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À DVERTISEMEN T.
HE ESSAY ON MAN was intended to have been com
prised in Four Books : The First of which, the Author has given us under that title, in four Epistles.
The Second was to have consisted of the same number : s. Of the extent and limits of human Reason. 2. Of those Arts and Sciences, and of the parts of them, which are useful, and therefore attainable, together with those which are unuseful, and therefore unattainable. 3. Of the Nature, Ends, Use, and Application of the different Capacities of Men. 4. Of the Use of Learning, of the Science of the World, and of Wit ; concluding with a Satire against a Misapplication of them; illustrated by Pictures, Characters, and Examples.
The Third Book regarded Civil Regimen; or the Science of Politics, in which the several forms of a Republic were to be examined and explained ; together with the several Modes of Religious Worship, as far forth as they affect So. ciety ; between which the Author always supposed there was the most interesting relation and closest connection ; so that this part would have treated of Civil and Religious Society in their full extent.
The Fourth and last Book concerned private Ethics, or practical Morality, considered in all the Circumstances, Ora ders, Professions, and Stations of human Life.
The Scheme of all this had been maturely digested, and communicated to L, Bolingbroke, Dr. Swift, and one or two more, and was intended for the only work of his riper Years : but was, partly through ill health, partly through discouragements from the depravity of the times, and partly on prudential and other considerations, interrupted, postponed, and, lastly, in a manner laid afide. VOL. III,
But as this was the Author's favourite Work, which more exactly reflected the Image of his strong capacious Mind, and as we can have but a very imperfect idea of it from the disje£ta membra Poetæ that now remain, it may not be amiss to be a little more particular concerning each of these projected books.
The First, as it treats of Man in the abftract, and confiders him in general under every of his relations, becomes the foundation, and furnishes out the subjects, of the three following ; so that
The SECOND Book was to take up again the First and Se. cond Epifles of the First Book, and treats of Man in his in. tellectual Capacity at large, as has been explained above. Of this, only a small part of the conclufion (which, as we said, was to have contained a Satire against the misapplica. tion of Wit and Learning) may be found in the Fourth Book of the Dunciad, and up and down, occasionally, in the other three.
The THIRD Book, in like manner, was to reassume the subject of the Third Epistle of the First, which treats of Man in his Social, Political, and Religious Capacity. But this part the Poet afterwards conceived might be best executed in an Epic POEM; as the Action would make it more animat. ed, and the Fable lefs invidious; in which all the great Principles of true and false Governments and Religions should be chiefly delivered in feigned Examples.
The FOURTH and last Book was to pursue the subject of the Fourtb Epistle of the First, and treats of Etbics, or practical Morality; and would have consisted of many members; of which the four following Epistles were detached Portions : the two first, on the Characters of Men and Women, being the introductory part of this concluding Book.
EPIST L E I.
Sir Richard Temple, L. Cobham.
Of the Knowledge and Characters of MEN.
THAT it is not fufficient for this knowledge to consider
Man in the Abstract: Books will not serve the purpose, nor get our own Experience fingly, ver. 1. Geniral maxims, unless they be formed upon both, will be but notional, ver. 10. Some Peculiarity in every man, characteristic to himself, yet varying from himSelf, ver. 15. Difficulties arising from our own Pala ficns, Fancies, Faculties, etc. ver. 31. The shortness of Life to observe in, and the uncertainty of the Principles of action in men to observe by, ver. 37, etc. Our own Principle of ation often hid from ourselves, ver. 41. Some few Charačiers plain, but in general confounded, dissembled, or inconfiftent, ver. 51. The same man utterly diffirent in different places and fa
fons, ver. 71. Unimaginable weaknesses in the greateft, ver. 70, etc. Nothing constant and certain but God and Nature, ver. 95. No judging of the Motives from the actions ; the same actions proceeding from contrary Motives, and the fame Motives influencing contrary actions, ver. 100.
II. Yet to form Characters, we can only take the strongest actions of a man's life, and try to make them agree : The utter uncertainty of this, from Nature itself, and from Policy, ver. 120. Chara&ers given according to the rank of men of the world, ver. 135: And some reason for it, ver. 140.
Education alters the Nature, or at least Character, of many, ver. 149. Actions, Passions, Opinions, Manners, Humours, or Principles, all subject to change. No judging by Nature, from ver. 158 to ver. 178. III. It only remains to find (if we can) bis RULING PASSION: That will certainly influence all the rest, and can reconcile the feeming er real inconfidency of all bis actions; ver. 175. Instanced in the extraordinary character of Clodio, ver. 179. A caution against mistaking second qualities for first, which will deftroy all poffibility of the knowledge of mankind, ver. 210. Examples of the frength of the Ruling Passion, and its continuation to the last breath, ver. 222, etc.