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No. 367 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

The several Presses which are now in England, and the great Encouragement which has been given to Learning for some Years last past, has made our own Nation as glorious upon this Account, as for its late Triumphs and Conquests. The new Edition which is given us of Caesar’s Commentaries, has already been taken notice of in foreign Gazettes, and is a Work that does honour to the English Press. [1] It is no wonder that an Edition should be very correct, which has passed thro’ the Hands of one of the most accurate, learned and judicious Writers this Age has produced. The Beauty of the Paper, of the Character, and of the several Cuts with which this noble Work is illustrated, makes it the finest Book that I have ever seen; and is a true Instance of the English Genius, which, tho’ it does not come the first into any Art, generally carries it to greater Heights than any other Country in the World. I am particularly glad that this Author comes from a British Printing-house in so great a Magnificence, as he is the first who has given us any tolerable Account of our Country.

My Illiterate Readers, if any such there are, will be surprized to hear me talk of Learning as the Glory of a Nation, and of Printing as an Art that gains a Reputation to a People among whom it flourishes. When Men’s Thoughts are taken up with Avarice and Ambition, they cannot look upon any thing as great or valuable, which does not bring with it an extraordinary Power or Interest to the Person who is concerned in it. But as I shall never sink this Paper so far as to engage with Goths and Vandals, I shall only regard such kind of Reasoners with that Pity which is due to so Deplorable a Degree of Stupidity and Ignorance.


[Footnote 1: Just published, 1712, by Dr. Samuel Clarke, then 37 years old. He had been for 12 years chaplain to the Bishop of Norwich, and Boyle Lecturer in 1704-5, when he took for his subject the Being and Attributes of God and the Evidences of Natural and Revealed Religion. He had also translated Newton’s Optics, and was become chaplain to the Queen, Rector of St. Jamess, Westminster, and D. D. of Cambridge. The accusations of heterodoxy that followed him through his after life date from this year, 1712, in which, besides the edition of Caesar, he published a book on the Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity.]