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After affifting Mr. Kenross one year, he determined to follow advice, given with such disinterested kindness and liberality
In the year 1747, Mr. Burgh opened a school at Stoke-Newington, in Middlesex; and published a Trait, entitled, Thoughts on Education, which was soon after followed by A Hymn to the Creator of the World; to which was added, in prose, An Idea of the Creator from bis Works.
His known merit brought him many scholars; and his house at Stoke-Newington was too small for their reception. He, therefore, removed to a larger at Newington-Green. In this very quiet and pleasing retreat, a favourite place of the good Dr. Isaac Watts and Dr. Richard Price, he continued nineteen years, diligently employed in the education of youth, which he conducted with great success and reputation. His first care was of morals; at the same time, he was indefatigable in storing the mind with useful knowledge. His object was to promote the Dignity of Human Nature, by making the heart and understanding vie with each other in excellence.
In 1751 he married Mrs. Harding, a widow lady, of whom it is said, that her understanding and dispohtion were such, as enabled her to become not only a companion and assistant in domestic life, but a valuable auxiliary in his undertakings of more momentous con. cern. In the same year, he wrote and published, at the request of those good men, Dr. Stephen Hales, and Dr. Hayter, Bilhop of Norwich, a little pamphlet, entitled, A Warning to Dram-Drinkers.
In the year 1754, he brought out his " The DIGNITY OF HUMAN NATURE; or, a brief
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" Account of that certain and established Means of at“ taining the true end of our existence."
I consider this Book as one of the most valuable which has lately appeared. It is full of sound wisdom. It is not addressed to the passions or imagination, but to the judgment, which it convinces. It is calculated for the mass of the people. Many excellent books are so written, as to be relished only, or chiefly, by men of education. They are read as pieces of art, delightful to the taste; abounding with beautiful imagery and language, but little adapted to influence the conduct of life. They are elegant amusements; to be ranked with other productions of the polite Arts, Statuary, Painting, and Music. But Mr. Burgh wrote not for scholars only, for amateurs or connoiffeurs, but for men of business, actually engaged in the busy world, and poffeffing but little leisure for the indulgence of a faftidious delicacy, in the choice of books. He copied from the great volume of the living world; and his rules and maxims were drawn, not so much from reading in his closet, as from actual experience. Merchants, tradesmen, and young people in every department, will find in it much solid instruction, tending to preserve them from error, and to secure them from the most fertile source of misfortune and misery, indiscreet conduct on first entrance into active life.
If it be true that false philosophy has lately been successfully engaged in undermining Religion, and lowering Man to the rank of irrational animals, a book which maintains the dignity of human nature, and the truth of Christianity, must have the merit of being peculiarly seasonable at the present conjunclure.
I remember, and mention it as a circumstance creditable to Mr. BURGH, that a very distinguished Head
of a College, in the University of Oxford, used to make the young men presents of The Dignity of Human Nature. Dr. Fry, the President of St. John's College, was well known to possess a solid judgment in books; and, amidst the variety which offered to his choice, he fixed on The Dignity of Human Nature, as well adapted to improve the young students in practical wisdom. He had a little fund in his disposal, given by a benefactor for the purchase of books, to be bestowed as presents to deserving young students in the College, and his choice fell on The Dignity of Human Nature. This was a very high compliment to the Book ; when it is considered that University prejudices are strong, and that Mr. Burgh had not to boast the honour of an Oxford education, and was also a Difsenter.
The Dignity of Human Nature was first published in one volume quarto. It afterwards appeared in two volumes octavo. The fale was extensive, and the Book was out of print, and scarce, till the Proprietor published it, for the accommodation of the Public, in the present comprehensive volume. Serious and welldisposed parents, and, indeed, all superintendants of education, will find it a Book well calculated to inspire the mind with principles of Virtue and Religion, while it furnishes many maxims of worldly Prudence. The comprizing of the whole in one volume, renders it at once more easy of purchase, and more commodious in the use.
Mr. BURGH, ever anxious to promote the purposes of Education, published, in 1762, an octavo volume on The Art of Speaking. He first gives rules, and then lessons for their exemplification. The rules are particularly compiled from Cicero, Quintilian, and other celebrated Writers on the subject, with additions from
the dictates of his own taste and observation. The Book has one fingular advantage. The emphatic words of the passages selected for practice are printed in Italics, and the various passions and sentiments to be expressed are carefully and judiciously marked in the margin. This gives it che advantage of a living instructor. It was very much used in schools, and has passed through several editions. It attracted the particular notice of the late Sir Francis Blake Delaval, who had made elocution his favourite study, and had been distinguished for the excellence of his utterance, in the private plays in which he had acted, with many persons of fashion, as the amusement of his leisure: he was so pleased with Mr. Burgh's Art of Speaking, that he paid him a visit to express his high opinion of it, and at the same time, perhaps, imagining that a man who so perfectly porsessed the theory excelled also in the practice of elocution. This, however, might not be the case; and it is probable that the Scottish pronunciation might render Mr. Burgh but a moderate orator to an English ear, refined by the delicacies of the most polished society in the metropolis of the empire. The whetstone can give an edge to the steel, though it cannot cut ; and many can say, what Horace with affected humility says of himself, that they can give rules for the art which they cannot themselves reduce to practice.
In 1766 he published a small volume, entitled, “Crito,” or, Essays on various Subjects. It is dedicated, with an attempt ac humour, To the Right Reverend Father of three Years old, his Royal Highness Frederick Bishop of Osnaburg. It contains three essays; the first is political, the second is on the difficulty and importance of education, and on the impro. priety and impracticability of Rousseau's Emilius. The third essay is on the origin of evil. He maintains, that both the natural and moral end in the world, is im
putable putable to powerful, malignant, spiritual Beings; and that the purpose of Christianity is to deliver Man from this infernal Navery. He published a second volume in the following year, dedicated to the good people of Britain of the twentieth century. Then follows a second essay on the origin of evil and the rationale of Christianity, with a Postscript, containing elucidations of the preceding Essays, and a variety of detached Remarks. These volumes abound with ingenuity, learning, and Satire ; but they have not met with a reception universally favourable.
Men who are devoted to learning and science are seldom avaricious. It may be laid of them as Horace said of Poets
Mr. Burgh had acquired a competency in his laborious employment, though not an opulent fortune. He determined, therefore, to relinquilh his preceptorial employment, and retire to ease, though by no means to inactivity. He quitted his school at Newington-Green in 1771, and reinoved to a house in Colebrook-Row, Islington ; where he spent the remainder of his life, in labours which he deemed of great importance to Society. He had been ten years afsiduously engaged in collecting materials for a Book, which he afterwards published in three volumes octavo, entitled, Political Disquisitions. He promised himself ease and happiness in this philosophical retreat, and this most useful and honourable study. But the hopes of man are vain. He had acquired a competence, but he had injured his conftitution. A short time after bis retirement to Islington, he was tormented with the stone. He dragged on four years with this excruciating malady ; during