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scanned in order to arrive at truth—but in or perhaps we should say recurring phases studying truth itself we shall find that there of fashion. Here we shall find in the sober is much truth that is strange, stranger than details of voyagers and travelers, facts as fiction-as to the marvellous, Gulliver or funny as fiction ever fancied, and truths as Munchausen never saw stranger sights thap strange as romances ever revealed. They bare found a place in sober history, and only need to be winnowed from the wheat, been deliberately detailed as matters of the crop will be found to be abundant, but
whether worth the winnowing is a question Wonderful stories of wild men and wild yet to be resolved. If men want amusewomen found in the woods of France and ment they can find it in the pasages of the Germany, have been written, and by Lin historians as well as in the pages of the novnæus gravely introduced into his work as elists, and having been presented as truthforming the connecting link between the they will lead to an exercise of the mental human race and the monkey tribe. Sir powers in canvassing their claims to be so Walter Raleigh tells us in his history of received, and hence we shall be led to anGuiana, "of men whose heads do grow be- other motive prompting to this study-which neath their shoulders,” and whose single and is this, only eye is placed, not where Virgil placed “It will call into play all our intellectual the eye of Polyphemus in the middle of the and moral powers.” foreliead--but where one among the an- !
In reading history we are to discriminate cients proposed to place in every man alha
between the false and true, the precious and vindow-in the middle of the breast. The
the vile our judgment, good sense, and penePatagonians were described by those who
tration are all to be exercised. We are first visited them as a race of giants, sustain
neither to be credulous and believe all-nor ing the relation to other men that the mas
with Voltaire exercise an “inveterate Pyrtodon does to lower animals.
rhonism" that believes nothing. Reflecting Many authors have related that the famous on what we read we shall avoid being carOtho, Archbishop of Mayence was beseiged ried away
Tried away by the artful Rhetorician in his and devoured by an army of rats. Dyoni
| play upon our passions and imagination, or sius Halicarnassus lived in an enlightened
| by his appeals to our prejudices. And as age, the Augustan age, and yet he gravely
ty with minds awake we read and reflect, we tells us that by the coinmand of the Augur
shall find memory becoming more powerful, Nevius a razor cut a whetstone, and that
| judgment more exact, the whole mind more Castor and Pollux fought in person for the
penetrating and its comprehension enlarged. Romans against the Latins—that two rivers
| Among other things in its perusal, we are tuined their course to favor the inhabitants
called upon to exercise the privileges and of Cumäe, and that a statue of Fortune
| discharge the duties of jurymen and judges; spoke certain words twice over, (vide
or we are to be self-constituted courts of Priestleys Lectures,) Credat Judæus!
Equity, for doing justice to men and nations But it is not only the marvellous that we we are to canyass the proof-question the can find there is much which tho' not ap-witnesses and give a verdict, and when inpealing to our credulity is yet amusing—as terested partisans and truckling politicians Fe regard the manners and custons, and or self-seeking eulogists or starving literati singularites and contrarieties of different attempt to gloss over the vices and exalt as people in different ages, and in different virtuous the base, or falsify in regard to facts, quarters of the globe. Here we shall often we are to tear off the flimsy covering, unbe reminded that “de gustibus non disputan-ravel the sophistical web and leave men and dum.” Here we shall have passing in re-events nakedly exposed to the eye of truth. view before us the constant and ever shifting There has been so much of this partial writing of events and character. So much serting the natural and inalienable rights of false coloring thrown over the doings and men. Who knows not that Calumny bas designs of men, that we do not much von always been heaped upon the Hampdens der that Lord Oxford sbould exclaim to his and Sydneys, the Cromwells and Washingson, "Oh quote me not history--for that I tons, and Kossuths of our race. know to be false;" or that Horace Walpole
But again in the past the most splendid should be a sceptic in regard to the truth of models of literary excellence are to be history in general—tho' we have no sympa- found. We say this without disparagement thy with him in his “Historic doubts”—for to the writers of the present day, of whom it lays the axe at the root of all faith and there are many, worthy of great praise—but trust. It is recorded of his father, Sir Rob- it will be conceded that in the past we have ert Walpole, that in his last illness he was world renowned specimens of what mind asked if he would have some book of histo- can do, and of which the world may well ry read to him--and he replied, “It is too be proud. These products of the most gifted late to be amused with works of fiction."— of the sons and daughters of science and of There has been too much false history writ- song may be used by us as models, not as ten, a venal pen bas been too often employ copies. We are not to be like the Chinaed at the dictation of men. Cicero employ man who in manufacturing a new garment ed unscrupulous pens to laud his consulship, for a foreigner with an old one as a guide, and falsify in regard to it, and he has not made rents and sewed them up again, and lacked those who have gone and done like put on patches and buttons balf worn out, wise.
until it was difficult to distinguish between Besides these, there have been literary im- the old one and the dew. We are to empostur es palmed upon the world. Writers ploy the literary gems to which we have rehave detailed as matters of fact—things ferred as wells of thought,sources of inspirawhich have not happened. And des- tion and suggestive influence, and as means cribed what they saw and heard of mental discipline and culture. when it was all imaginary. The pre- Here the poet máy plume his wings for a tended narratives of facts of Varillas, a heavenward Aight, the metaphysician sharFrench historian-a long while enjoyed a pen his powers of mental analysis-the oragood reputation and the works of Gregorio tor fire his soul and fit himself to utter Reti, whose pen was quickened by hunger, burning words of thought that penetrate, the were often sought for, because containing historian polish his style and enlarge his anecdotes of English bistory not elsewhere powers of generalization and philosophical found, and for the very good reason, that he criticism andmanner of presenting truth. Let was indebted to his fancy for them. Let us it not be said that nature must do this for learn from their examples what we are to us—that genius needs not such adventitious do in studying the past and see how it may help. That this aping of the literary giarits minister to intellectual improvement, if it of other days, is death to originality and prompt us to examine testimony as jury- insprovement, and independence of thought;: men or judges-scanning what is true and all men are not born geniuses—the mass of separating it from the false. Especially men need aid--they are all the better for does it become the American citizen--not to having models. There is a literary depenassume without examination what panderers dence of age on age, and we must not unto royality or despotism have said when justly withhold the moed of praise due to with terms of reproach they have spoken of the past, nor neglect to improve by it. We men whose crime in their eyes, has been have no sympathy with a ruthless onslaught their opposing with noble ardor and patri- against classical learning and literature. It otic zeal, the usurpations of tyrants and as- I is a war which ignorance or affectation of
superior wisdom or mistaken piety-fancy- / as an example. How extravagant have been ing it sees in classical study something per-| bis eulogists--seren illustrious cities, we are Dicious has sometimes waged.
told disputed the right of having given birth Some of the very men who have been to this greatest of poets. He is declared to drawn into this contest are themselves illus- have been born of a prophetess, and drops of trations of its beneficent uses, and others
honey are fabled to have been distilled in plainly show their need. But it is not only his infant lips. The first sounds be uttered to the classics of Greece and Rome, th:1t our were musical as the song of birds. Apollo subiect points: not merely to the repositories was his Sire, and a "wonderful genealogy of wit and wisdom that are found in langua- was contrived industriously to raise our idea ges now dead: there is also in the past of to the highest where Gods and Goddesses, living languages, and in our owc vernacular Muses, Kings and Poets link in a descent, models of literary excellence demanding our and Homer among them.” bomage.
There have been no bounds to his praises, Again-- In the study of the past we see an age acting on age-the preceding leaving its
Qvin its ja Professor of Grecian literature, and we demark on that wbich follows and affecting it
it ny not that he deserveth much. But who
does not know that it is and has been confor wealor for woe. This is most emphatically true in literature. Homer versified by
tended plausibly if not successfully that big Pope tells us that
greatest work which has given him his world
wide fame is after all not his entirely-but "Like leaves on trees the race of man is found, the production of different authors, a comNow green in youth, now withering on the ground,
pilation and amalgama tion of many minor Another rnce the following spring supplies;
poems, skillfully fused into one graphic They fall successive, and successive rise. bo generations in their course decay;
whole. It may possibly be “the tyranny of Bo flourish these, when those are pass'd away." criticisrn"—it may be "detraction pouring
the waters of bitterness," and yet NauIn one sense this is true, but not in every sense, there is a higher connection between
crates points out the source in the library of age and age, from century to century--||
Memphis, in a temple of Vulcan which he
says the blind bard completely pillaged and than that which exists between tbe succes
D'Israeli in his curiosities of literature says: site foliage of our forests. The bays and
Undoubtedly there were good poets before leafy crowns that have graced the temples of
Homer; bow absurd to suppose that a finishthe sons of science and of song have not al
ed and elaborate poem could be the first! ways been righteously distributed. Too We have indeed accounts of anterior poets, much honor is accorded frequently to the
and apparently of Epics, before Homer; their honored few who have stood out boldly from
names have come down to us. Aelian notithe multitude, and too little to the many whose mingled contributions have helped to
ces Syagrus who composed a poem on the form and fashion the men of fame, and
seige of Troy and Suidas, the poem of Cor1 given them their greatness. We may con
rinnus from which it is charged that Homer cede to the few,distinguished talents, genius
greatly borrowed. Now if this be so,and there superiority to the mass about them; but we
are such names as Perault and Hedelin and must not blind ourselves to the fact which I Vico, and Bently, and Wolf among the crit
ics and scholars to support it-then indeed will probably appear on investigation, that
some of his laurels should be distributed to for a long time prior to their day the scintillations have been sparkling, and the rays of
those who perished uphonored and unsung. light streaking forth, which are finally con
Take Virgil, the greatest of Roman poets
I the Mantuan bard-no one questions but centrated and made to pour a bright and dazzling radiance thro' them. Take Homer
at he drew largely from the Illiad and
The immortal Shakspeare, "fancy's child, instruction so that were we but dwarfs in who warbled his native wood notes wild,” intellect-yet being furnished with the is another illustration of our posi - shoulders of the giants of other days to tion. As to Homer so to him, we accord stand upon, we tower above them and see great praise. We believe him to have been further than they could. We often hear men an intellectual giant, to have had a profound wish to live life over again, that is, they knowledge of human nature, and we can not desire to bave life prolonged so that they restrain the smile of contempt at Voltaire may profit by their experience. Let them when he says that Hamlet "appears the study history aright and they will have the work of a drunken savage,” and at Hume substance of their wish. The past was peowho represents him as "without any instruc- pled with men of like passions with us on tion, either from the world or books” —yet the page of history they pass before us as in he, genius that he was, was indebted to his a moving panorama-or the pages of autopredecessors and cotemporaries in no small biography, in their letters and diaries, and degree. His works themselves give evidence on the pages of the philosophic historian we that he must have had sume acquaintance see them in youth, in manhood and decline, with Latin and Greek, and it may be the we see them planning, prosecnting, achiermodern languages, and we are assured that ing and reaping the results. The warrior wbatever there was in English, whether or. plans his sieges, projects his modes of attack, iginal or translations which could be of use scales the fortresses of his enemies, and to him in his poetical object, he had studied. makes their Gibraltars and so called impreg. He traveled in his youth; was familiar with nable fortresses like the walks of Jericho the bards and songsters of the age before after tbe rams horn had been blown. Emhim, and they were not few-these poets of battled legions are dispersed before him and the multitude fed his fancy and inspired bis captives follow in his train. Hector is mind with passion, and fitted him for his dragged in cruel triumph round the tomb of work.
Patroclus—the determination "delenda est This truth thus illustrated in literature is Carthago" is carried out to the letter. Hapalso established by the investigations of sci- nibal crosses the Alps. Napoleon follows ence. The germ of Bacon's boasted theory in h's steps. An Augustulus succeeds in of induction may be traced in the works of the process of time to Augustus, and a would Aristotle, and the mathematical discoveries be Napoleon, in the person of Louis to the of Leabritz, particularly his differential Cal-Corsican. Here is recorded the mingled culus was cotemporaneous without collusion triumphs and defeats of the worlds ensla. with Newtou's fluxions, and long before vers. Is it worth the toil and time and either appeared in this county, an American blood? Will it pay the cost? Does it not boasted of his having discovered them--thus teach us that if the people were wise, there leading to the belief that some previous are games at which kings could not play? scholar has given some glimmering of this The student--the aspirant for literary truth, which led these three explorators to fame, in the study of the past walks befose their discovery.
us. He gets his reward; he fills a niche in The indebtedness of Columbus to the faines temple, and the world have learned Scandinavian voyagers might also be enlarg- from his works that ed upon.
There lived a man. In this way the study of the past, shows. It is perhaps said of him that his wisdom us age acting on age, the preceding leaving great, excelling the wisdom of "all the chilwpark on that which follows.
dren of the East. He was wiser than 'all Again-In the study of the past we read men, than Ethan the Ezrabite and Heman, the recorded experience of mankind, and get I and Chalcol, and Darda, and his fame in al
the nations round about." But if he has not chart. Wesay next to the Bible, for this studied for a purpos3-if he can not show has no rival in the true statesman's estimate, results that are treasures to mankind, then and this too is, history--but a history of the history of his sutile toils, will of itself the Theocracy. Next to God's book--the be the treasury from whence we draw les- past as exhibited in history profane, as it is sons to benefit and instruct ourselves. called to distinguish it from the sacred page
The ambitious man seeking for office is the true chart to guide amid the currents honors, the aspirants for crowns, and cardi- and eddies, and suags and sand-bars—the. nal hats, and triple tiaras, and the minor of rocks and whirlpools, where danger lurks or fices of state, pass before us. We see them openly shows herself threatening ruin. The plotting and deceiving, poisoning, and ac- Earl of Chathani made history his favorite ccomplishing their purposes, and we hear study, and so will every jurist and statestheir moans, exclaiming "uneasy lies the man who would fully equip himself to legis. head that wears a crown." We hcar them late for a nation. Here will he find data for in their degradation from office bemoaning settling the most important questions that their condition, or disappointed in their pur- present themselves. Here he studies the suit and defeated, blaming all but the real progress of nations, in actual operation, and authors of their ruin - themselves -- and not in theory. Here he is let behind the sometimes with rash precipitation, like that curtain and beholds the hidden springs of ardent republican, Cassius, at Phillippi, be- human affairs. But not only in the political coming self-destroyers,
--also in the ecclesiastical and religious Here, too, the votary of sensual pleasure economy of our race shall we find it benepasses in our sight; we see him pursuing a ficial. To the Divine it is as important as shadow
to the Statesman. Indeed church and state
have in their history been intimately allied, "Fair outside,
and most disastrously too for both-an unWithin, corrupted and corrupting still;
holy alliance. Except in a Theocracy they Ruined and ruinous; her sure reward, Her total recompense was still
can not be conjoined without mutual damVexation, disappointment and remorse."
age. The province of the priest and king Et uno disce omnes
are and must be kept distinct. Religion is
to sway by moral means and leave the sword Thus, in this recorded experience of man
to Cæsar. Christ only is competent to the kind is the wish of man to live life over a
possession and exercise of all power in gain, virtually enjoyed. It may be true that as no two men's faces are exactly alike, so
heaven and on earth. History shows us that
disaster and ruin ensues when Christ's kingthe experience of no two men exactly tally,
dom and the kingdoms of this world are but this much is certain in the general line
made to coalesce iu the hands of men assuaments, there will be verisimilitudes, “as in
ming to be Christ's vicegerents and ruling . water, face answereth to face, so the heart of
in his name. Here in this study of the man to man. God, in giving us the past, or
| past we get confirmation of the truth and the means of its recall, gives us the boon we heavenly origin of the christian religion. No crave, but alas! how true the remark of Cole
where in all the history of the world can ridge, “that experience is too often like the stern lights of a ship, illuminating only the
we find any thing to compete with it.
Here we learn the utter inadequacy of man pathway gone over.” Mankind profit not
unaided to devise a morality so pure, a code by the experience of others seldom by their
"of law so just, and a system of doctrines and own. Again- This is a good school for the
duties, and hopes so admirably adapted to study of political economy. This next to
the nature and capabilities and longings of
| universal man. The world at its best estate the Bible is the statesman's and the patriot's'