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T70R bestowing some vacant hours (by that excellent Personages direction, to whom I am equally obliged for my Employment and my Leafure) in an attempt so agreeable to the lord Verulam's judgment, which may be seen in the next page; and Jo pursuant of sir Robert Naunton's designe, which may be traced in the jollowing Bookanother person's abilities might have gained applause, and my weakness may deserve an excuse, notwithstanding my years, (if yet any man be too young to raz<^and observe) or my profession (if yet a divine should not (as times go) be as well read in Men, as Books :) especially since I gratifie to man's fondness, writing not a Panegyrick, but an History: nor pleasure any persons malice; designing
^ Obser. Observations, rather than InveBives: nor tyre any man's patience: setting down rather the remarkes of mens publick capacities, than the minute passages of their private lives: but innocently discourse the most choice instances our ENGLISH histories afford for the three great qualifications of men (1. Noblenesse in behaviour: 2. Dexterity in business; and 3. Wisdome in government) among which are twenjy.r eight secretaries of staje, eight ch^Qjcellourjs, eighteen, lord treasurers, sixteen chamberlains, who entertain gentlemen wijh, observations becpmirig their exT traction, and. t,heif hopes^ touching,
\. The rise of stajtes-men.
2. The beginning of families.
3. The method of greatness.
4. The conduct of courtiers.
5. The miscarriages of favourites, and what-ever may make them either wife dt ivary.
The chajocellour of France had a picture, that- £0 a common eye shewed many little heads, and they 'were his. Ancestors; but to
i- . . oV.>.»-. >'\'Srzr. win . the the more curious represented onely one great one, and that was his <rton.
It's intended that this book should to the vulgar read or express several particulars, i e. all this last ages Heroes; but to every gentleman it should intimate onely one, and that is himself.
It's easily imaginable how unconcerned I am in the fate of this book, either in the history, or the observation; since I have been so faithful in the first, that is not my own, but the Historians j and so careful in the second1, that they are not mine, but the Histories.
DAVID LLOYD. The Lord Bacon's Judgment of a Work of this nature.
TJISTORY, which may be called just and perfect history, is of three kinds, according to the object it propoundeth, or pretendeth to represent; for it either represented a time, a person, or an action. The first we call chronicles, the second lives, and the third narrations, or relations.
Of these j although the first be the most cprhpleat and absolute kind of history, and hath most estimation and glory j yet the second excelleth it in profit and use j and the third in verity and sincerity. For history of times representeth the magnitude of actions, and the publick faces or deportments of persons, and passeth over in silence the smaller passages and motions of men and matters.
But such being the workmanship of God, as he doth hang the greatest weight upon
: . the the smallest: wyars, Maxima i minimis fiifpendens; it comes therefore to pass, that such histories do rather set forth the pomp of business, than the true and inward resorts thereof. But lives, if they be well written, propounding to themselves a person to represent, in whom actions both greater and smaller, publick and private, have a commixture, must of necessity contain a more true, native, and lively representation.
I do much admire that these times have so little esteemed the vertues of the times, as that the writing ot Lives mould be no more frequent. For although there be not many soveraign princes, or absolute commanders, and that states are most collected into monarchies; yet are there many worthy personages that deserve better than dispersed report, or barren elogies: for herein the invention of one of the late poets is proper, and doth well inrich the ancient fiction. For he faineth, that at the end of the thread or web of every man's life, there was a little medal containing the person's name; and