Edgar Quinet: The soul of man has vanished, nations and races are doomed to combat and destroy each other

Antiwar literary and philosophical selections

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Edgar Quinet
From address delivered at the Congress of Peace in Geneva in 1867
Translated by Constance Garnett

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In the worst days of the ancient Caesarism, when every one was dumb except the sovereign, there were men who left their refuge in the wilderness to utter a few words of truth in the face of the fallen peoples. For sixteen years I have been living in the wilderness, and I in my turn should like to break the deadly silence to which our age has grown accustomed.

You have no conscience…it is dead, crushed under the heel of the mighty, it has disowned itself. For sixteen years I have been seeking traces of it and have not found it.

It was the same under the Caesars in the ancient world. The soul of man has vanished. The peoples aided their own enslavement…

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