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advantage of a proper stock of materi-ed? What remarks follow? Why als, what can an inferior genius do? ought we, therefore, to read them with Hence, in what have modern philoso' a distinguishing eye? After these rephers an unquestionable superiority flections on the ancients and moderns, over the ancients ? What is our author to what does our author proceed? What also inclined to think; and to what, is the most general division of the difperhaps, is this owing? Of some studies, ferent kinds of composition? Why do that relate to taste, what is also ob- these require to be separately considerserved? What instance is given? Why ed? With what does our author begin; are we better acquainted with the na- and of what has he already spoken { ture of government? How is this illus- What are the remaining species of trated ? Of the more complex kinds of prose compositions; and what shall be poetry, what is observed ; and what il- first considered? Of it, what is obserlustration is given ? Why do not these ved? What is the office of an historian? points of superiority, extend as far as Of this object, what is rema, ked? As might be imagined at first view ? To the primary end of history is to record return to our former comparison, what, truth, what are the fundamental qualinot without reason, may be said? W at ties of an historian? How is this illusdoes this appear to form ? Among the trated? At the same time, what record ancients, what do we find; and what of facts only, is entitled to the name of among the moderns? How is this gene-history? Of the nature of the facts ral remark to be understood; and why ? themselves, what is observed? What What is it proper to observe, and what is the great end of history; and for were they ? Under what circumstances what is it designed ? What remark foldid they return to their own country? | lows? What is its object; and what As their knowledge and improvements must it not, therefore, be? What are cost them more labour, what was the essential characteristics of history; and consequence? What illustrations fol- what should not be employed ? What low? Of these testimonies of public re- character must the writer sustain? At gard, what is observed ? In our times, the same time, with what is historical how is good writing considered; and information not inconsistent? What what illustration is given? What cir- does it admit; but of it, what is obsercumstances have contributed to spread ved? What does historical composition a mediocrity of genius over all wri-comprehend? Of these, what is reters? What is Sir William Temple's marked ? Histories, are of how many opinion of the effect of the multitude kinds; and what are they? In the conof assistances which we have for all duct and management of his subject, kinds of composition ? Repeat the pas- what is the first attention requisite in sage here introduced from him. | an historian? Of the effect of this, what

Among the ancients, for what must is observed; and what remark follows? we look; and to the moderns, for what Where must this unity necessarily be must we have recourse ? How do they less perfect? Yet, even there, how does compare in works of taste; and how is it appear, that some degree of it can be this illustrated ? In history, what may preserved? How is this remark fully safely be asserted? Of the drama, what illustrated ? Of all the ancient general is observed; and of elegies, pastoral historians, who had the most exact idea and lyric poetry, what is said ? What of this quality of historical composition ? is remarked of the name of Horace? From what does this appear; and in What contributes to render him one of that account, what does he observe? the very few authors whom one never of this action, what does he say? In tires of reading; and of him, what is another place, on what does he confurther observed ? To such as wish to gratulate himself; and what does he form their taste, what is warmly re-remark? Whereupon, he adds what; commended; and for what reason ? and what comparison does he introWho has great reason to suspect his duce? Of such as write the history of own taste? And of what is our author some particular great transaction, what persuaded? Who, only, undervalue is observed? What are instances of parthem? At the same time, from what is ticular histories, where the unity of a just and high regard for the prime historical narration is perfectly well writers of antiquity, to be distinguish-'maintained? What are the remarks made on Thucydides history of the

ANALYSIS. Peloponnesian war? For these reasons, by whom is he severely censured ? | 1. ?

cured 1. The ancients and the moderns compared.

A. A remarkable phenomenon. With a view to render his narration

B. Four of these happy ages. agreeable, what must not the historian c. The fallacy of attempting to decry the neglect? Of what must he give a dis

ancient classics. tinct account? But what is he not D. A caution against an implicit veneraunder the necessity of doing? If he

tion for them. cannot do what, does he discover no art;

E. Favourable circumstances of ancient

times. and by what method will he soon tire F. Good writing now, not so difficult an the reader? Of the history of Herodo-1

attainment. tus what is observed 2 Hence what a. The ancient classics recommended. follows? With what does he abound; 12.

ind. 2. Historical writing.

A. The office of an historian. and what is said of them? Of the!

or the a. Attention to unity. President Thuanus, and of the history (a.) Instances of its observance. of his own times, what is observed ?

(6.) Instances of its violation.

LECTURE XXXVI.

HISTORICAL WRITING. AFTER making some observations on the controversy which has been often carried on concerning the comparative merit of the ancients and the moderns, I entered, in the last lecture, on the consideration of historical writing. The general idea of history is, a record of truth for the instruction of mankind. Hence arise the primary qualities required in a good historian, impartiality, fidelity, gravity, and dignity. What I principally considered, was the unity which belongs to this sort of composition; the nature of which I have endeavoured to explain.

I proceed next to observe, that in order to fulfil the end of history, the author must study to trace to their springs the actions and events which he records. Two things are especially necessary for his doing this successfully ; a thorough acquaintance with human nature, and political knowledge, or acquaintance with government. The former is necessary to account for the conduct of individuals, and to give just views of the character; the latter, to account for the revolutions of government, and the operation of political causes on public affairs. Both must concur, in order to form a complete instructive historian.

With regard to the latter article, political knowledge, the ancient writers wanted some advantages which the moderns enjoy; from wliom, upon that account, we have a title to expect more accurate and precise information. The world, as I formerly hinted, was more shut up in ancient times, than it is now; there was then less communication among neighbouring states, and, by consequence, less knowledge of one another's affairs ; no intercourse by establishing posts, or by ambassadors resident at different courts. The knowledge and materials of the ancient historians, were thereby more limited and circumscribed; and it is to be observed too, that ll.ey wrote for their own countrymen only; they

had no idea of writing for the instruction of foreigners, whom they despised, or of the world in general; and hence, they are less attentive to convey all that knowledge with regard to domestic policy, which we, in distant times, would desire to have learned from them. Perhaps also, though in ancient ages men were abundantly animated with the love of liberty, yet the full extent of the influence of government, and of political causes, was not then so thoroughly scrutinized, as it has been in modern times; when a longer experience of all the different modes of government, has rendered men more enlightened and intelligent, with respect to public affairs.

To these reasons it is owing, that though the ancient historians set before us the particular facts which they relate, in a very distinct and beautiful manner, yet sometimes they do not give us a clear view of all the political causes, which affected the situation of affairs of which they treat. From the Greek historians, we are able to form but an imperfect notion of the strength, the wealth, and the revenues of the different Grecian states; of the causes of several of those revolutions that happened in their government; or of their separate connexions and interfering interests. In writing the history of the Romans, Livy had surely the most ample field for displaying political knowledge concerning the rise of their greatness, and the advantages or defects of their government. Yet the instruction of these important articles, which he affords, is not considerable. An elegant writer he is, and a beautiful relator of facts, if ever there was one; but by no means distinguished for profoundness or penetration. Sallust, when writing the history of a conspiracy against the government, which ought to have been altogether a political history, has evidently attended more to the elegance of narration, and the painting of characters, than to the unfolding of secret causes and springs. Instead of that complete information, which we would naturally have expected from him of the state of parties in Rome, and of that particular conjuncture of affairs, which enable so desperate a profligate as Catiline to become so formidable to government, he has given us little more than a general declamatory account of the luxury and corruption of manners in that age, compared with the simplicity of former times.

I by no means, however, mean to censure all the ancient historians as defective in political information. No historians can be more instructive than Thucydides, Polybius, and Tacitus. Thucydides is grave, intelligent, and judicious; always attentive to give very exact information concerning every operation which he relates; and to show the advantages or disadvantages of every plan that was proposed, and every measure that was pursued. Polybius excels in comprehensive political views, in penetration into great systems, and in his profound and distinct knowledge of all military affairs. Tacitus is eminent for his knowledge of the human heart; is sentimental and refined in a high degree; conveys much instruction with respect to political matters, but more with respect to human nature

But when we demand from the historian profound and instructive views of his subject, it is not meant that he should be frequently interrupting the course of his history, with his own reflections and speculations. He should give us all the information that is necessary for our fully understanding the affairs which he records. He should make us acquainted with the political constitution, the force, the revenues, the internal state of the country of which he writes; and with its interests and connexions in respect of neighbouring countries. He should place us, as on an elevated station, whence we may have an extensive prospect of all the causes that co-operate in bringing forward the events which are related. But having put into our hands all the proper materials for judgment, he should not be too prodigal of his own opinions and reasonings. When an historian is much given to dissertation, and is ready to philosophize and speculate on all the records, a suspicion naturally arises, that he will be in hazard of adapting his narrative of facts to favour some systum which he has formed to himself. It is rather by fair and judicious narration that history should instruct us, than by delivering instruction in an avowed and direct manner. On some occasions when doubtful points require to be scrutinized, or when some great event is in agitation, concerning the causes or circumstances of which mankind have been much divided, the narrative may be allowed to stand still for a little; the historian may appear, and may with propriety enter into some weighty discussion. But he must take care not to cloy his readers with such discussions, by repeating them too often.

When observations are to be made concerning human nature in general, or the peculiarities of certain characters, if the historian can artfully incorporate such observations with his narrative, they will have a better effect than when they are delivered as formal detached reflections. Forinstance: in the life of Agricola, Tacitus, speaking of Domitian's treatment of Agricola, makes this observation: • Propium humani ingenii est, odisse quem læseris.'* The observation is just and well applied; but the form in which it stands, is abstract and philosophical. A thought of the same kind has a finer effect elsewhere in the same historian, when speaking of the jealousies which Germanicus knew to be entertained against him by Livia and Tiberius : 'Anxius,' says he, occultis in se patrui aviæque odiis, quorum causæ acriores quia iniquæ,'t Here a profound moral observation is made; but it is made, without the appearance of making it in form ; it is introduced as a part of the narration, in assigning a reason for the anxiety of Germanicus. We have another instance of the same kind, in the account which he gives of a mutiny raised against Rufus, who was a • Præfectus Castrorum,' on account of the severe labour which he imposed on the soldiers. "Quippe Rufus, diu manipularis, dein centurio, mox castris præfectus, antiquam duramque militiam revocabat, vetus operis & laboris, et eo immitior quia toleraverat."* There was room for turning this into a general observation, that they who have been educated and hardened in toils, are commonly found to be the most severe in requiring the like toils from others. But the manner in which Tacitus introducns this sentiment as a stroke in the character of Rufus, gives it much more life and spirit. This historian has a particular talent of intermixing after this manner, with the course of his narrative, many striking sentiments and useful observations.

** It belongs to human nature to hate the man whom you have injured.'

t'Uneasy in his mind, on account of the concealed hatred ertertained against him by his uncle and grandmother, which was the more bitter, because the cause of it was upiust.'

Let us next proceed to consider the proper qualities of historical narration. It is obvious, that on the manner of narration, much depends as the first notion of history is the recital of past facts; and how much one mode of recital may be preferable to another, we shall soon be convinced, by thinking of the different effects which the same story, when told by two different persons, is found to produce.

The first virtue of historical narration, is clearness, order, and due connexion. To attain this, the historian must be completely master of his subject; he must see the whole as at one view; and comprehend the chain and dependence of all its parts, that he may introduce every thing in its proper place; that he may lead us smoothly along the track of affairs which are recorded, and may always give us the satisfaction of seeing how one event arises out of another. Without this, there can be neither pleasure nor instruction, in reading history. Much for this end will depend on the observance of that unity in the general plan and conduct, which, in the preceding lecture, I recommended. Much too will depend on the proper management of transactions, which forms one of the chief ornaments of this kind of writing, and is one of the most difficult in execution. Nothing tries an historian's abilities more, than so to lay his train beforehand, as to make us pass naturally and agreeably from one part of his subject to another; to employ no clumsy and awkward junctures; and to contrive ways and means of forming some union among transactions, which seem to be most widely separated from one another.

In the next place, as history is a very dignified species of composition, gravity must always be maintained in the narration. There must be no meanness nor vulgarity in the style; no quaint nor col. loquial phrases; no affectation of pertness, or of wit. The smart, or the sneering manner of telling a story, is inconsistent with the historical character. I do not say, that an historian is never to let himself down. He may sometimes do it with propriety, in order to diversify the strain of his narration, which, if it be perfectly uniform, is apt to become tiresome. But he should be careful never to descend too far; and, on occasions where a light or ludicrous anecdote is proper to be recorded, it is generally better to throw

**For Rufus, who had long been a common soldier, afterwards a centurion, and at length a general officer, restored the severe military discipline of ancient times. Grown old amidst toils and labours, he was more rigid in imposing them, because he had been accustomed to bear them.'

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