The idea of equality is a by-product of the sentiment of envy. Since it must always prove beyond human ower to raise the inferior mass to a superior stratum, apostles of equality must ever be inferiors seeking to reduce their betters to their level. It follows that a nation that once admits this doctrine of equality will be dragged by it to the level, moral, intelletual and political, of its most worthless class.
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In endeavor itself there is a certain dynamic entertainment, affording an illusion of useful purpose. With achievement the illusion is dispelled. Man's greatest accomplishment is to produce change. The only good in life is study, because study is an endeavor that never reaches fulfillment. It busies a man to the end of his days, and it aims at the only true reality in all this world of shams and deceits.
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To do what you imply would require nothing short of divine intervention. you must change man, not systems. Can you and our vapouring friends of the Literary Chamber of Rennes, or any other learned society of France, devise a system of government that has never yet been tried? Surely not. And can we say of any system tried that it proved other than failure in the end? My dear Philippe, the future is to be read with certainty only in the past. Ad actu ad posse valet consecutio. Man never changes. He is always greedy, always acquisitive, always vile. I am speaking of Man in the bulk.
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Without entering here into a dissertation upon the historical romance, it may be said that in proper hands it has been and should continue to be one of the most valued and valuable expressions of the literary art. To render and maintain it so, however, it is necessary that certain well-defined limits should be set upon the licence which its writers are to enjoy; it is necessary that the work should be honest work; that preparation for it should be made by a sound, painstaking study of the period to be represented, to the end that a true impression may first be formed and then conveyed. Thus, considering how much more far-reaching is the novel than any other form of literature, the good results that must wait upon such endeavours are beyond question. The neglect of them-the distortion of character to suit the romancer's ends, the like distortion of historical facts, the gross anachronisms arising out of a lack of study, have done much to bring the historical romance into disrepute.
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