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TO A NEW

in the delightful fields of nature, will, I flatter my. self, here find a proper guide ; and those who have

INTRODUCTION a design to furnish a cabinet, will find copious instructions. With one of these volumes in his hand, a spectator may go through the largest mu- HISTORY OF THE WORLD. seum, the British not excepted, see nature through all her varieties, and compare her usual operations (Intended to have been published in twelve volumes, octavo,

by J. Newberry, 1764.) with those wanton productions in which she seems to sport with human sagacity. I have been sparing, however, in the description of the deviations

TO THE PUBLIC. from the usual course of production; first, because such are almost infinite, and the natural historian, EXPERIENCE every day convinces us, that no who should spend his time in describing deformed part of learning affords so much wisdom upon such nature, would be as absurd as the statuary, who easy terms as history. Our advances in most other should fix upon a deformed man from whom to studies are slow and disgusting, acquired with eftake his model of perfection.

fort, and retained with difficulty; but in a wellBut I would not raise expectations in the reader written history, every step we proceed only serves which it may not be in my power to satisfy: he to increase our ardour : we profit by the experience who takes up a book of science must not expect to of others, without sharing their tvils or misfortunes; acquire knowledge at the same easy rate that a and in this part of knowledge, in a more particular reader of romance does entertainment; on the con- manner, study is but relaxation. trary, ail sciences, and natural history among the Of all histories, however, that which is not conrest, have a language and a manner of treatment fined to any particular reign or country, but which peculiar to themselves; and he who attempts to extends to the transactions of all mankind, is the dress them in borrowed or foreign ornaments

, is most useful and entertaining. As in geography every whit as uselessly employed as the German we can have no just idea of the situation of one apothecary we are told of, who turned the whole country, without knowing that of others; so in hisdispensatory into verse. It will be sufficient for tory it is in some measure necessary to be acme, if the following system is found as pleasing as quainted with the whole thoroughly to comprehend the nature of the subject will bear, neither obscured a part. A knowledge of universal history is thereby an unnecessary ostentation of science, nor fore highly useful, nor is it less entertaining. Talengthened out by an affected eagerness after need- citus complains, that the transactions of a few less embellishment.

reigns could not afford him a sufficient stock of maThe description of every object will be found as terials to please or interest the reader; but here that clear and concise as possible, the design not being objection is entirely removed; a History of the to amuse the ear with well-turned periods, or the World presents the most striking events, with the imagination with borrowed ornaments, but to im- greatest variety. press the mind with the simplest views of nature. These are a part of the many advantages which To answer this end more distinctly, a picture of universal history has over all others, and which such animals is given as we are least acquainted have encouraged so many writers to attempt comwith. All that is intended by this is, only to guide piling works of this kind among the ancients, as the inquirer with more certainty to the object itself, well as the moderns. Each invited by the manisest as it is to be found in nature. I never would ad- utility of the design, yet many of them failing vise a student to apply to any science, either anato- through the great and unforeseen difficulties of the my, physic, or natural history, by looking on pic- undertaking; the barrenness of events in the early tures only; they may serve to direct him more periods of history, and their fertility in modern readily to the objects intended, but he must by no times, equally serving to increase their embarrassmeans suppose himself possessed of adequate and ments. In recounting the transactions of remote distinct ideas, till he has viewed the things them- antiquity, there is such a defect of materials, that selves, and not their representations.

the willingness of mankind to supply the chasm has Copper-plates, therefore, moderately well done, given birth to falsehood, and invited conjecture. answer the learner's purpose every whit as well as The farther we look back into those distant pethose which can not be purchased but at a vast ex- rious, all the objects seem to become more obscure, pense; they serve to guide us to the archetypes in or are totally lost, by a sort of perspective diminunature, and this is all that the finest picture should tion. In this case, therefore, when the eye of truth be permitted to do, for nature herself ought al. could no longer discern clearly, fancy undertook to ways to be examined by the learner before he has form the picture; and fables were invented where dune.

truths were wanting. For this reason, we have

declined enlarging on such disquisitions, not for abridgment, the judicious are left to determine. want of materials, which offered themselves at We here offer the public a History of mankind, every step of our progress, but because we thought from the earliest accounts of time to the present them not worth discussing. Neither have we en- age, in twelve volumes, which, upon mature decumbered the beginning of our work with the va- liberation, appeared to us the proper mean. It has rious opinions of the heathen philosophers con- been our endeavour to give every fact its full scope ; cerning the creation, which may be found in most but, at the same time, to retrench all disgusting of our systems of theology, and belong more pro- superfluity, to give every object the due proportion perly to the divine than the historian. Sensible it ought to maintain in the general picture of manhow liable we are to redundancy in this first part kind, without crowding the canvass. We hope, of our design, it has been our endeavour to unfold therefore, that the reader will here see the revoluancient history with all possible conciseness; and, tions of empires without confusion, and trace arts solicitous to improve the reader's stuck of know- and laws from one kingdom to another, without ledge, we have been indifferent as to the display losing his interest in the narrative of their other of our own. We have not stopped to discuss or transactions. To attain these ends with greater confute all the absurd conjectures men of specula- certainty of success, we have taken care, in some tion have thrown in our way. We at first had even measure, to banish that late, and we may add determined not to deform the page of truth with Guthic, practice, of using a multiplicity of notes ; the names of those, whose labours had only been a thing as much unknown to the ancient histocalculated to encumber it with fiction and vain rians, as it is disgusting in the moderns. Balzac speculation. However, we have thought proper, somewhere calls vain erudition the baggage of anupon second thoughts, slightly to mention them tiquity; might we in turn be permitted to make an and their opinions, quoting the author at the bot- apophthegm, we would call notes the baggage of a tom of the page, so that the reader, who is curious bad writer. It certainly argues a defect of method, about such particularities, may know where to have or a want of perspicuity, when an author is thus recourse for fuller information.

obliged to write notes upon his own works; and it As, in the early part of history, a want of real may assuredly be said, that whoever undertakes to facts hath induced many to spin out the little that write a comment upon himself, will for ever remain was known with conjecture, so in the modern part, without a rival his own commentator. We have, the superfluity of trifling anecdotes was equally apt therefore, lopped off such excrescences, though not to introduce confusion. In one case, history has to any degree of affectation; as sometimes an acbeen rendered tedious, from our want of knowing knowledged blemish may be admitted into works the truth; in the other, from knowing too much of of skill, either to cover a greater defect, or to take truth not worth our notice. Every year that is a nearer course to beauty. Having mentioned the added to the age of the world, serves to lengthen langer of affectation, it may be proper to observe, the thread of its history; so that, to give this branch that as this, of all defects, is most apt to insinuate of learning a just length in the circle of human itself into such a work, we have, therefore, been pursuits, it is necessary to abridge several of the upon our guard against it. Innovation, in a perleast important facts. It is true, we often at pre- formance of this nature, should by no means be atsent see the annals of a single reign, or even the tempted: those names and spellings which have transactions of a single year, occupying folios : but been used in our language for time immemorial, cân the writers of such tedious journals ever hope ought to continue unaltered; for, like states, they to reach posterity, or do they think that our de- acquire a sort of jus diuturnæ possessionis, as the scendants, whose attention will naturally be turned civilians express it, however unjust their original to their own concerns, can exhaust so much time claims might have been. in the examination of ours ? A plan of general his- With respect to chronology and geography, the tory, rendered too extensive, deters us from a study one of which fixes actions to time, while the other that is perhaps, of all others, the most useful, hy assigns them to place, we have followed the most rendering it too laborious; and, instead of alluring approved methods among the moderns. All that our curiosity, excites our despair. Writers are un- was requisite in this was to preserve one system pardonable who convert our amusement into la- of each invariably, and permit such as chose to bour, and divest knowledge of one of its most adopt the plans of others to rectify our deviations pleasing allurements. The ancients have repre- to their own standard. If actions and things are sented history under the figure of a woman, easy, made to preserve their due distances of time and graceful, and inviting: but we have seen her in our place mutually with respect to each other, it matters days converted, like the virgin of Nabis, into an little as to the duration of them all with respect to instrument of torture.

eternity, or their situation with regard to the uniHow far we have retrenched these excesses, and verse. steered between the opposites of exuberance and Thus much we have thought proper to premise concerning a work which, however executed, has supply a concise, plain, and unaffected narrative cost much labour and great expense. Had we for of the rise and decline of a well-known empire. I our judges the unbiassed and the judicious alone, was contented to make such a book as could not few words would have served, or even silence fail of being serviceable, though of all others the would have been our best address ; but when it is most unlikely to promote the reputation of the considered we have laboured for the public, that writer. Instead, therefore, of pressing forward miscellaneous being, at variance within itself, from among the ambitious, I only claim the merit of the differing influence of pride, prejudice, or inca- knowing my own strength, and falling back among pacity; a public already sated with attempts of the hindmost ranks, with conscious inferiority. this nature, and in a manner unwilling to find out I am not ignorant, however, that it would be no merit till forced upon its notice, we hope to be difficult task to pursue the same art by which pardored for thus endeavouring to show where it many dull men, every day, acquire a reputation in is presumed we have had a superiority. A His- history: such might easily be attained, by fixing tory of the World to the present time, at once satis- on some obscure period to write upon, where much factory and succinct, calculated rather for use than seeming erudition might be displayed, almost uncuriosity, to be read rather than consulted, seeking known, because not worth remembering; and many applause from the reader's feelings, not from his maxims in politics might be advanced, entirely ignorance of learning, or affectation of being new, because altogether false. But I have purthought learned, a history that may be purchased sued a contrary method, choosing the most noted at an easy expense, yet that omits nothing mate- period in history, and offering no remarks buí such rial, delivered in a style correct, yet familiar, was as I thought strictly true. wanting in our language, and though, sensible of The reasons of my choice were, that we had no our own insufficiency, this defect we have attempted history of this splendid period in our language but to supply. Whatever reception the present age or what was either too voluminous for common use, posterity may give this work, we rest satisfied with or too meanly written to please. Catrou and our own endeavours to deserve a kind one. The Rouille's history, in six volumes folio, translated completion of our design has for some years taken into our language by Bundy, is entirely unsuited up all the time we could spare from other occupa to the time and expense mankind usually choose tions, of less importance indeed to the public, but to bestow upon this subject. Rollin and his conprobably more advantageous to ourselves. We are tinuator Crevier, making nearly thirty volumes ocunwilling, therefore, to dismiss this subject without tavo, seem to labour under the same imputation; observing, that the labour of so great a part of life as likewise Hooke, who has spent three quartos should, at least, be examined with candour, and upon the Republic alone, the rest of his undernot carelessly confounded in that multiplicity of taking remaining unfinished.* There only, theredaily publications, which are conceived without fore, remained the history by Echard, in five voeffort, are produced without praise, and sink with- lumes octavo, whose plan and mine seem to coinout censure.

cide; and, had his execution been equal to his de sign, it had precluded the present undertaking,

But the truth is, it is so poorly written, the facts sa THE PREFACE

crowded, the narration so spiritless, and the charac

ters so indistinctly marked, that the most ardent ROMAN HISTORY.

curiosity must cool in the perusal; and the noblest

transactions that ever warmed the human heart, BY DR. GOLDSMITH.

as described by him, must cease to interest. (Firsi printed in the year 1769.)

I have endeavoured, therefore, in the present 'There are some subjects on which a writer work, or rather compilation, to obviate the inconmust decline all attempts to acquire fame, satisfied veniences arising from the exuberance of the for. with being obscurely useful. After such a num- mer, as well as from the unpleasantness of the ber of Roman Histories, in almost all languages, latter. It was supposed, that two volumes might ancient and modern, it would be but imposture to be made to comprise all that was requisite to be pretend new discoveries, or to expect to offer any known, or pleasing to be read, by such as only ex. thing in a work of this kind, which has not been amined history to prepare them for more important often anticipated by others. The facts which it studies. Too much time may be given even to relates have been a hundred times repeated, and laudable pursuits, and there is none more apt than every occurrence has been so variously considered, that learning can scarcely find a new anecdote, or

* Mr. Hooke's three quartos above mentioned reach only genius give novelty to the old. I hope, therefore, the Republic, was afterwards published in 1771. Dr. Gold

to the end of the Gallic war. A fourth volume, to the end of for the reader's indulgence, if, in the following at- smith's preface was written in 1769. Mr. Hooke's quartu temph, it shall appear, that my only aim was toledition has been republished in eleven volumes octavo,

TO THE

TO THE

BY DR. GOLDSMITH.

this to allure the student from the necessary branch-employed human attention; and, instead of rees of learning, and, if I may so express it, entirely quiring a writer's aid, will even support him with to engross his industry. What is here offered, his splendour. The Empire of the World, rising therefore, may be sufficient for all, except such from the meanest origin, and growing great by a who make history the peculiar business of their strict veneration for religion, and an implicit conlives: to such, the most tedious narrative will seem fidence in its commanders ; continually changing but an abridginent, as they measure the merits of the mode, but seldom the spirit of its government; a work, rather by the quantity than the quality of being a constitution, in which the military power, its contents: others, however, who think more so- whether under the name of citizens or soldiers, alberly, will agree, that in so extensive a field as that most always prevailed; adopting all the improveof the transactions of Rome, more judgment may ments of other nations with the most indefatigable be shown by selecting what is important than by industry, and submitting to be taught by those adding what is obscure.

whom it afterwards subdued—this is a picture The history of this empire has been extended to that must affect us, however it be disposed; these six volumes folio; and I aver, that, with very little materials must have their value, under the hand learning, it might be increased to sixteen more; of the meanest workman. but what would this be, but to load the subject with unimportant facts, and so to weaken the narration, that, like the empire described, it must

THE PREFACE necessarily sink beneath the weight of its own acquisitions. But while I thus endeavoured to avoid prolixity,

HISTORY OF ENGLAND it was found no easy matter to prevent crowding the facts, and to give every narrative its proper

(First printed in 1771.) play. In reality, no art can contrive to avoid opposite defects; he who indulges in minute particu- From the favourable reception given to my larities will be often languid; and he who studies abridgment of Roman History, published some conciseness will as frequently be dry and unenter- time since, several friends, and others whose busitaining. As it was my aim to comprise as much ness leads them to consult the wants of the public, as possible in the smallest compass, it is feared the have been induced to suppose, that an English work will often be subject to the latter imputation; History, written on the same plan, would be acbut it was impossible to furnish the public with a ceptable. cheap Roman History in two volumes octavo, and It was their opinion, that we still wanted a work at the same time to give all that warmth to the of this kind, where the narrative, though very connarrative, all those colourings to the description, cise, is not totally without interest, and the facts, which works of twenty times the bulk have room though crowded, are yet distinctly seen. to exhibit. I shall be fully satisfied, therefore, if The business of abridging the works of others it furnishes an interest sufficient to allure the has hitherto fallen to the lot of very dull men; and reader to the end; and this is a claim to which few the art of blotting, which an eminent critic calls the abridgments can justly make pretensions. most difficult of all others, has been usually prac

To these objections there are some who may tised by those who found themselves unable to add, that I have rejected many of the modern im- write. Hence our abridgments are generally more provements in Roman History, and that every tedious than the works from which they pretend to character is left in full possession of that fame or relieve us; and they have effectually embarrassed infamy which it obtained from its contemporaries, that road which they laboured to shorten. or those who wrote immediately after.

As the present compiler starts with such humble I acknowledge the charge, for it appears now too competitors, it will scarcely be thought vanity in late to rejudge the virtues or the vices of those him if he boasts himself their superior. Of the men, who were but very incompletely known even many abridgments of our own history, hitherto to their own historians. The Romans, perhaps, published, none seems possessed of any share of upon many occasions, formed wrong ideas of vir- merit or reputation ; some have been written in tue; but they were by no means so ignorant or dialogue, or merely in the stiffness of an index, and abandoned in general, as not to give to their bright- some to answer the purposes of a party. A very est characters the greatest share of their applause; small share of taste, therefore, was sufficient to and I do not know whether it be fair to try Pagan keep the compiler from the defects of the one, and actions by the standard of Christian morality. a very small share of philosophy from the misrepre

But whatever may be my execution of this sentations of the other. work, I have very little doubt about the success of It is not easy, however, to satisfy the different the undertaking the subject is the noblest that ever expectations of mankind in a work of this kind, calculated for every apprehension, and on which goes; and it is but justice to say, that wherever , all are consequently capable of forming some judg- was obliged to abridge his work, I did it with re. ment. Some may say that it is too long to pass luctance, as I searcely cut out a single line that did under the denomination of an abridgment; and not contain a beauty. others, that it is too dry to be admitted as a history; But though I must warmly subscribe to the learnit may be objected, that reflection is almost entirely ing, elegance, and depth of Mr. Hume's history, banished to make room for facts, and yet, that yet I can not entirely acquiesce in his principles. many facts are wholly omitted, which might be With regard to religion, he seems desirous of playnecessary to be known. It must be confessed, that ing a double part, of appearing to some readers as all those objections are partly true ; for it is impos- if he reverenced, and to others as if he ridiculed it. sible in the same work at once to attain contrary He seems sensible of the political necessity of religion advantages. The compiler, who is stinted in room, in every state ; but at the same time, he would every must often sacrifice interest to brevity; and on the where insinuate that it owes its authority to no other hand, while he endeavours to amuse, must higher an origin. Thus he weakens its influence, frequently transgress the limits to which his plan while he contends for its utility; and vainly hopes, should confine him. Thus, all such as desire only that while free-thinkers shall applaud his sceptiamusement may be disgusted with his brevity; and cism, real believers will reverence him for his zeal. such as seek for information may object to his dis- In his opinions respecting government, perhaps placing facts for empty description.

also he may sometimes be reprehensible; but in a To attain the greatest number of advantages country like ours, where mutual contention conwith the fewest inconveniences, is all that can be tributes to the security of the constitution, it will attained in an abridginent, the name of which im- be impossible for an historian who attempts to plies imperfection. It will be sufficient, therefore, have any opinion to satisfy all parties. It is not to satisfy the writer's wishes, if the present work yet decided in politics, whether the diminution of be fuund a plain, unaffected narrative of facts, with kingly power in England tends to increase the just ornament enough to keep attention awake, happiness or the freedom of the people. For my and with reflection barely sufficient to set the read- own part, from seeing the bad effects of the tyraner upon thinking. Very moderate abilities were ny of the great in those republican states that preequal to such an undertaking, and it is hoped the tend to be free, I can not help wishing that our performance will satisfy such as take up books to monarchs may still be allowed to enjoy the power be informed or amused, without much considering of controlling the encroachments of the great at who the writer is, or envying any success he may home, have had in a former compilation.

A king may easily be restrained from doing As the present publication is designed for the wrong, as he is but one man; but if a Đumber of benetit of those who intend to lay a foundation for the great are permitted to divide all authority, whe future study, or desire to refresh their memories can punish them if they abuse it? Upon this princiupon the old, or who think a moderate share of his- ple, therefore, and not from empty notions of divine tory sufficient for the purposes of life, recourse has or hereditary right, some may think I have leaned been had only to those authors which are best towards monarchy. But as, in the things I have known, and those facts only have been selected hitherto written, I have neither allured the vanity which are allowed on all hands to be true. Were of the great by flattery, nor satisfied the malignity an epitome of history the field for displaying erudi oi the vulgar by scandal, as I have endeavoured to tion, the author could show that he has read many get an honest reputation by liberal pursuits, it is books which others have neglected, and that he also hoped the reader will admit my impartiality, could advance many anecdotes which are at present very little known. But it must be remembered, that all these minute recoveries could be inserted

THE PREFACE only to the exclusion of more material facts, which it would he unpardonable to omit. He foregoes, therefore, the petty ambition of being thought a read

HISTORY OF THE EARTH er of forgotten books; his aim being not to add to our present stock of history, but to contract it. The books which have been used in this abridg.

ANIMATED NATURE, ment are chiefly Rapin, Carte, Smollett, and

BY DR. GOLDSMITH. Hume. They have each their peculiar admirers,

(First printed in the year 1774.) in proportion as the reader is studious of historical antiquities, fond of minute anecdote, a warm par- Natural History, considered in its utmost estisan or a deliberate reasoner. Of these I have tent, comprehends two objects. First, that of disparticularly taken Hume for my guide, as far as he covering, ascertaining, and naming all the various

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