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[89] carried forward by one continued revelation of truth,
Chap. II.}
the thoughts of God, present in man, creating harmony and unity, and leading toward higher culture. In his view, the class of nobles was become superfluous: the lights of the world were they who gave the clearest utterance to the divine ideas. He held it a folly for men of a republic to wish for a monarchy:1 the chief of a commonwealth, governing a free people by their free choice, has a halo that never surrounded a king. Though he was in the employ of the Duke of Brunswick, he loathed from his inmost soul the engagement of troops in a foreign war, either as volunteers or as sold by their prince. ‘How came Othello,’ he asks, ‘into the service of Venice? Had the Moor no country? Why did he let out his arm and blood to a foreign state?’2 He published to the German nation his opinion that ‘the Americans are building in the new world the lodge of humanity,’ and he desired to write more, for, said he, ‘the people is consumed by hunger and thirst;’ but his prince commanded silence.

At Weimar, in 1779, Herder, the first who vindicated for the songs of the people their place in the annals of human culture, published these words: ‘The boldest, most godlike thoughts of the human mind, the most beautiful and greatest works, have been perfected in republics; not only in antiquity, but in medieval and more modern times, the best history, the best philosophy of humanity and government, is always republican; and the republic exerts its influence, not by direct intervention, but mediately ’

1 Lessing's Works, XII. 398.

2 Minna von Barnhelm, act III. scene 7; and act IV. scene 6.

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