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Works (1872)

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    Available in PDF Format | Works (1872).pdf | Unknown
    Henry Brougham Brougham and Vaux
Excerpt from book: ROUSSEAU. The life of Rousseau neither requires so full a consideration as that of Voltaire, nor affords the materials for it. Mankind are not divided upon his character and his merits, nor ever were. That he was a person of rare genius within limited, nay, somewhat confined, bounds, of a lively imagination, wholly deficient in judgment, capable of great vices as well as virtues, and of a mind so diseased that it may possibly be doubted if he was accountable for his actions, is the opinion which his contemporaries formed of him during his life, which has ever since prevailed, and which, indeed, was confirmed by his own testimony, produced after his decease, and calculated to show that he would not have dissented from the sentence or even have hesitated to join in pronouncing it. His history and his writings are of a kind that unavoidably interest us: but the one affords too few events, the other too little variety, to detain us very long in examining either. Jean Jacques Rousseau was born at Geneva, on the 28th of June, 1712. His father was a watchmaker: his mother the daughter of M. Bertrand, a Protestant minister: and her brother, an engineer, married the sister of old Rousseau, who appears to have been a man of exemplary virtue, of considerable abilities, of some information, and of a very feeling heart. He had gone to Constantinople about seven years after the birth of his eldest and then his only son, but he returned on being apprized by his wife that she wasbeset by the attentions of the French Resident, to whom she had given every possible repulse. This gentleman, M. de la Closure, showed, at a distance of thirty years, some kindness to the son, and was moved to tears in speaking of his mother, who died when she had given him birth, ten months after her husband's retu...   show more
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