27 June 1810
Ch. 2. Ancestor-worship
3. Considitur from
facts that happen find place
in those times much
information may be
derivable: from opinions
maintained in those
times little or nothing.
From their folly more
(viz in the way of
warning) is to be
learnt than from
their wisdom: yet
it is to their wisdom
alone that the
What then? in these our times is there nothing to
be learnt in former times? no instruction to be gained
Oh yes much to teach learn: few not many cases in which
more or less directly or indirectly there may not be more or less.
But the materials from whence capable of serving to us as instruction
sources of useful instruction are — not opinions but
facts matters of fact: and the instructiveness of their facts is altogether
independent of the wisdom of their opinions.
As to opinions it is much rather more from such as have were
been foolish than from such as were wise that what such
instruction we may be in a condition to draw from them
will have been derived. From foolish opinion judgment comes
foolish conduct: and from the most foolish conduct, the
severest disaster, and from the severest disaster the most
impressive as well as useful warning.
Give examples warnings. Constitutional Law Long P & In Penal law 72,000 hanged in H8.
Religion, tical burnings — In Civil Law, and Polit. I, Apprenticeships .
[Examples of warnings
given by folly of
earlier be wisdom
of later times.]
It is from the folly of our ancestors that we have
so much to learn, from their wisdom, if any thing, so
little. Yet it is to their wisdom and not to their
folly that we are referred for our instruction by
this fallacy: by these the pretended wise men of our own
times, by whom it is employed who employ it.
Identifier: | JB/104/158/001
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