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The most important point in Anthropology or the study of Man, is to acquire a knowledge of his Nature; and the next, to discover the mode in which his physical and mental constitution may be most advantageously improved. Men of eminent talents have considered the principles of education worthy of their attention ; and many works have been already published on this subject. It may therefore be asked, Why should another be presented ? Because education is still conducted in a manner very different from that in which it ought to be. Mankind has improved
less than we could wish:
" There are many books,” says HELVETIUS, many schools, but few persons of understanding; there are many maxims, but they are seldom applied; man is old, but still a child.” New elucidations of this subject, therefore, are still wanting; and I hope I shall be able to suggest some new ideas upon it. As, however, many ancient and modern philosophers have examined this subject, several of my ideas may be found in other writings; but nowhere are they reduced to the principles which I haye adopted, and arranged in the same order. I hope also to succeed in pointing out some new objects, interesting in themşelves, and leading to important results.
This, no doubt, will produce opposition. I am also aware of the active influence of prejudice,--of old habits and selfish pas
sions; but nothing shall deter me from communicating what appears to me to be founded on the immutable laws of the CREATOR. His authority is the only one I acknowledge in natural history. Truth is independent of time; it must prevail, though it excite the hatred of the ignorant, the weak, and the jealous.
The reader is requested to bear in mind, that the language in which this treatise is composed, is to the Author a foreign one. А
person so situate, is not always a competent judge of the nicer shades of meaning attaching to the expressions which he employs; and from this circumstance, together with the difficulty of commanding words to convey his ideas properly, he is liable to be betrayed into a tone of abrupt and apparently authoritative writing, quite foreign to his wish and intention. To
these causes the reader is requested to im-