Letters on the Study and Use of History

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J.J. Tourneissen, 1788 - 308 pages

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Page 9 - An application to any study that tends neither directly nor indirectly to make us better men and better citizens, is at best but a specious and ingenious sort of idleness, to use an expression of Tillotson: and the knowledge we acquire by it is a creditable kind of ignorance, nothing more.
Page 18 - There is scarce any folly or vice more epidemical among the sons of men, than that ridiculous and hurtful vanity by which the people of each country are apt to prefer themselves to those of every other; and to make their own customs, and manners, and opinions, the standards of right and wrong, of true and false.
Page 230 - Marlborough was raised to the head of the army, and indeed of the confederacy, where he, a new, a private man, a subject, acquired by merit and by management a more deciding influence, than high birth, confirmed authority, and even the crown of Great Britain, had given to King William. Not only all the parts of that vast machine, the grand alliance, were kept more compact and entire, but a more rapid and vigorous motion was given to the whole, and, instead of languishing or disastrous campaigns,...
Page 7 - The same principle in this instance carries us forward and backward, to future and to past ages. We imagine that the things which affect us must affect posterity ; this sentiment runs through mankind, from Caesar down to the parish-clerk in Pope's Miscellany.
Page 161 - They who are in the rising scale do not immediately feel their strength, nor assume that confidence in it which successful experience gives them afterwards. They who are the most concerned to watch the variations of this balance, misjudge often in the same manner, and from the same prejudices. They continue to dread a power no longer able to hurt them, or they continue to have no apprehensions of a power that grows daily more formidable. Spain verified the first observation at the end of the second...
Page 117 - Till this happen, the profession of the law will scarce deserve to be ranked among the learned professions ; and whenever it happens, one of the vantage grounds, to which men must climb, is metaphysical, and the other historical knowledge.
Page 19 - I might likewise bring several other instances wherein history serves to purge the mind of those national partialities and prejudices that we are apt to contract in our education, and that experience for the most part rather confirms than removes ; because it is for the most part confined, like our education.
Page 11 - ... never become so perfect a copy of Zeno, if he had not passed his life with him ; that Plato, Aristotle, and the other philosophers of that school, profited more by the example, than by the discourse of Socrates.
Page 28 - The excessive ill husbandry practised from the very beginning of king William's reign, and which laid the foundations of all we feel and all we fear, was not the effect of ignorance...
Page 117 - ... the human heart, and become well acquainted with the whole moral world, that they may discover the abstract reason of all laws ; and they must trace the laws of particular states, especially of their own, from the first rough sketches to the more perfect draughts ; from the first causes or occasions, that produced them, through all the effects good and bad that they produced.

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