By training and temperament he was better qualified to appreciate and describe the social life of the people than their physical surroundings, and if the results of his great journey are disappointing to the geographer, his account of the society of the oasis towns, and of the remarkable men who were then ruling in Hail and Riad, must always possess an absorbing interest as a portrait of Arab life in its freest development.
The criticism of Malherbe, followed by the establishment of the Academy, the minute grammatical censures of Claude Favre Vaugelas, and the severe literary censorship of Boileau, turned French in less than three-quarters of a century from one of the freest languages in Europe to one of the most restricted.
But it will be the most ancient one according to the direct line of transmission, and the purest in the sense of being the freest from traceable errors of copying and unauthorized improvements.
It is in this department of criticism that the personal equation has the freest play, and hence the natural adherents of either school of critics should be specially on their guard against their school's peculiar bias.
When I converse with the freest of my neighbors, I perceive that, whatever they may say about the magnitude and seriousness of the question, and their regard for the public tranquillity, the long and the short of the matter is, that they cannot spare the protection of the existing government, and they dread the consequences to their property and families of disobedience to it.
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