Page images

To promote the fine arts in Britain, has become of greater importance than is generally imagined. A flourishing commerce begets opulence; and opulence, inflaming our appetite for pleasure, is commonly vented on luxury, and on every sensual gratification: Selfishness rears its head; becomes fashionable; and, infecting all ranks, extinguishes the amor patria, and every spark of public fpirit. To prevent or to retard fuch fatal corruption, the genius of an Alfred cannot devife any means more efficacious, than the venting opulence upon the fine arts: riches fo employ'd, instead of encouraging vice, will excite both public and private vir tue. Of this happy effect, ancient Greece furnishes one shining instance; and why fhould we despair of another in Bri


IN the commencement of an aufpicious reign, and even in that early period of life when pleasure commonly is the fole

a 4




purfuit, your Majefty has uniformly dif play'd to a delighted people, the noblest principles, ripen'd by early culture; and for that reafon, you will be the more difpofed to favour every rational plan for advancing the art of training up youth. Among the many branches of education, that which tends to make deep impreffions of virtue, ought to be a fundamental object in a well-regulated, government for depravity of manners will render ineffectual the most falutary laws; and in the midft of opulence, what other means to prevent fuch depravity but carly and virtuous difcipline? The British difcipline is fufceptible of great improvements; and if we can hope for them, it must be from a young and accomplished Prince, eminently fenfible of their importance. To establish a complete fyftem of education, seems reserved by Providence for a Sovereign who commands the hearts of his fubjects. Succefs will crown the undertaking,

and endear GEORGE

GEORGE THE THIRD to our latest



THE most elevated and most refined pleasure of human nature, is enjoy'd by a virtuous prince governing a virtuous people; and that, by perfecting the great fyftem of education, your Majefty may very long enjoy this pleasure, is the ardent with of

December 1761.

Your Majesty's

Devoted Subject,


PREFACE to the Second Edition.

PRinting, by multiplying copies at will,

affords to writers great opportunity of receiving inftruction from every quarter. The author of this treatife, having always been of opinion that the general tafte is feldom wrong, was refolved from the beginning to fubmit to it with entire refignation: its fevereft difapprobation might have incited him to do better, but never to complain. Finding now the judgement of the public to be favourable, ought he not to draw fatisfaction from it? He would be devoid of fenfibility were he not greatly fatisfied. Many criticisms have indeed reached his ear; but they are candid and benevolent, if not always juft. Gratitude therefore, had there been no other motive, must have rous'd his utmoft induftry to clear this edition from all the defects of the former, fo far as they were fuggefted by others, or discovered by himself. In a work containing many particulars both new and abftrufe, it was difficult to exprefs every article with fufficient perfpicuity; and after all the pains bestow'd, there remained


« PreviousContinue »