The Ancient Regime eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 652 pages of information about The Ancient Regime.

[17] “Traité de Metaphysique,” chap.  I.  “Having fallen on this little heap of mud, and with no more idea of man than man has of the inhabitants of Mars and Jupiter, I set foot on the shore of the ocean of the country of Caffraria and at once began to search for a man.  I encounter monkeys, elephants and Negroes, with gleams of imperfect intelligence, etc” — The new method is here clearly apparent.

[18] “Introduction à l’Essay sur les Mœurs:  Des Sauvages.” — Buffon, in “Epoques de la nature,” the seventh epoch, precedes Darwin in his ideas on the modifications of the useful species of animals.

[19] Voltaire, “Remarques de l’essay sur les Mœurs.”  “We may speak of this people in connection with theology but they are not entitled to a prominent place in history.” — “Entretien entre A, B, C,” the seventh.

[20] Franklin defined man as a maker of tools.

[21] Condorcet, “Esquisse d’un tableau historique des progrès de l’esprit humain.”

[22] Montesquieu:  “Esprit des Lois,” preface.  “I, at first, examined men, thinking that, in this infinite diversity of laws and customs, they were not wholly governed by their fancies.  I brought principles to bear and I found special cases yielding to them as if naturally, the histories of all nations being simply the result of these, each special law being connected with another law or depending on some general law.”

[23] Pinel, (1791), Esquirol (1838), on mental diseases. — Prochaska, Legallois (1812) and then Flourens for vivisection. — Hartley and James Mill at the end of the eighteenth century follow Condillac on the same psychological road; all contemporary psychologists have entered upon it. (Wundt, Helmholz, Fechner, in Germany, Bain, Stuart Mill, Herbert Spencer and Carpenter, in England).

[24] Condillac, passim, and especially in his last two works the “Logique,” and the “Langue des Calculs.”


This grand and magnificent system of new truths resembles a tower of which the first story, quickly finished, at once becomes accessible to the public.  The public ascends the structure and is requested by its constructors to look about, not at the sky and at surrounding space, but right before it, towards the ground, so that it may at last become familiar with the country in which it lives.  Certainly, the point of view is good, and the advice is well thought-out.  The conclusion that the public will have an accurate view is not warranted, for the state of its eyes must be examined, to ascertain whether it is near or far-sighted, or if the retina naturally, or through habit, is sensitive to certain colors.  In the same way the French of the eighteenth century must be considered, the structure of their inward vision, that is to say, the fixed form of their intelligence which they are bringing with them, unknowingly and unwillingly, up upon their new tower.

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The Ancient Regime from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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