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They stifle in men’s breasts that sense of original liberty, for which they seem to have been born; cause them to love their own slavery, and so make of them what is called a civilised people. Necessity raised up thrones; the arts and sciences have made them strong. Powers of the earth, cherish all talents and protect those who cultivate them. Civilised peoples, cultivate such pursuits: to them, happy slaves, you owe that delicacy and exquisiteness of taste, which is so much your boast, that sweetness of disposition and urbanity of manners which make intercourse so easy and agreeable among you — in a word, the appearance of all the virtues, without being in possession of one of them.

source of lines

French text:

Tandis que le Gouvernement & les lois pourvoient à la sûreté & au bien-être des hommes assemblés; les Sciences, les Lettres & les Arts, moins despotiques & plus puissans peut-être, étendent des guirlandes de fleurs sur les chaînes de fer dont ils sont chargés, étouffent en eux le sentiment de cette liberté originelle pour laquelle ils sembloient être nés, leur font aimer leur esclavage & forment ce qu’on appelle des peuples policés. Le besoin éleva les Trônes; les Sciences & les Arts les ont affermis. Puissances de la Terre, aimez les talents, & protégez ceux qui les cultivent.Peuples policés, cultivez-les: Heureux esclaves, vous leur devez ce goût délicat & fin dont vous vous piquez; cette douceur de caractère & cette urbanité de mœurs qui rendent parmi vous le commerce si liant & si facile; en un mot, les apparences de toutes les vertus sans en avoir aucune.

Discours des sciences et des arts, Part 1.

Please explain these lines to me, I'm not native in English, so sometimes it gets hard for me to understand the translation. Thanks!!

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    You can see a different translation of Rousseau's Discourse (1750): the quote is about the role of sciences, letters and arts in the foundation of (human) society. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Aug 24 at 8:38
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    Government and laws are necessary in order to manage society: safety and well-being. This of course implies a limitation of "original liberty" of individual, making it slave. "Culture", according to R, has the role of hide this condition of slavery, suggesting to the "civilized being" a sense of "liberty" that is not real. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Aug 24 at 8:43

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