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POLITICAL CHANGES.                               599
class; that where money is saved with difficulty there will be
most thrift and morality ; and that, when this state of things
exists with free institutions and free proprietorship, there
need be no decay.
2.  It may be  said,  again,   that  there  is  a  condition  in
is there a natural countries answering to the youth and another
old age of states?       tQ ^   ^   age   Qf &    man>       Jn   hjg   yOuth   fa   Jg
active, resolute, enterprising, not deterred by difficulties or
loss; in his old age cautious, inclined to save rather than to
gain, unfit for any new business, timid, saving. So a nation
at one time enters with zest into the complications of politics,
is not averse to the risks or the expenses of war, has large
enterprises on foot; while at another it lives within itself, keeps
at peace with all foreign powers, directs its attention towards
the problems of industrial and social life. In the latter con-
dition there is something like stagnation, something like the
feeling of an old man who avoids quarrels from fear and pre-
fers quiet to all things. There is no doubt that a nation may
seem from its love of peace to have lost its spirit, and it may
thus provoke contempt from its neighbors. Holland and Bel-
gium seem to have such a character. But while the warlike
and stirring virtues which men are so apt to admire have
faded out from the life of such a nation, it will not follow
that this ought to be regarded as a sign of decay. Man
surely cannot be made for war, and a state of society
among the nations in which no wars exist ought not to be
thought to have lost one of the excellences of human char-
3.  There may be a decline in a nation's valuation of-itself,
Decay of a nation's an^ a feeling of discouragement, due to loss of
self-esteem.           prosperity and to relatively greater advances of
its neighbors. Commerce and industry may pass over to
another nation more intelligent, with better natural capa-
bilities, which is able to bring its wares into the* markets of
the world at a less cost. Or another nation may take a
great start, owing to some superior line of policy and a better
administration, as Prussia has got the start of Austria in the