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HER ROYAL HIGHNESS
PRINCESS DOWAGER OF WALES.
May it please Your Royal Highness,
WERE the subject of the following sheets treated in a manner suitable to its importance, the work would make an offering worthy of a Princess, whose character and conduct exhibit so fair a pattern of the Dignity of Human Nature. The gracious condescension voluntarily shown to the Author of the following weak Essay, by YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESs, on various occasions (which he chooses to touch upon in the slightest manner possible, not from an unnatural and affected insensibility but to avoid imputations altogether contrary to his temper and intentions) encouraged him humbly to hope, that YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS would deign to patronise a work, which, however imperfectly executed, YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS knows to be sincerely intended for the purpose, which You have above all things at heart; The general advancement of truth, virtue, and religion.
Were it suitable to the rank and abilities of the author, it would be very much so to the design of the following work, would make one of the noblest parts of it, and might, in happier times than ours, prove of advantage to those of the higher ranks in life, and, through them to a whole people; to labour to delineate a character, and hold forth an example, of which there is, in this part of the world, but one person, that ought not to esteem it an honour to be the imitator. But to say nothing of the disproportionate qualifications of the writer for so delicate an undertaking, there is but little reason, in this thoughtless and voluptuous age,
to expect any very great and extensive good effects from proposing to general imitation the most amiable and perfect model. For, alas, to admire is one thing, and to emulate, another: And it is even to be doubted, whether YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS has influence enough to change the fashion in favour of virtue and religion. While a continual rouna of idle and expensive amusements fill up the bulk of our time, and is looked upon as the very Dignity of High Life; while the rage of gaming is carried to an excess beyond example, so that even the sacred day of rest brings no rest from that endless drudgery, and children in their non, age, are, to the disgrace of common sense, initiated by masters hired for the purpose, and furnished with printed systems of the liberal science of card-playing; while the grand study of people of rank is, How to drown thought: While such is the genius of the age, what hope is there, that the retired and unaffected virtues, which dazzle not the common eye, and appear in their true excellence only to Him, who sees not as man sees, should allure the unthinking to imitation! But when the fluttering tribe, wha form the crowd at routs and masquerades, are gone down to the silent grave, and have entered upon a state, where they will find, amusement was not the end of their creation; then will the honours of the best of consorts, and of pa rents, shine conspicuous on the roll of fame, the delight of a wiser race, and have a place among the celebrated names of Arria, Cornelia, Porcia, Marcia, Attia, Aurelia, and others, the glory of the amiable sex, whose charms, other than of paint, or dress, or ostentation, will ever bloom with unfading splendour.
Proceed, ILLUSTRIOUS PRINCESS! Continue Your pious cares in forming Your lovely Offspring to virtue and to glory. The same superior prudence, which has enabled You, in a country where licentiousness of speech is considered by the people as one of their most valuable privileges, to sustain a character of such dignity, that malice itself, struck silent, stands awed by native goodness and unaffect ed greatness of mind; the same Divine support which has saved You from sinking under that affliction which to a delicate spirit, must have been beyond expression severe; the same inspiring Grace, which has formed Your rising family so perfectly to Your wishes, that regularity and piety
are not only their practice, but their pleasure; the same all-ruling Providence, whose peculiar care YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS has ever been, will bring Your worthy labours to a happy issue. There is not a virtue You can establish in the mind of any of Your numerous race, that may not hereafter give happiness to a kingdom. Every spark of goodness kindled by Your care, and nourished by the breath of Heaven, may shine a propitious star on Europe. And the concentred glories of the whole, will, in the higher regions, shed such splendours on Your future elevation, that You will forget that ever there was a time when You was the most amiable and admired character in this obscure world.
TO YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS, who knows that the same Divine Authority which has given to those who turn many to righteousness, ground to hope, that they shall hereafter shine as stars for ever and ever, has also taught us, that they who have laboured the most for the general advancement of virtue, are still to consider themselves as unprofitable servants, having done only what they ought; to YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS, nothing that is here said will appear otherwise than as a set of thoughts naturally flowing from the artless pen of a writer, independent in temper, and happy in the prospect of passing his days in a private and useful station; but warmed with the idea of uncommon excellence, and the hope of extensive advantage to mankind, from the pious labours of the best of Princesses.
That the mild and gentle reign of the most venerable of monarchs, the father of his people, may be long and prosperous, and that he may be blessed of the King of kings in his person and family; that public and private virtue, and true religion, may yet again raise their drooping heads; that luxury, infidelity, corruption, and perjury, may sink to the regions of darkness, whence they first arose; and that heaven may again smile propitious on these once highly favoured nations; that the inestimable life of YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS may be long preserved as a blessing to your family, and in them to mankind, and that your noble example may be more studied and imitated; that his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and the other branches of your illustrious house may be the peculiar care of heaven, a blessing to the world and a crown of glory to YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS, are the unfeigned wishes of one, whom
ambition would never have prompted (though your gracious goodness has) to aspire to the honour of subscribing himself thus publicly,
(May it please YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS)
YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS'
Most devoted and
Most faithful humble servant,