As a disciple of Mably and Rousseau, he flattered himself on being a man without any prejudices; and this pretension itself is a very great prejudice. "He professed to hate fanaticism, yet was himself a fanatic on the topic of toleration. I am telling you, Madame, about a character belonging to an age that is past.

He has retained nothing of a worn-out system of philosophy but its lifeless dregs and well-conned formulae, the formulae of Rousseau, Mably, and Raynal, concerning "the people, nature, reason, liberty, tyrants, factions, virtue, morality," a ready-made vocabulary, expressions too ample, the meaning of which, ill-defined by the masters, evaporates in the hands of the disciple.

When I turned to the composition of historical novels, I desired to ascertain if the historical method had been reduced to a system. I read Lucian's Instructions for Writing History, an essay with the same title, or with a very similar one, by the Abbe Mably, some essays by Simmel, besides a book by a German professor, Ernst Bernheim, Lehrbuch der historischen Methode.

A society, under the presidency of the Abbe de Mably, having constructed a balloon thirty-seven feet high and twenty feet in diameter, sent it off from the court of the Castle of Pisancon, near Romano, on the same day, the 13th of February. At first it was carried to the south by a strong north wind, but after it had risen to 1,000 feet above the surface, its course was changed towards the north.

In 1769, when Polish anarchy was at its height, as if to show at once how profound the anarchy was, and how profound the faith among many minds in the power of the new French theories, an application was made to Mably to draw up a scheme for the renovation of distracted Poland.

It was destined to prove the most serious of all obstacles to representative government. Equality of power readily suggests equality of property; but the movement of Socialism began earlier, and was not assisted by Rousseau. There were solemn theorists, such as Mably and Morelly, who were sometimes quoted in the Revolution, but the change in the distribution of property was independent of them.

Exactly as before, he summoned me to his room, a week later; exactly in the same voice he asked me to read: 'Si vous le voulez bien, les observations sur l'histoire de France de Mably, a la page 74... la ou nous avons ete interrompus. And he had not even had my mother's portrait moved!

Some derived, from the writings of Rousseau, a hatred of everything above them; others had taken from Mably his admiration of the ancient republics of Greece and Rome, and would reproduce them in France; others had borrowed from Raynal the revolutionary torch which he had lighted for the destruction of all institutions; others, educated in the atheistic fanaticism of Diderot, trembled with rage at the very name of a priest or religion; and thus the Revolution was gradually handed over to the guidance of passion and personal interest.

But on this subject Mably and Daunou entertained views which nowadays seem singular enough. It is instructive to mark the exact distance which separates their point of view from ours. "First of all," said Mably, "study the law of nature, public law, moral and political science."

At the table of my old friend, M. de Foncemagne, I was involved in a dispute with the Abbe de Mably; and his jealous irascible spirit revenged itself on a work which he was incapable of reading in the original.