Reference > Quotations > S.A. Bent, comp. > Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men
S.A. Bent, comp.  Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men.  1887.
Jean Jacques Rousseau
        [The philosopher; born at Geneva, June 28, 1712; ran away from home at an early age, and was received by Mme. de Warens at Annecy, who procured him a clerkship; went to Paris, 1741; wrote the “Nouvelle Héloïse,” 1760; “Le Contrat Social,” 1762; “Émile,” 1762, on account of which he fled to Neufchâtel; thence to England at Hume’s invitation; returned to France, 1767; began writing his “Confessions,” 1766; died July 2, 1778.]
In the North the first words are “Help me;” in the South, “Love me.”
          Indicating that the characteristic of the inhabitants of the North of France was selfishness; of those of the South, affection.
  When his watch was stolen, he exclaimed, “Thank Heaven, I no longer need to know what o’clock it is” (Grâce au ciel, je n’ai plus besoin de savoir l’heure qu’il est).
  He wrote to Voltaire, who offered him an asylum at Ferney after the publication of “Émile,” “I love you not; you are spoiling my republic [Geneva] with your comedies, in return for the asylum she has given you” (vous corrompez ma république pour prix de l’asile qu’elle vous a donné). Voltaire called him at one time “a watchmaker’s apprentice” (un garçon horloger); and said of Rousseau’s refusal of his invitation, “Our friend J. J. is sicker than we thought: he needs not counsel, but good beef-tea” (Ce ne sont pas des conseils, ce sont des bons bouillons, qu’il faut).
  Rousseau supported himself miserably at one time, by copying music; upon which he was engaged when visited by the Emperor Joseph II., who exclaimed, “So great a man copies music!” to which Rousseau replied, “I tried to teach Frenchmen to think, it failed: now they may sing and dance!” On the death of Louis XV. he said, “There were two despised men in France, the king and I: I am now alone.”
  After the quarrel which terminated his intimacy with Rousseau, Diderot said, “Too many honest people would be wrong, if Jean Jacques were right;” but Rousseau’s motto was “Vitam impendere vero” (Sacrifice life to truth), from Juvenal, “Satires,” IV. 91.
  Voltaire remarked on Rousseau’s article concerning the Inequality of Conditions, “This man tries to resemble Diogenes, and he does not resemble Diogenes’ dog.”

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