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a fingle town, or a fingle country parish. Why then fhould we think it tirefome to read twenty or thirty volumes on the national history of our ancestors? Mr. Hume, like many men of eminence, has performed too little, by attempting to perform too much; yet his writings afford univerfal and lafting pleasure. The diftinctness of his manner, and the acuteness of his general obfervations, caft a veil over the errors and deficiencies of his narrative.
In the Mifcellanies in Profe and Verfe, of which feveral extracts have been lately made in the Bee, and which are just now advertised by Mr. Greech, there is a note on this fubject, which I beg leave to infert.
"I would not walk across my parlour to learn whe"ther Mary was guilty or innocent of any one crime "laid to her charge. The conduct of Darnley to his "wife, his fovereign, his benefact refs, deferved ten "deaths; and Mary, if connected with the confpira"tors, was at worst but an executioner of justice. If we shall, without a spark of evidence, admit her a"mour with Rizzic, it may be faid in apology, that "the fhrunk with propriety from the embraces of a "monfter; and is there one of her accufers who has "not, at fome unguarded moment, been feduced by "the infirmities of our nature? In all that relates to
Both well, and the fequel of her ftory, I fee nothing "but fome imprudence, much magnanimity, and infinite "bad fortune. If fhe wanted to depofe and destroy Eli"zabeth, ftill the ruin of her country, the maffacre "of her friends, the lofs of her kingdom, her liberty, “and her child, justified her revenge. David Hume, "that MAN OF MILD DISPOSITIONS *, who endeavoured
to run one of his critics through the body, and who "replied to another + in the language of a clown, has, "on this fubject diftinguifhed himself, by perfevering in detected untruth. Let us fuppofe a familiar
* See my own life.
"cafe, that this philofopher had been confined "but for a month, in one of the dungeons of the Holy Office at Lisbon, and that he was on the point "of making his escape. Query, Would he have re"fufed freedom, for fear of injuring the Inquifitor "who arrefted him? or, would he not have enjoyed a tranfport of honeft fatisfaction, in knocking out the "brains of the whole fraternity. And is not this com
parison in point? I confider as wafte paper our quaint "wire-drawn hiftorical portraits of Becket, Knox, "Beaton, Murray, Morton, Maitland, Strafford, Eli"zabeth, and her four immediate worthy fucceffors. "It is like ftarting a moral distinction between Tur"pin and Cartouche, or Barrington and Jack Sheppard."
On the ancient history of England, few writers have thrown more light than the famous FROISSART. His chronicle commences with the acceffion of Edward III. and ends with the death of Richard II. containing a period of feventy three years. Like almost every other writer, he has numerous and obvious imperfections. But what Plutarch has remarked of an ancient historian, may with equal juftice be applied to this author. Froiffart does not defcribe a march, a battle, a siege, or a purfuit, but he places them before our eyes. By the firft ftroke of his artlefs, yet magic pen, we are tranfported into the tumult of action, and are forward to forget that we continue in the clofet. He has not indeed attempted the higher walks of eloquence. He is neither a Thucydides nor a Salluft, nor does he display the judgment and accuracy of Polybius; but he deferves to be termed the Xenophon of his age. Replete with materials, it is true that he has inferted a multiplicity of particulars, which are no longer interefting at the distance of four centuries. But wherever his fubject rifes equal to his abilities, full, without redundancy, intelligent and inftructive, without oftentation, he charms us by that pathetic fimplicity of manner, that minute but
happy felection of circumftances, which animates the page of the admired Athenian. Nor is it the leaf honourable part of his praife, that he appears to have been entirely divefted of national and of perfonal prejudice, and that without any veftige of parade or affectation, he frequently difcovers the traces of a feeling heart. The candid reader will forgive this tribute of refpect. While hourly opprefled with a fresh multitude of infipid compilations from compilations, we are in the moft ferious danger of forgetting the very exiftence of those ineftimable writers from whom our whole fources of information are originally derived. Of the many fhip loads of treatifes on Roman affairs, which English, and ftill more, French idlenefs has dragged into light, a numberlefs majority make not the moft diftant approaches to claffical merit; and yet of the greater part of Greek and Roman historians, an entire and decent tranflation will be fought for in vain in either language. After fuch mournful evidence of our ftupidity, it is hopeless to add, that an accurate verfion of Froiffart would be an important acquifition to the literary world.
His memoirs exhibit a beautiful portion of modern hiftory; and a liberal mind will obferve with peculiar pleasure, that they are not deformed by the madness of theological rancour. They do not exhibit the horrid farce of nations exterminating each other for antiquated fyftems of faith, in the wildeft degree abfurd, or abfolutely unintelligible. This venerable veteran was not to difguft us by the detail of controverfies and of martyrdoms, where learning is frivolity, and fortitude at best but the frenzy of ignorance; nor were a cockfight and a card table, a masquerade and an horse race, to limit the amufements and ambition of a brave and proud nobility. The black Prince never condefcended to become arbiter in the quarrels of a band of jockics or of fiddlers. Neither his father nor his fellow-toldiers would have admired his magnanimity. Glowing
with the most exalted fentiments of perfonal indepen-.
To the Editor of the Bee.
As a foundation has been laid for an extenfive circu-
the important revolution accomplished in the fyftem of their united government, the tranquil deliberation, and the voluntary confent of fo many diftinct communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most governments have been established, without returns of pious gratitude, along with an humble anticipation of the future bleffings which the past feem to prefage." The illuftrious prefident, in the fame admirable addrefs to Congress, when he bestows a just tribute on the talents, the rectitude, and the patriotism which adorned the fenators, felected to devife and adopt the system of the present constitution, proceeds in a strain of fublime eloquence, adorned with wisdom and forefight, to adjure the legiflative body of the nation, that no feparate views, no party animofities may mifdirect the comprehenfive and equal eye which ought to watch over the great affemblage of communities and interests; that the foundations of the national policy may be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality; and the pre-eminence of free government be exemplified by all the at→ tributes which can won the affections of its citizens, and1 command the refpect of the world.
I dwell, fays that divine hero and legislator, on this hope, on this profpect, with every fatisfaction which an ardent love for my country can inspire ; fince there is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exifts in the economy and courfe of nature, an indissoluble union be tween virtue and happiness, between duty and advantage, between the genuine maxims of an honeft and magnanimous people, and the folid rewards of public prosperity and happiness; fince we ought to be no lefs persuaded that the propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that difregards the eternal rules of order and right, which heaven itself has ordained; and fince, the prefervation of the facred fire of liberty, and the deftiny of the republican form of government, are justly confidered as deeply, perhaps