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A DISCOURSE ON THE EDUCATION OF YOUTH,
P R E F A C E.
In the last page of the Treatise of Logic, which I published many years ago, it is observed, that there are several other things which might assist the cultivation of the mind, and its improvement in knowledge, which are not usually represented among the principles or precepts of that art or science. These are the subjects which compose this book, these are the sentia ments and rules, many of which I had then in view, and which I now venture into public light.
The present treatise, if it may assume the honour of that name, is made up of a variety of remarks and directions for the improvement of the mind in useful knowledge. It was collected from the observations which I had made on my own studies, and on the temper and sentiments, the humour and conduct of other men in their pursuit of learning, or in the affairs of life, and it has been considerably assisted by occasional collections in the course of my reading from many authors, and on different subjects. I confess, in far the greatest part, I stand bound to answer for the weaknesses or defects that will be found in these papers, not being able to point to other writers, whence the twentieth part of them is derived.
The work was composed at different times, and by slow degrees. Now and then, indeed, it spread itself into branches and leaves like a plant in April, and advanced seven or eight pages in a week ; and sometimes it lay by without growth, like a vegetable in the winter, and did not increase half so much in the revolution of a year.
As these thoughts occurred to me in reading or meditation, or in my notices of the various appearances of things among mankind, they were thrown under those heads which make the present titles of the chapters, and were by degrees reduced to something like a method, such as the subject would admit.