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of a prince who had lost ap eye, and by that means ingeniously concealed so disagreeable a deformity. History, the most essential rule of which is sincerity, will by no means admit of such indulgences, that indeed would deprive it of its greatest advantage.
Shame, reproach, infamy, hatred, and the execrations of the public, which are the inseparable attendants on criminal and brutal actions, are no less proper to excite an horror for vice, than the glory, which perpetually attends good actions, is to inspire us with the love of virtue. And these, according to Tacitus,? are the two ends, which every historian ought to propose to himself, by making a judicious choice of what is most extraordinary both in good and evil, in order to occasion that public homage to be paid to virtue which is justly due to it; and to create the greater abhorrence for vice, on account of that eternal infamy that attends it.
The history I write only furnishes too many examples of the latter sort. With respect to the Persians, it will appear by what is said of their kings, that those princes, whose power had no other bounds but those of their will, often abandoned themselves to all their passions ; that nothing is more difficult than to resist the delusions of a man's own greatness, and the flatteries of those that surround him ; that the liberty of gratifying all one's desires, and of doing evil with impunity, is a dangerous situation ; that the best dispositions can hardly withstand such a temptation ; that, even after having preserved themselves in the beginning, they are
9 Exequi sententias haud institui, nisi insignes per honestum aut notabili dedecore : quad præcipuum munus annalium reor ne virtutes sile. antur, utque pravis dictis factisque ex posteritate et infamiâ metus sit.. Tacit. Annal. l. üi. c. 65.
insensibly. corrupted by softness and effeminacy, by pride, and their aversion to sincere counsels; and that it rarely happens they are wise enough to consider, that, when they find themselves exalted above all laws and restraints, they stand then most in need of moderation and wisdom, both in regard to themselves and others; and that in such a situation they ought to be doubly wise, and doubly strong, in order to set bounds within, by their reason, to a power that has none without.
With respect to the Grecians, the Peloponnesian war will show the miserable effects of their intestine divisions, and the fatal excesses into which they were led by their thirst of dominion ; scenes of injustice, ingratitude, and perfidy, together with the open violation of treaties, or mean artifices and unworthy tricks to elude their execution. It will show how scandalously the Lacedemonians and Athenians debased themselves to the Barbarians, in order to beg aids of money from them; how shamefully the great deliverers of Greece renounced the glory of all their past labours and exploits, by, stooping and making their court to certain, haughty and insolent satrapa, and by going successively, with a kind of emulation, toimplore the protection of the common enemy, whom they had so often conquered; and in what manner they employed the succours they obtained from them, in oppressing their ancient aļlies, and extending their own territories by unjust and violent methods.
On both sides, and sometimes in the same person, we shall find a surprising mixture of good and bad, of virtues and vices, of glorious actions and mean
sentiments; and sometimes, perhaps, we shall be ready to ask ourselves whether these can be the same persons and the same people, of whom such different things are related ; and whether it be possible, that such a bright and shining light, and such thick clouds of smoke and darkness can proceed from the same fund?
The Persian history includes the space of one hundred and seventeen years, during the reigns of six kings of Persia : Darius, the first of the name, the son of Hystaspes; Xerxes the first ; Artaxerxes, sirnamed Longimanus ; Xerxes the second; Sogdianus; the two last of which reigned but a very little time ; and Darius the second, commonly called Darius Nothus. This history begins at the year of the world 3483, and extends to the year 3600. As this whole period naturally divides itself into two parts, I shall also divide it into two distinct books.
The first part, which consists of ninety years, contains from the beginning of the reign of Darius the first, to the forty second year of Artaxerxes, the same year in which the Peloponnesian war began ; that is from the year of the world 3483 to the year 3573. This part chiefly contains the different enterprises and expeditions of the Persians against Greece, which never produced more great men, and great events, nor ever displayed more conspicuous or more solid virtues. Here you will see the famous battles of Marathon, Thermopyle, Artemisa, Salamin, Platea, Mycale, Eurimedon, &c. Here the most eminent commanders of Greece, signalized their courage; Miltiades, Leonidas, Themistocles, Aristides, Cimon, Pausanias, Pericles, Thucydides, &c.
To enable the reader the more easily to recollect what passed within this space of time among the Jews, and also among the Romans, the history of both which nations is entirely foreign to that of the Persians and Greeks, I shall here set down in few words the principal epochas relating to them.
EPOCHAS OF THE JEWISH HISTORY.
The people of God were at that time returned from their Babylonish captivity to Jerusalem, under the conduct of Zerobabel. Usher is of opinion, that the history of Esther ought to be placed in the reign of Darius.' The Israelites under the shadow of that prince's protection, and animated by the warm exhortations of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, did at last finish the building of the temple, which had been interrupted for many years by the cabals of their enemies. Artaxerxes was no less favourable to the Jews than Darius: he first of all sent Ezra to Jerusalem, who restored the public worship, and the observation of the law; then Nehemiah, who caused walls to be built round the city, and fortified it against the attacks of their neighbours, who were jealous of its reviving greatness. It is thought that Malachi, the last of the prophets, was cotemporary with Nehemiah, or that he prophesied not long after him.
This interval of the sacred history extends from the reign of Darius I. to the beginning of the reign of Darius Nothus ; that is to say, from the year of the world 3485, to the year 3581. After which, the scripture is entirely silent, till the time of the Maccabees.
EPOCHAS OF THE ROMAN HISTORY.
The first year of Darius was the two hundred and thirty third of the building of Rome. Tarquin the Proud was then on the throne, and about ten years afterwards was deposed, when the consular government was substituted to that of the kings. In the succeeding part of this period happened the war against Porsenia; the creation of the tribunes of the people; Coriolanus's retreat among the Volsci, and the war that ensued thereupon; the wars of the Romans against the Latins, the Veientes, the Volsci, and other neighbouring nations; the death of Virginia under the Decemvirate; the disputes between the people and senate about marriages and the consulship, which occasioned the creating of military tribunes instead of consuls. This period of time terminates in the three hundred and
from the foundation of Rome. The second part, of twenty seven years, extends from the forty third year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, to the death of Darius Nothus; that is, from the year of the world 3573, to the year 3600. It contains the nineteen first years of the Peloponnesian war, which continued twenty seven years, of which Greece and Sicily were the seat, and wherein the Greeks, who had before triumphed over the Barbarians, turned their arms against each other. Among the Athenians, Pericles, Nicias, and Alcibiades; among the Lacedemonians, Brasidas, Gylippus, and Lysander, distin. guished themselves in the most extraordinary manner.
Rome continues to be agitated by different disputes between the senate and people. Towards the end of this period, and about the three hundred and fiftieth