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man or lady would no more chuse the mind of a pedant, than the person of a cookmaid or a porter. I cannot, therefore, but approve of the plan laid down by the writer of the following letter, and would recommend it to all persons of fashion to subscribe to his proposals.
I HAVE long observed with infinite regret the little care that is taken, to supply persons of distinction with proper books for their instruction and amusement. It is no wonder, that they should be so averse to study, when learning is rendered so disagreeable. Common creatures, indeed, as soon as they can spell, may be made to read a dull chapter in the Testament; after which the Whole Duty of Man, or some other useless good book, may be put into their hands; but these can never instruct a man of the world to say fine things to a lady, or to swear with a good grace. Among a few dirty pedants the knowledge of Greek and Latin may be cultivated; but among fine gentlemen these are justly discarded for French and Italian. Why should persons of quality trouble themselves about mathematics and philosophy, or throw away their time in scratching circles and triangles on a slate, and then rubbing them out again? All the algebra requisite for them to know, is the combination of figures on the dice; nor could Euclid be of any use to them, except he had represented the most graceful attitudes in fencing, or drawn out the lines of a minuet.
In order to remedy those inconveniences, and that the erudition of persons of fashion may be as different from the vulgar knowledge of the rest of mankind as their dress, I have formed a project for regulating their studies. An old crabbed philosopher once told a monarch, that there was no royal way of learning the mathematics :........First then, as to the
musty volumes which contain Greek, Latin, and the sciences, (since there is no genteel method of coming at the knowledge of them,) I would banish them entirely from the polite world, and have them chained down in university libraries, the only places where they can be useful or entertaining. Having thus cleared the shelves of this learned lumber, we shall have room to fill them more elegantly. To this end, I have collected all such books, as are proper to be perused by people of quality; and shall shortly make my scheme public by opening an handsome room under the title of the Polite Circulating Library. Many of my books are entirely new and original: all the modern novels, and most of the periodical papers fall so directly in with my plan, that they will be sure to find a place in my library; and if Mr. Town shews himself an encourager of my scheme, I shall expect to see peers and peeresses take up the pen, and shine in the Connoisseur.
I intend in the beginning of the winter to publish my proposals at large, and in the mean time, beg you to subrait the following specimen of my books to the public.
CATALOGUE of BOOKS, &c.
REVELATION, a Romance.
The Complete Cook. By Solomon Gundy.
The Practice of Bagnios: or the Modern Method of
The Ladies Dispensatory: containing the most approved Receipts for Tooth-Powders, Lip-Salves, Beautifying Lotions, Almond Pastes, Ointments
for Freckles, Pomatums, and Hysteric Waters; according to the present Practice.
A Description of the World; with the latitudes of Vaux-Hall, Ranelagh, the Theatres, the Operahouse, &c. calculated for the meridian of St. James's.
A Map of the Roads leading to Tyburn. By James Maclean, Esq; late Surveyor of the High-Ways. Essay on Delicacy. By an Ensign of the Guards. The Art of dissembling. From the French.
A New Way to pay Old Debts. From an Original published at Berlin.
The Spirit of Laws. With Notes on the Game-Act, the Jew-Bill, and the Bill for preventing Marriages. Jargon versus Common Sense. By a Bencher of Lincoln's Inn.
Universal Arithmetic. Containing Calculations for laying the Odds at Horse-Racing, Cocking, Cardplaying, &c.
Optics, or the use of Opera-Glasses; with the Importance and Benefit of Near-Sightedness considered. To which is added, a Dissertation on the portable Pocket Looking-Glass.
The Modern Gymnasiam. By Broughton. Geometry made easy, and adapted to the meanest capacity. By Nath. Hart, Dancing-Master to Grown Gentlemen.
De Oratore, or the Art of speaking on all Subjects. By Andrew Mac Broad, F. R. H. S. Fellow of the Robin Hood Society.
A Dissertation on the Miracle of the Five Loaves. By the Baker, President of the same Society. Garrick upon Death; with an account of the several Distortions of the Face, and Writhings of the Body; and particular directions concerning Sighs, Groans, Ohs, Ahs, &c. &c. for the use of young Actors.
The Court Register; containing and exact List of all Public Days, Routs, Assemblies, &c. where and when kept.
The Englishman in Paris.
The Englishman returned from Paris.
The Whole Duty of Woman.
Disposed under the Articles of Visiting, Cards, Masquerades, Plays, Dress, &c.
A Dissertation on the Waters of Tunbridge, Cheltenham, Scarborough, and the Bath: Shewing their wonderful Efficacy in removing the Vapours; with Directions how to assist their operations by using the Exercise of Country-Dancing.
The Traveller's Guide, or Young Nobleman's Vade Mecum. Containing an exact List of the most eminent Peruke Makers, Taylors, and Dancingmasters, &c. Being the Sum of a Gentleman's Experience during his Tour through France and Italy.
Honour, or the Fashionable Combat.
Heath, or the Dernier Resort..... The Suicide, or the Coup de Grace.....Tragedies.
The Virgin unmasked....Miss in her Teens..... The Debauchees.....She would, if she could.....The Careless Husband.....The Wanton Wife.....The innocent Adultery.....Comedies; as they are now acting with universal Applause. The True Patriot, a Farce. Handeli, Geminiani, Degiardini, Chabrani, Pasquali, Pasqualini, Passerini, Baumgarteni, Gadagini, Frasi, Galli, item aliorum Harmoniosissimorum Signororum et Signorarum Opera.
A lac'd embroider'd, powder'd, beggar-crowd:
A LITTLE Frenchman, commonly known in town by the name of Count, and whose figure has been long stuck up in the windows of print-shops, was always remarkable for the meanness, and at the same time the foppery of his appearance. His shoes, though perhaps capped at the toe, had red heels to them; and his stockings, though often full of holes, were constantly rolled up over his knees. By good luck he was once master of half a guinea; and having a great longing for a feather to his hat, and a very pressing necessity for a pair of breeches, he debated with himself about the disposal of his money. However, his vanity got the better of his necessity; and the next time the Count appeared in the Mall, by the ornaments of his head, you would have imagined him a Beau, and by the nether part of his dress you would have taken him for a Heathen Philosopher. ....... The conduct of this Frenchman, however ridiculous, is copied by a multitude of people in this town. To the same little pride of desiring to appear finer than they can afford, are owing the many rusty suits of black, the tyes that seem taken from the basket of a shoeboy, and the smart waistcoats edged with a narrow cord, which serves as an apology for lace. I know a man of this cast, who has but one coat: but by now and then turning the cuffs, and changing the cape, it passes for two. He uses the same artifice with his peruke, which is naturally a kind of flowing Bob; but by the occasional addition of two tails, it sometimes appears as a Major. Of this sort of