Frederick was humane. ‘Before all things,’he told his generals in 1778, ‘I prescribe as your most sacred duty that in every situation you exercise humanity on unarmed enemies,’ and by most accounts he was as good as his word. He waged war almost unceasingly, its horrors appalled him and he spent much of his time trying to negotiate acceptable conclusions to hostilities; but they had to be acceptable. Within Prussia his own conduct of justice was almost invariably merciful and markedly more merciful than most of his fellow-sovereigns. He loved above all to do justice to the weak, to correct the mighty and proud. ‘I think him too gentle,’ the Earl Marischal told Jean Jacques Rousseau in 1765. ‘He will not have anyone hanged!’—and Marischal himself was a notably kindly man. Frederick enjoyed the chances of doing individual acts of kindness, of helping an unfortunate, forgiving a miscreant, providing for the widow, the orphan. The times were or could be cruel. But the King of Prussia was not cruel.
—  Frederick the Great by David Fraser

Student Nihilist, 1883, Ilya Repin

“The Nihilist, that strange martyr who has no faith, who goes to the stake without enthusiasm, and dies for what he does not believe in, is a purely literary product. He was invented by Turgenev, and completed by Dostoevsky. Robespierre came out of the pages of Rousseau as surely as the People’s Palace rose out of the debris of a novel. Literature always anticipates life. It does not copy it, but moulds it to its purpose. The nineteenth century, as we know it, is largely an invention of Balzac. Our Luciens de Rubempré, our Rastignacs, and De Marsays made their first appearance on the stage of the Comédie Humaine. We are merely carrying out, with footnotes and unnecessary additions, the whim or fancy or creative vision of a great novelist.” Oscar Wilde in The Decay of Lying


18th Century : 9 Historical figures.

Voltaire, Jean Le Rond d’Alembert, Maurice Quentin de La Tour, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Denis Diderot, François Boucher, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Ange-Jacques Gabriel, Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais.

The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said “This is mine,” and found people naïve enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.
—  Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Social Contract
I love idleness. I love to busy myself about trifles, to begin a hundred things and not finish one of them, to come and go as my fancy bids me, to change my plan every moment, to follow a fly in all its circlings, to try and uproot a rock to see what is underneath, eagerly to begin a ten–years’ task to give it up after ten minutes: in short, to fritter away the whole day inconsequentially and incoherently, and to follow nothing but the whim of the moment.
—  Jean Jacques Rousseau