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MORAL ESSAYS,

1 N
FOUR EPISTLES,

TO
SEVERAL PERSONS.

'F.st brevitate opus, at cm rat sententia, neu Ic
Impediat verbis lassas oneraotibui aures •-
Et serraone opus est, mtxio tristi, sacpe iocoto,
Defendente viuetn modo rhetoris atque pucta,
lnterduin urbant, parceutis viribus, atque
Extenuantis eas consulto.' 110R.

XoVjertwemfnt.

THE Essay on Man was intended to have been comprised in Four Books:

The First of which, the Author has given us under that title, in Four Epistles.

The Second was to have consisted of the same number: 1. Of the extent and limits of human reason. 2. Of those arts and sciences, and of the parts of them, which are useful, and therefore attainable, together with those which are «tnuseful, and therefore unattainable. 3. Of the nature, ends, use, and application, of the di,ft*n. vol.. in. A

ferent capacities of men. 4. Of the use of learning, of the science of the world, and of wit; concluding with a salire against the misapplication of them, illustrated by pictures, characters, and examples.

The Third Book regarded civil regimen, or the science of politics, in which the several forms of arepublic were to be examined and explained; together with the several modes of religious worship, as far forth as they affect society; between which the author always supposed there was the most interesting relation and closest connection,; so that this part would have treated of civil and religious Society in their full extent.

The Fourth, and last Book, concerned private ethics, or practical morality, considered in all the circumstances, orders, professions, and stations, of human life.

The scheme of all this had been maturely digested, and communicated to L. Bolingbroke, Dr. Swift, and one or two more, and was intended for the only work of his riper years j but was, partly through ill ^health, partly through discouragements from the'depravity of the times, and partly on prudential aivl other considerations, interrupted, postponed', and lastly, in a manner laid aside. But as this was the Author's favorite work, which more exactly reflected th\ image of his strong capacious mind, and as we can have but a very imperfect idea of it from the disjecta membra pacta; that now remain, it may not be amiss 10 be a little more particular concerning each of these projected Books.

The First, as it treats of man in the abstract, and considers him in general under every of bis relations, becomes the foundation, and furnishes out the subjects of the three following ; so that

The Second Book was to take up again the first and second Epistles of the First Book, and treats of Man in his intellectual capacity at large, as has been explained above. Of this only a small part of the conclusion (which, as we said, was to have contained a satire against the misapplication of wit and learning) may be found in the Fourth Book of the Dunciad, and up and down, occasionally, in the other three.

The Third Book, in like manner, was to reassume the subject of the Third Epistle of the First, which treats of Man in his social, political, and religious capacity. ButUiis part the Poet afterwards conceived might be best executed in an epic poem, as the action would make it more animated, and the fable less invidious; in which all the great principles of true and false governments and religions should be chiefly delivered in feigned examples.

The Fourth, and last Book, was to pursue the subject of the fourth Epistle of the First, and treats of ethics, or practical morality, and would have eonsisted of many members: of which the Four following Epistles were detached portions: the two first, on the characters of men and women, being the introductory part of this concluding Book.

EPISTLE I.

TO SIR RICHARD TEMPLE, LORD COBHAM.

j-i'._i. '---..,-:, i.r - --,- -.-r-- -,t ar. ,.' -=-. az..-t - -" J

OT THE KNOWLEDGE AND CHARACTERS OF MEN.

(Cbe Strflument.

1. THAT it is not sufficient for this knowledge to consider Man

in the abstract; book3 will not serve the purpose, nor yet uur

even experience singly, v, 1. General maxims, unless they

be formed upon both, will be but notional, v. 10. home pe*

culiarity in every man, characteristic to himself, yet varying

from himself, v. 15, Difficulties arising from our own pas-

sions, fancies, faculties, &c. v. 31. The shortness of life to

observe in, and the uncertainty of the principles of action In

men to observe by, v. 37, &c. Our own principle of action

often hid from ourselves, v. 41. Some few characters plain,

but in general confounded, dissembled, or inconsistent, v, 51.

The same man utterly different in different places and sea-

sons, v. 71. Unimaginable weakness in the greatest, v, 77,

Jkc. Nothing constant and certain but God and Nature, v. 95.

No judging of the motives from the actions j the same actions

proceeding from CCntrary motives, and the same motives in*

fluencing contrary actions, v. 100. II. Yet to form character*

we can only take^he strongest actions of a man's lift-, and try

to make them agree; the utter uncertainty of this, from Nature

itself, and from policy, v. 120. Characters given according

to the rank of men in the world, v. 135 j and some reason for

it, v. 140. Education alters the nature, or at least character,

of many, v. 149- Actions, passions, opinions, manners, hu-

mors, or principles, all subject to change, No judging bv

Nature, from v. 158, to 174. HI. it only remains to find (it"

we can) his ruling passion: that will cenainly influence all

the rest, and can reconcile the seeming or real inconsistency

of all his actions, v. 175. Instanced in the extraordinary cha-

racter of Clodio, 179. A caution against mistaking second

qualities for first, which will destroy all possibility of the

knowledge of mankind, v. 210. Examples of the strength of

the ruling passion, and its continuation to the luit breath

T. 222, &c.

PART I.

1 ES, you despise the man to books confin'd,

Who from his study rails at human kind 2

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