Page images

are built

they are not only not really knowing, table point of learning to understand but that generally they don't so much variety of languages. This alone gives as know what true knowledge is ; this a man a title to learning, without one is so high a charge, that even those grain of sense; and on the other side, who may be convinced of the truth let a man be an angel for notion and will scarce forgive the boldness of it. discourse, yet unless he can express

4. That the truth of it may appear, the same thought in variety of words, I shall first briefly observe, what he may go for a rational, but will by knowledge is perfective of the under- no means be esteemed a learned man. standing, and then shew, that the ge- Now is it not a strange thing, that so nerality of the world place learning much stress should he laid on so very in that which is not so.

a trifle ? for what am I the better for 5. And, first, I grant the know- being able to tell, what it is a clock ledge of all those truths is perfective in twenty languages? What does this of the understanding, which are the signify to the perfection of my undermatter of those arts and sciences, that standing? Words are purely in order

upon stable and immoveable to sense; and are therefore of no foundations, such as divinity, meta- farther value, than as they help physics, geometry, together with all either to learn or to communicate it. those unchangeable rules and mea. Therefore, to affect them for themsures of reason and consequence, selves, is to turn the means into the which lead us to all other knowledge, end, than which nothing is more aband are the subject of that art we surd. And yet this vain piece of peterm logic. And accordingly I allow dantry has prevailed all the world him to be a truly learned and know- over, and with some to that degree, ing man, who has furnished his mind that they have confounded ideas with with bright and clear ideas, lodged words, and have made all science them orderly and regularly in his to terminate in the latter. Thus head, and settled the relations and Mr. Hobbes makes reason to be noconsequences of one to another. He thing else, but “ Sequela Nominum, that is able to think clearly (for so a well-ordered train of words.” Never much a man knows, as he under- certainly was a plainer argument of stands distinctly, and no more) to the great degeneracy of mankind. judge truly and solidly, and to reason And though all the multipliers of dependently and consequentially. tongues are not comprehended under

6. But this is not the measure which this latter charge, yet it may concern the generality of the world has thought them to consider, how great a folly it fit to proceed by. Learning is gene- must be to place learning in that, rally placed in a sort of knowledge, which is one of the greatest curses widely different from this. The world upon earth, and which shall utterly does not esteem him a learned man, cease in heaven. whose learning has cleared his under- 8. Again, it passes for an extraorstanding, who is arrived at distinct dinary part of learning to understand ness of conception, and is a thorough history: that is, in other words, to master of notion and discourse. No, know what a company of silly creait will cost great pains, great labour tures called men have been doing for of mind, and closeness of thinking, to almost these six thousand years. Now, attain to this. This therefore must what is my understanding the pernot be learning, but something else fecter for this? I deny not, that there must, that is easier to be attained, are some matters of fact, as the more though little or nothing perfective of remarkable turns of ecclesiastical histhe understanding. And in such know, tory, and the greater revolutions of ledge it is generally placed.

the civil world, which are of moment - 7. For, first, It is reckoned a no- to be known; because, by discovering to us the conduct of Divine Provi- 10. Again, it passes for a notable dence, they supply us with occasions piece of learning to understand Chroof acknowledeging and adoring the nology; to be able to adjust the inwisdom and goodness of God. Nei- tervals and distances of time, when ther do I deny, that there are many such a man flourished, when such an other historical passages, which may action was done, and the like. Now be of moment to be known; though I deny not, but it may concern not as perfective of our understand some to know these things, who have ing, but as touching our interest. And any interest depending upon it. It so it may be of moment to me to may concern some to know, for inknow, the clock has struck one, if I stance, that there is a twofold date have made an assignation at that of the victory at Actium, the one time: but sure the bare naked theory reckoned from the fight there, the of the clock’s having struck one, will other from the taking of Alexandria. add but little to my intellectual per. But however useful it may be to know fection: the most trivial matter of this, yet certainly as to any intellecfact in the world is worth knowing, if tual perfection that accrues by it, it I have any concern depending upon must needs be a very unedifying stufit: and the greatest without that, is fage of the head; although 'tis so utterly insignificant. So that 'tis not generally accounted a great accomfrom the perfecting of our under- plishment and enrichment of it. standing, but from the relation they 11. There are many other things have to our interest, that these things which the humour of the world has deserve to be known.

turned up for learning, which igno, 9. I would desire the great magni- rance will never be the better for, and fiers of history only to answer me this which wisdom does not need. Thus one question. Suppose such and such 'tis counted learning to have tumbled matters of fact, in the knowing which over a multitude of books, especially they perhaps glory more, than the if great ones, and old ones and obscure actors themselves did in the doing ones; but most of all if manuscripts, them, had never been done ? Sup- the recovery of one which is reckoned pose Fabius had never weathered out so much added to the commonwealth Hanibal by delays, nor Cyrus took of learning, as they call it. Hence Babylon by draining the river into a well-read man signifies the very the ditches; what diminution would same as a learned man in most men's this have been to the perfection of dictionaries: and by well-read they their understanding? They cannot don't mean one that has read well

, say it would have been any. And that has cleared and improved his why then should the knowing them understanding by his reading, but now they are done, be reckoned an only one that has read much, though addition to it? And yet we find it is perhaps he has puzzled and conso, and that men study these things, founded his notions by doing so. not only for their use, (that we allow) Thus again, it goes for learning, to bat for their mere theory, placing be acquainted with men's opinions, learning in such history as has no- especially of the ancients ; to know thing to commend it, but only that it what this or that philosopher held, tells you, such and such things were what this or that author says, though done. Of this impertinent sort is the perhaps he says nothing but what is greatest part of the Roman and either absurd, or obviously true. Grecian history: which, had not the What, for instance, can be more abworld voted it for learning, would no surd, than that fancy of Empedocles, more concern a man to know, than that there are two semicircles comthat a bird has dropt a feather upon passing the earth betwixt them, one the Pyrenean mountains.

of fire, the other of air; and that the

nor saw.

former makes day, and the latter in them, than they do of what is writnight? And yet to know this is learn- ten in the rolls of destiny. ing! What can be more obviously 13. From this placing of learning true, than that grave doctrine of in the knowledge of books, proceeds Aristotle, that privation must go be- that ridiculous vanity of multiplying fore the introduction of the form in quotations, which is also reckoned all generation ? Or, that a thing must another piece of learning, though lose one form before it can take ano- they are used so impertinently, that ther? And yet 'tis learning to know there can be no other end in them, that he taught this! To know the but to shew, that the author has read thing is nothing : But to know that such a book. And yet it is no such Aristotle taught it, that is learning! convincing evidence of that neither. Nay farther, though I am able to de- It being neither new nor difficult, for monstrate the circulation of the blood, a man that is resolved upon it, to or the motion of the earth, yet I shall quote such authors as he never read not be admitted into the order of the

And were it not too odious learned, unless I am able to tell, that a truth, I could name several of those Copernicus discovered the one, and author-mongers who pass for men of Harvey the other. So much more shrewd learning learned an achievement it is, to 14. These and many other such know opinions than things! And ac- things (for 'twere endless to reckon cordingly those are reckoned the up all) are by the majority of the most learned authors, who have given world voted for learning, and in these the greatest specimens of this kind we spend our education, our study of knowledge. Thus Picus Miran- and our time, though they are no way dula is more admired for his examin perfective of our understanding. So nation of the doctrine of the Pagans, that in short, the charge of this reflec

of them were for what they tion amounts to thus much, That delivered.

learning is generally placed in the 12. Now what an unreasonahle knowledge of such things, as the inimposition is this, That though a man tellectual perfection of man is little can think and write like an angel or nothing concerned in. himself, yet he must not be accounted

(To be continued.) a man of learning, unless he can tell what every whimsical writer hath said before him? And how hard will it fall upon those, whose lot is to Expence of Wars. breathe in the last ages of the world,

(From Pictures of War, by Trenicus.). who must be accountable for all the whims and extravagancies of so many Since the year 1000, there have centuries ? And yet this is made so been twenty-four different wars begreat a part of learning, that the tween England and France;-twelve learning of most men lies in books between England and Scotland rather than in things, and among au- eight between England and Spainthors, where one writes upon things, and seven with other countries—in there are twenty write upon books. all fifty-one wars! Nay, some carry this humour so far, Those with France alone occupied that 'tis thought learning to know the upwards of two hundred and fifty very titles of books and their editions, years; and perhaps it might be shown with the time and place when and by calculation, that out of eight cenwhere they were printed. And many turies since the year 1000, there have there are who value themselves not a not been one hundred years in all of little on this mechanical faculty, general peace, as it respects Engthough they know no more of what is land.

than any



2. 3. 4.


There have been six wars within the ministries of Richlieu and Mazaone hundred years; viz.—

rine. 1. War ending in 1697, cost 21)

Of the time of ignorance which prebegan in 1702,

ceded Mahomet, seventeen hundred began in 1739, 48 battles are recorded by tradition. began in 1756, 72

Hostility was embittered by the ran5. American War 1775, 6. The last War, began in 1793.

cour of civil faction; and the recital,

in prose or verse, of an obsolete feud, At the conclusion of the war which

was sufficient to rekindle the same ended in 1697, the national debt was passions among the descendants of twenty-one millions and a half. At the hostile tribes.—The famous war the conclusion of the last war in 1815, of Dakes and Gabrah was occasioned the national debt amounted to no less by two horses, lasted forty years, and than one thousand and fifty millions. ended in a proverb.-(Pocock's Spe

The American war may fairly be cimen, p. 48. quoted by Gibbon.) adduced as a striking example of the dreadful losses which England has

On the 29th May 1660, Charles II. sustained by her contests.

was restored to the throne of England. The English government ex

In 1664, he declared war against pended on this war, in £ Holland, upon very frivolous pre

the course of ten years.. 139,000,000 tences. Two English ships had been The commerce between the

taken by the Dutch ; and though they two countries, but a short time previous to the revo

offered to make a proper compensalution, had attained to the

tion, Charles would not accept it; vast amount of £4,500,000

but immediately proceeded to hosexports from England in

tilities. After three years war,

both one year; which sum taken at an average profit of 10

sides were equally weary, and a per cent. might have pro

peace was concluded at Breda on the duced, during the time of

10th of July 1667. the contest, without reck

William III. ascended the throne. oning any profit from the

in 1689. imports


In respect to foreign wars,

William's grand object was to humble England of .........}..£143,500,000 the pride of the French king, and

with this view he entered into a conWhat possible advantages could federacy with the Emperor, the King, have compensated for this enormous of Spain, the United Provinces, the risque? The total failure of the at- Duke of Savoy, and the Elector of tempt of an island to subjugate a con- Brandenburgh; which potentates setinent, has plainly loaded us with this verally declared war against Louis tremendous expence; but could its in 1689; and in 1697, after a war of complete accomplishment, on any eight years, bloody and expensive, a fair ground of calculation have remu- peace was concluded at Ryswick in nerated England for the cost? To Holland; the principal article of say nothing of the loss of perhaps one which, relating to King William, was, hundred thousand human lives, with that he should be acknowleged king all the distress and misery which such of Great Britain. a convulsion must diffuse through the This war, in which William entwo countries in all the ramifications gaged from motives of ambition, of society.

shews the melancholy effects of enterIn France alone, according to the ing into continental alliances, on computation of the Abbé St. Pierre, conditions which have always been above two millions of lives, and a the misfortune of England. Between hundred millions of treasure, were twenty and thirty millions sterling lavished in unnecessary wars, under expended, and one hundred thousand



upon the continent, were signal acquisitions, the nation was a not the only evils attending the con- considerable loser; for the expence test. While blood and devastation of the war, as stated by Sir John marked the military operations Sinclair, amounted to 43,360,0001. abroad, poverty, famine, and distress which made a serious addition to the raged at home. William, being the national debt, and to the taxes that principal of the confederacy, had the were laid on the people to pay the expence of the confederacy to sup- interest of it. port. It was then that corn was ex- During the reign of George II. a ported in the greatest abundance to war was begun in the latter end of feed the allies;, in consequence of 1739, between England on one side, which, in England it was double, and and France and Spain on the other, in Scotland four times its ordinary which terminated in a peace at Aix price; and in one of those years, in la Chapelle, in 1748, after a contest Scotland alone, eighty thousand poor of nine years. The expences of this people (says Dalrymple) died of want. war are stated at 46,418,6891.

Queen Anne ascended the throne Notwithstanding the treaty of Aix in 1702, and immediately proceeded la Chapelle, (which concluded a war, to prosecute the design which her in which nothing was gained by any predecessor had formed, to humble party, but the experience of each the pride of the Bourbon family, by other's strength and resources) peace depriving Philip of the crown of was not of long continuance. The Spain, and compelling the French cessation of hostilities was only an king to adhere to the second treaty of interval of repose, in which the napartition. Accordingly war was de- tion might recruit its strength to fight clared against France in May 1702, again. In 1754-5, a dispute arising by England, Holland, and the Em- between England and France, conpire; and after it had been prosecuted cerning a tract of land in the back eleven years, with various success, a parts of America, each party charging peace was concluded, and signed at the other as the aggressor,

involved Utrecht, on the 11th of April 1713. the two nations in an eight years' But the grand object for which the contest; when, as an eloquent writer war had been undertaken was finally observes, had the parties interested abandoned. King Philip was left in alone, been consulted, a jury of quiet possession of the Spanish crown. twelve men might have settled the

During this war, one of the most difference. complete victories was obtained over At length the resources of England the French, that ever was recorded were nearly exhausted; men could in history Ten thousand French not be procured without great diffiand Bavarians were slain in the field eulty, and the enormous sums reof battle; the greater part of thirty quired to continue the war, became squadrons of dragoons were drowned oppressive upon the people. In plain in the Danube ; thirty thousand men terms, both sides were so weakened were made prisoners of war, including with the loss of blood and treasure, twelve hundred officers; one hundred that they could fight no longer, and a pieces of cannon were taken, together peace was concluded in February with twenty-four mortars, one hundred 1763. and twenty-nine colours, one hun- This war is said to have been the dred and seventy-one standards, most fortunate in which England three thousand six hundred tents, ever engaged; one hundred ships of thirty-four coaches, three hundred war were destroyed or taken from laden mules, two bridges of boats, the enemy; and 12,000,0001. sterling fifteen barrels and eight casks of acquired in plunder, besides immense silver. But, notwithstanding these acquisitions on the continent of North



« PreviousContinue »