References and Further Reading 1.
Home - Random Browse People learned at last that Villars Water was only river water; they would have no more of it; and went to other charlatans. It is certain that he had done good, and that the only reproach one could make against him was that he had sold Seine water a little too dear.
He led men to temperance by which fact he was superior to the apothecary Arnoult, who stuffed Europe with his sachets against apoplexy, without recommending any virtue.
I knew in London a doctor named Brown, who practised in Barbados. He had a sugar refinery and negroes; he was robbed of a considerable sum; he assembled his negroes: One can hardly condemn such a charlatanry; but one must be dealing with negroes. Scipio Africanus, this great Scipio very different otherwise from Dr.
Brown, willingly made his soldiers believe that he was inspired by the gods.
This great charlatanry was long the custom. Can one blame Scipio to have availed himself of it? Numa did better; it was necessary to police some brigands and a senate which was the most difficult section of these brigands to govern. If he had proposed his laws to the assembled tribes, the assassins of his predecessor would have made a thousand difficulties.
He addressed himself to the goddess Egeria, who gave him some pandects from Jupiter; he was obeyed without contradiction, and he reigned happily. His instructions were good, his charlatanry did good; but if some secret enemy had discovered the imposture, if he had said: It is probable that Numa took his measures very carefully, and that he deceived the Romans for their benefit, with a dexterity suitable to the time, the place, the intelligence of the early Romans.
Mahomet was twenty times on the point of failing, but he succeeded at last with the Arabs of Medina; and people believed that he was the intimate friend of the Archangel Gabriel. If to-day someone came to Constantinople to announce that he was the favourite of the Archangel Raphael, far superior to Gabriel in dignity, and that it was in him alone people should believe, he would be impaled in the public place.
It is for charlatans to choose their time well. Was there not a little charlatanry in Socrates with his familiar demon, and Apollo's precise declaration which proclaimed him the wisest of all men? How can Rollin, in his history, reason from this oracle?
How is it that he does not let the young idea know that it was pure charlatanry? Socrates chose his time badly. A hundred years earlier, maybe, he would have governed Athens.
All leaders of sects in philosophy have been somewhat charlatans: Cromwell was the most terrible of all our charlatans. He appeared at precisely the only time he could succeed: He came happily at a time when people were disgusted with kings; and his son, at a time when people were weary of a protector.
People wish to have their opinions accepted; the quibbling doctor wishes to eclipse the angelic doctor; the recondite doctor wishes to reign alone. Each builds his system of physics, metaphysics, scholastic theology; it is a competition in turning one's merchandise to account.
You have agents who extol it, fools who believe you, protectors who support you. Is there a greater charlatanry than that of substituting words for things, and of wanting others to believe what you do not believe yourself?Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary summary: Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary summary is updating.
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