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of study may be susceptible, seems calculated to communicate to the mind of a young man a manner of viewing things at the same tiine more comprehensive and more precise. It disposes him to dwell upon the bearings to which he designs to direct his attention, and to embrace a great number of these bearings from a single point of view, in order to their thorough investigation.

If such a direction were given to many minds, we should have in a few years numbers of geographical and statistical charts, infinitely more accurate than any we now possess, of the different regions of the intellectual world, and not only of the parts already known and cultivated, but also of those that have hitherto remained unwrought and unproductive, nay even of such as are still unknown.


Historical works, as well as those written on the sciences, afford rich mines of materials of all kinds to those who understand the art of working them. The manner of studying history from all the points of view that it embraces would furnish the subject of a comprehensive work, which I may some day submit to the

public. * At present, I shall merely propose a few subjects of inquiry, to which every one will be at liberty to add such as he deems more expedient. I shall show how a person, after classing the different subjects which he wishes to consider in all historical works, may prevent any of the facts, or any of the passages relative to them, from escaping him, and arrange his books of extracts

Some years since the author of this volume planned an Historical Encyclopædia, or Universal History, formed of comparative sketches of the different ages and nations considered under the points of view most interesting to mankind. He had instituted a Society of Emulation for the Study of History, consisting of nearly thirty young men, many of whom were already advantageously known by means of useful productions, and who were to collect and arrange the materials for the proposed great work.

The co-operators in this literary undertaking, which was interrupted at its outset by circumstances, were subdivided into as many committees or classes as there were in their judgment important branches of inquiry to pursue. These composed the principal divisions, to which belonged several particular subdivisions, which they were at liberty to extend and multiply as they thought proper.

These committees had separate books for the different departments, in which were to be placed, as in a cell or drawer, the facts and observations connected with each. These copious materials were then to be digested into one homogeneous work, which would have furnished in a few volumes the essence of almost all the productions of the human mind, since man began to preserve and to transmit them from generation to generation.

in such a manner that each of them, in a few years, shall furnish the substance of a great number of volumes, and an analytical and methodical assemblage of all the analogous facts, or facts bearing upon one and the same point, contained in those volumes. He will have a copious collection of practical truths regularly arranged and mutually supporting one another; and he will acquire solid, diversified, and complete information on each of the matters which he may have selected for the subjects of his inquiries and observations.

Most of those who read historical works read without order, connection, or method. They take up at random ancient or modern authors, distant or recent periods, and fill their minds with vague and confused notions. They find little interest in what they read, which is necessarily ill digested, and but a series of digressions. A complete course of historical reading, well arranged and perseveringly prosecuted, would require neither more time nor more attention, but afford more information and more pleasure, and be attended with important advantages. It would be useful to determine beforehand the works to be read, and the order in which they are to be successively taken up. This order should be

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governed by chronology, that the reader might follow from age to age the progression and the variations of the human race, and the different vicissitudes which each nation has in turn experienced. It would then be proper for the reader to fix, as we have recommended, upon some particular point of view, in which to consider the course of ages and nations : this would produce a kind of unity of action, interest, and end, which we expect in a tragedy, in an epic poem, and generally in works of every class, which have no merit in our eyes, unless the details, ably combined and blended together, concur in forming a beautiful whole.

This particular field, which the reader proposes to explore, ought to be so chosen with reference to the nature of his understanding, taste, and destination, that he may find in it both pleasure and profit. A soldier will pay especial attention to the military art, to its first rude essays, to its more or less complicated procedures, and to the modifications which it has undergone. A lawyer will observe the different systems of legislation which have succeeded one another in the different ages of the world, in the different countries of the globe, and in various periods of civilisation. A statesman will seek and compare together the

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treaties, the conventions, and the transactions of every kind that have taken place between states, as well as the changes which the law of nations and general politics may have experienced, according to the epochs and constitutions of communities. A physician will study in history the different branches of the medical art, with a twofold view to things and persons; or to discoveries, systems, and the doctrines successively taught in the schools, and to the men who have distinguished themselves in that profession. A moral philosopher will investigate the manners, habits, and customs, and the causes which have produced, influenced, or varied the different shades or hues, by which they are characterised. But it is not necessary to confine ourselves to one particular point of view; we may take a greater range if we find it desirable or expedient. As each individual may thus select one or more particular subjects for consideration in history, he will give more precision and steadiness to his mind, which will always have a principal, especial, and determinate aim in its inquiries and observations, and a powerful motive to excite and keep it in activity. From this salutary habit the understanding will not only acquire precision and accuracy, and a greater degree of energy and

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