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N ECR O M A N CERS:
AN ACCOUNT OF THE MOST EMINENT PERSONS IN
BEEN IMPUTED BY OTHERS,
EXERCISE OF MAGICAL POWER.
BY WILLIAM GODWIN.
The main purpose of this book is to exhibit a fair delineation of the credulity of the human mind. Such an exhibition cannot fail to be
productive of the most salutary lessons.
One view of the subject will teach us a useful pride in the abundance of our faculties. Without pride man is in reality of little value. It is pride that stimulates us to all our great undertakings. Without pride, and the secret persuasion of extraordinary talents, what man would take
pen with a view to produce an important work, whether of imagination and poetry, or of profound science, or of acute and subtle reasoning and intellectual anatomy? It is pride in this sense that makes the great general and the consummate legislator, that animates us to tasks the most la
borious, and causes us to shrink from no difficulty, and to be confounded and overwhelmed with no obstacle that can be interposed in our path.
Nothing can be more striking than the contrast between man and the inferior animals. The latter live only for the day, and see for the most part only what is immediately before them. But man lives in the past and the future. He reasons upon and improves by the past; he records the acts of a long series of generations : and he looks into future time, lays down plans which he shall be months and years in bringing to maturity, and contrives machines and delineates systems of education and government, which may gradually add to the accommodations of all, and raise the species generally into a nobler and more honourable character than our ancestors were capable of sustaining
Man looks through nature, and is able to reduce its parts into a great whole. He classes the being which are found in it, both animate and inanimate, delineates and describes them, investigates their properties, and records their capacities, their good and evil qualities, their dangers and their uses.
Nor does he only see all that is; but he also