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St Simon

St.-Simon, CLAUDE HENRI, COUNT DE (1760-1825), socialist and humanitarian, was born at Paris and studied under D'Alembert, afterwards serving in the army for twelve years. His sym~ pathetic nature led to his founding the party or sect called after his name, his desire being to ameliorate the suffering of the masses. In pursuance of this object he spent his fortune, and, disbelieving in hereditary rank, renounced his title. One of his chief propositions was that industry alone was the cause of happiness, and that rank should depend upon the fitness of the individual to live up to the ideal of labour. He made himself a beggar by his scheme, and was at times literally starving, being glad at last to obtain a clerkship at £40 a year. In 1823 he attempted suicide. He had comparatively few disciples, though many of them were, or became, men of high distinction. The sect broke up chiefly through disputes as to the position of women. His system was an essentia11y religious and despotic type of Socialism. In 1807 he formulated it in the Introduction to the Scientific Achievements of the 19th Century, and his later works, such as Catechisme des Industriels, Nouveau Christianisme, L'Industrie, on Discussions politiques, morales et philosophiques, are full of his ardent philanthropy. He was the inspirer of Auguste Comte (q.v.).