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ans, who by studying the Ancients, and forming themselves upon those Models, appear'd with more Honour than their nearer Predecefsors. Among those who have distinguish'd themselves, Commines has writ with singular good Sense, and equal Sincerity : Paulus A nylius is pure, but Superficial: Paulus Jovius is entirely sway'd by Interest and Pallion: Machiavel feenis very exact in his History of Florence : In his other Reports, his Wit has the start of his Judgment: He is guilty of manifest Injustice to the famous Caftruccio Castrucci, whom he treats as an Enemy to his Country. George Merula, so much admir'd and fear'd for his Criticism, by the Order of his Prince, Ludovico Sforce, under took the History of Milan, which prov'd fo wretchedly dry, as to do him very little Honour. Mariana's History of Spain, is what has not been excell'd by any of the Moderns, either in Greatness of Design, or Majesty of Stile: This Author is accurate beyond the common Standard, and a complete Judge of every Thing he delivers. Buchanan's fine Things are all borrow'd from the Ancients; and, in particular, he is too servile an Imitator of Livy." He writes with great Sense and Capacity, but does not raise the Character of his Persons to any noble Pitch: His long Citations in his third Book are no more agreeable to some Judges, than the Pedigree of the Scotch Nation in his Second. The Germans have form'd yaft Projects upon their own History, but have brought nothing into the natural Order of a regolar Design. Most of the Spaniards discover a Spirit of Partiality for their Kingdom and Nation, which renders them suspected. The Italians abound in particular Memoirs of their different States and Governments, but have no complete Body of
History. I forbear to speak of the History of the Goths, by Fornandes ; that of Flanders, by Meierus; of Burgundy, by Heuterus ; of Hungary, by Bonfinus; of Poland, by Cromerus; of Bavaria, by Aventinus ; with many others of the like Character, because I haste to shut up these Reflecions, with observing that we begin, among Us, to conceive some brighter Hopes of fect Historian, from the Approbation given to those who, at present, oblige the Publick.
Τ Η Ε.
TO THE Reflexions upon Philosophy.
HE Reflexions upon Philosophy, which here T follow, are not propos’d as these which Ip
I pretend to maintain, but only as Remarks that I have occasionally made upon Authors, and their Opinions; which I noto offer in the Way of Conjecture, for the Examination of the Publick, and for my own Satisfaction. The chief Design of this Essay is to give the true Notion of a Science which is the Rule of all other Sciences; to fhew the Use and Practice of it in former and latter Ages, by an historical Account of its Progress, and Decline, with all the Adventures it has gone through, during the course of more than two thouJand Years ; so as, in this one View, in which I have endeavour'd to unite so many Things, to discover what is Solid, or Vain, what is Strong, or Feeble, what is True, or False, in the whole Body of Philosophy.
An Attempt, so disproportion'd to the Abilities of a private Person, would have argued great Rashness and Presumption, had I not in some Measure prepar'd my self for the Enterprize by consulting the Learn'd of all Times. And this obliges ine to declare, in the forft Place, that I scarce offer any thing barely upon my own Authority; and that when I speak either of the Antients, or the Moderns, I speak the Thoughts of those who have been best able to judge of their Character and
Wortb.. The intelligent Reader will be convincd of this Truth without any particular Confeffion; and will save me the Trouble of Crouding a Book with Citations, which seems already to be overcharg’d. If on some Occasions I speak with more Assurance than Ordinary, 'tis not because I would affe&t to dičtate, or would ufurp the Chair : 'Iis only that I may present the Learned with a clearer View of what they already understand, may refresh their Memory, and revive their Ideas.
But though I would gladly alledge the most able Judges amongst the Antients and Moderns for any Vouchers in the following Discourse, yet I cannot presume to make them responsable for all that I say ; because 'tis very possible I may misquote, or misapply them : And therefore I am contented the World should know, that what is good is owing to their Asistance, and what is it to iny own Mistake. For as 'tis ridiculous to pretend Infallibility in any Thing, so I am sensible how difficult it is, in so extended a Subject, to be exact. If Strabo and Diogenes Laertius kave sometimes err’d in their Accounts of the Old Philosophers, I can plead no Exemption from Error in the History of the New. And therefore I shall say nothing to justifie my self upon this Article, but what any One, upon the Nightest Reflection, may urge in my Excuse.
The hardest Task, in this whole Enterprize, was to throw so vajt a Matter into some kind of Form ; ihe bare Distinction of the several Sects bath never yet been compleatly settled, after so many Authors have labour'd in this Field. Plutarch does not adjust their Difference, and Diogenes Laertius blends and confounds them with one another. Varro reckotes up two hundred eighty eight, and Themistius makes the Number full three Hundred. But because it would be endless to follow so wide a Scheme, I have reduc'd all these fraggling Seets under seven principal Orders. The first is that of Pythagoras; in a Manner, the
same with that of the Egyptians: For, as to the Philosophy of the Phænicians 'and Æthiopians, we have scarce any certain Information. The second Order, is that of Socrates, and Plato, of the Old and New Academy, of the Pyrrhonians, and Scepticks, mhich is originally the same. The third is that of Aristotle, and the Peripateticks. The fourth is that of Zeno and the Stoicks, Descended in a direct Line from Antisthenes, Diogenes, Crates, and the Cynicks. The fifth, is the Tribe of Epicurus, deriv’d from Leucippus, Democritus, and Aristippus. The fixth, is that of the Ecle&icks, or Seekers, founded by Potamon of Alexandria. The seventh is that of the Arabians, the Averröists, and the Schoolmen; the same, in a good Measure, with that iohich not obtains in our Universities. These are the Limits within which I have confin'd my self: And this Division of the Sects, or Tribes, is the Ground of all my Reflections, among which I have scatter'd some touches of Morality and History, to relieve the driness of the Subject, and to make Philosophy appear less disagreeable.
As to the Stile of these Papers, it has been my only Concern to express any self plainly and clearly upon a Subject which seems to refuse all studied Ornaments. I have not enter’d into the Discussion of the Common Precepts and Forms of the Schools, to avoid Prolixity, and that the Matter might not grow cold upon my Hands. I bave been contented to rest in general Maxims, without canvasing things by a thorough Examination. In which I have endeavour'd to imitate Cicero, who in his Philosophical Writings, scarse ever engages in the scrutiny of particular Opinions, but so far as is consistent with his ordinary Politeness. For what he objects to Varro is really applicable to himself: " He has perform’d enough in Philosophy to inflame « Mens Minds, but too little to instruct them.” He only explains the leading Rules, and Principles, of each