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reached the most important epoch of French history, for the destiny of twenty-five million men is about to be decided. … Free arts succeed the enslaved arts; the theater, so long effeminate and abject, will henceforward inspire only a respect of law, love of liberty, hatred of excess, and the execration of tyrants."[1]

Mercier's ideas were more directly influential upon Schiller in Germany. He read the Frenchman's books, translated them, and made them his inspiration. It is worthy of note that Mercier, in his Nouvel Essai, suggested to Schiller the theme of Wilhelm Tell, as Rousseau had suggested Fiesco.[2] And it is highly probable that Mercier suggested certain scenes of Don Carlos.[3] Nor must we forget the link that bound the early Revolutionary movement with the man whom the Convention made a French citizen, he who was in a way the great poet of the Revolution, as Beethoven was the great composer: the author of Die Räuber (1781–82), of In Tyrannos (Against the Tyrants), of Fiesco, "a republican tragedy" (1783–84), and of Don Carlos (1785), where he says he tried to show "the spirit of liberty at swords' points with despotism, the shackles of stupidity broken, the prejudices of a thousand years swept away; a nation demanding the rights of man; republican vir-

  1. Discours de la liberté du théâtre, June 15, 1789.
  2. See Albert Kontz, Les Drames de la jeunesse de Schiller, Leroux, 1899.
  3. Eighth Letter on Don Carlos, 1788.