Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER VIII.: THE HISTORY OF SIMON MORIN. - An Essay on Crimes and Punishments
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CHAPTER VIII.: THE HISTORY OF SIMON MORIN. - Cesare Bonesana di Beccaria, An Essay on Crimes and Punishments 
An Essay on Crimes and Punishments. By the Marquis Beccaria of Milan. With a Commentary by M. de Voltaire. A New Edition Corrected. (Albany: W.C. Little & Co., 1872).
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THE HISTORY OF SIMON MORIN.
The tragical end of Simon Morin is not less horrible than that of poor Anthony. It was midst the feasting, pleasures, and gallantry of a brilliant court; it was even in the times of the greatest licentiousness, that this unfortunate madman was burnt at Paris, in the year 1663. Imagining that he had seen visions, he carried his folly so far, as to believe that he was sent from God, and that he was incorporated with Jesus Christ.
The Parliament very wisely condemned him to be confined in a mad-house. What was very remarkable, there happened to be confined in the same mad-house another fool, who called himself God the Father. Simon Morin was so struck with the folly of his companion, that he acknowledged his own, and appeared for a time to have recovered his senses. He declared his repentance, and, unfortunately for himself, obtained his liberty.
Some time after, he relapsed into his former nonsense, and began to dogmatize. His unhappy destiny brought him acquainted with St. Sorlin Desmarets, who, for some months, was his friend, but who afterwards, from jealousy, became his most cruel persecutor.
This Desmarets was no less a visionary than Morin. His first follies indeed were innocent. He printed the Tragi-Comedies of Erigone and Mirame, with a translation of the Psalms; the Romance of Ariane, and the Poem of Clovis, with the office of the holy Virgin turned into verse. He likewise published dithyrambic poems, enriched with invectives against Homer and Virgil. From this kind of follies he proceeded to others of a more serious nature. He attacked Port-Royal, and after confessing that he had perverted some women to atheism, he commenced prophet. He pretended that God had given him, with his own hand, the key to the treasure of the Apocalypse, that with this key he would reform the whole world, and that he should command an army of an hundred and forty thousand men against the Jansenists.
Nothing could have been more reasonable and more just, than to have confined him in the same place with Simon Morin; but can it be believed, that he found credit with the Jesuit Annat, the king’s confessor? whom he persuaded, that this poor Simon Morin would establish a sect almost as dangerous as the Jansenists themselves. In short, carrying his infamy so far as to turn informer, he obtained an order to seize the person of his rival. Shall I tell it! Simon Morin was condemned to be burnt alive?
In conducting him to the stake, there was found, in one of his stockings, a paper in which he begged forgiveness of God for all his errors. This ought to have saved him; but no: the sentence was confirmed, and he was executed without mercy.
Such deeds are enough to make a man’s hair bristle with horror. Yet where is the country that hath not beheld such shocking spectacles? Mankind universally forget that they are brothers, and persecute each other even to death. Let us console ourselves with the hope, that such dreadful times are passed, never more to return.