Of all the studies which offer themselves to our attention none is more attractive and none is more eminently useful than history. The handing down a record of passing events, and preserving the memory of those individuals who have exercised an influence over their fellows, is a desire as natural as it is universal. No doubt the earliest traditions, nebulous and uncertain, were held in solution for many generations, being sung as ballads, or recited as epics, until they attained a certain degree of consistency. These myths and legends were passed from one tribe to another, not unfrequently disappearing to reappear in changed form elsewhere. The unreal and fantastic outlines by degrees assumed some sort of definite shape, which solidified as generations rolled on. Pictorial signs and effigies very soon took the place of oral traditions; and by degrees alphabets were invented to represent language, and to give permanence to

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