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58. Three aphorisms from Rousseau, Émile, or on Education; Voltaire, Letter to the King of Prussia, 20 December 1740; and Jaucourt, ‘Tolerance’, censored article from the Encyclopédie9192

Whoever considers they ought to turn a blind eye to one thing will soon have to keep their eyes permanently shut: the first abuse we tolerate allows another one in, and from one thing to the next, the chain never stops until the rule of order and law has been completely overturned and dismissed.


Anyone who thinks that the time of these crimes is over is, in my view, too charitable about human nature. The same poison is still present although in a more diluted form. This pestilence which may seem to have been eradicated, erupts from time to time, breeding germs capable of infecting the whole world.


To claim that God permits the use of violence to uphold or further the interests of truth, while truth is being simultaneously claimed on all sides, is tantamount to saying that the Supreme Being wants to blow up the entire human race.


Read the free original text online (facsimile) of Rousseau’s Émile, ou de l’éducation, in Collection complette des oeuvres, 1774 edition:

Read the free original text online (facsimile) of Voltaire’s, Letter to the King of Prussia, in Chefs-d’oeuvres dramatiques, II, 1816 edition:

Read the censored entry for ‘Tolerance’ on the ARTFL Encyclopédie Project (text):

91 Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Émile, ou de l’éducation, in his Œuvres complètes, Paris: Fourne, 1835; Voltaire, ‘Lettre au roi de Prusse’, in his Chefs-doeuvres dramatiques, 1816,Vol. II, pp. 268-277; Louis de Jaucourt, ‘Tolérance’, in the Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, 1751-1772.

92 Supposed to have appeared in Vol. 16, p. 393, but excised by its over-cautious publisher Le Breton. Information about the censored volume appears at