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BY THE Rev. C. C. COLTON, A. M.
LORD BYRON,' &c. &c.
« Φιλόσοφια εκ παραδειγματων.
ENTERED AT STATIONERS-HÁLL.
PUBLISHED BY LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN,
AND MAY BE KAD OF ALL BOOKSELLERS,
I know not that I should have attempted a Second Volume of LÀCON, if the first had not met with some encouragement; Its reception has proved that my book has been purchased at least, by the many, and I have testimonies far more gratifying, that it has not been disapproved of by the few. He that aspires to produce a work that shall instruct and amuse the unlearned, without displeasing or disgusting the scholar, proposes to himself an object more attainable perhaps on any other theme, than on that which I have adopted; for on this subject all men are critics, although very few are connoisseurs; the man of the world is indignant at being supposed to stand in need of information, and the philosopher feels that he is above it; the old will not quit the school of their own experience, and hope is the only moralist that has any weight with the young. There are many things on which even a coxcomb will receive instruction with gratitude, as for instance a knowledge of the languages, or of the mathematics,
because his pride is not wounded by an admission of his ignorance, as to those sciences to which he has never been introduced. But if you propose to teach him any thing new concerning himself the world, and those who live in it, the case is widely altered. He finds that he has been conversant all his life with these things, suspects that here he knows at least as much as his master, becomes quite impatient of information, and often finishes by attempting to instruct his instructor. It is true that he has made very laudable use of
since his opera glass has given him an insight into others, and his looking glass has helped him to some knowledge of himself. His ears indeed have had a very easy time of it, but their inactivity has been dearly purchased, at the expense of his tongue; he feels, however, from his experience, that he has had the opportunities at least of observing, and he fancies from his vanity, that he has improved them. Can one (says he) be ignorant of those things that are so constantly and so closely around us, and about us; he that runs, he thinks, may read that lucid volume whose pages are days, whose characters are men. But too close a contiguity is as inimical to distinct vision, as too great a distance; and hence it happens that a man often knows the least of that which is most near to him, -even his own heart; but if we are ignorant of ourselves, a knowledge of others is built upon the sand. On this subject, however, nothing is more easy than to talk plausibly, and few things more
difficult than to write profoundly; thoroughly to succeed, requires far more experience than I possess, or ever shall. I am however fully satisfied of the utility of a work similar to that in which I am engaged, and hope that what little encouragement I have' met with, may stimulate those to attempt something better, who are deeply conversant, not only with the living, but with the dead, not only with books, but with men, not only with the hearts of others, but with their own. But the moral world will by no means repay our researches, with such rich discoveries as the natural; yet where we cannot invent, we may at least improve; we may give somewhat of novelty to that which was old, condensation to that which was diffuse, perspicuity to that which was obscure, and currency to that which was recondite. A Hume may soar indeed somewhat higher than a Davy, but he will meet with more disappointinents; with wing that could reach the clouds, but not with strength of pennon that could pierce them, Hume was at times às incomprehensible to himself, as invisible to others, lost in regions where he could not penetrate, nor we pursue; for it is as rare for experiment to give us nothing but conjecture, as for speculation to give us nothing but truth. In this walk of science, however, if we know but little, upon that little we are becoming gradually more agreed; perhaps we have discovered that the prize is not worth the contention. Hence there is a kind of alphabet of first principles, now established in the