The Cynic's Breviary | Nicolas Chamfort | SA1065
Nature has not said to me: Be not poor; still less: Be rich. But she cries out to me: Be independent.
Thus begins a collection of wonderful quips and barbs from this revered French writer whose birth name was Sébastien-Roch Nicolas (1741 – 1794). Frequently quoted by the egoist journal The Eagle and The Serpent and admired by Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, John Stuart Mill and others. A radical that would skewer whatever reigning powers that be, was one of the first to storm the Bastille, but would also be imprisoned for his criticisms of the Jacobins. After release, when he was threatened with arrest once more, he instead locked himself in a room and shot himself in the face. Failing to kill himself, he stabbed himself in the neck and chest with a paper cutter. Still failing to finish the job, he dictated the following to those who came to arrest him: "I, Sebastien-Roch Nicolas de Chamfort, hereby declare my wish to die a free man rather than to continue to live as a slave in a prison". This he signed in his own blood.
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