passionate against those who held that human thought
and the human soul are but forms of matter, yet never inspired with the sense of immortality; confiding neither in the capacity of the great multitude, nor the wisdom of philosophers, nor the power of religion, nor the disposition of kings, nor the promise of the coming age, he moved through the world as the colossal genius of skepticism, questioning the past which he knew not how to reform.
Holding no colonies, he could calmly watch their growth to independence; indulging an antipathy against the king of England
, he might welcome the experiment of the widelyextending American commonwealth, but not with confidence in its happy course.
If the number of active minds in cultivated Prussia
was not yet large enough to give to forming opinion a popular aspect, in Russia
, the immense empire which was extending itself along the Baltic
and the Euxine, and had even crossed the Pacific
to set up its banners in Northwestern America
, free inquiry had something of solitary dignity as the almost exclusive guest of the empress.
First of the great powers of Europe
in population, and exceeding all of them together in extent of European
lands, the great Slavonic State was not proportionably strong and opulent.
More than twothirds of its inhabitants were bondsmen and slaves, thinly scattered over vast domains.
The slave held the plough; the slave bent over the anvil, or threw the shuttle; the slave wrought the mines.
The nobles, who directed the labor on their estates, in manufactures, or the search for ores, read no books from abroad, and as yet had no native literature.
The little science that faintly gleamed on the interior was diffused through