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From a Piture by Van Loo, in the Marquis of Buckinghami Collechon at Stowe.

Published by Cadell & Davies, Strand, and the other Proprietors, May 1.1807.

EPIST LE 1.

TO

SIR RICHARD TEMPLE, LORD COBHAM.

ARGUMENT.

Of the Knowledge and Characters of Men.

THAT it is not suficient for this knowledge to conhder Man

in the Abstract: Books will not serve the purpose, nor gret our own Experience fingly, Ver. 1.

General maxims, unless they be formed upon both, will be but notional, Ver. 10. Some peculiarity in every man, characteristic to himself, yet varying from himself, Ver. 15. Difficulties arising from our own Paffrons, Fancies, Faculties, &c. Ver. 31. The shortness of Life, to observe in, and the uncertainty of the Principles of Action in men, to observe by, Ver. 37, &c. Our own Principle of action often hid from ourselves, Ver. 41. Some few characters plain, but in general confounded, dissembled, or inconsistent, Ver. 51. The same man utterly different in different places and seasons, Ver. 71. Unimagin

able weaknesses in the greatest, Ver. 77, &c. Nothing conftant and certain but God and Nature, Ver. 95. NO judging of the Motives from the actions ; the same actions proceeding from contrary Motives, and the fame Motives influencing contrary actions, Ver. 100. II. Yet to form Characters, we can only take the strongest actions of man's life, and try to make them agree : The utter uncertainty of this, from Nature itself, and from Policy, Ver. 120. Characters given according to the rank of men of the world,

Ver.

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Ver. 135. And some reason for it, Ver. 141. Education alters the Nature, or at least the Character, of many, Ver. 149. Actions, Passions, Opinions, Manners, Humours, or Principles, all subject to change. No judging by Nature, from Ver. 158 to 174. III. It only remains to find (if we can) bis RULING PASSION: That will certainly influence all the reft, and can reconcile the seeming or real inconsistency of all his actions, Ver. 175. Infanced in the extraordinary character of Clodio, Ver. 179. A caution against mistaking second qualities for first, which will deftroy all possibility of the knowledge of mankind, Ver. 210. Examples of the Arength of the Ruling Passion, and its continuation to the last breath, Ver. 222, &c.

EPISTLE I.

Of the Knowledge and Characters of Men.
YES,
Es, you despise the man to Books confin'd,

Who from his study rails at human kind;
Tho' what he learns he speaks, and may advance
Some gen’ral maxims, or be right by chance.

The

COMMENTARY.

Epistle I. This Epistle is" divided into three principal parts or members: The first (from ver. I to 99.) treats of the difficulties in coming at the Knowledge and true Charaders of Men. The second (from ver. 98 to 174.) of the wrong means which both Philosophers and Men of the World have employed in furmounting those difficulties. And the third (from ver. 173 to the end) treats of the right means ; with directions for the application of them.

Vers. Yes, you despise the man, &c.] The Epiftle is introduced (from ver. I to 15.) by observing, that the Knowledge of men is neither to be gained by books nor experience alone, but by the joint use of both; for that the maxims of the Philosopher and the conclufons of the Man of the World can, separately, but supply a vague and superficial knowledge : often not so much ; as those maxims are founded in the abstract notions of the writer; and these conclufons are drawn from the uncertain conje&ures of the observer : But when the Philosopher joins his speculation to the experience of

the NOTES. Moral Esays.] The Essay on Man was intended to be comprised in four books :

The First of which, the Author has given us under that title, in four epiflles :

The Second was to have confifted of the fame number: 1. OP the extent and limits of human reason. 2. Of those arts and

7

sciencesy

The coxcomb bird, so talkative and grave,

5 That from his cage cries Cuckold, Whore, and Knave,

Tho'

COMMENTARY.

the Man of the World, his notions are rectified into principles; and when the Man of the World regulates his experience on the notions of the Philosopher, his conje&ures advance into science. Such is the reasoning of this introduction ; which, besides its propriety to the general subject of the Epistle, has a peculiar relation to each of its parts or members : For the causes of the difficulty in coming at the knowledge and characters of men, explained in the first part, will shew the importance of what is here delivered, of the joint affiftance of speculation and practice to surmount it; and the wrong means, which both Philosophers and Men of the World have employed in overcoming those difficulties discoursed of in the second part, have their source here deduced; which is seen to be a separate adherence of Each to his own method of studying Men, and a mutual contempt of the Other’s. Lastly, the right means delivered in the third part would be of little use in the application, without the direction here delivered : for though the observation of men and manners discovered a RULING Passion, yet, without a philosophic knowledge of human nature, we may easily mistake a secondary and fubfidiary passion for the principal, and so be never the nearer in the Knowledge of Men. But the elegant and easy form of the intro

duction

NOTES,

sciences, and the parts of them which are useful, and therefore attainable ; together with those which are unuftful, and therefore unattainable. 3. Of the nature, ends, use, and application of the different capacities of men. 4. Of the use of learning ; of the science of the world, and of wit ; concluding with a fatire against the misapplication of them'; illuftrated by pictures, characters, and examples. The Third book regarded civil regimen, or the science of poli

in which the several forms of a Republic were to be examined and explained ; together with the several modes of religious worship, fo far forth as they affect Society; between which the Author always supposed there was the clofeft connection and the

most

tics;

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