Page:Andrade truth.djvu/10

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peasant with no help except shrine-cure! How was it possible that the population could increase? Shall we, then, wonder that in the famine of 1030 human flesh was cooked and sold; or that, in that of 1258, fifteen thousand persons died of hunger in England? Shall we wonder that in some of the invasions of the plague the living could hardly bury the dead?" Such is the picture of the condition of Europe at the period mentioned, as described by Professor Draper. But how did society throw off those fetters which had so bound it down? It came about by the inevitable law of development. Men had sunken into these filthy habits, the result of indolence; but the necessary reaction ensued. They saw death and misery besetting them on all sides. What were they to do? They had the choice whether they should remain in this abominable state, or take steps to free themselves of it. But they had only one way of freeing themselves. They must study Nature, and assist her laws; overcome indolence; put their faith in their own capabilities instead of in shrine-cures and other inventions of human cunning; exert themselves to their utmost to better their position, and never cease working for such a good and beneficial object. It is only by these means, generally the result of necessity, that man has uplifted himself to the lofty position which he now occupies and it is only by continning to do so, that he will better his condition in the future. These troublous episodes in the history of mankind although so destructive in their time, are necessary for his welfare; they are the most useful lessons of History, for it is by example that we prosper, or, in other words, it is only by a knowledge of truth that mankind can benefit each other.

History, so called, gives an account of mankind in the collective sense; Biography gives an account of each man individually. Let us now turn our attention to the latter, and see what lessons of truth await us there, remembering that Biography requires the same careful study that History does. In all countries, and in all ages, we find lovers of mankind, eager to benefit their suffering brethren, and teaching such truths as their knowledge made them aware of. It is these that