On Compromise eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 173 pages of information about On Compromise.

[Footnote 8:  In 1779 the Academy of Prussia announced this as the question for their annual prize essay:—­’S’il est utile au peuple d’etre trompe.’  They received thirty-three essays; twenty showing that it is not useful, thirteen showing that it is.  The Academy, with an impartiality that caused much amusement in Paris and Berlin, awarded two prizes, one to the best proof of the negative answer, another to the best proof of the affirmative.  See Bartholmess, Hist.  Philosophique de l’Academie de Prusse, i. 281, and ii. 278.  Condorcet did not actually compete for the prize, but he wrote a very acute piece, suggested by the theme, which was printed in 1790. Oeuv. v. 343.

To illustrate the common fact of certain currents of thought being in the air at given times, we may mention that in 1770 was published the posthumous work of another Frenchman, Chesneau du Marsais (1676-1756) entitled:—­’Essai sur les Prejuges; ou de l’influence des Opinions sur les Moeurs et sur le Bonheur des Hommes.’  The principal prejudices to which he refers are classed under Antiquity—­Ancestry—­Native Country—­Religion—­Respect for Wealth.  Some of the reasoning is almost verbally identical with Condorcet’s.  For an account of Du Marsais, see D’Alembert, Oeuv. iii 481.]

[Footnote 9:  Oeuv. v. 354.]

[Footnote 10:  Mill’s Three Essays on Religion, p.73.  I have offered some criticisms on the whole passage in Critical Miscellanies, Second Series, pp. 300-304.]

[Footnote 11:  ’Enfin, supposons pour un instant que le dogme de l’autre vie soit de quelqu’utilite, et qu’il retienne vraiment un petit nombre d’individus, qu’est-ce que ces foibles avantages compares a la foule de maux que l’on en voir decouler?  Contre un homme timide que cette idee contient, il en est des millions qu’elle ne peut contenir; il en des millions qu’elle rend insenses, farouches, fanatiques, inutiles et mechants; il en est des millions qu’elle detourne de leurs devoirs envers la societe; il en est une infinite qu’elle afflige et qu’elle trouble, sans aucun bien reel pour leurs associes.—­Systeme de la Nature, i. xiii.]

[Footnote 12:  Sir J.F.  Stephen’s Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, 2d. ed., p. 19, note.]



We have been considering the position of those who would fain divide the community into two great castes; the one of thoughtful and instructed persons using their minds freely, but guarding their conclusions in strict reserve; the other of the illiterate or unreflecting, who should have certain opinions and practices taught them, not because they are true or are really what their votaries are made to believe them to be, but because the intellectual superiors of the community think the inculcation of such a belief

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