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PREFACE.

mise a few remarks on the negative tests which have led me to reject others, which at first sight may appear equal in magnitude and importance to the chosen Fifteen.

I need hardly remark that it is not the number of killed and wounded in a battle that determines its general historical importance.[1] It is not because only a few hundreds fell in the battle by which Joan of Arc captured the Tourelles and raised the siege or Orléans, that the effect of that crisis is to be judged: nor would a full belief in the largest number which Eastern historians state to have been slaughtered in any of the numerous conflicts between Asiatic rulers, make me regard the engagement in which they fell, as one of paramount importance to mankind. But, besides battles of this kind, there are many of great consequence, and attended with circumstances which powerfully excite our feelings and rivet our attention, and yet which appear to me of mere secondary rank, inasmuch as either their effects were limited in area, or they themselves merely confirmed some great tendency or bias which an earlier battle had originated. For example, the encounters between the Greeks and Persians, which followed Marathon, seem to me

  1. See Montesquieu, "Grandeur et Décadence des Romains," p. 35.