Front Page Titles (by Subject) the contents - Observations upon Liberal Education, in All its Branches
the contents - George Turnbull, Observations upon Liberal Education, in All its Branches 
Observations upon Liberal Education, in All its Branches, ed. Terrence O. Moore, Jr. (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
- IntroductionThe observations in the following discourses are all taken from experience; so moral rules, as well as physical ones ought to be—The general scope of them—A Letter to the Author, containing several excellent remarks upon education.—The reason why so many authors ancient and modern are quoted in these discourses—’Tis here proposed to give the substance of all that hath been said by the ancients or moderns, on the subject, such as Socrates, Plato, Xenophon, Aristotle, Cicero, Plutarch, Quintilian, Milton, Locke, Montaigne, Mr. de Fenelon, Rollin, Nicol, &c.—Why in two Pieces of this collection the character of an ancient, narrating conversations about true philosophy and liberal education is assumed, p. 23.
- part iIn ancient times, in Greece particularly, the education of youth was reckoned a most honourable employment—A conversation about public and private education, in which the chief arguments on both sides are fairly stated, and a middle way is preferred to both, p. 32.Arguments against force and restraint—The love of liberty, a passion that ought not to be crushed but cherished. The desire of power or dominion natural to man—How it appears in infants— How it ought to be guided and directed by early education, p. 40.Arguments against corporal punishments—The bad effects of them—The temper to be formed by education is a disposition to hearken to and consult reason, p. 42.A conference upon the proper methods of forming fortitude, temperance, and all the virtues early in young minds, wherein the use of rewards and punishments is fully considered, p. 44.The great arcanum in education consists in forming self-denial and mastership of the passions, without weakening the vigour or activity of the mind, and how this may be done, explained at some length, p. 49.There is but one lesson education has to teach or inculcate, love of virtue, and just notions of what it requires in all the various relations and circumstances of life—How it ought to be taught— How all the arts ought to be rendered subservient to this lesson— And how naturally they all tend or conspire to recommend the love of virtue, natural philosophy, geometry, poetry, and all the polite arts, their natural union, p. 52.No hood-winking or blinding arts to be used in education— Youth ought to be warned and armed against the vices and snares with which they will find the world to abound so soon as they enter upon it, p. 64.’Tis not enough to give rules to children, many good habits may be formed by right practice before rules can be fully comprehended—Yet we cannot begin too soon to reason with them—And they ought always to be treated in a rational way—Praise and blame the properest handles for moulding youth into a right form and temper, the force of honour and shame in human nature, p. 67.A conversation upon giving a right turn to all the natural dispositions or principles in human breasts—Reflexions upon several methods by which children are corrupted—Wherein true virtue consists—And how it may be early formed and strengthened—A great difference between the cravings of nature and of fancy—Children ought to be taught where to place their happiness—And for that effect to distinguish between external and internal goods, and things subject and things not subject to human power—This distinction explained, and the importance of attending to it inculcated—What are the motives that are most consistent with virtue, and have greatest influence upon a good mind—Virtue ought to be represented as conformity to the Divine Mind, which he will reward and make happy in the final issue of things, this opinion renders the cause of virtue triumphant, p. 69.Thus were virtue and science taught by the better ancients; their care about bodily health and vigour—The best preservatives of these are temperance and exercise—Two ancient fables illustrating this subject; the happy effects of ancient education, p. 82.Education ought to be suited to the form of government established in a state; so it was among the ancients—It ought to instruct in the nature and end of government and laws—How difficult a science politics is; men could not, previously to very long experience of human affairs, form just ideas of the best civil orders and constitutions—Reflexions on this subject—All civil constitutions liable to diseases—The excellency of mixed monarchy: The sentiments of ancient republicans on that head, p. 86.
- part iiAdversity necessary to awaken a mind which hath been depraved by wrong education; or hath through neglect of education fallen into bad habits—Our dependance upon the care taken of our education, or upon the examples and instructions we receive from our parents and others about us—Providence vindicated in this respect—Here, by the by, some false notions concerning education are refuted—None of the affections natural to man ought to be opposed or crushed; they are all capable of great improvements, and how they ought to be guided and turned—A digression into the vindication of providence with regard to the distribution of happiness in this world—How men are furnished by nature for happiness, and whence inequalities in that respect amongst mankind proceed, p. 93.The force of education considered and exemplified; what right education is able to do, p. 107.A conversation about man, and his natural furniture for acquiring knowledge and virtue, and thereby true happiness, in which the ways of God to man are fully justified, and human vices and miseries are traced to their real causes or sources, p. 108.The doctrine or lesson to be taught and inculcated by education is, That the Author of nature is wise and good in all his works, and hath made us capable of attaining to a great degree of moral perfection and happiness, by imitating him in wisdom and goodness, or by making the good of our kind the end and rule of our conduct— And how this lesson ought to be taught and inculcated, by instructing youth in the good final causes pursued by the Author of nature throughout all his works, in the material world, and in the moral world, p. 127.How all the arts will naturally enter into and contribute towards illustrating and confirming this lesson, p. 129.Of several dispositions in human nature, and the culture due to them, as curiosity, or the love of novelty, p. 134.Of the admiration with which great objects strike the mind, and how this passion ought to be educated, and how guarded against; the errors or extravagancies it may run into, p. 136.A conversation about the human mind, in which the social affections are considered, and the selfish or interested philosophy is refuted, p. 145.A Recapitulation of what hath been hitherto delivered concerning education, p. 158.A dialogue about the chief end of education, in which instruction in final causes, virtue, and the arts of government are shewn to be the principal scope liberal education ought to have in view; and the philosophy Socrates taught is briefly delineated. p. 159.
- part iii
An Essay on Liberal Education
- Chapter iInstruction in the science or art of right living, is the chief lesson in education, to which all others ought to be rendered subservient; and what this science is, and what may justly be called false learning.Instruction in the nature of human perfection and happiness, and in the right conduct of life, the chief end of education—So a Roman satyrist teaches us—How he commends the instructions he had received early from his tutor—The several parts of this true philosophy delineated—And the general way of teaching it pointed out, p. 171.The use of setting characters which contrast one another before youth, to give them just ideas of virtue and vice; to give them just ideas of the perfection belonging to and aquirable by human understanding, if rightly employed—And to human will or temper— A beautiful character drawn by Horace—How his father taught him what to admire and imitate, and what to avoid and abhor, and the natural effect of such discipline, p. 175.How Cato taught and formed his son by setting characters before him, and early acquainting him with history, the history of his own country in particular, p. 180.The knowledge of human nature, and of human life and duties, which is best taught by characters and examples, more fully delineated—The proper method is to lead from wise final causes in nature to the consideration of the good final causes we ought to pursue in our spheres, in imitation of and conformity to the Author of nature—The transition from the one to the other, is natural and easy—Of the use of natural knowledge to extend human power; it is the only way of enlarging our dominion—Of the moral use of it, and the error of philosophers in stopping short of final causes in their lessons upon the material world, or physics, as they are called—The advantage to society of giving youth a turn towards the study of nature, and the cultivation and improvement of mechanical arts—When youth have a clear notion of the use of ingenious, benevolent industry, it will be easy for them to conceive what must be the chief end of civil government, even to encourage and protect ingenious benevolent industry—If proper methods be taken, young people are not incapable of this kind of instruction, p. 181.However difficult it may be, nothing really useful is done by education but in proportion as youth are improved in this knowledge—But it will not be found so difficult as is imagined—Excite youth to attend to the benefits arising to society from ingenious arts; and to the general properties of bodies and laws of motion on which these depend—And shew them how general properties of bodies and laws of motion are inferred by induction from particular experiences—Trace phenomena with them into their general laws, and shew them what human art hath done, or may do, for the abridgement of human toil, and the conveniency of life, in consequence of these general laws—And thus they will see how human power, in the natural world, may be extended and enlarged—They will see that knowledge is power—Thus they will be able to comprehend what human power means, and how far it extends—Let the final causes of the general laws of matter and motion be pointed out to them, and the wisdom and goodness they discover; and hence lead youth to consider the texture of the human mind, the powers and affections with which it is endued, their uses, and the virtues or improvements they are capable of by due culture; and thus they will comprehend what our moral power means, or our power to improve our understandings, discipline our affections; and govern our actions; and what power over the understandings and affections of others means, p. 186.It will not be unpleasant to observe to them the analogy between our natural and our moral power; but it will be of greater use to engage them to attend to this important truth, that the discipline of our minds depends more upon us than the culture of our gardens.—Moral duties quickly discover themselves to all who set themselves seriously to enquire what is right or wrong; and practice in examining and controuling the appetites and affections, will soon render them very orderly and regular, p. 189.Philosophy ought to be accurate and exact in developing to youth all the powers and affections of the human mind; but some of its natural determinations deserve our very particular attention: Our determination to distinguish involuntary from free actions, without which we could have no ideas of merit or blame—The reality of this distinction proved—Our determination to approve free actions which are beneficial to the public, and to disapprove free actions which are hurtful to the public—Our determination to receive pleasure from uniformity amidst variety even in material objects.—The Uses of these natural determinations of the human mind, p. 191.An observation upon the passions, and the manner in which they are engendered not commonly attended to in discourses upon them—Youth ought not to be perplexed with subtleties: But it is necessary to shew them the origin and formation of the passions, in order to teach them how to regulate them, p. 193.Let youth be led from the contemplation of final causes, whether in the natural or the moral world, to the admiration and love of the supreme Cause and Author of all things, and to views of human duties resulting from our relation to him, p. 198.All science which stops short of such conclusions, is justly pronounced vain philosophy—Of what use is mere knowledge of words?—Many useful sciences depend upon mathematics; but can that science alone teach how to govern the mind, or how to steer a wise and safe course through life?—Even natural philosophy, if it stop short of final causes, and the moral conclusions which evidently result from thence, is a very defective and imperfect science—But the most dangerous of all the pretended sciences, is that which seems to have the human and the supreme Mind for its objects, and yet produces nothing but idle jangling and sophistry; no solid rules or maxims for practice, p. 199.False learning distinguished from true philosophy, p. 203.
- Chapter iiConcerning the formation of good habits in young minds; the proper methods of cultivating virtuous dispositions; and the practices by which the vices are early engendered and strengthened, and of the best means for correcting and reforming them.The culture of virtuous habits in the mind is as pre-requisite to instruction as the due preparation of ground is to sowing good seed—And ’tis not vice but virtue, on the contrary, that in any proper sense can be said to be natural to the human mind—Nor is it to be wondered at that vices sprout up so early in young minds, if we attend to the common methods of education, p. 206.Reflexions quoted from Mr. Locke on this subject, which are further confirmed from other considerations, where rewards and punishments are treated of, p. 208.Hence it appears, that education must begin very early, otherwise it will be but weeding or cleansing-work, with further observations from Mr. Locke on this head, p. 212.Our Saviour’s parable of the sower applied to illustrate the necessity of preparing young minds for receiving instruction by previous moral culture and discipline, early begun and steadily pursued—Some general rules with regard to this culture, p. 221.Reflexions upon the choice of preceptors or tutors, two letters of Pliny the younger on this subject, p. 233.The exact care of the ancient Greeks and Romans about the first habits of their youth—A short account of the first part of Cicero’s education—The neglect of education in modern times censured, p. 226.But since bad habits are nursed, or at least are suffered to grow up without controul, ’tis worth while to enquire if there be any methods of curing or reforming them.—Horace assures us there is, but it is a painful and difficult art—The first step is to gain the patience of hearing counsel—Reflexions of Mr. Locke on some diseases of the mind, and their cures—Upon cowardice or timorousness—Upon listless carelesness and sauntering, one of the worst of habits—Gentle admonitions, soft irony, shame and praise, are the proper handles for reforming and amending youth by, p. 228.But if all other methods fail, corporal punishments must be applied; these ought to be used only to correct obstinate vices; the necessity of employing them for that effect: This subject to be more fully handled in the next chapter. p. 238.
- Chapter iiiOf teaching languages; and of the exercises and their uses; together with some observations of the ancients upon punishments and reproofs confirmed by examples.Mr. Locke’s Sentiments about teaching languages confirmed—Of the proper time and way of teaching grammar—Of all grammars, that of our own language, ought chiefly to be minded—The great error in modern education is, that it consumes all the best years of youth for learning useful, real knowledge, in teaching them nothing but words—What progress may be made very early in useful sciences, without neglecting the learned languages—A turn towards verbal criticism how pernicious to youth, called by providence to apply themselves early to higher studies, p. 240.Grammar, which, tho’ the first, is the most difficult part of rhetoric, cannot be understood till youth have minds very well furnished with various knowledge, and have been well practised in reading good authors—How the Greeks and Romans studied their own languages, p. 244.There is time enough to teach all the learned or useful languages, without neglecting the more substantial parts of education—Of a right choice of books, even in teaching words or languages, p. 246.Reflexions from the ancients, confirmed by the experience of several moderns, upon the importance of right education—Upon punishments and rewards—Praise and blame, reproofs and admonitions—Of good example in masters—Of the arts of engaging youth to the love of knowledge and study, p. 249.The chief thing is, that the master take proper methods of gaining the affections of his pupils—How this may be done—Encourage their curiosity—Take fit opportunities of engaging their attention—Diversify study—Make it easy and pleasant—These observations, taken from ancient writers; and confirmed by Mr. de Fenelon, Mr. Nicol, and Mr. Rollin, as likewise by our Milton and Locke, p. 274.Some reflexions to confirm Mr. Milton’s opinion about teaching logic and rhetoric, p. 277.Examples to confirm what hath been said—Plato’s account of the education of princes among the ancient Persians—Xenophon’s account of the Persian education—The education in the schools of Apollonia, whither Julius Cesar sent Octavius to be formed, and where Mecenas likewise was bred, p. 278.An Account of the finishing part of Cicero’s education, and its happy effects—When he went to travel—The design of travelling, p. 282.A letter of Pliny upon study, from which masters may learn useful hints for improving their pupils in eloquence and stile, p. 291.Of the liberal, manly exercises that ought to be joined with teaching—The design and use of the exercises, not only to give health, vigour and grace to the body, but strength and activity to the mind—Observations of Plato upon the different effects of the softer studies, and the rougher exercises, and the necessity of uniting them in education, p. 293.Children ought to have recreations, but care ought to be taken of their choice of them, and their behaviour in them—Let them be inured to act generously; or let due pains be taken to give them a liberal cast of mind, and a graceful manner of doing every thing—Of good-breeding, and wherein it consists, and early care about it—The necessity of good example in this case particularly—Of dancing, p. 296.Reflexions by Mr. Simon upon the urbanity or politeness of the Romans, and their care about it in education, p. 306.
- Chapter ivThe true philosophy, and the proper methods of teaching it more fully described; where the Socratic method of teaching, and instruction by fables, parables, or allegories, are considered.An apology for the minute detail the author was obliged to enter into in the preceding chapter—The character of the true philosophy, which alone can produce good and useful citizens, from Tacitus—from Lucan—from Socrates—from Cicero—How the latter refutes the selfish narrow-minded philosophy of Epicurus, p. 315.A definition of the true philosophy which ought to be the main scope of education—The history of nature and the history of mankind the chief subjects of education—How masters ought to proceed in teaching this philosophy regularly, by beginning with natural philosophy, and laying open the wise and good final causes nature pursues in all her works—How pleasant and engaging this study is, p. 318.But let not philosophy stop here, but proceed to the consideration of the human mind—The transition from the one philosophy to the other is easy and natural; they make in reality but one science, p. 320.Natural philosophers censured for leaving out final causes in their lessons upon physics, and not proceeding to the moral conclusions to which a just view of nature’s wisdom, harmony and goodness naturally leads—The happy effect of true Theism upon the mind—Virtue not compleat without piety—And moral rules of conduct cannot have their due, their full force, unless they be considered as laws of our Creator, who loves virtue and will reward it, p. 323.What perfect providence must mean—Frequent occasions will occur in teaching the philosophy of nature, and developing the human mind, of taking off all seeming difficulties or objections against providence—Virtue the best possession—Efforts to acquire and improve in moral perfection and happiness never prove abortive—External goods not partially distributed, but purchased according to the general law of industry—The absurdity of supposing virtuous industry alone to be successful—This life, our entrance upon being, and a very proper school of education and culture for various virtues—Hence it is that human life is so chequered—But it is to be succeeded by a state of rewards and punishments, in which men will be placed according to their improvements and deserts—How useful and comfortable this belief is, p. 326.But general lessons upon virtue are not sufficient—Education must be particular, in order to prepare for the various duties and offices of life—Now reading history with pupils will afford proper examples for explaining all the springs of action in the human breast, all the human powers and passions, and all their improvements and virtues—All the ruling passions and distinguishing characters of men—All the different consequences of actions—All the various relations of human life, and all the duties belonging to them—All the corruptions of mankind, and all the snares and temptations of the world—All the rules of private conduct—And all the rules of conduct in public life—The laws of nature and nations relative to public affairs and independent sovereignties—The progress and connexion of human affairs from the beginning of the world—All the truths which the Bishop of Meaux, Mr. Rollin, and others, have shewn us to be the lessons of history, p. 329.When it is proper to read Justinian’s institutes with young people, and practise them in examining a body of particular laws by the principles of equity—And when to read with them Grotius, Puffendorf, or other writers on the laws of nations—History will prepare for this kind of reading, by giving opportunity of discoursing upon every subject in morals—And ’tis better to take occasion to discourse on moral truths from examples, than to give formal lessons upon morals, to confirm which examples will seem to be haul’d in and warped to particular purposes—The advantages of this education in retirement as well as in active life, p. 336.’Tis impossible, in a discourse of this kind, to point out all the important truths history read in order will furnish occasions of illustrating and enforcing—It will give occasion to explain all the various kinds of civil government, and the best ends of civil laws and policies—And to shew the fatal consequences of luxury to states—The reflexion of Scipio upon the fall of Carthage—His education, and its happy effects, p. 339.It is such education only that can qualify youth for public service—Every science requires previous acquaintance with the history of mankind—Moral philosophy requires it—The primary philosophy requires it—The most useful part of logic, which is, the nature of moral evidence, may be best taught in reading history, by examining into the evidence of particular facts—Logic, considered as a review of the connexion and unity of the sciences, supposes acquaintance with history, and with all the particular sciences, p. 345.In fine, without such instruction in natural and moral knowledge as qualifies youth for a proper prosecution of these studies by themselves, education, whatever it does, neglects its most useful purpose—We have not left out religion, because we have considered it, as the principal end of instruction in the order, harmony, and wisdom of nature, to lead youth to the love of the Creator, and to a sense of his will concerning our conduct—Now a just notion of God, and of human duties, will prepare and dispose for the reception of the Christian doctrine—Several observations on this head, p. 350.History will afford to teachers frequent opportunities of shewing the necessity of a public religion, and the mischiefs of superstition, and of evincing the excellency of the Christian religion considered with regard to the ends of a public religion, above every other that hath ever appeared in the world—Benevolence is the perfection of man, and it is in a particular sense the law, the new law of Christ, p. 354.In short, there is no moral or political truth which a judicious reader of history will not find frequent opportunity of explaining and confirming to young people—And both in natural and moral philosophy, facts ought to go before reasonings or conclusions, which can only be inferred from facts—Besides, it is fit youth should see mankind as they really are, in the worst colours they have ever appeared—But notwithstanding all the wickedness that hath ever abounded in the world, men are made for society, and have a social disposition deeply inlaid into their frame—What it is to be made for society, and men are so made, p. 355.In reading history, youth ought to be taught to attend to the rise and progress of empire, the generative principle of dominion, and the natural cause of changes in it—To observe how men are made for civil coalitions—And to the advantages of good civil orders and constitutions—Several reflexions on this subject, p. 359.History-lessons ought not to stop short till youth are brought home to modern times, and their own country, and are instructed in its history, government, laws and interest—But it is best to begin with ancient history, and descend regularly and gradually to modern times, that youth may see the connexion and suite of human affairs, p. 360.But after all, the chief lesson is to teach them wherein true merit consists, viz. in wisdom and virtue—In what sense virtue is its own reward explained, p. 362.All the arts ought to be called on, in their proper places, to recommend virtue—Great use might be made of poetical fictions— Great use might be made of fables, parables and allegories—Their antiquity—Whence their aptitude to instruct or insinuate moral truths agreeably, proceeds, p. 365.Of the Socratic method of teaching—Of the fitness of instructing youth by the familiar way of conference—The admirable success of Socrates in that way of teaching—The invention of youth ought to be improved by practising them in finding out truths by themselves—In resolving questions—about morals in particular, p. 370.History gives proper opportunities of explaining ancient customs, religious or civil—When these occur in history, then is the proper place for medals, basso-relievo’s, and other ancient monuments or prints of them—Any other way of teaching antiquity is dry and insipid, p. 372.It will likewise afford the best occasions of explaining the chief rules of oratory; for then is it the proper time to discourse of them when youth are agreeably affected by the beautiful speeches that occur in historians—How preposterous it would be to speak of rules till the effects they are designed to produce, and which the observance of them produces, have been felt—Reading history will give occasion to point out the invention, rise and improvements of all arts, and consequently, of trying different genius’s, and inviting them to discover and exert themselves—Modern education too stinted—Observations on this subject—How schools ought to be furnished to serve this important business—The instituto at Bologna how adorned, p. 372.Education ought to be large, whatever particular profession one may afterwards betake himself to—The advantages the Grecian youth had in this respect—The practice of their great men in laying themselves out to be useful to youth of promising parts recommended, p. 376.
- Chapter vOf instruction in poetry and her sister arts, painting, sculpture, music, and architecture; and the place which these arts ought to have in liberal education, in order to form elegant taste, which is one of the best preservatives against luxury, being naturally assistant to and corroborative of virtue.The author hath hitherto been labouring to prove a very plain truth, That science, or real knowledge, and not mere words, ought to be the principal scope of education—What is meant by real knowledge—All the objects of human enquiry may be divided into these two, science and languages—What science comprehends—What is meant by languages—The didactic stile, oratory, poetry, painting, sculpture, fall under the idea of languages—This illustrated, by shewing painting to be a language, the truth and propriety of which it is well worth while to understand, p. 381.Previous to instruction, care ought to be taken to form good habits—To form the deliberative habit—What this means—It is freedom of mind—It is mastership of one’s self, and the foundation of virtue, p. 382.In instruction what rules ought to be observed—Youth ought to be taught to reason from facts alone, and not from imaginary theories and feigned hypotheses—And to reason first and chiefly about things relating to life and practice—And they ought to be taught to keep a just view of human nature before them, and to consider man neither as a merely sensitive nor a purely moral being, but as he really is a compound of moral and sensitive powers nicely blended together—Errors arising from not considering man in this view—Hence vague, loose, unmeaning raillery against luxury, in which several useful, as well as ornamental arts, are confounded with it, p. 384.But having said enough of science, we proceed to consider languages as above defined—First the didactic stile, how masters ought to study clearness and perspicuity, and how youth will learn this stile from masters who excel in it, while they are taught by it—But youth ought to be employed in teaching what they know to others—The advantages of so employing them—There is another eloquence that ought not to be neglected in education, which is the concise stile, in which men ought to talk to men—How youth may be improved in this—How the rules of oratory ought to be taught—They are all founded in human nature, and teaching them aright, is developing human nature, because it is shewing how and by what the passions of men are affected—Observations on this subject, p. 386.The same is true of poetry—Observations from Plutarch upon reading the poets with youth—Further reflexions on this subject— Of the common commentaries upon classic authors, upon the Greek and Roman poets in particular—Mr. Pope’s notes on Homer a true model of criticism, p. 391.Painting and sculpture considered—Their ends, their rules, their connexion with natural or moral philosophy—The author is shorter on this subject, having elsewhere treated of it at large, p. 397.Of instructing youth early in drawing—The advantages of it—How youth ought to be inured to view and examine pictures and poems—By what rules or questions both ought to be tried, and of the false taste in painting corresponding to verbal criticism in classical reading—Upon the necessity of improving the imagination of youth—Our eyes and ears were designed by nature for improvement, being capable of very noble improvements—What genius and wit means—How the imagination may be improved and refined—The fancy will ever be pursuing some species of beauty, some Venus—The advantage of directing it early towards the true Venus, the true beauty—This is the only way of securing it against straying, wandering and seduction, p. 400.An important rule of nature to be attended to in teaching the arts which imitate nature, viz. the connexion in nature between beauty and utility—This rule must be attended to by all artists, if they would gain the end of their arts, which is to please an intelligent eye—Reasonings from Vitruvius, Cicero, Quintilian, on this subject—Nature’s beauty proceeds from her steady observance of this rule, Natura nil frustra facit, and art must imitate nature, p. 405.The polite arts have been condemned by some moralists as a part of the luxury which hath always proved so fatal to states—Reflexions on this subject—The argument from abuse considered—Poetry and painting have always flourished together—They lend each other mutual aids and charms—They only lend their ornaments to virtue with willingness—When they are prostituted to bad purposes, the force, the constraint, the violence they suffer appears—They have flourished best in virtuous times—Their genuine uses and ends described, p. 408.They cannot be cultivated in poor indigent states, ’tis only in times of ease and opulence there is leisure or spirit for cultivating them—But affluence soon corrupts men—Philosophy itself hath always been first corrupted before the polite arts have been prostituted to serve vice—These arts declined at Athens with public virtue—Rome was very corrupt before they were known in it; and therefore they soon declined there—Under the bad Emperors, after the dissolution of the commonwealth, good taste sadly degenerated—It revived again with liberty and virtue under a few good ones, p. 412.These arts had no share in the ruin of Carthage—Nor in that of Sparta—How both these states fell—Nor in the ruin of the Persian empire—How it fell—A private man may bestow too much time and expence upon pictures, &c. but this no objection against the good uses that states may employ the arts of design to promote—In the character of Atticus elegance is distinguished from luxury—Expensiveness in the materials is ruinous to good taste; so Pliny observes—Whatever abuses have been made of the polite arts, they may be well employed, and there is a real distinction between tasteless waste or prodigality, and elegant use of wealth—The way to secure a state against bad taste and gross voluptuousness, is by right education to form early in young minds love to virtue, and good taste of true beauty and decency in the arts of design, p. 414.
- ConclusionIn which a few obvious reflexions are offered to shew what preparation is necessary to qualify one for travelling to advantage. p. 418.