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Mr. Fox's contemporaries; but the fault which I chiefly impute to them is το πανταχού κώδωνας εξήφθαι.*
Note 2, p. 17.
«Ωστε και μεγαλόφρων και μεγαλοπράγμων ουκ έκ κενού αυχήματος, αλλ' έξ έχεγγύου διανοίας δοκείν είναι."+
Note 3, p. 17.
“Genus eloquendi secutus est elegans et temperatum : vitatis sententiarum ineptiis, atque inconcinnitate, et reconditorum verborum, ut ipse dicit, foetoribus. Præcipuamque curam duxit, sensum animi quam apertissime exprimere." I
Note 4, p. 17.
To Mr. Fox, as a writer of History, we may by anticipation apply what Cicero says of a Dialogue which he had composed, and assigned to fictitious speakers, “ de optimo Statu Civitatis, et de optimo Cive." "Hi Libri cum in Tusculano mihi legerentur, audiente Sallustio, admonitus sum ab illo, multo majore Auctoritate illis de Rebus dici posse, si ipse loquerer de Republica, præsertim cum essem, non Heraclides Ponticus, sed Consularis ; et is qui in maximis versatus in Republicæ Rebus essem.") In one of my letters to Mr. Fox, when I had mentioned to him the impatience of the public to see his History, and had expressed my wish that he would take his own time in preparing it, I desired him to read what Cicero said of an historical work, which his friends importuned him to undertake. You will not be sorry to see it.
“Postulatur a te jamdiu," says Atticus, “vel flagitatur potius Historia-atque ut audias quid ego sentiam, non solum videris eorum Studiis, qui Litteris delectantur, sed etiam Patriæ debere hoc Munus." Among other reasons which Cicero assigns for declining the task, he gives one which I particularly urged to Mr. Fox for not being in haste with his work :
* Longin. sect. 23. + Dio Cassius, Fragment. 56.
Sueton. in Vit. August. parag. 85. § Epist. ad Quint. frat. lib. iii. Epist. 5.
“ Historia nec institui potest, nisi præparato otio, nec exiguo tempore absolvi : et ego animi pendere' soleo, cum semel quid orsus, traducor alio, neque tam facile interrupta contexo, quam absolvo instituta."*
If I am not greatly mistaken, we shall find in Mr. Fox's History that exemption from all foreign idiom, and all affected phraseology, which Photius ascribes to Herodian : « έστι δε την φράσιν σαφής και λαμπρός και ήδύς, και λέξει χρώμενος σώφρονι, μήτε υπεραττικιούση, και την έμφυτον εξυβριξούση χάριν του συνήθους, μήτε προς το ταπεινόν εκλελυμένη, και την έντεχνον υπερορώση γνώσιν."
Whether my conjectures about the style of Mr. Fox's History be right or wrong, I am sure that the matter contained in it will furnish us with additional opportunities for deciding on the justness of Polybius's remark, when he tells us “τα της ιστορίας έξει τότε καλώς, όταν οι πραγματικοί των ανδρών γράφειν επιχειρήσωσι τας ιστορίας, I not negligently, but with the whole force of their minds, with the aid of long experience, and under the conviction that they must be unequal to the difficulties of their task, unless they brought with them την εξ αυτών των πραγμάτων έξιν."! As to the spirit of our friend's History, we most assuredly shall not find in it the tò uvnoukakeiv imputed to Thucidides by Dionys. Halicarnass. in Epist. ad Pomp. nor the faults which Polybius so earnestly and so frequently imputes to Timeus, who « παρεσκοτισμένος υπό της ιδίας πικρίας, τα μεν ελαττώματα δυσμενικώς και μετ' αυξήσεως ημίν εξήγγελκε, τα δε κατορθώματα συλλήβδην παραλέλοιπεν.” :
NoTE 5, p. 18.
I have lately heard that Mr. Fox left one volume of his History fit for publication, and that it has been sent to the press. Though his principles and general habits of thinking will, I am persuaded, be discernible in this work, the character of the com
* Quint. liv. i. de Legib. par. 2, 3. + Vide Phot, Biblioth. sect. civ,
Vide Polyb. Megal. Histor. lib. xii. sect. 6.
position will be adapted to history, of which Quintilian says, and which Mr. Fox well knew, “scribitur ad narrandum, non ad probandum ; totumque opus non ad pugnam præsentem, sed ad memoriam posteritatis, et ingenii famam compunitur." *
· Note 6, p. 13.
You will not be displeased with me for applying to our friend that which is recorded of Basil and Gregory Nazianzen, two venerable Fathers of the Christian Church, who united great learning with great activity in their labours for the benefit of mankind : “ ypaumaticis uèv avroīs, oùdorioûy rapeito dalòr, ου μέτρων επιστήμη, ου ποιητικοί σκοποί, και τροποι : ουχ ιστορίας πλήθος, ου πολιτικής λέξεως καθαρότης : ρητορικής δε το της φράσεως κάλλος απανθησάμενοι, το ψεύδος εξέκλιναν.” +
Note 7, p. 19.
These seeming repetitions in Mr. Fox's speeches, which offended shallow critics, were real excellencies. You remember the distinction made by Carneades, when he said, “Clitomachum eadem dicere, Charmidam autem eadem eodem modo dicere." I
Note 8, p. 20.
I differed from our friend upon the comparative merits of the Greek and Roman orators, and shall state my opinion in the words of Mr. Hume: “The manner of Demosthenes is much more chaste and austere than that of Cicero. Could it be copied, its success would be infallible over a modern assembly. "Tis rapid harmony, exactly adjusted to the sense. 'Tis vehement reasoning, without any appearance of art. 'Tis disdain, anger, boldness, freedom, involved in a continued stream of argument: and of all human productions the orations of Demos
* Lib. x. c. 1.
+ Vide Greg. Nazianz. Vit. p. 15, prefixed to his works in the Paris edit. 1630, vol. i.
Cicero, Orator, par. 158.
thenes present to us the models which approach the nearest to perfection."*
Note 9, p. 20.
The passages which, in this and the following paragraph, are marked with inverted commas, are to be found in the third volume of Boswell's Memoirs of Johnson.
Note 10, p. 27.
I admit the convenience of a rule, and in the absence of more direct principles we must often be content with the aid of analogy. But Dr. Paley, I find, was struck, as well as myself, with the dimness of the analogical reasons at times employed in judicial pleadings, and says, “Whoever takes up a volume of Reports, will find most of the arguments it contains capable of the same analogy which the Dr. hinself had employed in the controversy about literary property;" but he adds, "the analogies, I confess, are sometimes so entangled as not to be easily unravelled, or even perceived." +
Note 11, p. 28.
“Non illi imperium pelagi, sævumque tridentem,
Sed mihi sorte datum : tenet ille immania saxa,
Note 12, p. 29.
To say the truth, my own opinion does not very widely differ from that of Mr. Burke, and I shall avail myself of his eloquent language in expressing it : “If a man with such a masculine understanding, such a stout and resolute heart, and of ambition so noble and generous, as Mr. George Grenville, had any defects not intrinsical, they must be rather sought in the particular habits of his life. He was bred in a profession. He was bred to
* Hume's Essay on Eloquence, vol. i.
Æneid, lib. i. line 142.
the law, which is in my opinion one of the first and noblest of human sciences--a science which does more to quicken and invigorate the understanding than all the other kinds of learning put together ; but it is not apt, except in persons very highly born, to open and to liberalize the mind exactly in the same proportion."*
Note 13, p. 32.
The Commentary of Aquinas extends through the eight books of Aristotle's Politics; it was corrected after the collation of many MSS. and it is accompanied by the Latin translation of Leonardus Aretinus, to which another translation, yet older, is subjoined. Julianus Martinus Rota added four books written by T. Aquinas, De Regimine Principum. The angelic doctor contends stoutly for the superior usefulness of monarchy, and, to say the truth, many of his observations are just, profound, and worthy of serious attention from royal and imperial readers.
Note 14, p. 33.
Mr. Fox knew, as you and I do, that Cicero, who in his speeches for L. Muræna, and A. Cecinna, laughed at the impertinent introduction of legal terms, and the solemn self-importance of those whom he calls Rabulas de foro, and Leguleios, had been himself accustomed a primo tempore ætatis juri studere—that he allowed those persons,
“ summos fuisse in civitate sua viros qui id interpretari populo et responsitare soliti essent"-that even where he says, eos magna professos, in parvis esse versatos, he grants, Munus eorum qui consulerentur, esse populo necessarium etiamsi esset exiguum t-that he praised the well-acquired and well-regulated knowledge of Aquilius in the very oration where he sarcastically taunted an antagonist who had endeavoured eum ex campo æquitatis ad istas verborum angustias et ad omnes litterarum angulos revocaret-that he was the correspondent of Sulpitius, and not only addressed some of his letters, but dedicated his Topics to Trebatius, who, before his connection with
t Vid. lib. i. de legibus.
* Burke's Works, vol. ii. p. 389.
Vid. Orat. pro Cecinna. § Vid. Cic. Ep. ad Famil. lib. iv. 13.