Chapter 1

 How Candide was brought up in a beautiful castle, and how he was driven from the same

Once upon a time in Westphalia, in the castle of Monsieur the Baron von Thunder-ten-tronckh, there lived a young boy on whom nature had bestowed the gentlest of dispositions. His countenance expressed his soul. He combined solid judgement with complete openness of mind; which is the reason, I believe, that he was called Candide. The older servants of the house suspected him to be the son of the Baron's sister by a kindly and honest gentleman of the neighbourhood, whom that young lady refused ever to marry because he could only ever give proof of seventy-one quarterings,[1] the rest of his genealogical tree having been lost through the ravages of time.

This Baron was one of the most powerful lords of Westphalia, for his castle had a gate and windows. His great hall was even hung with a tapestry. All the dogs in his barnyards made up a pack when the need arose; his stable boys served for huntsmen; the village parson officiated as his grand almoner. Everyone called him Your Grace, and everyone laughed at his jokes.

The Baroness, who weighed approximately three hundred and fifty pounds, and consequently basked in very great esteem, performed the honours of the house with a dignity that made her all the more imposing. Her daughter Cunégonde, seventeen years old and rosy-cheeked, was fresh, plump and appetizing. The Baron's son seemed in every respect worthy of his father.

Pangloss,[2] the tutor, was the oracle of the establishment, to whose lessons little Candide listened with all the good faith of his age and nature.

Pangloss taught metaphysico-theologico-cosmo-nigology.[3] He could prove to wonderful effect that there was no effect without cause,[4] and that, in this best of all possible worlds, His Lordship the Baron's castle was the finest of castles and Her Ladyship the best of all possible baronesses.

‘It is demonstrable,’ he would say, ‘that things cannot be other than as they are: for, since everything is made to serve an end, everything is necessarily for the best of ends. Observe how noses were formed to support spectacles, therefore we have spectacles. Legs are clearly devised for the wearing of breeches, therefore we wear breeches. Stones were formed to be hewn and made into castles, hence his Lordship's beautiful castle, for the greatest baron in the province must perforce be the best housed; and since pigs were made to be eaten, we eat pork all year round; consequently, those who have argued that all is well have been talking nonsense: they should have said that all is for the best.[5]

Candide listened attentively, and he trusted innocently; for he found Mademoiselle Cunégonde extremely beautiful, though he had never had the effrontery to tell her so. He concluded that, next to being born Baron von Thunder-ten-tronckh, the second degree of bliss was being Mademoiselle Cunégonde; the third was seeing her every day; and the fourth was listening to Maitre Pangloss, the greatest philosopher in the province and, therefore, in the whole world.

One day, as Cunégonde was walking the grounds of the castle, in the little wood which everyone called the park, she caught sight through the undergrowth of Doctor Pangloss giving a lesson in experimental physics to her mother's chambermaid, a very pretty and tractable little brunette. Mademoiselle Cunégonde had a natural aptitude for the sciences, and she noted breathlessly the repeated experiments to which she was witness; she saw clearly the doctor's sufficient reason,[6] both the effects and the causes, and she returned home very agitated, very thoughtful, and very much filled with desire to be a scientist, reflecting that she might yet prove to be the sufficient reason of young Candide, who might in turn prove to be hers.

She ran into Candide as she entered the castle, and blushed; Candide blushed in turn; she bade him good day in a faltering voice, and Candide answered without knowing what he was saying. The next day after dinner, as everyone was leaving the table, Cunégonde and Candide found themselves behind a screen; Cunégonde dropped her handkerchief, Candide picked it up; innocently she took his hand in hers, innocently the young man kissed the young lady's hand, doing so with a singular vivacity, sensibility and grace; their lips met, their eyes blazed, their knees trembled, their hands strayed. His Excellency the Baron von Thunder-ten-tronckh happened to be passing near the screen and, observing this cause and that effect, chased Candide out of the castle with great kicks to his backside; Cunégonde fainted; as soon as she came to her senses she had her face slapped by the Baroness, and all was consternation in the most beautiful and delightful of possible castles.

Chapter 2

What became of Candide among the Bulgars

Thus expelled from the earthly paradise, Candide wandered for a long time, not knowing where he was going, weeping, raising his eyes to heaven, then turning them frequently in the direction of the most beautiful of castles, containing the most beautiful of baron's daughters; he fell asleep finally in the middle of a field, with no supper, between two furrows; the snow fell in large flakes. Next morning, entirely numb, Candide dragged himself as far as the nearest town, which was called Valdberghofftrarbk-dikdorff;[1] having no money, and faint with hunger and exhaustion, he paused forlornly at the door of a tavern. Two men dressed in blue[2] observed him: ‘Well now, comrade,’ said the first, ‘there's a well-built young fellow, and he's of regulation height.’ They approached Candide, and invited him very civilly to dine with them. ‘Gentlemen,’ said Candide with engaging candour, ‘you honour me greatly, but I lack the means to pay my share.’ – ‘My good sir,’ replied the second, ‘a person of your looks and quality never pays for anything: I'd say you must be all of nearly six feet tall?’ – ‘That is my height, gentlemen,’ he replied, bowing. – ‘Well then, good sir, sit yourself down and eat; not only do we invite you, but we shall make sure that a gentleman like yourself does not go short of funds either; after all, we men are born to look out for each other.’ ‘You are right,’ said Candide, ‘that is what Pangloss always told me, and now I see clearly that everything is indeed for the best.’ They press him to accept several écus;[3] which he takes, and tries to make out a receipt; they refuse, and all three sit down to dinner. ‘Tell me,’ says the first, ‘do you not devotedly love...’ – 'Mademoiselle Cunégonde?’ replies Candide. ‘But of course, devotedly.’ – ‘No, no,’ says the second of these gentlemen. ‘What we mean is, do you not devotedly love the King of the Bulgars?’[4] – ‘Not in the least,’ says Candide, ‘since I have never set eyes on him.’ – ‘What! But he is the most delightful of kings, and we must drink his health this instant.’ – ‘With great pleasure, gentlemen!’ and he drinks the toast. ‘That will do nicely,’ says the first. ‘You are hereby the support, the defender, the mainstay, and, in a word, the hero of the Bulgars; your fortune is made, and your glory is assured.’[5] They immediately clap irons on his feet and march him off to the regiment. He is made to do right turns, left turns, draw the ramrod,[6] return the ramrod, take aim, fire and march at the double, for which he receives thirty strokes of the birch; the next day he performs his drill a little less badly, and receives only twenty strokes; the day after that he is given only ten, and is looked on by his comrades as a prodigy.

Candide, completely bewildered, had not yet figured out quite what was meant by his being a hero. One fine spring day he took it into his head to go for a long walk, simply by putting one foot in front of the other, in the belief that it was a privilege of the human as of the animal species to use its legs as it pleases. He had not covered two leagues when he was caught up by four other heroes, each over six foot tall, who tied him up and marched him off to the cells. He was asked at his court-martial which he preferred: to be flogged by the entire regiment thirty-six times, or receive twelve lead bullets in his skull simultaneously. In vain did he remonstrate with them about freedom of the will[7] and protest that he preferred neither the one option nor the other; a choice had to be made; he determined, by virtue of that gift of God called freedom, to run the gauntlet thirty-six times.[8] He endured two runs. The regiment numbered two thousand men; which for Candide added up to four thousand strokes, which in turn laid bare the muscles and sinews from the nape of his neck to his buttocks. As they were lining up for the third run, Candide, who could take no more, politely asked if they would instead be so kind as to cave his head in; the plea was granted; he was blindfolded and made to kneel. At this moment the King of the Bulgars was passing by, and inquired as to the condemned man's crime; being a king of rare genius, he understood from everything he learned about Candide that here was a young metaphysician entirely unschooled in the ways of the world, and he granted him his pardon with a clemency whose praises will be sung in all the newspapers for all the ages.[9] An honest surgeon cured Candide in three weeks, with ointments prescribed by Dioscorides. [10] He had already grown back a little skin, and was able to walk, when the King of the Bulgars declared war on the King of the Abars.

Chapter 3

How Candide ran away from the Bulgars, and what became of him.

Never was anything so gallant, so well accoutred, so dashing, so well drilled as those two armies. Trumpets, fifes, hautboys, drums and cannon produced a harmony such as was never heard in hell.[1] First the cannon toppled about six thousand men on either side; then the muskets removed from the best of possible worlds between nine and ten thousand scoundrels who were infesting its surface.[2] Next the bayonet proved sufficient reason for the death of a few thousand more.[3] The total may well have amounted to thirty thousand or so corpses. Candide trembled like a philosopher, and concealed himself as best he could for the duration of this heroic butchery.

Finally, while both kings were having victory Te Deums[4] sung in their respective camps, Candide resolved to go and think about effects and causes elsewhere. Climbing over heaps of the dead and dying, he came first to a neighbouring village; it was in ashes: it was an Abar village which the Bulgars had razed to the ground, in accordance with international law.[5] Here old men riddled with wounds or lead shot looked on as their wives lay dying, their throats cut, clutching their children to their blood-stained breasts; over there lay young girls in their last agonies, disembowelled after having satisfied the natural urges of various heroes; others still, half burned to death, cried out for someone to come and finish them off. Brains were scattered over the ground, amidst severed arms and legs.[6]

Candide fled as fast as he was able until he reached another village: this one belonged to the Bulgars, and the Abar heroes had dealt with it accordingly.[7] Candide, still stepping over twitching torsos or walking through ruins, finally left the theatre of war behind, carrying some meagre provisions in his knapsack and Mademoiselle Cunégonde's image in his heart. After a time he reached Holland, where his provisions ran out: but having heard that everyone in that country was rich, and that they were all Christians, he had no doubt that he would be treated there as well as he had been in the Baron's castle, before being chased out of it on account of Mademoiselle Cunégonde's bea utiful eyes.

He begged alms of several solemn-looking individuals; they all replied that if he continued in this vein he would be locked up in a house of correction and be taught how to earn his living.[8]

He then approached a man who had just been holding forth to a large gathering for an entire hour, alone and unassisted, on the theme of charity. This orator[9] looked askance at him and said: ‘What are you here for? Are you here for the good cause?’ – ‘There is no effect without cause,’ replied Candide timidly, ‘for everything is linked in a chain of necessity,[10] and arranged for the best. It was necessary that I be chased away from Mademoiselle Cunégonde, and have to run the gauntlet, and necessary that I beg for my bread until such time as I can earn it; none of this could have been otherwise.’ – ‘But my friend,’ said the orator, ‘do you believe that the Pope is AntiChrist?’[11] – ‘I've not heard it said before now,’ replied Candide, ‘but whether he is or is not, I am in need of food.’ – ‘You don't deserve to eat,’ said the other. ‘Be off, you wretch! Out of my sight, you miserable creature! And don't ever approach my person again.’ The orator's wife, putting her head out of the window and catching sight of somebody who could doubt that the Pope was Anti-Christ, discharged over his head a chamber pot full of [...]. Heavens! To what extremes is religious zeal sometimes carried by the ladies!

A passer-by who had never been baptized, a good Anabaptist[12] named Jacques, saw the cruel and ignominious logic thus being meted out to one of his brothers, a fellow being with two legs, no feathers and a soul;[13] so he took him back to his house, cleaned him up, gave him some bread and some beer, presented him with two florins, and would even have apprenticed him to work in his Persian fabrics workshops, such as are common in Holland. Candide, almost prostrate with gratitude, cried out: ‘Maître Pangloss was quite right to tell me that all is for the best in this world; of which I am vastly more persuaded by your extreme generosity than by the harshness of that gentleman in the black cloak, and Madame, his lady wife.'

The next day, while out for a walk, he came across a beggar all covered in sores, his eyes glazed, the end of his nose eaten away, his mouth twisted on one side, his teeth black, who spoke in a strangled voice and was racked by a violent cough, spitting out a tooth with every spasm.

Chapter 4

How Candide encountered his old philosophy tutor, Doctor Pangloss, and what came of it

Candide, even moved more by compassion than by disgust, gave this frightful creature the two florins he had been given by his honest Anabaptist, Jacques. The apparition stared at him fixedly, began to weep, and threw its arms about his neck. Startled, Candide recoiled. ‘Alas!’ said the one unfortunate to the other, ‘so you no longer recognize your beloved Pangloss?’ – ‘What am I hearing! You? My beloved tutor? You, in this horrible condition? What terrible thing has happened? Why are you no longer in the most beautiful of castles? What has become of Mademoiselle Cunégonde, the pearl of daughters, the masterpiece of nature?’ – ‘I am worn out,’ said Pangloss. At once Candide led him to the Anabaptist's stable, where he made him eat a little bread and, when he had recovered, said: ‘Now! What about Cunégonde?’ – ‘Dead,’ was the reply. At this word Candide fainted; his friend brought him to his senses with some stale vinegar which happened to be in the stable.[1] Candide opened his eyes. ‘Cunégonde, dead! Ah, best of worlds, where are you now? But what did she die of? Was it from seeing me chased from their beautiful castle with great kicks from her noble father's boot, by any chance?’ – ‘No,’ said Pangloss. ‘She was disembowelled by Bulgar soldiers, after being raped until she could be raped no more; they smashed in the noble Baron's skull, as he tried to protect her; the Baroness was chopped to bits; my poor pupil received exactly the same treatment as his sister; as for the castle, not one stone remains standing on another,[2] not a barn, not a sheep, not a duck, not a tree; but we had our revenge, for the Abars have done the very same to the neighbouring estate of a Bulgar lord.'

On hearing this speech Candide fainted again; but having recovered his senses and said all that was called for in such circumstances, he inquired as to the cause, the effect and the sufficient reason that had reduced Pangloss to so pitiable a state. ‘Alas,’ said the other, ‘love is its name: love, consoler of humankind, preserver of the universe, soul of all sentient beings, sweet love.’ – ‘Alas,’ said Candide, ‘I too have known this thing called love, this ruler of hearts, this soul of our soul; it has never earned me more than one kiss and twenty kicks on the arse. But how can so beautiful a cause have produced so abominable an effect in your case?'

Pangloss replied thus: ‘My dear Candide! You remember Paquette, the pretty lady's maid to our august Baroness; well, in her arms I tasted the delights of paradise, which in turn provoked the torments of hell by which you see me devoured; she was herself infected, and may now be dead. Paquette received this present from a very learned Franciscan[3] who could trace it back to its source: for he had been given it by an old countess, who in turn had it from a cavalry captain, who was indebted for it to a marquise, who caught it from a page-boy, who contracted it from a Jesuit,[4] who, while a novice, had inherited it in a direct line from one of the shipmates of Christopher Columbus. As for me, I will pass it on to no one, for I am dying of it.'

‘Oh Pangloss!’ cried Candide, ‘what a strange genealogy[5] is this! Surely the devil is its source?’ – ‘Not in the least,’ replied that great man. ‘It is an indispensable feature of the best of all possible worlds, a necessary ingredient:[6] for if Columbus, on an island off the Americas, had not contracted this disease – which poisons the source of all procreation, and often even prevents procreation, contrary though this be to nature's great plan – we would have neither chocolate nor cochineal;[7] it should be noted moreover that so far the disease, like religious controversy, has been peculiar to the inhabitants of our continent.[8] The Turks, the Indians, the Persians, the Chinese, the Siamese and the Japanese have yet to encounter it; but the sufficient reason already exists for them to know it in their turn, a few centuries hence. Meanwhile, it is making splendid progress amongst ourselves, and especially in those great armies of upstanding and well-bred mercenaries which decide the destiny of nations; you may be sure that when thirty thousand men engage in pitched battle against equal numbers, there are twenty thousand cases of pox on either side.'

‘Well, that is certainly remarkable,’ said Candide, ‘but now we must have you treated.’ – ‘But how can we?’ said Pangloss. ‘I don't have a sou, my friend, and nowhere in this wide world can one get oneself bled or obtain so much as an enema without paying for it, or without someone else paying.'

This last remark decided Candide; he went and threw himself at the feet of his charitable Anabaptist, Jacques, and painted so affecting a picture of the state to which his friend was reduced, that the good man did not hesitate in taking Doctor Pangloss under his roof; he had him treated at his own expense. The cure was effected with only the loss of one eye and one ear. Pangloss could write legibly and his arithmetic was faultless, so the Anabaptist made him his bookkeeper. At the end of two months, being obliged to sail to Lisbon on business, he took his two philosophers with him on board. During the voyage Pangloss explained to him how all things are arranged for the best. Jacques was not of this view. ‘Mankind must have corrupted nature just a little,’ he would say, ‘for men are not born wolves, yet they have become wolves.[9] God gave them neither twenty-four-pounders nor bayonets,[10] yet they have made themselves bayonets and twenty-four-pounders to destroy one another. Or I could instance bankruptcies, and the courts which seize the effects of the bankrupt only to cheat his creditors,[11] – ‘All this is indispensable,’ countered the one-eyed doctor, ‘and private ills make up the general good,[12] so that the greater the sum of private ills the better everything is.’ While he was reasoning thus, the sky darkened, the winds blew from the four corners of the earth, and their ship was assailed by the most terrible storm, all within sight of the port of Lisbon.


Chapter 1
[1] seventy-one quarterings: Divisions in heraldry, indicated on a coat of arms: a noble has as many quarterings as he has maternal and paternal ancestors among the nobility. Admission to knighthood was granted on the basis of sixteen quarterings. To possess seventy-one is to possess an absurd impossibility; Cunegonde possesses seventy-two – such is the intransigent pride of the German petty princes. .
[2] Pangloss: In composing the character of Pangloss, Voltaire may have been thinking of Leibniz’s disciple Christian Wolff (1679-1754), and perhaps also of the French philosopher and writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78). In 1756 Voltaire had written an attack on Rousseau entitled Lettre au docteur Jean-Jacques Pansophe (Letter to Doctor Jean-Jacques Pansophe – ‘pansophe’ means ‘all-knowing’).
[3] metaphysico-theologico-cosmo-nigology: Voltaire’s assault on cosmic optimism is a compound-caricature of Leibniz, Pope and Wolff, the latter a rigidly systematic thinker who introduced the word ‘cosmology’ to a wider world; ‘nigology’ comes from nigaud (‘booby’).
[4] no effect without cause: Leibniz: ‘Nothing ever happens without a cause or at least a sufficient [determining] reason’ (Theodiceee (1710), I, 44; translated as Essays in Theodicy on the Goodness of God, the Liberty of Man, and the Origin of Evil), which Voltaire here reduces to tautology. Voltaire’s comedy habitually separates cause and effect. .
[5] all is for the best: The passage is a burlesque reductio of the principle of final causes, or the argument from design. Voltaire accepted a moderate form of the principle, but attacked extreme materialist versions of it. Cf. his article on ‘Final Causes’ in the Philosophical Dictionary (transl. Theodore Besterman, London, 1972, pp. 205-7). Philosophically, ‘all is for the best’ means that each thing is justified by its purpose in the plan of Creation, but common parlance turns the expression into abject enthusiasm for the world as it is.
[6] sufficient reason: A Leibnizian term (referring to that quality, in each thing, which explains and justifies its existence), satirically redirected here from metaphysical to physical concerns. The volitions of God are ‘sufficient reasons’ determined by our perception of the good. Leibniz intended his principle as a criterion of truth in the sphere of the contingent, that is, of experience. It suggests a rationally constructed universe and so is connected with his Optimism. Voltaire judged the principle to be a case of obfuscation, and reduces it to the simple notion of cause and effect.

Chapter 2
[1] Valdberghoff-trarbk-dikdorff: A composite name which mocks the German language and its compounds: vald (Wald) – ‘wood’; berg (Berg) – ‘mountain’; hoff (Hof) – ‘court’; dorff (Dorf) ‘village’. The title-page of Candide describes it as a work ‘translated from the German’.
[2] Two men dressed in blue: The uniform of Frederick the Great’s feared recruiting officers.
[3] écus: Old form of French currency.
[4] King of the Bulgars: The Abars and the Bulgars, whom Voltaire had encountered while researching his Essai sur l’histoire générale et sur les mceurs et l’esprit de nations (Essay on General History and on the Manners and Spirit of the Nations, 1756), were two barbarian nations who laid waste the Byzantine empire in the eighth and ninth centuries. In the contemporary setting of the Seven Years’ War (1756-63), the references to recruiting officers and to the tallness of recruits suggest that the Bulgars represent the Prussians and the Abars the French. Etymologically, ‘Bulgars’ also imputes homosexuality to Frederick and his tall troops (‘bulgar’ – ‘bougre’, ‘bugger’).
[5] your glory is assured: By accepting the King’s money and toasting the King’s health, Candide has unwittingly signed up for military service.
[6] ramrod: Used for pressing the charge down the muzzle of the gun. The manoeuvres described by Voltaire were newly essential to success on the field of battle in the eighteenth century – by increasing their speed and synchronization, the Prussians increased their mobility as a fighting force and reduced their losses. Voltaire had witnessed the militarization of the Prussian army in Potsdam during his stay with Frederick (1750-53), and he closely followed developments in military tactics, as evidenced in the opening of the next chapter.
[7] freedom of the will: Under Frederick’s influence Voltaire had abandoned the doctrine of freedom of the will, which he had formerly defended (in his Eléments de la philosophie de Newton (Elements of the Philosophy of Newton), 1740) and would subsequently mock.
[8] thirty-six times: In his Mémoires pour servir à la vie de M. de Voltaire (Memoirs Related to the Life of M. Voltaire, written 1759-60), Voltaire describes this punishment being meted out to deserters from the Prussian army. while Frederick watched from his windows. There is also a reminiscence here of a French nobleman press-ganged by Prussian officers. who deserted, was recaptured and bastinadoed ‘thirty-six’ times. Voltaire interceded on his behalf.
[9] sung in all the newspapers for all the ages: A satire on Frederick’s gift for propaganda; the phrase ‘in all the newspapers’ was an addition, not present in the manuscript.
[10] Dioscorides: A first-century AD Greek doctor, satirically cited by François de Rabelais (c. 1493-1553) in Gargantua (1534) and hardly an up-to-date medical authority (though still cited in the eighteenth century).

Chapter 3
[1] a harmony such as was never heard in hell: An ironic reference to Leibniz’s theory of pre-established harmony. The Seven Years’ War was being waged during the composition and publication of Candide. According to the 1761 title-page. Doctor Ralph, purported author of Candide, perished in this same war in 1759. Voltaire wrote to an English correspondent. George Keith, on 4 October 1759: ‘The present war is the most hellish that ever was fought. Your Lordship saw formerly one battle a year at most; but nowadays the earth is covered with blood and mangled carcasses almost every month. Let the contented lunatics who say that “All that Is, Is Well” be confounded! ’Tis not so, indeed, with twenty provinces exhausted and three hundred thousand men murdered. I wish your Lordship the peace of mind necessary in this lasting hurricane of horror.’
[2] scoundrels who were infesting its surface: Soldiers were commonly seen as recruited from the dregs of the population.
[3] First the cannon … a few thousand more: Voltaire’s description follows the usual sequence of eighteenth-century battles: artillery exchanges followed by infantry, followed by hand-to-hand fighting with bayonets. He omits the cavalry charge.
[4] Te Deums: Hymns of thanksgiving in the Catholic liturgy. Traditionally sung after victories: 'a ceremony established to encourage the people. whom it is essential always to deceive' (Voltaire, Le Siecle de Louis XIV (The Age of Louis XIV). 1751). That the Te Deum was often sung simultaneously in both camps, for propaganda purposes. had already been criticized as ludicrous by the philosopher Pierre Bayle (1647–1706) in his Dictionnaire historique et critique (Historical and Critical Dictionary, 1695-7), and is one of the commonplaces of Voltaire's antireligious polemic.
[5] international laws: Theorists of international law, such as Hugo Grotius (1583–1645). had tried to legalize what they could not proscribe: hence the theoretical justification of pillage or slavery, for example. which outraged Voltaire.
[6] Here old men ... arms and legs: The description in this passage is faithful to contemporary accounts of the realities of war: a synthesis rather than an exaggeration. ‘None of the atrocities in Candide is invented’ (Jean Starobinski, ‘Voltaire’s Double-Barrelled Musket’. in Blessings in Disguise (California, 1993). p. 85)·
[7] dealt with it accordingly: In his manuscript Voltaire originally added the sentence: 'Virtually the entire province had been destroyed.’
[8] He begged alms…how to earn his living: Begging was prohibited in Holland. and Voltaire was a supporter of such measures.
[9] This orator: A Protestant pastor: after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1695). Holland became one of the centres of asylum for free-thinkers, Protestants and proselytizers against Rome.
[10] a child of necessity: The Leibnizian principle that all phenomena are of necessity linked to one another, though the satire here is anti-determinist rather than specifically anti-Leibnizian.
[11] Anti-Christ: A view maintained by orthodox Calvinists.
[12] Anabaptist: A member of a sixteenth-century Protestant sect, widespread in Holland and Westphalia. Anabaptists rejected infant baptism. maintaining that only adults could choose Christianity. Having originally been unpopular for their sanguinary and radical views on property and religious discipline, they had settled down in the eighteenth century, becoming peaceful burghers -industrious, altruistic, tolerant of other sects - and as such had earned Voltaire’s approval.
[13] two legs, no feathers and a soul: The Anabaptist adds a soul to this famously minimal definition of man, coined – according to Aristotle – by one of the philosophers of the Academy (whereupon Antisthenes, the Cynic, presented him with a chicken).

Chapter 3
[1] brought him to his senses ... in the stable: The manuscript reads: ‘brought him to his senses by giving him a beaker of cow’s urine’ – more likely to be found in a stable than ‘vinegar’.
[2] not one stone remains standing on another: Cf. Mark 13:2: ‘There shall not be left one stone upon another.’
[3] a very learned Franciscan: The epithet is in jest: the mendicant orders were widely regarded as ignorant and morally lax, corrupted by their comings and goings in society.
[4] Jesuit: There was a routine jest that Jesuits were homosexual, on account of their passion for pedagogy. Voltaire elsewhere criticized their ‘pride’ and ‘thirst for power’, but he also praised their ‘austerity’ and ‘virtue’.
[5] genealogy: A parody of biblical genealogies; the venereal theme was a favourite of Voltaire, partly because of its force as a proof against Optimism (a benevolent God would hardly meddle with the machinery of procreation). He had read widely on the subject, and in this passage he follows the physician Jean Astruc’s (1684-1766) Treatise on Venereal Illnesses (1734), which located the origins of syphilis in the Caribbean. It was generally believed that syphilis was introduced into Europe by followers of Columbus returning from the Americas. ‘The venom which poisons the source of life originated in the Caribbean; each climate on this unhappy globe has its poison. where nature has blended a little good with a lot of evil’ (Essay on the Manners and Spirit of the Nations).
[6] necessary ingredient: A parody of the Optimist doctrine that evil is necessary to the ‘universal harmony’.
[7] cochineal: An insect imported from Mexico. from which a scarlet dye was produced.
[8] peculiar to the inhabitants of our continent: The manuscript reads: ‘peculiar to Christians’.
[9] men are not born wolves, yet they have become wolves: An allusion to the Latin motto of Thomas Hobbes’s (1588-1619) philosophy: homo homini lupus (‘man is a wolf to man’). Voltaire may he alluding satirically to Rousseau and the primitivist view that man had degenerated from his original state of natural goodness. The notion that man had corrupted nature was universal in the eighteenth century. if variously nuanced. Voltaire did not consider the primitive state to be superior to civilized society – his target is the doctrine of original sin, with its suggestion that individuals are born evil.
[10] neither twenty-four-pounders nor bayonets: Twenty-four pounders were the largest cannon deployed by the French, whose cannon-balls weighing twenty-four pounds caused heavy losses to the enemy; bayonets were invented in 1670 and became widespread in infantry regiments during the eighteenth century, making hand-to-hand fighting a great deal more murderous.
[11] the courts which seize ... creditors: In 1754 Voltaire lost 8,000 livres of income from the bankruptcy of the son of the famous banker Samuel Bernard. in whose hands he had placed part of his fortune. In 1758 he tried to recover some of these losses. A bankrupt’s creditors could normally hope to be compensated by division of the bankrupt’s estate. but the law delayed the process by seizing all of the estate in the first instance, from which it would then deduct costs.
[12] private ills make up the general good: A philosophical view which rested on a Newtonian vision of the world, and which became a cliché of Leibnizian ‘Optimism’. Voltaire was an adherent of this view. but turned against it prior to Candide (cf. Zadig, Memnon, Poem on the Lisbon Disaster). In Panglossian caricature, all evils are part of the general good: the more evil, so to speak, the better.