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THE ILLUSTRIOUS AUTHOR
THE PURSUITS OF LITERATURE
THE FOLLOWING SKETCH
THE TEMPLE OF TRUTH
( WITH UNFEIGNED ESTIMATION
HIS MORAL PATRIOTISM,
" AS when two pilgrims in a forest stray
It is a Maxim, unexceptionably acceded to, by the best men and the best authors, that great respect is due to the public eye, and, much more, to the public mind. To this principle I most perfectly assent. I shall therefore feel it a moral obligation, not to force myself on their notice, without that deferential introduction they have an unquestionable right to demand : as
no measure of conceit can scarcely surpass, or be more offensive than that, which impels a writer to presume, that he may boldly claim that candid attention, which the most exalted merit should not blush to solicit, from an intelligent community.
Thus much by way of apology, and in order to conciliate that liberal sentence from the perusal of the subsequent strictures, which I am anxious they should receive; especially, as they profess to contain, what either commands the highest regard, or else, what may be thrown aside, as a matter of indifference and mere literary amusement. For, in this instance, there is, what seldom occurs, no medium, no other alternative. Either they are the intellectual dream of a misguided imagination, or, they should engage the utmost powers and faculties of the human soul.
The best improvement, I apprehend, that can possibly be made of universal history, is, to consider it as the History of