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THE RIGHT REVEREND
THE LORD BISHOP OF EXETER.*
MY LORD, Could it have been foreseen by the Author of the following pages, that, in the case of the illustrious Person who is the subject of them, the standard of education would have been set so high; and especially, that this education would be committed to such able and distinguished hands, the work might surely have been spared. But as the second volume was gone to the press before that appointment was announced, which must give general satisfaction, it becomes important to request, that if the advice suggested in any part of the work should appear presumptuous, your Lordship, and still more the public, who might be more forward than your Lordship in charging the Author with presumption, will have the candour to recollect, that it was offered, not to the learned Bishop of Exeter, but to an unknown, and even to an imaginary preceptor.
Under these circumstances, your Lordship will perhaps have the goodness to accept the Dedication of these slight volumes, not as arrogantly pointing out duties to the discharge of which you are so competent, but as a mark of the respect and esteem with which I have the honour to be,
Your Lordship's most obedient
• Dr. John Fisher, successively Bishop of Exeter and Salisbury.
If any book, written with an upright and disinterested intention, may be thought to require an apology, it is surely the slight work which is now, with the most respectful deference, submitted, not to the public only, but especially to those who may be more immediately interested in the important object which it has in view.
If we were to inquire what is, even at the present critical period, one of the most momentous concerns which can engage the attention of an Englishman, who feels for his country like a patriot, and for his posterity like a father; what is that object, of which the importance is not bounded by the shores of the British islands, nor limited by our colonial possessions ;-with which, in its consequences, the interests, not only of all Europe, but of the whole civilized world, may hereafter be in some measure implicated ;—what Briton would hesitate to reply, the education of the Princess Charlotte of Wales ?
After this frank confession of the unspeakable importance of the sabject in view, it is no wonder if the extreme difficulty, as well as delicacy, of the present undertaking, is acknowledged to be sensibly felt by the author.
It will too probably be thought to imply not only officiousness, but presumption, that a private individual should thus hazard the obtrusion of unsolicited observations on the proper mode of forming the character of an English princess. It may seem to involve an appearance of unwarrantable distrust, by implying an apprehension of some deficiency in the plan about to be adopted by those, whoever they may be, on whom this great trust may be devolved; and to indicate self-conceit, by convey
ing an intimation, after so strong an avowal of the delicacy and \ difficulty of the task, that such a deficiency is within the powers of the author to supply.
That author, however, earnestly desires, as far as it may be possible, to obviate these anticipated charges, by alleging, that under this free constitution, in which every topic of national
policy is openly canvassed, and in which the presogatives of the crown form no mean part of the liberty of the subject, the principles which it is proper to instil into a royal personage, become a topic, which, if discussed respectfully, may, without offence, exercise the liberty of the British press.
The writer is very far, indeed, from pretending to offer any thing approaching to a system of instruction for the royal pupil, much less from presuming to dictate a plan of conduct to the preceptor. What is here presented, is a mere outline, which may be filled up by far more able hands ; a sketch which contains no consecutive details, which neither aspires to regularity of design, nor exactness of execution.
To awaken a lively attention to a subject of such moment; to point out some circumstances connected with the early season of improvement, but still more with the subsequent stages of life ; to offer, not a treatise on education, but a desultory suggestion of sentiments and principles; to convey instruction, not so much by precept or by argument, as to exemplify it by illustrations and examples; and, above all, to stimulate the wise and the good to exertions far more effectual ;-these are the real motives which have given birth to this slender performance.
Had the royal pupil been a prince, these hints would never have been obtruded on the world, as it would then have been naturally assumed, that the established plan usually adopted in such cases would have been pursued. Nor does the author presume, in the present instance, to insinuate a suspicion, that there will be any want of a large and liberal scope in the projected system, or to intimate an apprehension that the course of study will be adapted to the sex, rather than to the circumstances of the princess.
If, however, it should be asked, why a stranger presumes to interfere in a matter of such high concern? It may be answered in the words of an elegant critic, that in classic story, when a superb and lasting monument was about to be consecrated to beauty, every lover was permitted to carry a tribute.
The appearance of a valuable elementary work on the principles of Christianity, which has been recently published in our language, translated from the German, under the immediate patronage of an august personage, for the avowed purpose of benefit to her illustrious daughters, as it is an event highly aus.