It will fail shamefully through the mere reading of my pamphlet, which I most particularly commend to the bourgeoisie. It will fail before the force of my own voice; and precisely with this in view I felt called on to go so extensively into the facts of the case in my defense. We are all, bourgeoisie and laborers, members of one people, and we stand firmly together against our oppressors.
Let me now close. Upon a man who, as I have presented the matter to you, has devoted his life under the motto, “Science and the Workingmen,” even a sentence which may meet him on the way will make no other impression beyond that made upon a chemist by the breaking of a retort used by him in his scientific experiments. With a momentary knitting of the brow and a reflection on the physical properties of matter, as soon as the accident is remedied he goes on with his experiments and his investigation as before.
But I appeal to you that for the sake of the nation and its honor, for the sake of science and its dignity, for the sake of the country and its liberty under the law, for the sake of your own memory as history shall preserve it, Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Court, acquit me.
[Footnote 49: The criteria which are here appealed to as working the differences of spiritual constitution between the so-called Germanic peoples and the peoples of antiquity are today questioned at more than one point. And quite legitimately so. Considered as peoples simply, the Greeks or Romans were scarcely less capable of development than the Germanic peoples. That their States, their political organizations, collapsed because of the decay of certain institutional arrangements peculiar to the social life of the times, that is a fortune in which the states of antiquity quite impartially have shared with the various States of the Germanic world. Political structures in general are capable of but a moderate degree of development. If the development proceeds beyond this critical point the result, sooner or later, is a historical cataclysm, whereby the old State is supplanted by a new form of social organization resting on a new foundation. As elements in this new foundation there may be comprised new religious or new ethical notions, but, in a general way, it is to be said that, except in the theocratic States, the role played by religion is only of secondary importance even in antiquity.