Page:Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire vol 1 (1897).djvu/41

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XXXV
INTRODUCTION

Royal Historical Society, and is to be seen in the British Museum. The corrections and annotations are as follows:—

"To describe the prosperous condition of their empire." Read times for empire.

"And afterwards from the death of Marcus Antoninus." The following note is entered: "Should I not have given the history of that fortunate period which was interposed between two iron ages? Should I not have deduced the decline of the Empire from the Civil Wars that ensued after the Fall of Nero, or even from the tyranny which succeeded the reign of Augustus? Alas! I should: but of what avail is this tardy knowledge? Where error is irreparable, repentance is useless."

"To deduce the most important circumstances of its decline and fall: a revolution which will ever be remembered, and is still felt by the nations of the earth." These words are erased and the following are substituted: "To prosecute the decline and fall of the empire of Rome: of whose language, religion and laws the impression will be long preserved in our own and the neighbouring countries of Europe". To which an observation is appended: "N.B. Mr. Hume told me that, in correcting his history, he always laboured to reduce superlatives, and soften positives. Have Asia and Africa, from Japan to Morocco, any feeling or memory of the Roman Empire?"

On the words "rapid succession of triumphs," note: "EXCURSION I. on the succession of Roman triumphs".

On "bulwarks and boundaries," note: "Incertum metû an per invidiam (Tacit. Annal. i. 11). Why must rational advice be imputed to a base or foolish motive? To what cause, error, malevolence, or flattery shall I ascribe the unworthy alternative? Was the historian dazzled by Trajan's conquests?"

"On the immortality and transmigration of soul" (compare