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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 37


page 3

"Bacon was one of the first to give a depth of wound to the prejudice of an undue admiration for past times. Since which prejudice has taken an opposite direction. We disdain our masters; and having in our voyage towards the pole, as it were, arrived at the farthest degree of latitude, we think ourselves wiser (better informed we certainly are) than those who first had the sagacity to point us out the way. The age perhaps is deficient in strength. That we have not so sound a regard for true liberty as our fathers in the reigns of James, Charles, William, Anne, and George the First, is certain. Fortunate is it for us that 'our fathers lived before us.' For, had they not erected the constitution, we assuredly could never have erected it for ourselves; we, who can do almost all things except frame a plain practical Act of Parliament without blemish or spot. Happy will be the time when truths—moral, political, religious, and philosophic—are taught in our schools; and when the poor as well as the rich may walk hand in hand beneath the bowers of intelligence."

page 4

"Multitudes of persons can see neither excellence nor utility in the study of old books; and yet, if it be true that ambition wears better than love, learning of this kind will probably last longer than either. Lovers of books are readers of books, retaining the best of the best, and the curiosities of the most curious. To the gentler sort of these adversaries the courteous words of Jonathan Oldbuck may be used—'We acknowledge that the charms whereon we doat are not so obvious to the eyes of youth as those of a fair lady; but you will grow wiser and see more justly when you come to wear spectacles.' But to those who bring nothing to the attack besides coarseness and mockery, the ability of judging on the subject may be altogether denied them, and the broad brocard of the blunt and witty Erasmus may be applied—'Keep off, swine; we breathe not our per fumes for thee!'"