Page images
PDF
EPUB

In drawing up the Lift of Claffics, the Author has been indebted for fome ufeful hints to feveral dif tinguished Scholars of the Universities both of Oxford and Cambridge; but he is precluded by their diffidence from making them fuch explicit public acknowledgements as he conceives to be justly their due with respect however to one lamented Friend he is no longer under any fuch reftriction.-The late Richard Porfon, Profeffor of Greek in the Univerfity of Cambridge, was originally confulted as to this part of the Work, he communicated fome valuable hints to render it more complete, and expreffed his opinion that it would be very ufeful.

If the praise of the Author of this Work could extend the fame of fuch a man as PORSON, he would be happy to dedicate many pages to a subject so copious, and fo deeply interefting to his feelings of regard and esteem; but far more able panegyrifts will doubtless appreciate his merits, both as a critic and a scholar. The Author of this work had the happiness to enjoy his confidential acquaintance for nearly twenty years, during which time he had abundant opportunities of remarking his acute and vigorous understanding, his very accurate learning, his almost fupernatural memory; and the kind, the ready, and the unoftentatious manner, in which he conveyed information to all who expreffed a defire to receive it from him. He furnished an eminent example of the acquirement, and the advantages of general knowledge; for whatever fubject, in any degree connected with the wide range of his ftudies

was

was fuggefted in converfation, even by intelligent perfons, he could illuftrate it with fo much information, and carry it to fuch an extent, as to surprise, delight, and instruct, all the company around him. As fome of his friends from the inoft honourable regard to his memory have caufed a Buft to be modelled to perpetuate his likenefs, let me, animated as I feel myself by the fame sentiments of regret for his lofs, be allowed in this public manner to express my conviction of his merit, and my acknowledgements for his kindness.

To lay claim to originality of fubject in fuch a Work as the prefent, in order to recommend it to notice, would prove the unfitnefs of the Author for the task he has undertaken, and be a prefumptuous and vain attempt to impofe upon the good fenfe of his Readers. His pretenfions to public regard muft in a great measure depend, not on the novelty of his materials, but upon his judgment in felecting, and his skill in compreffing within a moderate compass, the fubftance of larger and more voluminous works; and upon the manner in which he has clothed old ideas in a new drefs. Upon all his fubjects, he has endeavoured to reflect light from every quarter which his reading and obfervation have afforded to him.

We happily live at a time when we may congratulate the rifing generation on the new establishments made for the advancement of knowledge,

and

and the additional means adopted for the diffufion of a tafte for literature and science. The Academy at Sandhurst for Military Students, that erected near Hertford, for thofe young men who are defigned for the civil fervice in India, and Downing College now building at Cambridge, promise to anfwer the excellent purposes of their refpective founders. The Royal Inftitution in London engages the fair and the fashionable in the cause of polite Literature and Science; and the high reputation it has acquired, has promoted fimilar establishments in other parts of the Metropolis. Thus the talents and the attainments of eminent Profeffors are called into action; their labours are adapted to the peculiar occupations for which young men are intended, and the curiofity of the public at large is gratified to a degree unprecedented in former times, by the diffufion of various kinds of knowledge.

It was lately the boaft of our Gallic neighbours, that they were not prevented by the occupations of war, from giving encouragement to learning and fcience. If they continue their attention to fuch laudable objects, it should be our ambition, poffeffed as we are of fuch ample means of information, as our celebrated univerfities and fchools, aided by recent inftitutions, afford us, to meet them in the field of intellectual competition, in order to prove both to them and to the reft of the world, our right to pre-eminence in the Republic of Letters, and in every branch of useful knowledge, fimilar to that we

have established by the unexampled victories of our fleets and armies.

That no work of Man can be free from imperfection and error, is a truth which the author would not repeat, if his experience did not fully convince him, that it is applicable in a peculiar degree to publications of this kind. He wishes those who may complain of his want of brevity, to confider the great extent of every one of the fubjects he has undertaken to treat; and thofe who, from a predilection for fome particular topic, may wish for a fuller view of it, are requefted to recollect, that he profeffes to ftate principles only, and not to give complete Systems of Science, or long details of Hiftory: for fuch particulars he refers to the beft Books recommended in his Lifts at the end of the fecond volume; and with refpect to the compafs of information which this Work embraces, he ventures to affert that there will not eafily be found an equal variety of matter relative to Education, contained within an equal number of pages, in any other publication in our language.

The motive which prompted him to undertake this Work, continues to ftimulate him in every ftage of its progrefs-an ardent defire to extend useful inftruction beyond the narrow fphere of a College Tutor, in which he lately moved. If he should excite curiofity, or increase attention to any branch of profitable knowledge, and diffufe more widely the

light

light of general information, he will have the fatisfaction to think, that his time, his reflections, and his ftudies, have not been facrificed to a frivolous purpose, by thus endeavouring, in conformity with the occupations of the most valuable part of his life, to inftruct the rifing generation.

Trinity College, Oxford,
January 1, 1815.

« PreviousContinue »