Archive for October 5th, 2012

The title is a popular mis-quote attributed to Oliver Cromwell. The Great Protector of Great Britain was to sit for a portrait by the famous portrait painter of his time, -Peter Lely and he cautioned him thus: ‘Mr.Lely, I desire you would use your skill to paint my picture truly like me and not flatter me at all; but remark all these roughnesses, pimples,warts and everything as you see me,otherwise I will never pay a farthing for it.’ (1675?)
In this series I hope to write foibles and follies of great personages of history. These are not biographical sketches but light and shades that reveal their personal lives. Some of the subjects have been already covered in the Pen-Portraits.

Jean Jacques Rousseau(1712-1778)
Rousseau did not consider he would be able to rear children though he wrote Emile(1762) a classic book on education. His five children born to his wife Therese le Vasseur he delivered to the Paris’ Foundling Hospital. The circumstances under which Rousseau was living may have convinced him he was unfit to be a role model. In his defense it must be said that his own painful experiences must have lent his weight to his apparent heartlessness. Later in his twilight years he tried to explain his actions in his Confessions.
“my error was such that, in handing over my children to the State to educate, for want of means to bring them up myself, in deciding to fit them for becoming workmen and peasants rather than adventurers and fortune-hunters, I thought I was
behaving like a citizen and a father, and considered myself a member of Plato’s Republic. More than once since then, the regrets of my heart have told me that I was wrong: but ,far from my reason having given me the same information, I have often blessed Heaven for having preserved them from their father’s lot.’


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