Excerpt from Harvard Register, 1827-28
History, in some shape or other, is practically useful to'ell every moment of their existence. The narrow sphere of our own experience is far too straitened for the mind to act in. To be matured and perfected it must range over the most extensive regions; traverse the field of knowledge as displayed by the efforts of antiquity, and improved upon, and extended, and more highly cultivated by the research of later days. It must enter into the reasonings and feelings of others, and make them all its own.
We read the history of nations for political instruction. The examples of others instruct us in regulating our own conduct. The examples of different nations give instructive lessons to rulers, and no one rises from the pages of a well written biography without being benefited by the perusal. It is not strict and invariable rules of conduct that we derive from the experience of others, but rather occasional hints, that serve to shed a light upon the situation in which we may happen to be placed not an exact delineation of the course we ought ourselves to pursue, but the developement of the consequences which the same or a different line of conduct has ended in with others. The history of nations, then, instructs rulers in their official duties; politicians in the best means of serving their country; and the people in their rights and privileges; and it is the philosophic historian, displaying the successions of events that make up the sum of a nation's existence, and unfolding the origin and develop ing the consequences of all important transactions, who is the means of communicating all this useful knowledge to mankind.
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