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in the Support of Virtue, and confults the Happinefs of every individual Member of Society. For the Manners of the Great are Ib conftantly copied by their Inferiors, that when a right Senfe of Order and Decency prevails among the former, it will not be altogether wanting in the latter. The Spirit of Refinement flops not where it was firft raifed, but is caught from Breaft to Bread: And though it operate with the greateft Efficacy where it finds the beft Materials; yet, in fome Degree, it is communicated to the whole Body of the People.
It is the Defign of the Author to fet thefe Points in a clear Light• , and to demonftrate, that Elegance of Tafte, and Refinement of Manners, are the proper Objects of a rational Purfuit, illuftrious Ornaments to Human Nature, and leading Characters to a virtuous and moral Conduct. And if his Endeavours fhould fall far beneath the Dignity of the Subject• , he hopes, however, they may be considered as a Teftimony of his warm Regard, and of the Deference and Honour he thinks due to thofe elevated Characters, under whofe Influence we behold Arts and Ingenuity encouraged, Life underftood, and
Britain Britain afpiring to the Reputation of Attic Elegance and Roman Urbanity. And though her Advances may not, perhaps, keep Pace with the Eagernefs of our Wilhes; yet this Ihould rather animate than difcourage her Progrefs: Since it is obfervable, that the extraordinary Affiduity and Skill necefiarily employed to raife and perfect the Polilh of the Nobler Gems, is amply compenfated by that Admiration and Pieafure, which refult from the Superior Luftre,
PLAN of the whole WORK.
TH E General Defign of this Undertaking is, to explain the Nature, trace out the Standard, and recommend the Cultivation of that Duality, which, in our Language, is marked out by the Denomination of Delicacy.
1"he Work is carried on by way of Dialogue, and opens with the Characters of two Gentlemen, who keep up the full Enjoyment of thofe Satisfactions, which arife from the Harmony of Friendjhip; though, infomeRefpefts, the Turn of their Minds is extremely different.
I'he one is a warm Admirer cf Elegance in Arts and Manners, and is pertually contending for the Necejfity cf cultivating a refined fafte. The other thinks, that good Senfe and Virtue are fufficient Recommendations, andfiand in need of no adventitious Ornaments.
The Converfation begins with a Dilute concerring the Origin °f Society, which, the Author apprehends, will not be efleemed an improper Introduttion to a Work of this kind -, jince all tb$ Embettijbments of Life are undeniably derived from our Affectations.
In the Second Dialogue, the Meaning of the Word Delicacy is explained, agreeably to what feems the genuine Acceptation of it amongft our
moft approved Writers The Nature of the
Quality, the Criterion by which it is afcertainedt the Objections made to the Cultivation of refined Tafte and Pajfion, and the Ufe and Pleafure arifmg from it, are diftinSly examined.
The next treats of the Rife of elegant Arts and Manners, enquires from what Source, it is mojl probable, they derived their Original -, and though the former may have firft rifen in a Free State» whether the Monarchical Form be not a more proper Nurfery for the latter. This Enquiry is followed by a Comparifon between the Ancients and Moderns isitb refpeft to the Delicacy of Good-breeding.
The Fourth examines what it i£,'*&kich confti* tutes Delicacy in Writing. And enquires into the Characters of feveral Greek and Roman Authors, Jo far as relates to the Subjeft of Ms Eflay;