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Of the Knowledge and Characters of MEN.
THAT it is not fufficient for this knowledge to confider Man in the Abstract: Books will not ferve the purpofe, nor yet our own Experience fingly, 1. General maxims, unless they be formed upon both, will be but notional, 10. Some Peculiarity in every man, characteristic to himself, yet varying from himself, 15. Difficulties arifing from our own Paffions, Fancies, Faculties, &c. 31. The fhortness of Life, to obferve in, and the uncertainty of the Principles of action in men, to obferve by, 37, &c. Our own Principle of action often bid from ourselves, 41. Some few Characters ✯ plain, but in general confounded, dissembled, or inconfiftent, 51. The fame man utterly different in different places and feafons, 71. Unimaginable weaknefes in the greatest, 70, &c. Nothing conftant and y certain but God and Nature, & 95. No judging of
the Motives from the actions; the fame actions proceeding from contrary Motives, and the fame Motives influencing contrary actions, 100. II. Yet to form Characters, we can only take the strongest actions of a man's life, and try to make them agree: The utter uncertainty of this, from Nature itself, and from Policy, 120. Characters given according to the rank of men of the world, † 135. And some reason for it,
140. Education alters the Nature, or at least Character, of many, 149. Actions, Paffions, Opinions, Manners, Humours, or Principles, all fubject to change. No judging by Nature, from 158 to 178. III. It only remains to find (if we can) his RULING PASSION: That will certainly influence all the rest, and can reconcile the feeming or real inconfiftency of all bis actions, 175. Inftanced in the extraordinary character of Clodio, 179. A caution against mistaking fecond qualities for first, which will deftroy all poffibility of the knowledge of mankind, 210. Examples of the ftrength of the Ruling Paffion, and its continuation to the last breath, 222, &c.
N. Blakey inv. & del.
G. Scotin Sculp.
Boastfull & rough your first Son is a Squire,
The next a Tradesman, meek and much a Liar. Tom struts a Soldier, open, bold and Brave; Will' sneaks a Scrivener, an exc
Char: of Men.
E S, 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.
Epifle of the Knowledge and Characters of Men,] Whoever compares this with the former Editions of this poem, will obferve that the order and difpofition of the feveral parts are entirely changed and reversed, tho' with hardly the Alteration of a fingle Word. When the Editor, at the Author's desire, first examined this Epiftle, he was furprized to find it contain a number of fine obfervations, without order, connection, or depen dence: but much more fo, when, on an attentive review, he faw, that, if put into a different form, on an idea he then conceived, it would have all the clearness of method, and force of connected reasoning. The author appeared as much struck with the thing as the editor, and agreed to put the Poem into the prefent order, which has given it all the juftness of a true compofition. The introduction of the epiftle on Riches was in the fame condition, and underwent the fame reform,
Moral Efays.] 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 Epiftles.
The Second was to have confifted of the fame number: 1, Of the extent and limits of human Reason. 2. Of thofe Arts and Sciences, and of the parts of them, which are useful, and therefore attainable, together with thofe which are unufeful, and therefore unattainable. 3. Of the Nature, Ends, Ufe, and Application of the different Capacities of Men. 4. Of the Ufe of Learning, of the Science of the World, and of