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TO THE KING.
THE Fine Arts have ever been encouraged by wise princes, not singly for private amusement, but for their beneficial influence in society. By uniting different ranks in the same elegant pleasures, they promote benevolence: by cherishing love of order, they enforce submission to government: and by inspiring delicacy of feeling, they make regular government a double blessing.
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.
It is rare to find one born with such delicacy of feeling, as not to need instruction: it is equally rare to find one so low in feeling, as not to be capable of instruction. And yet, to refine our taste 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 per
verted. To furnish materials for supplying 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 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 spirit. To prevent or to retard such fatal corruption, the genius of an Alfred cannot devise any means more efficacious, then the venting opulence upon the Fine Arts: riches so employed, instead of encouraging vice, will excite both public and private virtue. Of this happy effect, ancient Greece furnishes one shining instance; and why should we despair of another in Britain?
In the commencement of an auspicious reign, and even in that early period of life when pleasure commonly is the sole pursuit, your Majesty has uniformly displayed to a delighted people the noblest principles, ripened by early culture; and, for that reason, you will be the more disposed to fayour every rational plan for advancing the art of training up youth. Among the many branches of education, that which tends to make deep impressions of virtue, ought to be a fundamental object in a well-regulated government : for depravity of manners will render ineffectual the most salutary laws; and, in the midst of opulence, what other means to prevent such depravity but early and virtuous discipline? The British discipline 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 e ducation, seems reserved by Providence for a sovereign who commands the hearts of his subjects. Success will crown
the undertaking, and endear GEORGE THE THIRD to our latest posterity.
THE most elevated and most refined pleasure of human nature, is enjoyed by a virtuous Prince governing a virtuous people; and that, by perfecting the great system of education, your Majesty may very long enjoy this pleasure, is the ardent wish of