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thiis surprising: the science, as it is now studied, is mostly confined to copying from antiquity, while the reasons of its beauty are scarcely reflected on, or at least very little further than the mere uses of some of the smaller parts. That a system of servile copying should not be a favourite study, cannot appear wonderful, and particularly among Englishmen, and in these enlightened days, when we pride ourselves in some,

I

may say many arts, as having even surpassed the ancients.

It is the object of these essays to investigate the principles of architectural beauty, and to form them into a system worthy of the man of penetration, thought, judgment, and taste. It is the object of these essays to show that Architecture is not within the reach of every illiterate mechanic, but that it opens a field to enlarged intellect, and deep research, and that it is full of unlimited novelty and invention.

Such is Architecture : but that the humble efforts of my pen should make this appear, that these my favourite lucubrations should accomplish what was intended by them, I am not so confident as to anticipate, nor am I so vain as to imagine, they will serve any more than as an outline to be completed by the finger of time and experience, claiming to myself only

some title to originality and system, and thoroughly feeling, that it was system alone, that raised Architecture, as well as the other arts of ancient Greece, to the excellence, they had there attained, that it is by system alone we can hope to rival them, and that it is by system alone, that Architecture can keep its triumphant pre-eminence over the other fine arts, or that it can deserve to be considered an art, that enlarges the intellect, assists the judgment, directs the taste, and, to adopt the appropriate language of Vitruvius, an art, by whose principles the merits of the works in other arts may be tried, and examined.

If system then be all, that an art requires to bring it to perfection, how lamentable it is, that so noble an art as Architecture should, in modern days, be without system, an art which as the chief of those arts, which are emphatically called the “ peaceful arts,” is highly calculated to lead the human mind, (which from its nature must be active on something,) from war and bloodshed, to the contemplation of what will afford unlimited, pleasing, and useful occupation for the mind; nor it seems to me, can we sufficiently despise those, who, while speaking of the late improvements in London, declared Architecture an art only calculated to fan the vanity of the world, not considering that the defects of all arts, innocent and peaceful in themselves, must depend on a wrong rise of them.

For my own part, I cannot help thinking, that the encouragement of an art, of so elegant and fundamental a nature, and so full of endless variety, may be productive of the greatest benefit to society ; it may be laying the corner-stone for a multitude of other arts of a peaceful nature, and perhaps, if I may allude to Scripture in a secular work, for the commencement of that period, when they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears

into pruning-hooks; when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more, (Isaiah ii. 4;) and they shall build houses and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them ; they shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat, (Isa. Ixv. v. 21, 22:) or, as Pope poetically expresses it,

No more shall nation against nation rise,
Nor arilent warriors meet with hateful eyes,
Nor fields with gleaming steel be covered o’er,
The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more:
But useless lances into scythes shall bend,
And the broad falchion in a ploughshare end ;
Then palaces shall rise; the joyful son
Shall finish what his short-lived sire begun.
Their vines a shadow to their race shall yiell,
And the same hand that ploughel, shall reap the field.

Whatever may be said of the opinions of those modern philosopers, who make the period for the completion of those prophesies above alluded to, near at hand, I do not pretend to discuss : but at all events, in whatever age we live, it must be the duty of every man to do all in his power, however little that

may be, to promote universal civilization ; and from the time I have bestowed upon it, conceiving myself capable of throwing at least a glimmering light on the noblest of the peaceful arts, I should feel it wrong to conceal these attempts from the public, though they should be pursued by all the virulence, which sometimes accompanies modern criticisms, or though they should be found finally unworthy of attention.

Norbury Booths Hall, 1829.

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