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and those silent causes which mould nations are not amenable to royal authority.
There is native to every man a certain degree of vital and mental energy, the sum of which in a nation constitutes that moving force which produces the tidal flow of history. This energy must have its vent and its channel, and if powerfully flowing in one direction cannot be long held back. All the kingship in the world would seek in vain to repress its current. The only imperial power is that of directing or shrewdly dividing the stream into opposing branches. The force resident in a state is not easily measured, and is seldom fully appreciated. It is both physical and mental : the physical highly in the ascendant in the earlier stages of national existence; the mental gaining precedence in the end. A man is in a certain sense a inachine, eliminating muscular force and nervous energy from the elements of nature. These forces must find vent in some direction, and their total sum marks the limits of a nation's capabilities; at least in those earlier stages of existence, ere man has learned to add to his own energies the forces of inorganic nature. Degree given, direction follows, and direction is hero a nerve-process, proceeding from the brain and controlled by the mental energies. Mind overrules and directs the action of the vital motive forces, and the greatest king is he who acts as the brain of his people, most fully comprehending their character, and most capable of combining and directing their mental powers.
In man's primitive condition national force is greatly lacking in directive power. Each person obeys his unrestrained impulses, and license widely prevails. There is no progress, because no combinations of the people, no blending of selfish interests to fixed ends. This stage of existence ends when some aspiring soul, invested with the authority of age or strength, assumes leadership of the people, and by using their combined force, achieves results which clearly display the utility of subordination.
Thus everywhere arose chieftainship, the first rude correllation of human energies and their employment in fixed channels. Selfishness and cupidity are the feelings most at work in such a state of society : law means strength, and failure is the only crime recognized in the earliest unwritten code. Hence war is everywhere the employment of nucultivated nations, and national energy first displays itself on the field of battle. The mental desires of men lie at the basis of all their actions. These at first tend only to the gratification of appetite. The stomach is the inspiring canse of the earliest warfare. The battle against beasts becomes battle against man as soon as his possessions tempt the cupidity of his fellows.
Some tribes possess lands more favored by nature than others, blessed with food-producing trees and animals. The possession of these lands becomes a strong incentive to strife. This continuous battling adds rapidly to the authority of the successful chief. As the minds of his followers yield inore readily to his directing genius, and subordination becomes a fixed habit, he devises new wars, less for the benefit of his people than for the increase of his authority and reputation. Thus ambition becomes one of the vigorous elements of history.
Nations, thus habituated to warfare, and accustomed to forcibly seize the possessions of weaker or more peaceful neighbors, lost all taste for industrial pursuits. It was much easier to take by force than to gain by labor, and these warlike races became the scourges of all neighboring tribes, their native energies being forcibly bent in one direction, and combined to fixed ends* by their subordination to the rule of their chief.
Not only aggression but defence had to be provided for, and to this numbers became necessary. Weak tribes enrolled themselves under the standards of successful chieftains, others were forced to become tributary either in money or men, and powerful kingdoms arose, the military authority of the successful leader merging into the absolute government of the despotic king. In these primitive periods national force was mainly applied to purposes of destruction. The industries of the more peaceful nations were trodden under foot by their fierce neighbors, and themselves enslaved or exterminated.
Whitney's Oriental Studies, p. 26.
Yet despite this constant overthrow of the results of industry, and the conservative grasp with which each tribe forbade development in its few arts, the world of mankind was improving, and laying up wealth against the long future before it. Man was developing physically, improving in bone, blood, nerve, and sinew, and building a splendid physical foundation for the great mental structure yet to be erected.
Before the onslaught of vigorous barbarians, effete tribes were swept away, and their places filled with the muscular vigor of conquering races. These latter, transplanted to new scenes, and gradually acquiring the peaceful pursuits of their predecessors, applied to art and industry the energy they had applied to war. Industrial development thus advanced in successive waves, as the hand of the warrior grasped with martial vigor the implements of peace, improving on the old and originating new processes. As each such tribe reached its limit of progress, and settled into peace and conservatism, new migrations swept over its territories, and fresh blood replaced the effete strain of the settled inhabitants.
This process, continned through generations-through centuries, through ages, whose immense duration science is but faintly beginning to determine--could not fail to produce a powerful effect upon the physiqne of mankind. true process of natural selection, in which the weak constantly yielded to the strong, mankind developing at once in muscular vigor and in mental strength through the action of these varied causes. As man's powers advanced, the mind gradually gained preöminence over the muscles, and in the great treasury of mankind mental as well as physical wealth began to accumulate.
With the era of mental progress the blind tendency to destruction, which had formerly animated the tribes, ceased to employ all the energies of the vigorous races ; a portion of their strength was applied to purposes of construction, and the world began more rapidly to lay up stock for that grand future to which all things tend. This process of construction had its two phases: physical and mental; the physical the sport of barbarous aggression, its remains, ruins; the mental,
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safe from the sword, and possessed of a vitality which the assaults of time itself failed to overcome.
The earliest mental constructive movement of mankind lay in the invention of language, that rare vehicle of thought which has since grown into so colossal proportions that the study of its growth, its decadence, its correllations, and its present forms, constitutes not the least intricate of the sciences. In this great philological labor there was probably little plan and as little consciousness of the amount of work performed. The man who invented a new root or a fresh idea of grammatical inflection, did so unconscious of merit; the man who built a new tower or temple, supposed his labor was to be the delight of latest futurity; yet the temple has crumbled into dust, while the root remains, the vital centre of a grand tree of words. There has been a vast amount of mental energy applied in this direction, and the present is rich with the labor of the past, rich to an extent we should fully appre. ciate were we now deprived of language and had to devote our national force to rebuild it.
But coeval with language appears religion. Superstition is as old as thought, and its productions are invested with an antiquity to which history can lay no claim. Yet many of the ancient beliefs and fancies are vital to the present day, still living in the legends and popular observances of Christian nations. Through ages of advancing.doctrines and creeds, the world has been moving onward and upward; passing from the lowest fetichism, through successive grades of nature-worship, astronomical religion, and mythology, to the highest of philosophical and metaphysical creeds. Each level of belief, as attained, serves as a resting-place and foot-hold for the mind of man, from which he steps upwards, in the fulness of time, to a higher level.
Thus each creed-maker, each delver into the mysteries of the unseen world, who, in his conception of the gods, saw further into the infinite than his fellows, who discovered a new moral apothegm, or at any point displayed a higher appreciation of man's duties, paid his tax in the purest coin into the great human treasury.
Man moves not upwards per saltum, but by slow and painful efforts; in some lines of development and at some stages of growth, centuries adding but imperceptibly to his progress. The human search for truth has been that of the unskilled man, who wanders through a valley of minerals in search of precious stones. One shining pebble after another is admired, cherished, and finally discarded for a more attractive stone, and only after many errors and many renewed attempts does he at last learn the tests by which the true jewel may be distinguished.
So we are the richer that our unskilled ancestors slowly educated themselves into an appreciation of religious truth, trying and discarding system after system, growing into successive higher creeds, building gradually a grand temple of morality, and forcing rude and rebellious man to worship therein. Thus, when the time came for Christianity to collate into à vital whole these moral apothegms of the past, it found the mind of man ready to receive them.
This is world wealth of the purest and most enduring character. Language and religion advanced, not only side by side, but in many respects hand in hand, in their slow growth. The scope and richness of language had to be increased to admit of the expression of superior religious conceptions, and many mythological dogmas grew up from a misconception of the origin and full meaning of words.
When history dawned upon the world, man was possessed of rich philological, philosophical, and theological treasures whose extent and value he was far from appreciating, yet which formed the necessary foundation on which was erected the vast edifice of modern civilization. Much we owe the past for this precious heritage which it has found time to lay up for us in the midst of its warlike turmoil, and which we yet enjoy without due appreciation of the vast mental labor employed in its production.
But religion went further. In the priesthood arose a class with higher aims than the fierce desire to battle, a class pledged to peace, the natural recipients of the scanty learning of their people, strong in mental prowess, and fully alive to the fact