The Jesuit Baron

We are given a physical description of the young German Baron and this helps us to see him as an individual.  This is how Candide sees him when they are reunited in Paraguay.  Chapter 14 Page 89:
C'était un très beau jeune homme, le visage plein, assez blanc, haut en couleur, le sourcil relevé, l'oeil vif, l'oreille rouge, les lèvres vermeilles, l'air fier, mais d'une fierté qui n'était ni celle d'un Espagnol ni celle d'un jésuite.

It has to be admitted that this is not a very precise portrait but it brings out his two most important features – his striking good looks and his arrogance.

The baron’s representation of the arrogance of the German nobility.

His arrogance is seen in his supercilious expression and his pride is of a distinct brand, because his father was a nobleman in the German region of Westphalia and he is the worthy son.

Voltaire had suffered at the hands of the Germans after he had fallen out of favour with Frederick the Great and through the behaviour of the young Jesuit baron, Voltaire seeks to satirise the hollow pretentiousness of the German nobility.  There is no substance in their sense of superiority. In the first chapter we are told that his father was one of the most powerful lords in the whole country, because his château had a door and windows. 
The son shows the snobbish characteristics of the German nobility.  After Candide had met the young Baron, now a Jesuit priest, in South America, Candide told him of his intention to marry his sister.  At this the Baron became furious with indignation
Chapter 15 page 92
— Vous, insolent! répondit le baron, vous auriez l'impudence d'épouser ma sœur, qui a soixante et douze quartiers! Je vous trouve bien effronté d'oser me parler d'un dessein si téméraire!»

During the quarrel the baron asserted his social superiority by giving Candide a mighty slap across the face with the flat of his sword and Candide, with the reaction of a trained soldier ran him through.  For a second time, the baron appears to be dead.  Candide to his horror is certain that he has killed him.
The baron survives and his arrogance survives unchanged.  When Candide bought the Baron's freedom from brutal enslavement on a galley, the baron responded only with a haughty nod of the head to an underling and promised to repay him. Chapter 27 Page 141
Il paya incontinent la rançon du baron et de Pangloss. Celui-ci se jeta aux pieds de son libérateur, et les baigna de larmes; l'autre le remercia par un signe de tête, et lui promit de lui rendre cet argent à la première occasion.

The baron’s sense of gratitude is such that when the previous situation recurs with Candide informing him of his intention of marrying his sister, the baron again refuses his permission, insisting that she can only marry a baron of the Empire.

The baron’s representation of the Jesuit order and of contemporary religious ethics

The baron is a dual target for Voltaire’s satire, because not only is he a German nobleman, but he is also a Jesuit priest.

After the massacre of his family by the Bulgare soldiers, a Jesuit priest had anointed his body with holy water and the salt had revived him. He was a pretty boy and the superior of the Jesuit monastery took a tender liking to him and introduced him into their order. 
Page 91 « Vous savez, mon cher Candide, que j'étais  fort joli ; je le devins encore davantage; aussi le révérend  père Croust, supérieur de la maison, prit pour moi la plus tendre amitié : il me donna l'habit de novice;

In his attack on the Jesuits bought Voltaire was reflecting not only his own hostility but also the international distrust felt at the growing power of the Jesuits  In France this culminated in 1764, when the Jesuit order was officially expelled from France.  The measure was brought in by the French parlement, even in the face of the disapproval of the king, Louis XVI.

Voltaire satirises the role of this religious order through the experiences of the Baron.  It was shortly after the baron joined the Jesuits that the head of the order began a drive to recruit German Jesuits to fight in defence of the Jesuit territories in South America.   In 1756, the Spanish and Portuguese armies had launched an attack to regain control of these territories.

 When Cadide meets the baron Paraguay, the latter is an officer in the Jesuit army.   Voltaire gets the maximum satirical effect out of the irony of priests waging war.  When Candide asks to speak to the Jesuit commander, he is told.  Chapter 14 Page 89
- Il est à la parade après avoir dit sa messe, répondit le sergent, et vous ne pourrez baiser ses éperons que dans trois heures.

There is powerful satire from the contrast of the opulence of the baron's lifestyle as a Jesuit priest set against the poverty of the native population.  The baron is living in a military encampment, but his quarters have a marble colonnade and include a collection of exotic birds.  He eats the finest cuisine served in gold dishes.  Cacambo had previously described the situation with bitter irony. Chapter 14  page 88:
 - Los Padres y ont tout, et les peuples rien; c’est le chef-d'oeuvre de la raison et de la justice.

Voltaire enjoys showing  the Jesuits to be as unpopular with the cannibals of Paraguay as they were with many people in France.  When Candide and Cacambo are being made ready for the cooking pot the cannibals dance around them crying: Chapter 16 page 95:
 - mangeons du jésuite, mangeons du jésuite;
It is recorded that by 1759 these three words had become a catchphrase in France, reflecting the public mood. 

The immorality of people of religion depicted in the baron’s life

Although the account is not totally explicit, there is a very strong suggestion hart some members of the order were not over-conscientious in obeying the vow of chastity.  As we have seen above, the qualifications that recommended him to the Jesuit superior were his very pretty looks.

After.recovering from his stabbing in the quarrel with Candide, the baron was appointed to the post of  chaplain to the Ambassador of France in Constantinople.  He had not been there a week when he went bathing in the nude with a young Muslim boy.     Chapter 28 Page 142 
Je fus nommé pour aller servir d'aumônier à Constantinople auprès de monsieur l'ambassadeur de France. Il n'y avait pas huit jours que j'étais entré en fonction, quand je trouvai sur le soir un jeune icoglan très bien fait. Il faisait fort chaud: le jeune homme voulut se baigner; je pris cette occasion de me baigner aussi. Je ne savais pas que ce fût un crime capital pour un chrétien d'être trouvé tout nu avec un jeune musulman.
He was caught, caned on the sole of his feet 100 times and sent to the galley.  The Turkish authorities were far from convinced about his caste intentions.

The picture which the baron presents of man’s unhappy lot.
In a book illustrating human suffering, Voltaire gives his German Jesuit a particularly grim fate.  The baron had his throat cut by the Bulgare soldiers, suffered near fatal injuries on a second occasion; was made to serve on the galleys (also twice) where he was regularly whipped.

The Baron is the only one of the group of characters around whom the book revolves who has no place in Candide's new life.  After discussing what to do with him, Candide and his friends overrule Martin, who proposed drowning, and decide to put him back as a galley slave, in order to get him shipped eventually to rejoin his order in Rome.  Cunégonde is not informed.  This was a perfect solution.  Chapter 30 Page 146:
….on eut le plaisir d’attraper un jésuite, et de punir l’orgueil d’un baron allemand.