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BOSWELL'S INTRODUCTION TO DR. JOHNSON Mr. Thomas Davies the actor, who then kept a bookseller's shop in Russell street, Covent Garden, told me that Johnson was very much his friend, and came frequently to his house, where he more than once invited me to meet him; but by some unlucky accident or other he was prevented from coming to us. Mr. Thomas Davies was a man of good understanding and talents, with the advantage of a liberal education. Tho... more...

RICHARD DE BURY Born in 1281, died in 1345; the son of Sir Richard Aungerville, his own name being taken from his birthplace, Bury St. Edmonds; educated at Oxford, and became a Benedictine monk; tutor to Edward III; dean of Wells Cathedral in 1333; bishop of Durham the same year; high chancellor of England in 1334; founded a library at Oxford; his "Philobiblon" first printed at Cologne in 1473. IN PRAISE OF BOOKS The desirable treasure... more...

CATO, THE CENSOR Born in Tusculum, Italy, in 234 b.c., died in 149; celebrated as statesman, general, and writer; questor under Scipio in 204; Consul in 195; served in Spain in 194; censor in 184; ambassador to Carthage in 150; one of the chief instigators of the third Punic war; among his writings are "De Re Rustica" and "Origines." OF WORK ON A ROMAN FARM When the owner of the farm and slaves visits his country villa, after saluting the... more...

INTRODUCTION Ever since civilized man has had a literature he has apparently sought to make selections from it and thus put his favorite passages together in a compact and convenient form. Certain it is, at least, that to the Greeks, masters in all great arts, we owe this habit. They made such collections and named them, after their pleasant imaginative fashion, a gathering of flowers, or what we, borrowing their word, call an anthology. So to... more...

The cemetery of Père Lachaise is the Westminster Abbey of Paris. Both are the dwellings of the dead; but in one they repose in green alleys and beneath the open sky—in the other their resting place is in the shadowy aisle and beneath the dim arches of an ancient abbey. One is a temple of nature; the other a temple of art. In one the soft melancholy of the scene is rendered still more touching by the warble of birds and the shade of... more...


THE TYRANNY OF THE AMERICAN MAJORITY I hold it to be an impious and execrable maxim that, politically speaking, the people has a right to do whatever it pleases; and yet I have asserted that all authority originates in the will of the majority. Am I then in contradiction with myself? A general law, which bears the name of justice, has been made and sanctioned not only by a majority of this or that people, but by a majority of mankind. The... more...

IMPERIAL POWER FOR GOOD AND BAD MEN Let us examine the nature of the spaciousness and continuance of empire, for which men give their gods such great thanks; to whom also they exhibited plays (that were so filthy both in actors and the action) without any offense of honesty. But, first, I would make a little inquiry, seeing you can not show such estates to be anyway happy, as are in continual wars, being still in terror, trouble, and guilt of... more...

THE BEGINNINGS OF TRACTARIANISM During the first years of my residence at Oriel, tho proud of my college, I was not quite at home there. I was very much alone, and I used often to take my daily walk by myself. I recollect once meeting Dr. Copleston, then Provost, with one of the Fellows. He turned round, and with the kind courteousness which sat so well on him, made me a bow and said, Nunquam minus solus, quam cum solus. At that time, indeed... more...

JOHN SMITH Born in England in 1579, died in 1631; served against the Turks, captured, but escaped and returned to England in 1605; sailed for Virginia in 1606, and helped to found Jamestown; captured by Indians and his life saved by Pocahontas the same year; explored the Chesapeake to its head; president of the Colony in 1608; returned to London in 1609; in 1614 explored the coast of New England; captured by the French in 1615 and escaped... more...

OF COMPANIONS AND FLATTERERS An old acquaintance who met me this morning seemed overjoyed to see me, and told me I looked as well as he had known me do these forty years; but, continued he, not quite the man you were when we visited together at Lady Brightly's. Oh! Isaac, those days are over. Do you think there are any such fine creatures now living as we then conversed with? He went on with a thousand incoherent circumstances, which, in his... more...