THE CONFESSIONS

THE CONFESSIONS
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第258章 [1762](7)

Although protected by the King of Prussia and the lord marshal,while I avoided persecution in my asylum, I did not avoid themurmurs of the public, of municipal magistrates and ministers.Afterwhat had happened in France it became fashionable to insult me;these people would have been afraid to seem to disapprove of what mypersecutors had done by not imitating them.The classe of Neuchatel,that is, the ministers of that city, gave the impulse, byendeavoring to move the council of state against me.This attemptnot having succeeded, the ministers addressed themselves to themunicipal magistrate, who immediately prohibited my book, treatingme on all occasions with but little civility, and saying, that hadJ.wished to reside in the city I should not have been suffered todo it.They filled their Mercury with absurdities and the moststupid hypocrisy, which, although it made every man of sense laugh,animated the people against me.This, however, did not prevent themfrom setting forth that I ought to be very grateful for theirpermitting me to live at Motiers, where they had no authority; theywould willingly have measured me the air by the pint, provided I hadpaid for it a dear price.They would have it that I was obliged tothem for the protection the king granted me in spite of the effortsthey incessantly made to deprive me of it.Finally, failing ofsuccess, after having done me all the injury they could, and defamedme to the utmost of their power, they made a merit of their impotence,by boasting of their goodness in suffering me to stay in theircountry.I ought to have laughed at their vain efforts, but I wasfoolish enough to be vexed at them, and had the weakness to beunwilling to go to Neuchatel, to which I yielded for almost two years,as if it was not doing too much honor to such wretches, to payattention to their proceedings, which, good or bad, could not beimputed to them, because they never act but from a foreign impulse.

Besides, minds without sense or knowledge, whose objects of esteem areinfluence, power, and money, are far from imagining even that somerespect is due to talents, and that it is dishonorable to injure andinsult them.

A certain mayor of a village, who for sundry malversations, had beendeprived of his office, said to the lieutenant of Valde-Travers, thehusband of Isabella: "I am told this Rousseau has great wit; bring himto me that I may see whether he has or not." The disapprobation ofsuch a man ought certainly to have no effect upon those on whom itfalls.

After the treatment I had received at Paris, Geneva, Berne, and evenat Neuchatel, I expected no favor from the pastor of this place.Ihad, however, been recommended to him by Madam Boy de la Tour, andhe had given me a good reception; but in that country where everynew-comer is indiscriminately flattered, civilities signify butlittle.Yet, after my solemn union with the reformed church, andliving in a Protestant country, I could not, without failing in myengagements, as well as in the duty of a citizen neglect the publicprofession of the religion into which I had entered; I thereforeattended divine service.On the other hand, had I gone to the holytable, I was afraid of exposing myself to a refusal, and it was byno means probable, that after the tumult excited at Geneva by thecouncil, and at Neuchatel by the classe (the ministers), he would,without difficulty, administer to me the sacrament in his church.

The time of communion approaching, I wrote to M.de Montmollin, theminister, to prove to him my desire of communicating, and declaringmyself heartily united to the Protestant church; I also told him, inorder to avoid disputing upon articles of faith, that I would nothearken to any particular explanation of the point of doctrine.

After taking these steps, I made myself easy, not doubting but M.deMontmollin would refuse to admit me without the preliminary discussionto which I refused to consent, and that in this manner everythingwould be at an end without any fault of mine.I was deceived: when Ileast expected anything of the kind, M.de Montmollin came todeclare to me not only that he admitted me to the communion underthe condition which I had proposed, but that he and the elders thoughtthemselves much honored by my being one of their flock.I never inmy whole life felt greater surprise or received from it moreconsolation.Living always alone and unconnected, appeared to me amelancholy destiny, especially in adversity.In the midst of so manyproscriptions and persecutions, I found it extremely agreeable to beable to say to myself: I am at least amongst my brethren; and I wentto the communion with an emotion of heart, and my eyes suffused withtears of tenderness, which perhaps were the most agreeable preparationto Him to, whose table I was drawing near.

Sometime afterwards his lordship sent me a letter from Madam deBoufflers, which he had received, at least I presumed so, by meansof D'Alembert, who was acquainted with the marechal.In this letter,the first that lady had written to me after my departure fromMontmorency, she rebuked me severely for having written to M.deMontmollin, and especially for having communicated.I the lessunderstood what she meant by her reproof, as after my journey toGeneva, I had constantly declared myself a Protestant, and had gonepublicly to the Hotel de Hollande without incurring the leastcensure from anybody.It appeared to me diverting enough, that Madamde Boufflers should wish to direct my conscience in matters ofreligion.However, as I had no doubt of the purity of her intention, Iwas not offended by this singular sally, and I answered her withoutanger, stating to her my reasons.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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