Obrázky na stránke

found to have established, and to which public utility does not give its sanction, will gradually sink into public disesteem: and this, long continued, will make part of that spirit of men, of nations, and of times, which must finally bear down every thing that opposes it. Consequently, the only method of perpetuating any order of men whatever, is to make it truly respectable and useful: This was the original foundation of honour, and it cannot finally stand upon

any other.

I must add, that the world will expect the more from your Lordship, on account of your relation to a nobleman who is eminently distinguished for his private, as well as his public virtues, and for nothing more than his attention to the education of his children, and his liberality of sentirnent in the conduct of it.

That your Lordship may, in riper years, fully reward the care and attention that have been bestowed upon you, confirm the hopes which your friends have formed from your present improvements and dispositions, and eminently contribute to support the dignity of the rank to which you were born, by adding to the real lustre and value of it, is the sincere prayer of,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

P R E F A C E.

This Course of Lectures was compofed when I was Tutor in the Languages and Belles Lettres in the Academy at Warrington, and was first delivered in the year 1762. The plan is rather more comprehenfive than any thing that I have seen upon the subject, the arrangement of the materials, as a system, is new, and the theory, in several respects, more so.

For this reason I have been frequently urged to make the Lectures public; and having postponed it so long, I have been induced to do it at this time, partly with a view to the illustration of the doctrine of the association of ideas, to which there is a constant reference through the whole work (in order to explain facts relating to the influence of Oratory, and the striking effect of Excellencies in Composition, upon the genuine principles, of human nature) in consequence of having of late endeavoured to draw fome degree of attention to those principles, as advanced by Dr. Hartley. Another reason for publishing these


Lectures at this time is, for the sake of the young nobleman to whom they are dedicated, to whose improvement my best fervices are, on many accounts, due.

Considering 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 easy and comprehensive view whatever has been observed by others; and in this respect 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 wished; having been generally engaged in pursuits of a different nature. But, notwithstanding there may be some things in common between this work and other publications of the kind, it is probable that many of the observations will be peculiar to myself, because my general theory of human nature is very much. so. I have shewn myself willing to contribute what I may be able to the illustration of my subject. If my endeavours have been attended with success, the friends of literą. ture will not be displeared; and if, in their


[ocr errors]

opinion, I have contributed nothing to the common stock of useful observations, this work, they will conclude, will not stand long in the way of better.

The most considerable work on the subject of criticism, that was extant at the time of my composing these Lectures, was that of Lord Kaims, to whoin I am indebted for a very great number of my examples, especially those from the dramatic writers, and sometimes for the observations too; but with respect to this subject, on which so many able men have written, it is hardly possible to say 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 some from other works of the same nature; but many of the instances 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 necessary. Let

my reader consider this work as a fuccinct and fyftematical view of the observations of others, interspersed with original ones of my own; and he will not, I hope, think that the perusal of it has been time ill-bestowed.

A con

« PredošláPokračovať »