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The Life of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Vol. 1 (Classic Reprint)

The Life of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Vol. 1 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from The Life of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Vol. 1

Upon these collections from Cicero, and the other ancients, I finished the first draught of my history, before I began to inquire after the modern writers, who had treated the same subject be fore me, either in whole or in part. I was unwilling to look into them sooner, lest they should fix any prejudice insensibly upon me, before I had formed a distinct judgment on the real state of the facts, as they appeared to me from their original records. For in writing history, as in travels, instead of transcribing the rev lations of those, who have trodden the same ground before us, we should exhibit a series of observations, peculiar to ourselves; such as the facts and places suggested to our own minds, from an atten tive survey of them, without regard to what any one else may have delivered about them; and though, in a production of this kind, where the same materials are common to all, many things must necessarily be said, which had been observed already by others; yet, if the author has any genius, there will always be enough of what is new, to distinguish it as an original work, and to give him a right to call it his own, which I ?atter myself will be allowed to me; in the following history. In this inquiry after the modern pieces, which had any connexion with my argument, I got notice presently of a greater number than I expected, which bore the title of Cicero's life; but, upon running over as many of them as I could readily meet with, I Was cured of my eagerness for hunting out the rest, since I perceived them to' be nothing else but either tri?ing panegyrics on Cicero's general character, or imperfect ah stracts of his principal acts, thrown together within the compass of a few pages in duodecimo.

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