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TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE
FIRST LORD COMMISSIONER OF THE TREASURY, CHANCELLOR
OF THE EXCHEQUER, CHANCELLOR OF TUE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD,
AND KNIGHT OF THE MOST NOCLE ORDER OF TUE GARTER.
MY LORD, Presuming on the friendship with which your Lordship honoured me in the earlier part of our lives, the remembrance of which I shall ever retain with the most lively and real sentiments of gratitude, under the sanction of your name, I beg leave to introduce to the world the following Letters.
I hope your Lordship's approbation. of a work, written by the late EARL of CHESTERFIELD, on so important é subject as Education, will not fail to secure that of the Public: and I shall then feel myself
* Mes Hendrintre
happy in the assured merit of ushering into the world so useful a performance.
The usual style of Dedications would, I am confident, be unpleasing to your Lordship; and I therefore decline it. Merit so conspicuous as yours requires no panegyric. My only view in dedicating this work to your Lordship, is, that it may be a lasting memorial, how much, and how really the character of the Great Minister, united to that of the Virtuous Man, is respected by the disinterested and unprejudiced; and by none more than,
And most humble Servant,
::: Golden-Square, March the 1st, 1779.
The death of the late Earl of Chesterfield is so recent, his Family, his Character, and his Talents so well known, that it would be unnecessary to attempt any account of his Lordship’s life. But, as these Letters will probably descend to posterity, it may not be improper to explain the general scope of them, and the reason that induced him to write on the subject of Education.
It is well known, that the late Earl of Chesterfield had a natural Son, whom he loved with the most unbounded affection, and whose Education was, for many years, the chief engagement of his life. After furnishing him with the most valuable treasures of ancient and modern Learning, to those acquisitions he was desirous of adding that knowledge of Men, and Things, which he himself had acquired by long and great experience. With this view were written the
following Letters; which, the Reader will observe, begin with those dawnings of instruction adapted to the capacity of a Boy, and rising gradually by precepts and monitions, calculated to direct and guard the age of incautious Youth, finish with the advice and knowledge requisite to form the Man, ambitious to shine as an accomplished Courtier, an Orator in the Senate, or a Minister at foreign Courts.
In order to effect these purposes, his Lordship, ever anxious to fix in his Son a scrupulous adherence to the strictest Morality, appears to have thought it the first, and most indispensable object--to lay, in the earliest period of life, a firm foundation in good Principles and sound Religion. His next point was, to give him a perfect knowledge of the dead Languages, and all the different branches of solid Learning, by the study of the best ancient Authors; and also such a general idea of the Sciences as it is a disgrace to a gentleman, not to possess. The article of instruction with which he concludes his System of Education, and which he more particularly enforces throughout the whole Work, is the study of that useful and extensive Science, the Knowledge of Mankind: in the course of which appears the nicest investigation of the Human Heart, and the springs of Human Actions. From hence we find him induced to lay so great a stress on what are generally called Accomplish