of little moment, provided we learn to look on these great historical events in the spirit which Hallam's observations indicate. Those remarks should teach us to watch how the interests of many states are often involved in the collisions between a few; and how the effect of those collisions is not limited to a single age, but may give an impulse which will sway the fortunes of successive generations of mankind. Most valuable also is the mental discipline which is thus acquired, and by which we are trained not only to observe what has been, and what is, but also to ponder on what might have been.
We thus learn not to judge of the wisdom of measures too exclusively by the results. We learn to apply the juster standard of seeing what the circumstances and the probabilities were, that surrounded a statesman or a general at the time when he decided on his plan: we value him not by his fortune, but by his Προαίρεσις, to adopt the expressive word of Polybius, for which our language gives no equivalent. The reasons why each of the following Fifteen Battles has been selected will, I trust, appear when it is described. But it may be well to pre-
- See Bolingbroke, "On the Study and Use of History," vol. ii. p. 497, of his collected notes.
- Polyb. lib. ix.