TIMES OF GEORGE III.
THE affairs of men, the interests and the history of nations, the relative value of institutions as discovered by their actual working, the merits of different systems of policy as tried by their effects, are all very imperfectly examined without a thorough knowledge of the individuals who administered the systems and presided over the management of the public concerns. The history of empires is, indeed, the history of men, not only of the nominal rulers of the people, but of all the leading persons who exerted a sensible influence over the destinies of their fellow-creatures, whether the traces of that influence survived themselves, or, as in the case of lesser minds, their power was confined to their own times.
But, in another view, this kind of inquiry, this species of record, is even more important. Not only the world at large is thus instructed, but the character of statesmen and rulers is improved. Examples are held up of the faults which they are to avoid, and of the virtues which