Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Some Most Liberal Sentiments

Some comments on history here, that fit in with a regular debate I have with friends about the merits of studying the recent past as "history". Taken from the Pennsylvania Packet, January 1, 1790:

"The study of history is at once pleasing and profitable -- It does not require intense application -- It may be taken up at a moment of leisure, and relinquished as oher avocations intervene -- and thus may be made a save all the scraps of time, none of which should be lost -- for, as has been observed, 'of all prodigality, that of time is the most shameful'".

So far, so good. This line may prove more contentious:

"It is difficult to account for the general sentiment, that History written at the period when the transactions recorded take place is partial, without stigmatising human nature; but the observation has been too often verified, to be denied."

But I'm sure we can all agree on this:

"History elevates the mind to a lofty eminence, from whence we take a prospective view of the transactions of the mind."