"The fire of passion is
always ignited on the torch of philosophy."
The great influence of the
doctrines of race conservation, leading to the theories of Malthus, may
perhaps be underestimated today but in the eighteenth century it was
like the Gospel in the middle ages.
To wars, diseases,
famines, murders, "acts of God," etc., were added all possible methods
of prevention of birth as an additional aid to nature. The spilling of
the seed is no crime but a praiseworthy act; for it combines two useful
objects, the creation of pleasure and the prevention of the increase of
mankind. Less and better people than an influx of stupid masses! It was
a natural result of the aristocratic system that limited the number of
children mainly for the reason that they could pass on their great
fortunes intact into one hand. Thus besides "moral restraint" Marquis de
Sade lauded all the preventive means that satisfy pleasure yet prevent
The most decided
Malthusian was Saint Fond. He declared that France needed "blood let out
of all her veins if she wanted to live." The artists and philosophers
must be ejected, the hospitals and other institutions of mercy must be
destroyed, and wars and famines must be brought about. At least
two-thirds of the population must vanish (Juliette, III, 126, 261). Such
an attempt was made by Borgia in Rome. Thirty-seven hospitals were
destroyed and 20,000 persons burnt to death (Juliette IV, 258). In
Justine the bishop developed a system of practical Malthusianism.
Firstly, all children were to be murdered. Secondly, there were to be
periodic visits of the villages by the soldiers and all superfluous
members of the family were to be killed. Thirdly, the freedom won by the
Revolution must be again taken from the people, so that hunger, disease,
etc., would return. Fourthly, a total suppression of all charitable
institutions. Lastly, all celibates, pederasts, tribades, masturbators,
murderers, poisoners, and suicides were to be held in the greatest
esteem and honor (Justine IV, 280-293).
Marquis de Sade developed in many
books his theories of crime which were closely connected with his
Malthusian ideas. They were very systematically given in the Philosophy
in the Boudoir, which he had Dolmancé read from a brochure bought in the
Palais Royal. In Justine Bressac declared that crime was a chimera. For
murder only changed the form of matter and did not destroy it. Nothing
was lost in nature. Hence there could be no crime (Justine L 209 ff).
Defamation is either
against an evil or good man. In the first case it does not matter much
if one says more or less bad things about him. It does not harm a
virtuous man and the poison of the defamer returns to himself.
Defamation serves as a purgative and compensatory method. For it places
virtue in its right light. For the victim must be in the position to
disprove the defamation and hence his virtuous actions become
well-known. But a defamer is not dangerous to society. For he serves to
place the vice of evil men as well as the good of honorable men into
general knowledge and hence should not be punished (Philosophy in the
Boudoir II, 78-81).
Robbery was allowed at all
times and was indeed praised as in Sparta. Other races
considered it a martial virtue. It is certain that it
provides strength, courage, dexterity, etc., all notable
virtues for a republic. There have even been societies in
which the victim was punished for not watching his property
any better! It is unjust to sanction possession by a law for
then all doors are open to the criminals who are reduced by
this knowledge. It is indeed fairer to punish the victim
than the thief (Philosophy in the Boudoir II, 81-84).
According to Dorval, that great thief and theoretician of
his profession, power is the first root of thievery. The
stronger steal from the weaker. Nature desires it this way.
Laws against thievery are invalid works of men. Man now
steals legally. Justice steals when it is paid for its
decisions, a service that should be free. The priest steals
when he is paid for being a pander between God and man.
Moral crimes must also be
regarded indifferently by a republic for it does not matter whether the
person is modest or not. Modesty is a product of
civilization, principally due to the coquetry of women. Clothing, for
example, which serves more to excite the curiosity than to protect from
the weather. The care and development of clothing reveals the fact that
women feared that men would take no notice of them if they were naked.
Prostitution is the natural result of moral laws. It is hence viewed as
a disgrace because the prostitutes take gifts for the pleasures they
both give and receive. For marriage is also prostitution. For a man can
get a wife only in most cases when he has a good position. Just as we
give the right to pleasure to men so in a republic there can be no
double standards and women must be given the same right. The results of
such double freedom, children without fathers, are not injurious for all
men have a common mother, the "fatherland!" The right of pleasure must
be given to the girl from the tenderest age. Indeed the pleasures of
love serve to beautify women.
Adultery is a virtue.
There is nothing that is so opposite to nature as the "eternality" of
the marriage bond. The adulterer is the champion of nature. Many
ethnological examples are given to show the usefulness of adultery.
Incest is also a virtue!
It serves freedom and strengthens the family love. Incestuous relations
are found in all times and places. Again many examples are produced to
show that incest bred strong races and was generally beneficial. This
custom must be made a law because it has "fraternity" as a basis. But
"sorority," too, must not be forgotten. Women have as much right as men.
Rape is also no crime and
is less harmful than robbery. For the latter robs property irreparably
and the former uses and returns the property. And besides it had to be
done sometime or other, with or without the sanction of the church.
To punish pederasty is a
barbarity for no "abnormity of taste" can be a crime. Just as little is
tribadism a crime. Both practices are highly regarded by the aged.
Marital people indeed highly praised them because they enhanced courage
and bravery (Philosophy in the Boudoir II, 84-114).
Finally the fourth class,
murder. There are two ways to view it, by natural and political law.
From the standpoint of nature murder is no crime. There is no difference
to nature between men, plants and animals. Man is born, grows,
multiplies, dies and returns to the soil as all the other creatures of
nature. It is just as great a crime to kill an animal. It is only our
vanity that finds a distinction. Of what value can a creature be if its
creation cost nature no trouble at all? The creative material of nature
proceeds from the decomposition of other bodies. Destruction is a law of
nature; but it is merely a change of form, the transition from one
existence to another—the metempsychosis of Pythagoras. Therefore murder
is no crime since a change is not destruction. As soon as an animal
ceases to live other small animals are formed from it. Therefore it is
logical to assert that we help the purposes of nature by assisting in
the change of forms. It is due to natural impulses that one man kills
another just like famine, disease and primal events. Nature has given us
hatred, vengeance, and war. Therefore murder is no crime against nature.
From the social standpoint
murder is also no crime. What matters a single member to society? The
death of a man has no influence upon the entire population. Even if
three-fourths of the people die out, there would be no change in the
circumstances of the survivors.
How must murder be
considered in a martial and republican state? A nation that has thrown
off the tyrant's yoke to become a republic can maintain itself only by
crime. All intellectual ideas in a republic are subjugated under the
"physics of nature" and so the freest people give themselves most gladly
to murder. De Sade here gave many examples. For example, in China the
undesirable children are thrown into the sea and the famous traveler,
Duhalde, estimated that the daily toll of victims was more than 30,000!
Is it not wiser for a republic to stem the number of its citizens? In a
monarchy population must be encouraged since the tyrants can become rich
only by the number of inhabitants. Revolutions are only the results of
Jesus, Artisan of Hoaxes,
Bandit of Homage, Robber of Affection, hear! Since the day
when thou didst issue from the complaisant bowels of a
Virgin, thou hast failed all thine engagements, belied all
thy promises. Centuries have wept, awaiting thee, fugitive
God, mute God! Thou wast to redeem man and thou hast not,
thou wast to appear in thy glory, and thou sleepest. Go,
lie, say to the wretch who appeals to thee, 'Hope, be
patient, suffer; the hospital of souls will receive thee;
the angels will assist thee; Heaven opens to thee.'
Imposter! thou knowest well that the angels, disgusted at
thine inertness, abandon thee! Thou wast to be the
Interpreter of our plaints, the Chamberlain of our tears;
thou wast to convey them to the Father and thou hast not
done so, for this intercession would disturb thine eternal
sleep of happy satiety.
“Thou hast forgotten the
poverty thou didst preach, enamoured vassal of Banks! Thou
hast seen the weak crushed beneath the press of profit; thou
hast heard the death rattle of the timid, paralyzed by
famine, of women disembowelled for a bit of bread, and thou
hast caused the Chancery of thy Simoniacs, thy commercial
representatives, thy Popes, to answer by dilatory excuses
and evasive promises, sacristy Shyster, huckster God!
"Master, whose inconceivable
ferocity engenders life and inflicts it on the innocent whom
thou darest damn—in the name of what original
sin?—whom thou darest punish—by the virtue of what
covenants?—we would have thee confess thine impudent cheats,
thine inexpiable crimes! We would drive deeper the nails
into thy hands, press down the crown of thorns upon thy
brow, bring blood and water from the dry wounds of thy
"And that we can and will do
by violating the quietude of thy body, Profaner of ample
vices, Abstractor of stupid purities, cursed Nazarene,
do-nothing King, coward God!"
"Amen!" trilled the soprano
voices of the choir boys.
The Marquis de Sade gave
evidence in his novels of being a fanatic Satanist. Many
black masses appeared in Justine and Juliette.
A mass in a monastery was fully described in Justine
(II, 239). A Maiden, as the Holy Virgin, with arms raised to
heaven, was bound in a niche in the church. Later she was
laid naked on a great table, candles were lit, a crucifix
decorated her buttocks, and "they celebrated on her buttocks
the most absurd mysteries of Christianity." Then a mass was
read on the same place. As soon as there was a Host of God,
she seized the monk Ambrose and held fast to his member,
whereby the believers in the Host were derided with the
"A great Revolution is being
prepared in this country. It has become tired of the crimes
of our rulers, their cruelties, debaucheries and
stupidities. It is tired of despotism and is getting ready
to break its chains."
There are works that appear
to have been inspired by the Graces; Justine must
have been inspired by the Furies. It is written with blood
and stinks of blood. It is to books what Robespierre is to
"I forbid my body to be
dissected under any pretext whatsoever and desire most
stringently that it shall remain in the room in which I died
for 48 hours in a wooden coffin to be made only after the
expiration of this time. The timber merchant, Lenormand, in
Versailles, shall be ordered to come with his wagon and take
my body to the forest on my property near Epernon where
without any ceremony I should be buried on the first coppice
that is seen from the great path in the old part of the
castle. The grave should be dug by the tenant at Malmaison
under the direction of Lenormand who shall not leave until
all the arrangements are completed. My friends and relatives
who wish to show me this last mark of love for me may be
present. The ground over my grave should be sprinkled with
acorns so that all traces of my grave shall disappear so
that, as I hope, this reminder of my existence may be wiped
from the memory of mankind."