Every generation demands that history shall be rewritten. This is not alone because it requires that the work should be adapted to its own point of view, but because it is instinctively seeking those lines which connect the problems and lessons of the past with its own questions and circumstances. If it were not for the existence of lines of this kind, history might be entertaining, but would have little real value. The more numerous they are between the present and any earlier period, the more valuable is, for us, the history of that period. Such considerations establish an especial interest just at present in the life of Gallatin.
nal distinction was never an active motor in his life. Even his later honors, thick and fast though they fell, were rather thrust upon than sought by him. But his nature was proud and sensitive, and he chafed under personal control. The age was restless. The spirit of philosophic inquiry, no longer confined within scholastic limits, was spreading far and wide. From the banks of the Neva to the shores of the Mediterranean, the people of Europe were uneasy and expectant. Men everywhere felt that the social system was threatened with a cataclysm. What would emerge from the general deluge none could foresee. Certainly, the last remains of the old feudality would be engulfed forever. Nowhere was this more thoroughly believed than at the home of Rousseau. Under the shadow of the Alps, every breeze from which was free, the Genevese philosopher had written his "Contrat social," and invited the rulers and the ruled to a reorganization of their relations to each other and to the world. But nowhere, also, was the conser