Letters on the Study and Use of History

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Charles Elliot, 1777 - 385 pages

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Page 34 - 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 23 - 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 245 - 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 360 - ... of the reach of human power ; can neither be given nor taken away. Such is this great and beautiful work of nature, the world. Such is the mind of man, which contemplates and admires the world whereof it makes the noblest part. These are inseparably ours, and as long as we remain in one we shall enjoy the other. Let us march therefore intrepidly wherever we are led by the course of human accidents.
Page 45 - No, they saw the measures, they took singly, and unrelatively, or relatively alone to some immediate object. The notion of attaching men to the new government, by tempting them to embark their fortunes on the same bottom, was a reason of state to some: the notion of creating a new, that is, a moneyed interest, in opposition to the landed interest or as a...
Page 360 - There is no part of the world from whence we may not admire those planets which roll like ours, in different orbits, round the same central sun; from whence we may not discover an object still more stupendous, that army of fixed stars hung up in the immense space of the universe; innumerable suns, whose beams enlighten and cherish the unknown worlds which roll...
Page 35 - 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 17 - I do not affect singularity. On the contrary, I think that a due deference is to be paid to received opinions, and that a due compliance with received customs is to be held; though both the one and the other should be, what they often are, absurd or ridiculous. But this servitude is outward only, and abridges in no sort the liberty of private judgment. The obligations of submitting to it likewise, even outwardly, extend no further than to those opinions...
Page 315 - When you look back three or four generations ago, you will see that the English were a plain, perhaps a rough, but a good-natured hospitable...
Page 133 - They must pry into the secret recesses of 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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