The very essence of their philosophy was the negation of the graces of social courtesy; it was impossible to "return to nature" in the midst of a society clothed in the accumulated artificiality of evolved convention without shocking the ingrained sensibilities of its members.
It was not without secret satisfaction, therefore, that Prince Gorchakov watched the repeated defeats of the Austrian army in the Italian campaign of 1859, and he felt inclined to respond to the advances made to him by Napoleon III.; but the germs of a Russo-French alliance, which had come into existence immediately after the Crimean War, ripened very slowly, and they were completely destroyed in 1863 when the French emperor wounded Russian sensibilities deeply by giving moral and diplomatic support to the Polish insurrection.
It stimulated the curiosity of latent sensibilities, provoked fresh inquisition into the groundwork of existence, and strengthened man's self-esteem by knowledge of what men had thought and felt and done in ages when Christianity was not.
It was inevitable that, in proportion as this casuistry assumed the character of a systematic penal jurisprudence, its precise determination of the limits between the prohibited and the allowable, with all doubtful points closely scrutinized and illustrated by fictitious cases, would have a tendency to weaken the moral sensibilities of ordinary minds; the greater the industry spent in deducing conclusions from the diverse authorities, the greater necessarily became the number of points on which doctors disagreed; and the central authority that might have repressed serious divergences was wanting in the period of moral weakness'- that the church went through after the death of Boniface Viii.
Livy, however, notwithstanding the extent to which he used his writings (see LivY), speaks of him in such qualified terms as to suggest the idea that his strong artistic sensibilities had been wounded by Polybius's literary defects.