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valuable interest of mankind, the principal object of his care and application. He ought to promote the eternal, as well as the present and temporal happiness of his fubjects : this is therefore a point properly subject to his jurisdiction.
Fourth proof. In fine, we can in general acknowledge only two sovereigns, God and the prince. The fovereignty of God is a transcendent, universal, and absolute supremacy, to which even princes themselves are subject : the sovereignty of the prince holds the second rank, and is subordinate to that of God; but in such a manner, that the prince has a right to regulate every thing which interests the happiness of society, and by its nature is fufceptible of human direction.'
Having thus endeavoured to establish the right of the fovereign in matters of religion, our author proceeds to examine into the extent and bounds of this right ; and fnews, that the fovereign can order nothing impoffible in its nature, as believing contradictions, &c. and that he cannot lawfully assume to himfelf an empire over confciences, as if it was in his power to impose the necessity of believing such or such an article in matters of religion. Nature itself, says he, and the divine laws are equally contrary to this pretension. 'Tis therefore no less foolish than impious to endeavour to constrain consciences, and, as it were, to extort religion by force of arms, The natural punishment of those who are in an error is to be taught. As for the rest, we must leave the care of the fuccefs to God.'
In the two last chapters of this part, he considers the power of the fovereign- over the lives and fortunes of his subjects, in criminal cases, and his power over the BONA REIPUBLICÆ.
In the lait part he confiders the different rights of fovereignty with refpect to foreign eftates: the right of war, and everything relating to it ; public treaties, and the right of amballadors: but we shall leave our readers to judge of the whole by what has been already said of it, as it would be impossible without tran'cribing the greatest part of the book, to give them a distinct and connected view of wla is said on each of the various subjects that are handled iit.
ART. XXXIV. Letters on the study and use of History. B
the late right honourable Henry St. John, lord viscoun?
Bolingbroke. Svo, 2 vol. 10.5. Millar. ΤΗ HIS noble author appears to us to have had a much
larger proportion of the etherial spirit, to use an ex. pression of his lordship’s, than what the generality of mankind possess. Whoever has perused his writings with impärtiality and a moderate share of attention, must have observed a nobleness and elevation in his sentiments, a large and comprehensive view of his subject, and a masterly manner of treating it. The most common sentiments, acquire a kind of dignity and gracefulness from his lordship’s manner of expressing them ; so peculiarly happy is he in his ftile, which, as far as we are able to judge, is for elegance and strength, equal, if not superior, to that of any English writer whatever.
The subject of the greatest part of this work is history, with which, especially that of modern times, his lordship appears to have been extremely well acquainted. Before he comes to give a sketch of the history and state of Europe, he shews the great importance of the study of history, points out the proper method to be observed in the prosecution of it; and considers briefly the state of ancient history, both sacred and profane. In perusing this work, the attentive reader will find more occasions than one to observe his lordfhip’s consciousness of his own superior abilities, and will, no doubt, be apt to think that he has, in some places, been too levere in his reflexions upon his own country : but candor will make favourable allowances for human frailties, and every good-natur'd reader will forgive the imperfections of the man, for the sake of the beauties of the writer.
As to what his lordship has advanced concerning the historical part of the old testament, though we cannot but look upon it to be highly exceptionable, to say no worse, and can scarce persuade ourselves, that a person of his lordfhip’s penetration and discernment could reft fatisfied with the distinction he mentions between the historical and doc. trinal parts; yet to charge him either with difingenuity or deism, as has been publicly done, on account of what he had said on this subject, is inconsistent both with candor and charity,
The letters contained in the first volume are addrefied to a lord who is not named *. In the first letter, which is a
very short one, and is dated from Chantelou in Tou* Lord Cornbury.
raine, November 6, 1735, his lordship considers the different motives that carry men to the study of history. He observes, that some intend nothing more than amusement, and read the life of Epaminondas or Scipio, just as they play a game at cards, or as they would read the story of the reven champions; and that there are others who read in order to talk, to shine in conversation, and to impose in company; who having few ideas to vend of their own growth, store their minds with crude un-ruminated facts and sentences, and hope to supply by bare memory, the want of imagination and judgment. • But these, says he, are in the two lowest forms. The next I shall mention, are in one a little higher; in the form of those who grow neither wiser nor better by study themselves, but who enable others to study with greater ease, and to purposes more useful : who make fair copies of foul manuscripts, give the signification of hard words, and take a great deal of other grammatical pains. The obligation to these men would be great indeed, if they were in general able to do any thing better, and submitted to this drudgery for the sake of the public; as some of them, it must be owned with gratitude, have done, but not, later, I think, than about the time of the resurrection of letters. When works of importance are pressing, generals themelves may take up the pick-axe and the spade, but in the ordinary course of things, when that pressing necesity is over, such tools are left in the hands destined to use them, the hands of common soldiers and peasants. I approve therefore very
much the devotion of a studious man at christchurch, who was over-heard in his oratory entering into a detail with God, as devout persons are apt to do, and among other particular thanksgivings, acknowledging the divine goodness in furnishing the world with makers of dicţionaries! These men court famę, as well as their betters, by such means as God has given them to acquire it : and Littleton exerted all the genius he had, when he made a dictionary, though Stephens did not. They deserve encouragement, however, whilst they continue to compile, and neither affect wit, nor presume to reason.'
A fourth class he mentions, which consists of those who employ their time in compiling systems of chronology and history and concludes his letter with telling us, that he had rather take the Darius whom Alexander conquered for the son of Hysajpes, and make as many anachronisms as a Jewin chronologer, than sacrifice half his life to collect all the learned lumber that fills the head of an antiquary.
In the second letter, after saying something of history in general, and sewing that the love of it is inseparable from human nature, his lordship confiders the true use and advantages of it. History, he tells us, is philofophy teaching us by examples how to conduct ourselves in every station of public and private life. He observes, that fuch is the imperfection of human understanding, such the frail temper of our minds, that abstract or general propositions, be they ever so true, appear obfcure or doubtful to us very often, till they are explained by examples; 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; and that instructions by precept have the further disadvantage, of coming on the authority of others, and frequently require a long deduction of reasoning. 6 When examples are pointed out to us, fays he, there is a kind of appeal, with which we are flattered, made to our 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 resift fpeculation. 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 paffion 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 repetition, example secures the obfervance of those precepts which example insinuated.'
In the subsequent part of this letter he states the account between the improvements to be made by the study of history, and thofe improvements which are the effect of our own experience; shews the absolute neceflity of preparing ourselves for the conversation of the world by conversing with historians; and illustrates the whole, in a very beautiful manner, by examples taken from antient and modern times.
His lordship introduces his third letter with removing an objection against the utility of history. Were there letters, says he, to fall into the hands of some ingenious perfons who adorn the age we live in, your lordship’s correfpondent would be joked upon for his project of improving men in virtue and wisdom by the study of history. The general characters of men, it would be faid, are determin.
ed by their natural constitutions, as their particular actions are by immediate objects. Many very conversant in history would be cited, who have proved ill men or bad politicians; and a long roll would be produced of others who have arrived at a greater pitch of private and public virtue, without any affiftance of this kind. Something has been said already to anticipate this objection ; but since I have heard several persons affirm such propositions with great confidence, a loud laugh, or a filent Ineer at the pedants who presumed to think otherwise; I will spend a few paragraphs, with your lordship's leave, to shew that such affirmations (for to affirm amongst these fine men is to reason) either prove too much, or prove nothing.
• If our general characters were determined absolutely, as they are certainly influenced, by our constitutions, and if our particular actions were fo by immediate objects; all instruction by precept as well as example, and all endeavours to form the moral character by education, would be unneceffary. Even the little care that is taken, and surely it is impossible to take less, in the training up our youth, would be too much. But the truth is widely different from this representation of it; for what is vice, and what is virtue ? I speak of them in a large and philosophical sense. The former is, I think, no more than the excefs, abuse, and misapplication of appetites, defires, and paflions, natural and innocent, nay useful and necessary : the latter confifts in the moderation and government, in the use and application of these appetites, desires and paffions, according to the rules of reason, and therefore often in opposition to their own blind impulse.
• What now is education ? that part, that principal and most neglected part of it, I mean, which tends to form the moral character? It is, I think, an institution designed to lead men from their tender years, by precept and example, by argument and authority, to the practice and to the habit of practising these rules. The ftranger our appetites, desires and passions are, the harder indeed is the task of education : But when the efforts of education are proportioned to this strength, although our keenest appetites and desires, and our ruling paflions cannot be reduced to a quiet and uniform submision, yet are not their excesses afiwaged? are not their abuses and misapplications, in some degree, diverted or checked ? Tho' the pilot cannot lay the storm, cannot he carry the ship by his art better through it, and often prevent the wreck that would always happen without him? If