The Educational Theory of Jean Jacques Rousseau

By William Boyd | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII THE LAST PHASE

1. The Closing Years.1--The years of comparative calm and happiness which followed Rousseau's departure from Paris in 1756, and gave opportunity for the writing of the three great works with which we have been mainly dealing in the last two chapters, were brought to a rude and violent end by the storm that arose on the publication of the Emile in 1762. In all probability, the free discussion of religious questions in the Confession of Faith of the Savoyard Vicar would have been sufficient to endanger the freedom of its author raider any circumstances. It was all the more unlucky for him that the Parliament of Paris2 was busy attacking the Jesuits at the time of its appearance, and was glad of the opportunity to prove its impartiality, as well as its orthodoxy, by condemning the new heretic. "My book has appeared at an unfortunate time," remarks Rousseau in a letter written the day before he was unexpectedly driven to flight by the threat of immediate arrest. "According to report, the Parliament of Paris, to justify its zeal against the Jesuits, means to persecute those who differ from them in opinion as well; and the only man in France who believes in God is to be the victim of the defenders of Christianity.''3

____________________
1
1762-1778.
2
The supreme judicial tribunal of Paris.
3
Correspondance: à M. Moultou, June 7, 1762.

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