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excellence shall be torn away, and all must be shown to all in their real estate.

I am, SIR,
Your humble servant,

VIATOR.

Numb. 85. TUESDAY, August 28, 1753.

Qui cupit optatam cursu contingere metam,
Multa tulit fecitque puer.

HOR.
The youth, who hopes th' Olympick prize to gain,
All arts must try, and every toil suitain. Francis.

IT is observed by Bacon, that “ reading makes a I « full man, conversation a ready man, and « writing an exact man.” · As Bacon attained to degrees of knowledge scarcely ever reached by any other man, the dia rections which he gives for study have certainly a just claim to our regard; for who can teach an art with so great authority, as he that has practised it with undisputed success ?

Under the protection of so great a name, I shall, therefore, venture to inculcate to my ingenious con. temporaries, the necessity of reading, the fitness of consulting other understandings than their own, and of considering the sentiments and opinions of those who, however neglected in the present age, had in their own times, and many of them a long

time afterwards, such reputation for knowledge and acuteness, as will scarcely ever be attained by those that despise them.

An opinion has of late been, I know not how, propagated among us, that libraries are filled only with useless lumber; that men of parts stand in need of no assistance; and that to spend life in poring upon books, is only to imbibe prejudices, to obstruct and embarrass the powers of nature, to cultivate memory at the expence of judgment, and to bury reason under a chaos of indigested learning.

Such is the talk of many who think themselves wife, and of some who are thought wise by others; of whom part probably believe their own tenets; and part may be justly suspected of endeavouring to Shelter their ignorance in multitudes, and of wishing to destroy that reputation which they have no hopes 'to share. It will, I believe, be found invariably

true, that learning was never decried by any learned man; and what credit can be given to those, who venture to condemn that which they do not know?

If reason has the power ascribed to it by its advo. cates, if so much is to be discovered by attention and meditation, it is hard to believe, that so many millions, equally participating of the bounties of nature with ourselves, have been for ages upon ages meditating in vain: if the wits of the present time expect the regard of pofterity, which will then inherit the reason which is now thought superior to instruction, surely they may allow themselves to be instructed by the reason of former generations. When, therefore, an author declares, that he has been able to learn nothing from the writings of his

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predecessors, and fuch a declaration has been lately made, nothing but a degree of arrogance unpardonable in the greatest human understanding, can hinder him from perceiving that he is raising prejudices against his own performance; for with what hopes of success can he attempt that in which greater abilities have hitherto miscarried ? or with what peculiar force does he suppose himself invigorated, that difficulties hitherto invincible should give way before him?

Of those whom Providence has qualified to make any additions to human knowledge, the number is extremely small; and what can be added by each single mind, even. of this superior class, is very little: the greatest part of mankind must owe all their knowledge, and ali must owe far the larger part of it, to the information of others. To understand the works of celebrated authors, to comprehend their systems, and retain their reasonings, is a talk more than equal to common intellects; and he is by no means to be accounted useless or idle, who has ftored his mind with acquired knowledge, and can detail it occasionally to others who have less leisure or weaker abilities.

Perhus has justly observed, that knowledge is nothing to him who is not known by others to possess it: to the scholar himself it is nothing with respect either to honour or advantage, for the world cannot reward those qualities which are concealed from it; with respect to others it is nothing, because it affords no help to ignorance or error.

It is with justice, therefore, that in an accomplished character, Horace unites juft sentiments with

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the power of expresing them; and he that has once accumulated learning, is next to consider, how he shall most widely diffuse and most agreeably impart it.

A ready man is made by conversation. He that buries himself among his manuscripts “ besprent,” as Pope expresses it, “ with learned duít,” and wears out his days and nights in perpetual research and solitary meditation, is too apt to lose in his elocution what he adds to his wisdom ; and when he comes into the world, to appear overloaded with his own notions, like a man armed with weapons which he cannot wield. He has no facility of inculcating his speculations, of adapting himself to the various degrees of intellect which the accidents of conversation will present, but will talk to most unintelligibly, and to all unpleasantly.

I was once present at the lectures of a profound philosopher, a man really skilled in the science which he professed, who having occasion to explain the terms opacum and pellucidum, told us, after some hesitation, that opacuin was, as one might say, opake, and that pellucidum signified pellucid. Such was the dexterity with which this learned reader facilitated to his auditors the intricacies of science; and so true is it, that a man may know what he cannot teach.

Boerhaave complains, that the writers who have treated of chemistry before him, are useless to the greater part of students, because they pre-suppose their readers to have such degrees of skill as are not often to be found. Into the same error are all men apt to fall, who have familiarized any subject to

them.

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themselves in folitude: they discourse, as if they thought every other man had been employed in the fame inquiries; and expect that short hints and ob{cure illusions will produce in others, the same train of ideas which they excite in themselves.

Nor is this the only inconvenience which the man of study suffers from a recluse life. When he meets with an opinion that pleases him, he catches it up with eagerness; looks only after such arguments as tend to his confirmation; or spares himself the trouble of discussion, and adopts it with very little proof; indulges it long without suspicion, and in time unites it to the general body of his knowledge, and treasures it up among incontestible truths: but when he comes into the world among men who, arguing upon dissimilar principles, have been led to different conclusions, and being placed in various situations, view the same object on many fides; he finds his darling position attacked, and himself in no condition to defend it: having thought always in one train, he is in the state of a man who having fenced always with the same master, is perplexed and amazed by a new posture of his antagonist; he is entangled in unexpected difficulties, he is haraffed by sudden objections, he is unprovided with solutions or replies, his surprize impedes his natural powers of reasoning, his thoughts are scattered and confounded, and he gratifies the pride of airy petulance with an easy victory.

It is difficult to imagine, with what obstinacy truths which one mind perceives almost by intuition, will be rejected by another; and how many artifices must be practised, to procure admission for VOL. IX.

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