaughterings canonical, he slays through philanthropy. Thus is this character rounded off like that of the theologian who would become an inquisitor.

Extraordinary contrasts meet in its formation—a lunatic that is logical, and a monster that pretends to have a conscience. Under the pressure of his faith and egotism, he has developed two deformities, one of the head and the other of the heart; his common sense is gone, and his moral sense is utterly perverted.