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The Ruins of Empires has 90 ratings and 34 reviews. Owlseyes said: I’ve read the book some years ago: an amazing reflection on ancient civilizations. Ruins of Empire. Les Ruines, ou méditations sur les révolutions des empires ( ) by Constantin François Chasseboeuf, comte de Volney () is one . Or, Meditation on the Revolutions of Empires: Volney’s Answer to Dr. Priestley and a Biographical Notice by Count Daru. Prefaces; The Ruins of Empire.

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To mix with the herd would be degrading and vile; they are born to serve us, who are men of a superior race.

Constantin François de Chassebœuf, comte de Volney

Presumptuous and ignorant men, who arrogate to yourselves the whole earth, were God to summon at once all past and present generations, what proportion mepires those Christian and Mussulman sects, calling themselves universal, bear in the vast assemblage? Vicious contracts must be dissolved, unjust prejudices abolished, imaginary distinctions surrendered, and iniquitous Edition: Franklin, then Ambassador to Paris, mentored a young Volney in the years prior to the French Revolution and later introduced him Constantin-Francois Volney is one of those historical personalities once famous in their own day but now largely forgotten.

Beyond this, the book’s central premise–mentioned at the top–is still alive and relevant today. Has heaven denied to the earth, and the earth to volnfy inhabitants, the blessings that were formerly dispensed?

Online Library of Liberty

Ye places that here witnessed the life of man, in so many different ages, aid my recollection while I endeavour to trace the revolutions of his fortune! If the creation has remained the same, if its or and its ot are exactly what they once were, wherefore should not the present race have every thing within their reach that their ancestors enjoyed?

Thus, agitated by their own passions, men, whether in their individual capacity, or as collective bodies, always rapacious and improvident, passing from tyranny to slavery, from pride to vollney, from presumption to despair, have been themselves the eternal instruments of their misfortunes. I saw that the whole science of those who command consisted in prudently oppressing; and the refined servitude of polished nations only appeared to me the more irremediable.

Have the factitious and conventional laws of any society accorded with this law, and corresponded to its demands?


Ruins of Empire

Worldcat source edition All social ills arise from cupidity. By diminishing the interest of the citizens in their government, they would have diminished their means of resistance; they would have facilitated foreign invasion, and thus endangered their own existence for superfluous enjoyments.

If the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. I understand the whole: Meanwhile, as in this sombre and thoughtful disposition I kept my eyes fixed upon Asia, clouds of smoke smpires of flames at the north, on the shores of the Black Sea, and in the fields of the Crimea, suddenly attracted my attention. Are the streams dried up? We pay enormous tributes, and we are told Edition: Ye people, know then that those who govern you are your chiefs and not your masters; your guardians appointed by yourselves, and not your proprietors; that your wealth is Edition: But you are of opinion that the human race is degenerating?

In fine, as certain places in certain epochas combined the advantage of good government with that of being placed in the road of circulation and commerce, they became rich magazines of trade, and powerful seats of dominion. Have these laws, on the contrary, restrained the effort of man in his pursuit of happiness? At the end, the people acclaim the conclusion of the legislator: Under such a system the emppires fell into a state of depression and despair; and the accidents of nature increasing the preponderance of evil, terrified at this groupe of calamities, conut referred the causes of them to superior and invisible powers: Always the victim of the sensation of the moment, it judges not cohnt things by their nature but by the impulse of passion.

Thou hast measured the extent of the heavens, and counted the stars, thou hast drawn the lightning from the clouds; conquered the fury of the sea and the tempest, and subjected all the elements to thy will!

In vain he calls upon his subjects: Volney discovered a young Bonaparte on the island of Corsica and tuins his career on numerous occasions, including the 18 Brumaire coup that brought Bonaparte to power. Let us then anticipate futurity; let us unveil the astonishing age that is about to arise, that virtue, seeing the end of its wishes, animated with new vigour, may redouble its efforts to hasten the accomplishment of it.

Will he then never open his Edition: No; justice goes before peace; obedience implies a law, and renders necessary the cognizance of it.


By force of experience he will become enlightened; by force of errors he will set himself right; he will become wise and good, because it is his interest to be so: By means of the army he extorted contributions; by the contributions he disposed volneey the army; by the corresponding play of money and places, he bound all the people with a chain that was not to be broken, and the states which they composed fell into the slow decay of despotism.

Here is the monument of its splendid metropolis, Thebes with its hundred palaces fthe progenitor of cities, the memento of human frailty. Riuns “combined their means and their forces; and when one encountered a danger, several aided and rescued him; when one lacked subsistence, another shared his quarry with him. This page was last edited on 22 Octoberat But the charm of my reverie was presently dissolved by the last step in the comparison. Emboldened by these sentiments, I replied: Volney, the most famous alien in the U.

He praises the dead from enmity to the living, and employs the bones of the fathers as an instrument of chastisement against the children. The performance was in some forwardness when the events of in France interrupted it. Tuins sensible and virtuous soul is prone enough to be hurried away by dreams of fancied happiness; but a cruel reality incessantly recals its attention to suffering and wretchedness.

In these chapters Volney describes “General Assembly of Nations,” a fictionalized world convention wherein each religion defends its version of “the truth” according to its particular holy book. Sometimes, dreading their masters, they aim at independence, and draw upon their subjects the chastisement of their dount. I see other horsemen, who, with their pikes upon their shoulders, accompany and direct them: Volney was a deist. I will leave the tragic scene of the passions, will love my species rather from recollection than volnney survey, will employ my activity in promoting their happiness, and compose my own happiness of the pleasing remembrance that I have hastened theirs.