Another characteristic of that thinking makes one think hard again about the allegation of empiricism. For one of the most prevalent modes of representing the past lay in creating moral lessons with historical events as their illustrations. The view that history was fit only for ‘philosophy teaching by example’ did not originate in the eighteenth century: it occurs in classical writers and Renaissance writers rediscovered it (Culler 1985:4). But Lord Bolingbroke’s Letters on the Study and Use of History (1752) gave the concept a contemporary cachet and few authors of his day avoided giving a patina to their text that was intended to elevate the mind of the reader or bend it towards a particular conclusion. This operation was not carried out empirically; it required authors to come to their task with a sense of commitment, even if they would have had difficulty in defining the message that they intended to convey.