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vices, the causes of their grandeur and destrụction. We learn there, not only to discover the secret and hidden sources of human politics, which give motion to all actions and enterprises ; but to discern withal a sovereigu Being, watching and presiding over all, directing and conducting every event, and disposing and absolutely deciding the fate of all the kingdoms and empires of the world. I cannot therefore too inuch exhort those who are entrusted with the education of youth, to read and study this excellent book with attention, which is so capable of forming at once both the understanding and the heart; and, after they have studied it well themselves, to endeavour to inspire their pupils with a taste for it.
What I have said of nations, may also be understood of the great and illustrious men, who have been distinguished for the good or ill they have wrought in states. We must diligently apply ourselves to study their genius, natural inclinations, virtues and faults, particular and personal qualifications; in a word, that peculiar turn of mind and course of conduct that
prevails in them, and forms their character; for that is properly to know them. Otherwise we see only the surface and outside of them; and men are not to be known and judged only by their dress and countenances.
Neither must we expect to know them principally from such of their actions, as to make the most glorious figure. When they set themselves up to public view, they may dissemble and lie under a restraint, by assuming for a time the visage aud mask, which suits best with the character they are to support. They shew themselves what they are, in private, in the closet, and at home, when they are unreserved, and without disguise. It is there they act and talk, as nature dictates. It is in this manner we should chiefly study great men, if we would pass a right judgment upon them ; and it is the inestimable advantage we find in Plutarch, and that wherein he may be said to excel all other historians. In the lives he has left us of the
illustrious men among the Greeks and Romans, he descends to particulars, which give us infinite pleasure. He is not satisfied with shewing us the general
, the conqueror, the statesman, the magistrate, or the orator; he lays open the inside of the house to his readers, or rather the heart of the persons he speaks of, and lets us see in them the father, the husband, the mas. ter, and the friend. We seem to live and discourse with them, to share in their amusements and diversions, to assist at their meals and in their conversations.  Tully says somewhere, that he could not take one step in Athens, and the neighbouring places, without meeting with some ancient inonument of history, which awakened the remembrance of the great men, who formerly lived there, and in some measure set them before his eyes. Here was a garden, where the footsteps of Plato seemed still to remain, here he used to walk and discourse of the gravest points of philosophy; there was the place of the public assemblies, where Æschines and Demosthenes seem still to plead against each other; and one would imagine the voice of the Greek orator was still to be heard on the shore, where he learned to overcome the tumultuous noise of public meetings by surmounting that of the waves. The reading the lives of Plutarch seems in my opinion to produce a like effect, by rendering the great men he speaks of in a manner present, and giving us as lively an idea of their customs and manners, as if we had lived and conversed with them. We know more of the genius, spirit, and character of Alexander from Plutarch’s very short abridgment of it, than from the very long and particular histories of Quintus Curtius and Arrian.
Il Quacunque ingredimur, in quem accepimus primùm hic in aliquam historiam vestigium poni- Academia disputare solitum : cujus
Usu autem evenit, ut acriùs etiam illi hortuli propinqui non aliquanto & attentiùs de claris viris, memoriam solum mihi afferunt, sed locorum admonitu, cogitemus ... ipsum videntur in conspectu meo velut ego nunc moveor. Venit hic ponere, &c. Lib. s. de Finib. enim mihi Platonis in mentein,
n. 4, Sc.
This exact knowledge of the characters of great men makes an essential part of history; and it is for this reason that good historians are usually careful to give an express and general idea of the good or ill qualities of the principal persons they speak of. Of this kind are the characters of Catiline, Marius, and Sylla, in Sallust; of Furius Camillus, Hannibal, and a great many others, in Livy.
It is by studying attentively the prevailing dispositions both of nations in general, and their commanders in particular, that we are able to form a judgment of their designs, actions, and enterprises, and may even foretel the consequence. Philopemen, an officer of excellent understanding, observing on the one hand the carelessness and negligence of Antiochus, who was amusing himself at feasts and weddings; and on the other, the diligence and indefatigable activity of the Romans, made no difficulty in foretelling on which side the victory would fall. Polybius is very careful, by the wise reflections he makes in several parts of his history, to excite the attention of the reader to take notice of the personal qualifications of the great inen he writes of, and to observe that the Roman conquests were the effects of schemes concerted at a distance, and conducted by such means, as with the abilities of their generals could scarce possibly fail of success. It was from this profound study of the genius and character of mankind, from a thorough enquiry into the nature and constitution of the different kinds of government, and the natural causes which in course of time change the form of them; and lastly, by serious reflections upon the present state of affairs and disposition of men's minds, that the same historian, in the sixth book of his history, has carried the sagacity of his conjectures and foresight so far as to declare that sooner or later the republic of Rome would again be changed into a monarchical government.
When I come to speak of the Roman history I shall give an extract and summary of this passage of
Polybius, which is one of the most curious and re'markable of all antiquity.
OBSERVE IN HISTORY WHAT RELATES TO
The observations I have already mentioned are not the only ones to be made, nor the most essential; such as relate to the regulation of manners are still more important “ The greatest advantage,” says Livy in his excellent preface, “arising from the knowledge
of history is, that you may see there examples of
imitation both in your own private conduct, and in the administration of public af“ fairs; you find there also such actions as flow " from corrupt principles, fatal in their event, and “ for that reason to be avoided.” Hoc illud est precipuè in cognitione rerum salubre ac frugiferum, omnis te exempli documenta in illustri posita monumento intueri: inde tibi tuæque reipublica, quod imitare, capius; inde fadum inceptu, fædum exitu, quod cites.
The case is near the same with the study of history as with travelling. [m] If it be contined barely to the passing over countries, the visiting of cities, the examining the beauty and magnificence of the buildings and public monuments, where is the mighty advantage attending it? Does it make a man wiser, more regular, or temperate? Does it remove his prejudices, or correct his errors? The novelty and variety of these objects may amuse him for a time, like a child, and he may gaze upon them with a stupid admiration, Put if this be all, it is not to travel, but wander, and to lose both his time and trouble. Non est hoc peregrinari, sed errare. It is said of Ulysses, that he visited abundance of cities, but not till after it had been ob
served, that he applied hiinself to study the manners and genius of the people. [n] Qui mores hominum multorum vidit & urbes.
The ancients made long and frequent voyages, but it was with a view to instruct; to visit mankind, to improve from their wisdom and knowledge.
Such is the use we ought to make of history. We stand in need of instructions and examples to induce us to the practice of virtue amidst the dangers and obstacles which surround it; and history supplies us with these of every kind, It is thence the sentiments of honour and probity are derived; [o] Hinc mihi ille justitiæ haustus bibat. We must carefully study the actions and speeches of the great men of antiquity, and make it our business seriously to digest them.
[p] When Tully endeavours to incline his brother Quintus to kindness and moderation, he puts him in mind of what he had read in Xenophon concerning Cyrus and Agesilaus. “  He tells us it was the use he himself made of what he had read in his youth, and history had taught him to suffer the utmost extremities, and despise all dangers for the service of his country. “ How many models of virtue, says he, are "left us by the Greek and Latin writers, which are "not laid before us only to be looked on, but to be
imitated? And by studying them incessantly, and endeavouring to copy after them in the management of public affans, have I formed my mind and
upon the idea of those great men, whose pic" tures are so admirably drawn in their writings. Quàm multas robis imagines, non solùm ad intuendum, verùm etiam ad imitandum, fortissimorum virorum erpressas, scriptores & Græci & Latini reliquerunt ? quas ego mihi semper in administrandá republicâ proponens, animum & mentem meam ipsá cogitatione hominum excellentium confirmabam! [n] Horat. de Arte Poet.
[P] Epist. 2. ad Quint. (o] Quint. I. 12.6, 2.
 Pro Arch. Poet. n. 14.