Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Preface

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pp. vii-viii

Although Jean-Jacques Rousseau is a significant figure in the Western tradition, there is no standard edition of his major writings available in English. Moreover, unlike those of other thinkers of comparable stature, many of Rousseau’s important works have never been translated or have become unavailable. The present edition of the Collected Writings of Rousseau...

Chronology of Works in Volume 11

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pp. ix-x

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Note on the Text

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pp. xi-xii

The works by Rousseau contained in this volume can be found in Oeuvres complètes (Paris: Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 1959–95), Volumes III and V. Voltaire’s Rescript of the Emperor of China on the Occasion of the Plan for Perpetual Peace is from Mélanges (Paris: Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 1961). We have also consulted Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Political Writings, edited...

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Introduction

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pp. xiii-xxvi

Those who are familiar with Rousseau only from his reputation are likely to regard him as a bold but impractical, not to say utopian, thinker. This reputation is not of recent vintage. In his “Rescript of the Emperor of China on the Occasion of the Plan for Perpetual Peace” (included in this volume), Voltaire made fun of “Master Jean-Jacques’s” boldness in...

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Universal Chronology or General History of Times From the Creation of the World Up to the Present: Composed and Drawn Up by Rousseau for His Use

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pp. 1-5

Foreword

The title of this work indicates that it is not intended to see the light of day; it is a collection I have made for my own use. Thus it would appear ridiculous for me to write a long detailed account of the design I have proposed for myself in composing it, of the plan I have followed, and the authors I have taken as guides in this thorny route. Nevertheless, two...

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On Wealth and Fragments on Taste

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pp. 6-18

1. Oh my dear Chrysophile;1 I am so enchanted by the picture of your impending happiness sketched out in our last meeting that I cannot deny myself the desire to go over it again: let us give it, I beg you, its final strokes, and let us make its image so charming that your heart might never cease offering it to itself as its object and that, by contemplating it, mine...

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Fragments of a History of the Valais

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pp. 19-22

I am undertaking to describe a country not very rich, not very well known, not very substantial in its extent, but singular from its position, from the form of its government and from the morals of its inhabitants.1 Famous nations have been described so often and so carefully, that they offer almost no more new observations to make. Moreover, all the great...

On the Writings of the Abbé de Saint-Pierre

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Abstract of Monsieur the Abbé de Saint-Pierre’s Plan for Perpetual Peace

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pp. 25-49

Letter From M. Rousseau to M. de Bastide1
Author of The World


I would have wished, Sir, to be able to respond to the decency of your solicitations by cooperating with your undertaking more usefully; but you know my resolution, and, for lack of anything better, in order to gratify you I am reduced to drawing from my old scribblings the enclosed piece as the least unworthy of the Public’s attention. It was six years ago...

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Rescript of the Emperor of China on the Occasion of the Plan for Perpetual Peace

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pp. 50-52

We the emperor of China, we have had introduced into our council of State the thousand and one pamphlets that are sold daily in the renowned village of Paris for the instruction of the universe. We have noticed, with an imperial satisfaction, that they print more thoughts, or modes of thinking, or thoughtless expressions in said village situated on the little stream...

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Judgment of the Plan for Perpetual Peace

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pp. 53-60

Since the plan for perpetual peace is by its object the one most worthy of occupying a good man, it was also, of all of the Abbé de St. Pierre’s, the one which he meditated the longest and which he followed with the most stubbornness: for one can hardly give any other name to that missionary zeal which never left him on this point, in spite of the evident...

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The State of War

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pp. 61-73

I open the books about right and about morality, I listen to the learned and the legal experts and, imbued with their insinuating discourses, I deplore the miseries of nature, I admire the peace and justice established by the civil order, I bless the wisdom53 of public institutions54 and I console myself for being a man by seeing myself as a citizen. Well instructed...

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Fragments on War

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pp. 74-76

In order to know precisely what the rights of war are let us examine the nature of the thing carefully and let us accept as true only what is necessarily deduced from it. Let two men fight each other in the state of nature, behold war ignited between them. But why are they fighting? Is it in order to devour each other? Even among animals that happens only...

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Polysynody

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pp. 77-90

Chapter I.
Necessity in Monarchy of a Form of Government Subordinate to the Prince.


If Princes considered the functions of Government as indispensable duties, the most capable would find themselves the most overburdened; their labors would always appear excessive to them compared to their forces; they would be observed to be as ardent in restricting their States or their Rights as they are eager to expand both of them. And the weight...

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Judgment on the Polysynody

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pp. 91-99

Of all the Abbé de St. Pierre’s works, the Discourse on the Polysynody is, in my opinion, the most deeply thought out, the best reasoned, the one in which the fewest repetitions are found, and even the best written, praise for which the wise author would have cared very little, but which is not indifferent to superficial Readers. Also this piece of writing was only...

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[Fragments on the Polysynody]

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pp. 100-105

1. Preface. The Abbé: One should not confuse here two very different things, the government of this or that Vizier with the Vizierate in general. It can happen that a Vizier might be of an excellent mind, very industrious, very temperate, of perfect health; it can happen that he has no intention of enriching or elevating his house, his relatives, his friends; or that he might be always...

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Various Fragments

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pp. 106-106

Extirpation of the Pirates.

35. But there is no Statesman among us who does not think that as a good policy it is more important to do harm to others than good to oneself.

36. Since Italy and Spain are situated more favorably than the rest of Europe for commerce with the Ports of the Levant and the coasts of Africa, it is important to the other peoples to allow an insurmountable...

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[Plan for an Introduction to a Work on the Abbé de St. Pierre]

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pp. 107-108

In projects that concern public administration, there are two things to consider, namely invention and execution. It is up to the author to show that what he is proposing is useful and practicable; it is up to the government to accept it or reject it; it is up to the wise man to judge121 whether the two of them have done well or ill. In general the people with projects...

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Fragments and Notes on the Abbé de St. Pierre

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pp. 109-120

I am writing the life of a simple, honest,129 and true man. These qualities made me love him and will doubtless make readers love him. It will not be my fault if one does not find them in his story. Those who will not be satisfied by them can dispense themselves from reading it.
The Abbé de St. Pierre was born in 1658 at the chateau of St. Pierre...

Plan for a Constitution for Corsica

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Plan for a Constitution for Corsica

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pp. 123-155

Foreword

You are asking for a Plan of a Government good for Corsica. That is asking for more than you think. There are peoples who, however one sets about it, cannot be well governed because the law lacks any hold over them and because a government without law cannot be a good government. On the contrary, the Corsican people, appears to me most fortunately...

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Separate Fragments

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pp. 156-166

Thus generally in every rich nation the government is weak, I call by this name equally the one that acts only weakly and, what amounts to the same, the one that needs violent means to maintain itself.
I cannot clarify my thought any better than by the example of Carthage and Rome. The first massacred, crucified its generals, its magistrates, its...

Considerations on the Government of Poland and on Its Planned Reformation

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Considerations on the Government of Poland and on Its Planned Reformation

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pp. 169-240

[I] State of the Question.

The picture of the government of Poland made by Count Wielhorski, and the reflections he has joined to it, are instructive pieces for anyone who wants to form an orderly plan for the recasting of this government. I do not know anyone in a better position to lay out this plan than himself, who joins to the general knowledge that this labor demands all the...

Notes

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pp. 241-256

Index

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pp. 257-262