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PRE FAC E.
HIS Courfe of Lectures was compofed when I was Tutor in the Languages and Belles Lettres in the Academy at Warrington, and was firft delivered in the year 1762. The plan is rather more comprehenfive than any thing that I have feen upon the subject, the arrangement of the materials, as a fyftem, is new, and the theory, in feveral respects, more fo.
For this reafon I have been frequently urged to make the Lectures public; and having poftponed it fo long, I have been induced to do it at this time, partly with a view to the illustration of the doctrine of the affociation of ideas, to which there is a conftant reference through the whole work (in order to explain facts relating to the influence of Oratory, and the ftriking effect of Excellencies in Compofition, upon the genuine principles of human nature) in confequence of having of late endeavoured to draw b
fome degree of attention to those principles, as advanced by Dr. Hartley. Another reason for publishing these Lectures at this time is, for the fake of the young Nobleman to whom they are dedicated, to whofe improvement my best services are, on many accounts, due.
Confidering the nature of the work, it will not be expected, by the candid and judicious, that every thing in it should be original. It is, on the contrary, the business of a Lecturer, to bring into an eafy and comprehenfive view whatever has been obferved by others: and in this refpect I hope it will be thought that I have not acquitted myself ill; few works of criticism, of any value, having escaped my attention, at the time that I was engaged in those studies. But I own, that of the later publications of this kind I can give less account than might have been wifhed; having been generally engaged in purfuits of a different nature. But, notwithstanding there may be fome things in common between this work and other publications of the kind, it is probable that many of the obfervations will be peculiar to myself, because my general theory of human nature is very much fo. I have fhewn myself willing to contribute what I may
be able to the illuftration of my fubject. If my endeavours have been attended with fuccefs, the friends of literature will not be displeased; and if, in their opinion, I have contributed nothing to the common ftock of useful obfervations, this work, they will conclude, will not stand long in the way of better.
The most confiderable work on the fubject of criticism, that was extant at the time of my compofing these Lectures, was that of Lord Kaims, to whom I am indebted for a very great number of my examples, especially those from the dramatic writers, and fometimes for the obfervations too; but with refpect to this fubject, on which so many able men have written, it is hardly poffible to fay to whom we are ultimately obliged for any very valuable remark.
Several of the examples in the first part of this work are borrowed from Dr. Ward's Oratory, and fome from other works of the fame nature; but many of the inftances are of my own collecting. I would have been more particular in making my acknowledgments, if I had been better able to recollect them, and had thought it at all neceffary. Let my reader confider this work as a fuccinct and systematical view of the observations of others, interfperfed with orib 2 ginal