« PreviousContinue »
BY THE HONOURABLE
HENRY HOME OF KAMES,
ONE OF THE SENATORS OF THE COLLEGE OF JUSTICE, AND ONE OF THE LORDS
COMMISSIONERS OF JUSTICIARY IN SCOTLAND.
SECOND AMERICAN FROM THE EIGHTH LONDON EDITION.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
PHILADELPHIA-PUBLISHED BY M. CAREY,
No. 121, Clienut Street,
TO THE KING.
SIR, 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 perverted. 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 patriæ, 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, than 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