Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A supinely indolent post

Gibbon on the Germans:
Money, in a word, is the most universal incitement, iron the most powerful instrument, of human industry; and it is very difficult to conceive by what means a people, neither actuated by the one nor seconded by the other, could emerge from the grossest barbarism.

If we contemplate a savage nation in any part of the globe, a supine indolence and carelessness of futurity will be found to constitute their general character.

To solicit by labour what might be ravished by arms was esteemed unworthy of the German spirit.
On the purpose of war:
Such, indeed, is the policy of civil war; severely to remember injuries, and to forget the most important services. Revenge is profitable, gratitude is expensive.
On Constantine and the early church:
An absolute monarch, who is rich without patrimony, may be charitable without merit; and Constantine too easily believed that he should purchase the favour of Heaven if he maintained the idle at the expense of the industrious, and distributed among the saints the wealth of the republic.

Corruption, the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty, was successfully practised.

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