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"No great state," says Hannibal, "can long remain quiet: if it ceases to have enemies abroad, it will find them at home-as powerful bodies resist all external attacks, but are wasted away by their own internal strength."* What a commentary on the words of the Carthaginian hero does the last year-THE YEAR OF REVOLUTIONS-afford! What enthusiasm has it witnessed, what efforts engendered, what illusions dispelled, what misery produced! How bitterly have nations, as well as individuals, within its short bounds, learned wisdom by suffering-how many lessons has experience taught how much agony has wickedness brought in its train. Among the foremost in all the periods of history, this memorable year will ever stand forth, a subject of undying interest to succeeding generations, a lasting beacon to mankind amidst the folly or insanity of future times. To it the young and the ardent will for ever turn, for the most singular scenes of social strife, the most thrilling incidents of private suffering: to it the aged will point as the most striking warning of the desperate effects of general delusion, the most unanswerable demonstration of the moral government of the world.
That God will visit the sins of the fathers upon the children was pro
claimed to the Israelites amidst the thunders of Mount Sinai, and has been felt by every succeeding generation of men. But it is not now upon the third or the fourth generation that the punishment of transgression falls-it is felt in it full bitterness by the transgressors themselves. The extension of knowledge, the diffusion of education, the art of printing, the increased rapidity of travelling, the long duration of peace in consequence of the exhaustion of former wars, have so accelerated the march of events, that what was slowly effected in former times, during several successive generations, by the gradual development of national passions, is now at once brought to maturity by the fervent spirit which is generally awakened, and the vehement passions which are everywhere brought into action.
Everything now goes on at the gallop. There is a railway speed in the stirring of the mind, not less than in the movement of the bodies of men. The social and political passions have acquired such intensity, and been so widely diffused, that their inevitable results are almost immediately produced. The period of seed-time and harvest has become as short in political as it is in agricultural labour. A single year brings its appropriate fruits to maturity in the
"Nulla magna civitas diu quiescere potest: si foris hostem non habet, domi invenit ut prævalida corpora ab extremis causis tuta videntur, sed suis ipsa viribus onerantur. Tantum, nimirum, ex publicis malis sentimus, quantum ad res privatas pertinet; nec in eis quicquam acrius, quam pecuniæ damnum, stimulat."-LIVY, XXX. 44.
VOL. LXV.-NO. CCCXCIX.