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Progress of States from small to great, and
from great to small.
VI HEN tribes, originally small, spread
VV wider and wider, by population, till they become neighbours, the lightest differences inflame mutual aversion, and instigate hostilities that never end. Weak tribes unite for defence against the powerful, and become insensibly one people : 0ther tribes are swallowed up by conquest. And thus states become more and more extensive, till they be confined by natural boundaries of seas or mountains. Spain originally contained many small states, which were all brought under the Roman yoke. In later times, it was again possessed by many states, Christian and Mahometan, continually at war, till by conquest they were united in one great kingdom. Portugal ftill maintains its independency; a blessing it owes to the weakness of Spain, not to advantage of fitua
tion. The small states of Italy were subdued by the Romans; and those of Greece by Philip of Macedon, and his son Alexander. Scotland escaped narrowly the fangs of Edward I. of England ; and would at last have been conquered by its more potent neighbour, had not conquest been prevented by a federal union.
But, at that rate, have we not reason to dread the union of all nations under one universal monarch? There are several causes that for ever will prevent a calamity so dreadful. The local situation of some countries, defended by strong natural barriers, is one of these, Britain is defended by the sea ; and so is Spain, except where divided from France by the Pyrenean mountains. Europe in general, by many barriers of feas, rivers, and mountains, is fitted for states of moderate extent : not so Alia, which being divided by nature into very large portions, is prepared for extenfive monarchies *. Russia is the only ex
* En Alie on a toujours vu de grands empires ; en Europe ils n'ont jamais pu sublister. C'est que l'Alie que nous connoisfons a de plus grandes plaines : elle est coupée en plus grands morceaux par les montagnes
ception in Europe ; a weak kingdom by situation, though rendered formidable by the extraordinary talents of one man, and of more women than one.
A second cause, is the weakness of a great ftate. The strength of a state doth not increase with its bulk, more than that of a man. An overgrown empire, far from being formidable to its neighbours, falls to pieces by its weight and unwieldiness. Its frontiers are not easily guarded : witness France, which is much weakened by that circumstance, though its greater part is bounded by the sea. Patriotism vanishes in a great monarchy : the provinces have no mutual connection : and the distant
et les mers; et comme elle est plus au midi, les sources y sont plus aisement taries, les montagnes y sont moins couvertes des nieges, et les fleuves, moins groffis, y forment des moindres barriers ; L'Esprit des Loix, liv. 17. c 6.
(In English thus : “ In Afia there have always been “ great empires : such could never sublift in Europe.
The reason is, that, in Asia, there are larger plains, “ and it is cut by mountains and seas into more exten. “ live divisions : as it lies more to the south, its springs « are more easily dried up, the mountains are less coof vered with snow, and the rivers proportionally small. “ er, form less considerable barriers.")
provinces, provinces, which must be governed by balhaws, are always ripe for a revolt. To secure Nicomedia, which had frequently suffered by fire, Pliny suggested to the Emperor Trajan, a fire-company of one hundred and fifty men. So infirm at that period was the Roman empire, that Trajan durst not put the project in execution, fearing disturbances even from that small body.
The chief cause is the luxury and effeminacy of a great monarchy, which leave no appetite for war, either in the sovereign or in his subjects. Great inequality of rank in an extensive kingdom, occasioned by a constant flow of riches into the capital, introduces show, expensive living, luxury, and sensuality. Riches, by affording gratification to every sensual appetite, become an idol to which all men bow the knee ; and, when riches are worshipped as a passport to power as well as to pleasure, they corrupt the heart, eradicate every virtue, and fofter every vice. In such difsolution of manners, contradi&tions are reconciled: avarice and meanness unite with vanity ; diffimulation and cunning, with splendor. Where subjects are so cor
rupted, what will the prince be, who is not taught to moderate his passions, who measures justice by appetite, and who is debilitated by corporeal pleasures ?. Such a prince never thinks of heading his own troops, nor of extending his dominions. Mostazen, the last Califf of Bagdat, is a confpicuous instance of the degeneracy described. His kingdom being invaded by the Tartars in the year 1258, he shut himself up in his seraglio with his debauched companions, as in profound peace; and; stupified with noth and voluptuousness, was the only person who appeared careless about the fate of his empire. A King of Persia, being informed that the Turks had made themselves masters of his best provinces, answered, that he was indifferent about their success, provided they would not disturb him in his city of Ispachan. Schah Hussein, King of Persia, at the beginning of the present century, was fo sunk by floth and luxury in a seraglio life, that, when a vidorious army of rebels was approaching to Ispachan, he said to his ministers, “ It is your business to repel the “ rebels, as you have armies provided. As “ for my part, if they but leave me my