Imatges de pàgina
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TO

THE

ΚΙ Ν

G.

SIR,

THE

HE fine arts have ever been en

couraged by wise princes, noç

singly for private amusement, but for their beneficial influence in fociety. By uniting different ranks in the same elegant pleasures, they promote be nevolence: by cherishing love of order, they inforce submission to government: and by inspiring delicacy of feeling, they make regular government' a double bleiling.

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THESE considerations embolden me to hope for your Majesty's patronage in behalf of the following work, which treats of the fine arts, and attempts to form a standard of taste by unfolding those principles that ought to govern the taste of every individual.

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It is rare to find one born with such delicacy of feeling, as not to need instruction: it is equally rare to find one fo low in feeling, as not to be capable of instruction. And yet, to refine our tafte with respect to beauties of art or of nature, is scarce endeavoured in any seminary of learning; a lamentable defect, considering how early in life taste is susceptible of culture, and how difficult to reform it if unhappily perverted. To furnish mate rials for supplying that defect, was, an additional motive for the present undertaking it and

То

has become of greater importance than is generally imagined. A flourishing com merce begets opulence; and' opulence, inflaming our appetite for pleasure, is commonly vented on luxury and on every sensual gratification: Selfishness fears its head; becomes fashionable; and infecting all ranks, extinguishes the amor patrie and every spark of public spirit. : To prevent or to retard such fatal corruption, the genius of an Alfred cannot devise any means more efficacious, than' venting opulence upon the fine arts. Richies fo employ'de instead of encouraging viee; will excitę both public and private virtue. Of this happy effect, ancient Greece furnifhes one shining instance; and why should we despair of another in Britain?

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In the commencement of an auspicious reign, and even in that early period of

life

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life when pleasure commonly is the fole pursuit, your Majesty has uniformly difplay'd to a delighted people, the nobleft principles, ripened by early culture; and for that reafon, you will be the more difposed to favour every rational plan for advancing the art of training up youth:

many branches of education, that which tends to make deep impressions of virtue, ought to be a fundamental measure in a well-regulated government: for depravity of manners will render ineffectual the most falutary laws ; and in the midst of opulence, what other means to prevent such depravity but early and virtuous discipline? The British difcipline is susceptible of great improvements; and if we can hope for them, it must be from a young and accomplished Prince, eminently sensible of their importance. To establish a complete system of education, seems reserved by providence for a Sovereign who commands

the

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