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standings so seldom? That it does so, we have none to blame but ourselves. Nature has done her part. She has opened this study to every man who can read and think : and what she has made the most agreeable, reason can make the most useful, application of our minds. But if we consult our reason, we shall be far from following the examples of our fellow-creatures, in this as in most other cases, who are so proud of being rational. We shall neither read to sooth our indolence, nor to gratify our vanity: as little shall we content ourselves to drudge like grammarians and critics, that others may be able to study, with greater ease and profit, like philosophers and statesmen: as little shall we affect the slender merit of becoming great scholars at the expense of groping all our lives in the dark mazes of antiquity. All these mistake the true drift of study, and the true use of history. Nature gave us curiosity to excite the industry of our minds; but she never intended it to be made the principal, much less the sole, object of their application. The true, and proper object of this application, is a constant improvement in private and in public virtue. An application to any study, that tends neither directly nor indirectly to make us better men, and better citizens, is at best but a specious and ingenious sort of idleness, to use an expression of Tillotson: and the knowledge we acquire is a creditable kind of ignorance, nothing more.

This creditable kind of ignorance is, in my opinion, the whole benefit which the generality of men, even of the most learned, reap from the study of his-, tory; and yet the study of history seems to me, of', all other, the most proper to train us up to private and public virtue.

We need but to cast our eyes on the world, and we shall see the daily force of example: we need but to turn them inward, and we shall soon discover why example has this force. Pauci prudentiâ, says Tacitus, honesta ab deterioribus, utilia ab noxiis discernunt: plures aliorum eventis docentur*. Such is the imperfection of human under. standing, such the frail temper of our minds, that abstract or general propositions, though never so true, appear obscure or doubtful to us very often, till they are explained by examples ; and that the wisest lessons in favour of virtue go but a little way to convince the judgment and determine the will, unless they are enforced by the same means, and we are obliged to apply to ourselves, what we see happen to other men. Instructions by precept have the further disadvantage of coming on the authority of others, and fireqnently require a long deduction of reas

easoning. Homines amplius oculis quum auribus credunt: longum iter est per præcepta, breve et efficax per exemplat. The reason of this judgment, which I quote from one of Seneca's epistles, in confirmation of my own opinion, rests, I think, on this, That when examples are pointed out to us, there is a kind of appeal, with which we are flattered, made to our

• Few discover by prudence good things from bad, or useful things from noxious ones ; while many are taught this by the experience of others.

+ Men are governed more by their eyes than their ears: the way of precept is tedious, that of example, short and effica cious.

senses, as well as our understandings. The instruction comes then upon our own authority : we frame the precept after our own experience, and yield to fact when we resist speculation. But this is not the only advantage of instruction by example; for example appeals not to our understanding alone, but to our passions likewise. Example assuages these, or animates them ; sets passion on the side of judgment, and makes the whole 'man of a piece, which is more than the strongest reasoning and the clearest demonstration can do; and thus forming habits by repetitions, example secures the observance of those precepts which example insinuated.




THERE is nothing which I would recommend more earnestly to my female readers than the study of history, as an occupation, of all others, the best suited to their sex and education; much more instructive than their ordinary books of amusement; and more entertaining than those serious compositions, which are usually to be found in their closets. Among other important truths which they may learn from history, they may be informed of two particulars, the knowledge of which may contribute very much to their quiet and repose; that our sex, as well as theirs, are far from being such perfect creatures as they are apt to imagine ; and, that love is not the only passion

which governs the male world, but is often over.' come by avarice, ambition, vanity, and a thousand other passions. Whether they be false representations of mankind in those two particulars, which endear romances and novels so much to the fair sex, I know not; but must confess, that I am sorry to see them have such an aversion to matters of fact, and such an appetite for falsehood. I remember I was once desired by a young beauty, for whom I had some passion, to send her some novels and romances for her amusement in the country; but was not so ungenerous as to take the advantage which such a course of reading might have given me, being resolved not to make use of poisoned arms against her; I therefore sent her Plutarch's Lives, assuring her at the same time, that there was not a word of truth in them from beginning to end. She perused them very attentively, till she came to the lives of Alexander and Cæsar, whose names she had heard of by acci. dent; and then returned me the book, with many reproaches for deceiving her.


FURTHER ADVANTAGES OF STUDYING HISTORY. The advantages found in the study of history seem to be of three kinds; as it amuses the fancy, as it improves the understanding, and as it strengthens virtue.

In reality, what can be a more agreeable entertainment to the mind, than to be transported into the remotest ages of the world, and to observe human society, in its infancy, making the first faint efforts towards the arts and sciences ? to see the policy of government, and the civility of conversation refining by degrees, and every thing which is ornamental to human life advancing towards its perfection ? to remark the rise, progress, declension, and final extinction of the most flourishing empires; the virtues which contributed to their greatness, and the vices which drew on their ruin? in short, to see all the human race, from the beginning of time, pass, as it were, in review before us; appearing in their true colours, without any of those disguises, which during their life-time so much perplexed the judgment of the beholders? What spectacles can be imagined so magnificent, so various, so interesting? What amusement, either of the senses or imagination, can be compared with it? Shall those trifling pastimes, which engross so much of our time, be preferred as more satisfactory, and more fit to engage our attention? How perverse must that taste be, which is capable of so wrong a choice of pleasures !

But history is a most pleasing part of knowledge, as well as an agreeable amusement; and a great part of what we call erudition, and value so highly, is nothing but an acquaintance with historical facts. An extensive knowledge of this kind, belongs to men of letters; but I must think it an unpardonable ignorance in persons, of whatever sex or condition, not to be acquainted with the history of their own country, along with the histories of ancient Greece and Rome. A woman may behave herself with good manners, and have even some vivacity in her turn of wit; but where

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