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not to apprehend for them, at a time when every kind of vice is the common practice, and (o] the grossest passions perpetually busy in extinguishing all sentiments of honour and probity ?
How necessary then is this science to them [p], whose principal effect is to remove the false prejudices, which seduce, because they please us; whose office is to cure, and deliver us from the popular errors we have sucked in with our milk; to teach us how to discern betwixt true and false, good and evil, solid greatness and vain ostentation;  and to prevent the contagion of bad examples and vicious customs from infecting the minds of youth, and stifling in them the happy seeds of virtue and probity, which we observe nature to have implanted there [>] ? It is in this science, which consists in judging of things, not by common opinion, but by truth, not by a specious outside, but by real merit, that Socrates has placed all the wisdom of man.
I have therefore thought it my duty to begin this treatise of history with laying down principles and rules how to pass a sound judgment upon great and good actions; to discern wherein solid Glory and real Greatness consist; and to distinguish expressly what is worthy of esteem and admiration from what merits only indifference or contempt. Without these rules and precautions, young persons, who have no other guides than their own inclinations, or the popular opinions, may form themselves upon models entirely agreeable to these false ideas, and give into the passions and vices of those, whose actions make a figure
[O] Certatur ingenti quodam ne- verum placentia exstirpet ; quæ nos quitiæ certamine : major quotidie à populo, cui nimis credimus, sepeccandi cupiditas, minor verecun- paret, ac sinceris opinionibus reddiæ est. Sen. lib. 2. de Ira, c. 8.
 Sapientia animi magistra  Tanta est corruptela male est... Quæ sint mala, quæ vide- consuetudinis, ut ab ea tanquam antur ostendit. Vanitatem exuit igniculi extinguantur à naturâ dati
, mentibus, dat magnitudinem soli- exorianturque & confirmentur vitia dam; nec ignorari sin
contraria. Cic. lib. i. de Leg. n. 33. na quid intersit & tumida. Ep. 90. [r] Socrates hanc summam dixit
Inducenda est in occupatum lo. esse sapientiam, bona malaque di. cum virtus, quæ mendacia contra stinguere. Sen, Ep. 21. .
MV a Bu
dat. Ep. 94.
in history indeed, but are not always virtuous or estimable.
Properly speaking, the gospel only and the word of God can prescribe sure and infallible rules to direct us in judging rightly of all things; and it seems my duty to borrow solely from so rich a source the instructions I undertake to give youth on so important a subject. But to make them the better comprehend, how blameable the errors are which I oppose, and how contrary even to right reason, I shall extract my principles only from heathen writers, who will teach us, that what renders a man truly great and worthy of admiration, is neither riches,i'magnificent buildings, costly habits or sumptuous furniture, neither a luxurious table, great employments or high birth, neither reputation, famous exploits, such as victories and conquests, nor even the most valuable endowments of the mind [s] ; but that a man owes his real worth to the heart, and that the more truly great and generous he is in that respect, the more he will despise what seems great in the eyes of the rest of mankind. At first my examples were taken only from ancient history; but certain persons of ability and understanding have since advised me to add others from modern history, and especially that of France, and have been pleased to supply me with several themselyes, for which I take this opportunity of making iny acknowledgments.
But though I have taken all my principles, and most of my examples, from heathen writers, and have avoided using those of the many illustrious saints Christianity inight supply for all states and conditions, it does not follow that my design has been only to recommend virtues purely pagan. One may consider things in an human way, without considering the last end and prime inducements for pursuing them. And thus by degrees we may rise to a purer and more
[s] Cugita in te, præter animum, cui omne bonum in animo est ... nihil esse mirabile, cui magno nihil illum erectum, & excelsum, & magnum est. Sen. Ep. 8.
mirabilia calcantem. Id. Ep. 45: Noc nos doce, beatum esse illum,
perfect virtue, and by becoming attentive and obedient to reason, be prepared to submit to religion and faith, which command the same duties, but upon higher motives, and with the promise of far more glorious rewards.
Lastly, I desire the reader would remember, that this work is not designed for the learned, who are already well versed in history, and may think the great number of facts I have quoted tedious, as containing nothing new to them [t]; but that my design is principally to instruct young students, who may often have scarce any other notion of history, than what they find in this ; which has obliged me to be somewhat more prolix, to produce a greater number of examples, and to add more reflections than otherwise I should have done.
[u] As Riches purchase whatever is most esteemed and sought after in life, such as honours, employinents, lands, houses, ornaments, luxurious boards, and all the train of vulgar pleasures; it is by no means surprising that these should be more esteemed and sought after than all the rest. This notion, too natural to children in itself, is cherished and supported in them by every thing they see and hear. All tends to resound the praises of Riches.' Gold and silver are the only or the principal object of the admiration of mankind, of their desires and labours. They are regarded as alone capable of making life easy and happy, and Poverty on the other hand as the cause of shame and misfortune.
 Nos institutionem professi, onem nobis parentes auri argentique non solum scientibus ista, sed etiam fecerunt: & teneris infusa cupiditas discentibus tradimus: ideoque paulo altiùs sedit, crevitque nobiscum. pluribus verbis debet haberi venia. Deinde totus populus, in alia dis. Quint. lib. 11. cap. 1.
cors, in hoc convenit : hoc suspi[u] Hæc ipsa res tot magistratus, ciunt, hoc suis optant... Denique tot judices detinet, quae magistratus cò mores redacti sunt, ut paupertas & judices facit, pecunia : quæ ex maledicto proboque sit, contempta quo in honore esse cæpit, verus re- divitibus, invisa pauperibus. Sen. rum honor cecidit. ... Adinirati. Ep. 115.
 And yet antiquity (to our great surprise) gives us an instance of a whole nation exclaiming against such sentiments. Euripides had put an high encomium of Riches into the mouth of Bellerophon, which he concluded with these words, Riches are the sovereign happiness of mankind, and it is with reason, they ercite the admiration of gods and men. These last lines provoked the whole people of Athens. They rose up with one common voice against the poet, and would have immediately banished him the city, if he had not bésought them to stay till the play was done, and they should see this idolater of Riches come to a miserable end. A bad, a wretched excuse! The impression which such maxims make upon the imagination, is too strong and lively to wajt for the slow remedies, which an author may bring at the conclusion of his performance.
The people of Rome were no less noble in their sentiments. Their ambition was to gain a great deal of glory and little wealth. Every one sought, [y] says an historian, not to enrich themselves, but their country; and they rather chose to be poor in a rich commonwealth, than to be rich themselves, whilst the commonwealth was poor.v.2] The Camilli, the Fabricii, and the Curii
, were formed, we know, in the school and bosom of Poverty, and it was usual with their
greatest men not to leave wherewithal to detray
expences of their funerals, or to portion out their daughters. Such also was the disposition of our ancient magistrates, and we read with pleasure in the history of the premier presidents of the university of Paris, that the famous “ John de la Vacquenie died richer in bonours " and reputation, than in the goods of fortune. For “having left behind him three daughters, the heir
esses only of his virtues, his master king Lewis “XI. in acknowledgment of his services, took care [x] Senec. Epist. 115..
perio versari malebat. Val. Max. [y] Patriæ rem unusquisque, non
lib. 4. cap. 4.
them according to their condition, and “ paid their fortunes out of his own treasury.
An expression of the emperor Valerian's shews us how much Poverty was esteemed even in the lower age of the empire. He had nominated Aurelian, who was afterwards emperor, to the consulship; and as he was poor hc ordered the keeper of his treasury to supply him with all the money he should want for the expences he was to be at upon his entrance into that office, and wrote to him in these terms, [a] “ You “shall give Aurelian, whom I have nominated con
sul, whatever shall be necessary to defray the charges “ of the customary shews.
He deserves this assist“ance by reason of his Poverty, which renders him
truly great, and ranks him above all others.”
Thus we see the sentiments of the truly generous and noble, in all ages and nations. [b] Those great men were of opinion, that nothing was a surer mark of a little abject spirit than the love of Riches, and nothing on the other hand more great and generous than to despise them; and thought it the highest pitch of virtue to bear up nobly under Porerty, and to look upon it as an advantage, rather than å misfortune. According to them the second degree of virtue consisted in making a good use of Riches, when they possessed them; and they judged it most agreeable to the end for which they were designed, and most likely to draw upon the rich the esteem and love of mankind, to make them subservient to the good of the society. In a word, [c] they counted nothing really their own, but what they had given away.
Cimon the Athenian general, thought his possessions were given him by fortune for no other end than
[a] Aureliano, cui consulatum habeas ; si habeas, ad beneficentiam detulimus, ob paupertatem, quâ ille liberalitatemque convertere. Cic. magnus est, cæteris major, dabis lib. i Offic, n. 68. ob editionem Circensium, &c. Vo- [C] Nihil imagis possidere me cre. pisc. in Vita Imper. Aurel. dam, quàm bene donata. Senec. de
[b] Nihil est tam angusti animi Vita Beat. cap. 20. tamque parvi, quàm amare divitias : Hoc habeo, quodcumque dedi. nihil honestius magnificentiusque Lib. 6. de Benef. cap. 3• quàm pecuniam contemnere, si non