« AnteriorContinua »
HE Fine Arts have ever been encouraged by wife Princes, not fingly for private amusement, but for their beneficial influence in society. By uniting different ranks in the fame elegant pleasures, they promote benevolence: by cherishing love of order, they enforce fubmiffion to government: and by inspiring delicacy of feeling, they make regular government a double bleffing.
THESE Confiderations embolden me to hope for your Majefty'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.
IT is rare to find one born with fuch delicacy of feeling, as not to need inftruction it is equally rare to find one fo low in feeling, as not to be capable of inftruction. And yet, to refine our taste with respect to beauties of art or of nature, is fcarce endeavoured in any feminary of learning; a lamentable defect, confidering how early in life tafte is fufceptible of culture, and how difficult to reform it if unhappily perverted. To furnish
furnish materials for fupplying that defect, was an additional motive for the present undertaking.
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 pleafure, is commonly vented on luxury, and on every fenfual gratification: Selfishnefs 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 employed, instead
instead of encouraging vice, will excite both public and private virtue. Of this happy effect, ancient Greece furnishes one shining inftance; and why should we defpair of another in Britain?
IN the commencement of an aufpicious reign, and even in that early period of life when pleasure commonly is the fole purfuit, your Majefty has uniformly displayed to a delighted people, the nobleft principles, ripened by early culture; and, for that reason, 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