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mind, pursue it further in books. They abound; and are well known to common fame. Should your genius be peculiarly inclined to natural philosophy, go to the fountain-head, after a due preparation of mathematical learning, and experimental lectures. Dare to enter upon the sublime discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton. Pemberton's View of them may be a proper instruction. I could easily give you a long catalogue of introductory and explanatory books; but it is unnecessary; they stand foremost in every shop, and you will select them for yourself, or follow the direction of your experimental lecturer. Natural History, Botany, Chemistry, will probably excite, as they will richly gratify your liberal curiosity. Why need I mention Buffon, Linné, Bergman, and the other celebrated authors in these departments? Every professor or lecturer can tell you, if you should wish to know, the most popular and esteemed books in these sciences, which are very generally cultivated as fashionable pursuits. As your fortune will enable you to purchase the large, expensive books in Natural Philosophy, which are illustrated with coloured prints, I advise you to adorn your library with them sumptuously. Persons of your rank and fortune are they who should encourage such works; and they will always afford you an elegant amusement, with little other labour than that of inspection. I am, &c.
You seem to have a taste for Vertil. I scarcely know whether I may desire you to encourage it. I
think you should not make it a prime object. There is something in it of a trifling nature, inconsistent with the character of a man of business; of business so important as yours, government and legislation. At the same time, I think you should indulge your inclination within moderate bounds; both because a virtuoso taste will afford you entertainment as a favourite study, and information on many useful subjects connected with general knowledge. Coins, medals, shells, and all the articles which furnish the cabinets of the curious, supply a philosophical mind with many hints for useful reflection. To the trifling mind which dotes on them, as an infant on its toys, their utility is circumscribed to their power of affording an inoffensive amusement. But let me add, that inoffensive amusements are of too much value among the opulent whose time is their own, to be entirely despised. You ask me, whether I advise you to indulge an antiquarian taste. By all means; if you feel a strong propensity to it. It will furnish you with much delight, and much matter for entertaining reflection. The mind must have a hobby-horse to ride for recreation. But though I do not dissuade you from being a virtuoso and an antiquarian, yet I most earnestly recommend it to you, to confine your taste for vertū and antiquities within such bounds, as may prevent it from absorbing your attention to studies, which, whether your own honour or the advantage of others is concerned, I must consider as infinitely more important. Let others trifle. A nobleman is born for momentous affairs. * This restraint is, I know, attended with some dif. ficulty. For if we love trifles at all, we commonly love them 'immoderately. Our whimsical studies, WOL. W. - E
being objects of our own choice, are apt to engross our affections like darlings, I should be sorry to see you in the midst of your coins and antiquities, forgetting your eloquence, your style, your polite learning, and your enlarged philosophy. I wish you to emulate a Clarendon and a Chatham, rather than a Leland and a Hearne. Perhaps there is little danger of excess of application to any studies of this kind, in an age when horses, hounds, the bottle and the dice, often engross the most precious hours of the most improvable age. I am, &c.
I HAVE no great opinion of Ethics treated as a science, according to the form of the old schoolmen. Great ingenuity is indeed shown in them; but it is ingenuity which tends to confound the plain and natural distinction of good and evil, written on the heart of man in the luminous characters of a sunbeam. In the hands of the casuists, ethics become a science, not very favourable to that simplicity of mind which contributes more to honesty and to true enjoyment, than all the precepts of the most celebrated moralists. Feel as you ought to feel, and, with the direction of common sense, you will, for the most part, act as you ought to act. Since, however, the art of man has reduced ethics to the form of a system and a science, it will be proper for you to give it some of your attention. To know something of them systematically, is a necessary part of a comprehensive education. I must mention by the way, that the glorious gospel rule, of doing to others as we wish they should do unto us, constitutes an epitome of many folios, in casuistical and systematical morality. There is a pretty compendium of moral philosophy by Francis Hutcheson, whose little book on metaphysics I have already mentioned to you, You will find in it the elements of ethics, natural jurisprudence, economics, and politics, clearly and succinctly displayed. This will be a very useful introduction, as the author justly professes it to be, to the ancient moralists, to Plato, Aristotle, Xenophon, and Cicero; and to the moderns, Grotius, Cumberland, Puffendorf, and Harrington. These great authors you will read as your leisure and inclination may lead you. The celebrity of Puffendorf’s book de Officio Hominis et Civis is such, that I think you will not rest satisfied, without giving it a very attentive perusal, after reading Hutcheson. If you should make yourself a perfect master of Hutcheson’s Compendious Institution, and of Puffendorf, you will not be at a loss on the subject of sytematic or scientific ethics, and your understanding will be much enlightened by the study. Paley's Book on Moral and Political Philosophy has singular merit; for it is entertaining as well as highly instructive; a circumstance rather uncommon in scientific treatises on morals. Remember, however, that I do not entirely subscribe to all his doctrines,several of which appear to be a little too casuistical; I will not say, jesuitical, for I greatly respect the author. Read it with attention; and make your own reflections on some parts, which appear to be accommodated to things as they are, rather than as they should be. The Archdeacon acknowledges himself greatly indebted to Search's Light of Nature; the three or four last volumes of which, certainly abound in excellent thoughts, and E 2 * original illustrations; I mean those volumes, which have in the title-page, “The Light of Nature and the Gospel blended.” This work is voluminous, verbose, and heavy; and, notwithstanding its great merit, difficult to be read without weariness and occasional disgust, arising from prolixity. Yet it abounds with new ideas and valuable doctrine. If you can find time, and feel an inclination for these studies, I must not omit to urge your reading Grotius on the Rights of War and Peace. It is certainly a master-piece of its kind; and therefore should be known by every general scholar. At the same time, I cannot but be a little apprehensive lest your style as an orator should suffer by a long study of compositions, rather jejune and destitute of grace. They are merely skeletons; whereas I wish you to study complete models, where the features glow with life, and the limbs are nerved with vigour. I do not introduce you to the hortus siccus, when you can see the lily and rose blooming and flourishing with life and beauty, in your garden. To learn ethics, I should therefore rather choose to refer you to such writers as Plato, Cicero, and Addison. There you will behold the body of truth, adorned with beauty and the complexion of health. In Puffendorf, Grotius, and other systematic writers, you see truth, indeed, but you see her lovely form disfigured by the knife of the anatomist. After having read a volume or two of the best writers in the systematic way, in order to obtain an idea of ethics, thus treated as a science, you will proceed to imbibe morality, as the bee sucks honey, from every book of history, poetry, oratory, and divinity, which falls under your notice. You will roam from flower to flower, and return loaded to your hive. - . . . ."