I was born to a family whose morals distinguished them from the people. (Josephson 9) Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born in Geneva, Switzerland on June 28, 1712. He became the son of Isaac Rousseau, a plebian class watchmaker, and Suzanne Bernard, the daughter of a minister who died shortly after giving birth to him. Rousseaus baptism ceremony was a traditional one held at St. Peters Cathedral on July 4, 1712 by the reverend senebies. He had an elder brother who had a loose character, but Rousseau loved him anyway.
At an early age, Rousseau found a love for reading. His mother had an inheritance of some money and many romantic books and novels, so those are the first that he read. He and his father would read for so many hours sometimes they would read continuously through the night and on into the next day. His father had a recklessly violent temper, and after a minor infraction with a police officer, fled from Geneva to Canten Vaud in Myon, which is 12 miles from Geneva, and there he continued his profession. Rousseau was ten years old.
He was then sent to live with his maternal uncle Bernard, a military engineer in the service of the city-state, and aunt Madame Goncerut, who instilled in him a great passion for music. Deprived of parental love and affection, Rousseaus childhood was miserable. He was sent, along with his younger cousin, to be tutored by a Protestant preacher at Bossey, about four miles away at the base of Mont Salve. Rousseau loved living in a pleasant land of valleys and hills, and so found the love of nature. It was also at Bossey where Rousseau established a gruesome affection for the pastors daughter, who was thirty years old.
Two years passed before uncle Bernard withdrew the two boys because they were wrongly accused and beaten for some petty fact. They were then taken back to his aunt and uncles home at the Grande Rue in Geneva. The boys were not placed back in regular school, but were taught mathematics and drawing by uncle Bernard. They spoke of making him a pastor, but they did not have enough money to send him, so Rousseau was placed as a notary to his uncle who was a lawyer who thought Rousseau was unqualified and sent him back.
He was next placed as an engraver in April 1725. His master was also a violent man like his father who fed Rousseau poorly and often treated him harshly. The young boy developed a menial frame of mind. This apprenticeship lasted for about four years with the first half consisting of stealing and a lackey spirit, and the following half Rousseaus love for reading was revived. The more miserable he became with his master, the more he read. He would play with the other boys on free days, usually Sundays, and venture out of the city gates.
He often came home just before the drawbridge closed at sundown and twice had to sleep outside the city. On day on March 14, 1728, Rousseau was late and saw the drawbridge closing. He yelled to his uncle he would not be returning to his master. Bernard did not try to stop the boy, who was just over sixteen when he decided to make his journey. After wandering for several days he fell upon the Roman Catholic priests at Consignon in Savoy. He was then turned over to Madame de Warens at Annecy, who sent him to a school in Turin.
He wandered several places but in 1730 eventually returned to Madame de Warens. He spent eight years in her household and it was there that he fully developed his love and taste for music, the enjoyment of nature, his passion for reading the English, German, and French philosophers of chemistry, and studying mathematics and Latin. Because of Madame de Warens, Rousseaus horrid childhood memories were not suddenly so bad.
www. utm. edu/research/iep/r/rousseau. html www. lucidcafe. com/lucidcafe/library/96jun/rousseau. html www. knuten. liu. se/bjoch509/philiosophers/rou. tml Josephson, Matthew. Jean-Jacques Rousseau. New York: Harcourt, Brace, & Company, 1932. Dobinson, C. H. Jean-Jacques Rousseau. London: Methuen & Company LTD. , 1969. Morely, John. Rousseau. London: Macmillan & Company, 1886. Havens, George R. Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1978. July 7, 1712- death of rousseaus mother, suzanne bernard rousseau. October 3, 1722- isaac rousseau wounds pierre gautier, a retired army captain, with a sword. October 11, 1722- isaac flees to nyon, 10 miles away, out of genevan jurisdiction.
Cousin, abraham Bernard and jean were sent promptly to board with a protestant pastor, monsieur lambercier, at Bossey4 miles south of geneva April 25, 1725- uncle bernard apprentices him to the young master engraver, abel ducommun Sunday, March 14, 1728 rousseau, returning from a tramp in the country, finds the gates of the walled city of Geneva closed, as usual, at sundown. Locked out for the night, he decided not to return to Geneva to be beaten again by Ducommun. March 21, palm Sunday morning, rousseau presents himself to madam de Warens ar annecy in savoy
April 12, 1728 rousseau is admitted to the monastery of the spirito santo in turin to be converted to catholicism April 21, 1728- he abjures protestantism and become catholic. Born in a house located at No. 40 of todays grand rue, which climbs steeply up the hill from the left bank of the Rhone toward the Hotel de Ville and the ancient twelfth-century Cathedral of Saint-Pierre. This was the older part of the historic city. Captivated by his mothers collection of wildly romantic novels when he first learned to love reading, and then later by his grandfathers collection of Plutarch.
He admired the heros of ancient greece and rome. He loved the long walks along the countryside and even took in all the pastors daily readings. At one point he even thought of becoming a priest himself. He was given two spankings, intended for punishment, by Madamioselle Lambercier and found sexual pleasure in them. Madamoiselle Lambercier quickly picked up on this and made sure never to discipline him that way again. But it stirred up memories of when he was falsely accused of breaking one of her combs by Uncle Bernard.
Even though the incident was trivial, the deep feeling that he had suffered a great injustice lingered with him and can be read about in Confessions. That occurrence was on that put a dark cloud on his otherwise happy days at Bossey. It is an excellent example of how childhood occurrences can be deep-rooted and stay with us for the rest of our lives. Jean became ashamed of the quickness in which he converted to catholicism in Turin. This can also be read about more in depth in his Confessions.
There he sees himself as he was: a young boy, only 16 years old, unpracticed in debate, and without money. Some say he went into the monastery with no money and left Catholic and with 20 francs in hand. Jean Jacques RousseauGeorge R. Havens Rousseau had only one brother, on whom the spirit of the father came down in ample measure, just as the sensibility of the mother decended upon jean-jacques. He was a rebellious boy and finally ran away to Germany, never to be seen again, so Rousseau was basically an only child. Rousseau.. John Morely
The details of his childhoos are important because they helped him form the educational theories that are still up to date in our modern world, and also because they give some clues about why he acted the way he did in his later years. Rousseaus parents were very loyal and devoted to one another ever since the young age of eight. For almost thirteen years, Jean-Jacques father was inconsolable. According to his Confessions, his father said he say his wife in Jean-Jacques. But what Jean-Jacques did not understand is why his father did not realize that it was he who took her from him.