Menenius, in his fable, compared the body politic to the human body, and nobles to the stomach. The thought of the author who comes to compare them to tumors, to those burls that, while not forming integral parts of ourselves, only swell and feed at the expense of the body, is much more accurate. "The nobility,” said Belisarius, “is nothing more than advances the country makes on the word of our ancestors, until we are capable of doing justice to our gérants. "
So many centuries in which the country loses its advances! if only she could have her appeal against bail! We no longer want to make claims on the warranty of the dead. It is insolvency too notorious.
The Greeks are unquestionably, among the ancients, the people who best knew liberty; but would you know what they considered her to be? In the equality of conditions. No satraps, no mages, no titles, no hereditary offices. The Areopagites, the prytanes, the archons, the Ephors were not nobles, nor were the Amphictyons milords. One was furbisher, or sculptor, or laborer, or doctor, or merchant, or speaker, or artist, or peripatetic, that is to say wanderer; one was strong or weak, rich or poor, courageous or timid, well or ill, stupid or intelligent men, honest men or rascals. One was from Athens or Megara, the Peloponnese or Phocis; one was a citizen, one was Greek; but I would not suggest that Alcibiades be called a nobleman or Marquis, I would not suggest the initiated or to the priests of Minerva be called the First Order. What is a First Order? an Athenian would have said. Know that there is only one Order in a nation, the Order of those who compose it. Only in Sparta are there two: the Order of the Spartans and that of the helots, that is to say the Order of the masters and servants.
This was stated elsewhere, and it is worth repeating.
If nobility is a goad for imitating the examples of ancestors, it will be a far more powerful stimuli when the children are all by themselves, not with their fathers. All the nation took note of the confession of vicomte d’Entraigues: Nobility is the greatest plague that there is on earth. They themselves have carried their arrest. Let us know no more in France than personal nobility. Are talents and qualities hereditary? There was never a family in the universe where virtue and genius were transmitted from father to children, and yet there was never a royal secretary who did not believe he had a nobility which could be transmitted from father to children. Is it then that the nobility are as stupid as we are? They have fine soap and shaving cream. Dear fellow citizens, destroy this distinction, as absurd as it is burdensome.
Pour les nobles toutes les grâces,
Pour toi, peuple, tous les travaux.
L'homme est estimé par les races,
Comme les chiens et les chevaux.
For the nobles all the blessings,
For you, people, all the work.
Man is assessed by breeds,
Like dogs and horses
Let us show that we are men, not dogs and horses. And you, generous patricians, in whom the voice of reason was stronger than that of interest and germanic prejudices, you who, recognizing us for your brothers, hurry to unite with us to work together to make the name of French citizen more honorable than that of a nobleman; you have just been ennobled, far more than your fathers had been, by a painful sacrifice: fear not than we ever forget. In Rome, when the people had broken through all barriers which closed the entry of charges and obtained the power to reach the consulate, they did not abuse it, and continued to raise the patricians to the highest dignities. There is also a crowd among you that we will always distinguish, and that we can place at the head of armies as names formidable to the enemy, and no one has shown more of these names than those among you who wanted generously to renounce all the privileges they gave, and start their nobility over again.