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PLAN of an ESSAY
W I T H A
SPECIMEN of the WORK.
In TWO DIALOGUES. By Nathanael Lancaster, LL. D.
dggrediar, nan tarn perfidundi jj:e, yum experiundi voliuitate.
Firft Printed in the Year 1748.
The Right Honourable
THE Men of Letters feem to have well confulted their own Reputation and Intereft, when they threw off the illiberal Referve, which had long kept them at a Diftance from the convertible Part of Mankind, and fecluded them from the high Advantages of that excellent School, which we call the Polite World. For it is a free and open Commerce with People of DiftincTion and cultivated Abilities, which gives the true Embellishment to Senle, and renders the Attainments of T 4 the the Scholar conducive to the Purpofes of Elegance and Delight.
That Freedom of Debate, and Diverfity of Topics, which adorn the Converfations of Men of Rank and polite Literature, will give his Mind a generous Enlargement, and open to him delightful Scenes of Knowledge, at once awakening the Imagination and informing the Underftanding. From their Difquiiitions he will learn what is beautiful in the Productions of Art; from their Demeanor, what is comely in Manners. For where the Advantages of Birth and Station are united with liberal Accomplishments, there is the Seat of Elegance, and the Standard of Politenefs. ,
Though the Quicknefs of familiar Difcourfe admit not of an Attention to that Accuracy, which is required in Writing; yet there is in thefe exalted Intercourfes, a certain fuperior Spirit and genuine Eloquence; which is, perhaps, a better Help to the Improvement of Style, and a more
enlivening Model for Imitation, than the cold Efforts of the Clofet were ever able to produce. Thofe happy Turns, and emphatical fprightly Phrafes, which are ftruck out by the Heat of animated Converfation, and that genteel graceful Dignity of Expreffion, which is peculiar to thofe who move in the higher Spheres of Life, will catch the Ear of him who is familiarly accuftomed to them, and fteal, in fome Degree, into his own Diction. For as our Senfes naturally retain the Print of the Images, which are commonly prefented to them; fo our Language almoft unavoidably takes a Tindture from thofe, with whom we ufually converfe. Thefe Effects are fo conftant, that we feldom fail to difcover by a Man's Writings, with what kind of Society he has generally mixed.
I muft add; that in thefe high Scenes of Obfervation, there are frequently fuch lucky Hints thrown out, as prove a fruitful Source of Thoughts and Imagination, which would never have occurred to him