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The establishment of a college of lecturers would not interfere with nor supersede any other means the Government may think proper to employ for the instruction of the people; while it would be free from those objections by which they are assailed. No religious body could object to a lecturer, appointed by the Government, giving lectures in their schoolrooms once or twice a week upon branches of literature or science, wholly unconnected with either politics or theology. Such a measure too would probably lead to an improvement in the lecturers themselves. As the most learned theologian is not always the most popular preacher, so the most profound philosopher is not always the best lecturer. The talent for discovering or acquiring knowledge is distinct from the
talent for communicating it. The art of lecturing is an art in itself. If public lecturers were appointed they would study that kind of composition adapted for instruction-would endeavour to acquire some of the graces of oratory-and would improve themselves by constant practice. We have training-establishments for schoolmasters and schoolmistresses, why not for lecturers? It may be worthy the consideration of those who have the management of our literary and scientific institutions whether they should not take steps for bringing this subject under the consideration of the Government.
This book is not published, but is printed chiefly to enable me to present copies to my friends. I hope it will be useful to those who are young, and not uninteresting to those who are no longer young. To myself it will furnish a memo
rial of my performances as a lecturera character in which I never appeared before, and in which I shall never appear again. It will also bring to my recollection some very agreeable associations connected with the period when the lectures were delivered. When the hand of Time compels one to look back upon the past, one feels less pleasure in surveying the fields of even honorable and successful controversy, than in viewing those seasons in which, on however limited a stage, and for however short a period, one has contributed to the promotion of peace and goodwill among men.
London, March 10, 1847.
J. W. G.