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stantine, his victorious religion broke the violence of the fall, and mollified the ferocious temper of the conquerors. This awful revolution may be usefully applied to the instruction of the present age. It is the duty of a patriot to prefer and promote the exclusive interest and glory of his native country; but a philosopher may be permitted to enlarge his views, and to consider Europe as oiie great republic, whose various inhabitants have attained almost the same level of politeness and cultivation. The balance of power will continue to fluctuate, and the prosperity of our own, or the neighbouring kingdoms, may be alternately exalted or depressed; but these partial events cannot essentially injure our general state of happiness, the system of arts, and laws, and manners, which so advantageously distinguish above the rest of mankind, the Europeans and their colonies. The savage nations of the globe are the common enemies of civilized society; and we may inquire with anxious curiosity, whether Europe is still threatened with a repetition of those calamities, which formerly oppressed the arms and institutions of Rome. Perhaps the same reflections will illustrate the fall of that mighty empire, and explain the probable causes of our actual security.
I. The Romans were ignorant of the extent of their danger, and the number of their enemies. Beyond the Rhine and Danube, the northern countries of Europe and Asia were filled with innumerable tribes of hunters aind shepherds, poor, voracious, and turbulent; bold in arms, and impatient to ravish the fruits of industry. The barbarian world was agitated by the rapid impulse of war; and the peace of Gaul or Italy was shaken by the distant revolutions of China. The Huns, who fled before a victorious enemy, directed their march towards the west: and the torrent was swelled by the gradual accession of captives and allies. The flying tribes who yielded to the Huns, assumed in their turn the spirit of conquest; the endless column of barbarians pressed on the Roman empire with accumulated weight; and, if the foremost were destroyed, the vacant space was instantly replenished by new assailants. Such formidable emigrations can no longer issue from the north; and the long repose, which has been imputed to the decrease of population, is the happy consequence of the progress of arts and agriculture. Instead of some rude villages, thinly scattered among its woods and morasses, Germany now produces a list of two thousand three hundred walled towns; the Christian kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden, and Poland, have been successively established; and the Hanse merchants with the Teutonic knights, have extended their colonies along the coast of the Baltic, as far as the gulf of Finland. From the gulf of Finland to the eastern ocean, Russia now assumes the form of a powerful and civilized empire. The plough, the loom, and the forge, are introduced on the banks of the Volga, the Oby, and the Lena; and the fiercest of the Tartar hordes have been taught to tremble and obey. The reign of independent barbarism is now contracted to a narrow span; and the remnant of Calmucs or Uzbecs, whose forces may be almost numbered, cannot seriously excite the apprehensions of the great republic of Europe. Yet this apparent security should not tempt us to forget that new enemies and unknown dangers may -possibly arise from some obscure people, scarcely visible in the map of the world. The Arabs, or Saracens, who spread their conquests from India to Spain, had languished in poverty and contempt, till Mahomet breathed into those savage bodies the soul of enthusiasm/
II. The empire of Rome was firmly established by the singular and perfect coalition of its members. The subject nations, resigning the hope, and even the wish of independence, embraced the character of Roman citizens; and the provinces of the west were reluctantly torn by the barbarians from the bosom of their mother-country.8 But this union was purchased by the loss of national freedom and military spirit; and the servile provinces, destitute of life and motion, expected their safety from the mercenary troops and governors, who were directed by the orders of a distant court. The happiness of a hundred millions depended on the personal merit of one or two men, perhaps children, whose minds were corrupted by education, luxury, and despotic power. The deepest wounds were inflicted on the empire during the minorities of the sons and grandsons of Theodosius; and after those incapable princes seemed to attain the age of manhood, they abandoned the church to the bishops, the state to the eunuchs, and the provinces to the barbarians. Europe is now divided into twelve powerful, though unequal kingdoms, three respectable commonwealths, and a variety of smaller, though independent, states: the chances of royal and ministerial talents are multiplied at least with the number of its rulers; and a Julian, or Semiramis, may reign in the north, while Arcadius and Honorius again slumber on the thrones of the south. The abuses of tyranny are restrained by the mutual influence of fear and shame: republics have acquired order and stability; monarchies have imbibed the principles of freedom, or at least, of moderation; and some sense of honour and justice is introduced into the most defective constitutions, by the general manners of the times. In peace, the progress of knowledge and industry is accelerated by the emulation of so many active rivals; in war, the European forces are exercised by temperate and indecisive contests. If a savage conqueror should issue from the deserts of Tartary, he must repeatedly vanquish the robust peasants of Russia, the numerous armies of Germany, the gallant nobles of France, and the intrepid freedom of Britain; who, perhaps, might confederate for their common defence. Should the victorious barbarians carry slavery and desolation as far as the Atlantic ocean, ten thousand vessels would transport beyond their pursuit, the remains of civilized society; and Europe would revive and flourish in the American world, which is already filled with her colonies and institutions.11
1 The French and English editors of the Genealogical History of the Tartar s have subjoined a curious, though imperfect, description of their present state. We might question the independence of the Calmucs, or Eluths, since they have been recently vanquished by the Chinese, who, in the year 17.59, subdued the lesser Buchaha and advanced into the country of Badakshan, near the sources of the Oxus. (Memoiressur les Chinois, tom. 1. p. 325—400.) But these conquests are precarious, nor will I venture to ensure the safety of the Chinese empire.
* The prudent reader will determine how far this general proposition is weakened by the revolt of the Isaurians, the independence of Britain and Armorica, the Moorish tribes, or the Bagaudae of Gaul and Spain, (vol. 1. p. 340; vol. S. p. 273. 337. 434 .)
III. Cold, poverty, and a life of danger and fatigue, fortify the strength and courage of barbarians. In every age they have oppressed the polite and peaceful nations of China, India, and Persia, who neglected, and still fleglect, to counterbalance these natural powers by the resources of military art. The warlike states of antiquity, Greece, Macedonia, and Rome, educated a race of soldiers; exercised their bodies, disciplined their courage, multiplied their forces by regular evolutions, and converted the iron which they possessed into strong and serviceable weapons. But this superiority insensibly declined with their laws and manners; and the feeble policy of Constantine and his successors armed and instructed, for the ruin of the empire, the rude valour of the barbarian mercenaries. The military art has been changed by the invention of gunpowder, which enables men to command the two most powerful agents of nature, air and fire. Mathematics, chemistry, mechanics, architecture, have been applied to the service of war; and the adverse parties oppose to each other the most elaborate modes of attack and of defence. Historians may indignantly observe, that the preparations of a siege would found and maintain a flourishing colony;1 yet we
11 America now contains about Six mil lions of European blood and descent; and their numbers, at least in the north, are continually increasing. Whatever may be the changes of their political situation, they must preserve the manners of Europe; and we may reflect with some pleasure, that the English language will probably be diffused over an immense and populous continent.
'On avoit fait venir (for the siege of Turin) 140 pieces de canon; et il est "a rem.irqni r que chaquc gros canon moritt revient a environ 2000 ecus: il y avoit 110,000 boulets; 106,000 cartouches d'un facon, et 300,000 d'uue autre; 21,000 homhes; 27,700 grenades; 15,000 sacs ;i terrc; 30,000 instruments pour le pionnage; 1,200,000 livres de poudre. Ajoutez i ces munitions, le plumb, le for, et le fer-blanc, les cordages, tout ce qui fort auxmineurs, le souphre, le salpetre, lei oulils de toute espece. II eat certain quo lea frais de tous cea pr£paratifs de il<'structiou surtiroient pour fonder et pour faire fleurir la plus nombreuse colonie. Voltaire, Siecle de Louis XIV. c. 20, in his Works, tom. 11. p. 391.
cannot be displeased, that the subversion of a city should be a work of cost and difficulty; or that an industrious people should be protected by those arts, which survive and supply the decay of military virtue. Cannon and fortifications now form an impregnable barrier against the Tartar horse; and Europe is secure from any future irruption of. barbarians; since, before they can conquer, they must cease to be barbarous. Their gradual advances in the science of war would always be accompanied, as we may learn from the example of Russia, with a proportionable improvement in the arts of peace and civil policy; and they themselves must deserve a place among the polished nations whom they subdue.
Should these speculations be found doubtful or fallacious, there still remains a more humble source of comfort and hope. The discoveries of ancient and modern navigators, and the domestic history, or tradition, of the most enlightened nations, represent the human savage, naked both in mind and body, and destitute of laws, of arts, of ideas, and almost of language.11 From this abject condition, perhaps the primitive and universal state of man, he has gradually arisen to command the animals, to fertilize the earth, to traverse the ocean, and to measure the heavens. His progress in the improvement and exercise of his mental and corporeal faculties1 has been irregular and various; infinitely slow in the beginning,
k It would be an easy, though tedious, task to produce the authorities of poets, philosophers, and historians. I shall therefore content myself with appealing to the decisive and authentic testimony of Diodorus Siculus, (tom. 1. lib. 1. p. 11, I i; lib. 3. p. 184, &c. edit. Wesseling.) The Icthyophagi, who in his time wandered along the shores of the Red sea, can only be compared to the natives of New Holland. (Dampier's Voyages, vol. 1. p. 464—469.) Fancy, or perhaps reason, may still suppose an extreme and absolute state of nature far below the level of these savages, who had acquired some arts and instruments.
1 See the leamed and rational work of the president Goguet, dc 1'Origine des Ixnx, des Arts et des Sciences. He traces from facts, or conjectures (tom. 1. !'• 147—337. edit. 1 '.'mo.) the first and most difficult steps of human invention.