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Sir , Nov . 13 , 1820 . IN the last Number of the Monthly Repository , ( p . 624 , ) I have read with pleasure , the notice announcing the completion of that tritlg national work , the €€ Cyclopaedia" of Dr . Abra- * ham Rees . It is , indeed , a lasting monument of the science , talents , judgw ment and industry /? of the learned and venerable Editor * The remarks on
the intended Dedication are tnstruc ** tive , as well as amusing . To me it seems surprising that , in the present dajr , kings should not recognize the origin of their brightest glory in the improved knowledge of
the countries which they govern . Is not the noblest homage which they can receive that homage which results from the intelligence and virtue of a learned and enterprising people ? Do they know that there are men , in the
retired walks of life , so elevated , in all that dignifies humanity , that no titular distinction can add to their importance in the estimation of society ? We know that there are such men ; but we know , too , that they are seldom to be found in the vicinity of a throne .
The Dedication would have conferred honour on the Sovereign of our country . To others it must be perfectly unimportant . These remarks have been induced from happening to recollect that I had
included , not long ago , in a bundle of " shreds and patches / ' some remarks on asking permission to dedicate , extracted from an " Apology for the Life and Writings of David Hume , '' 1777 ( . They follow .
s Ask permission I for what > For distinguishing a man ? For circulating the knowledge of his good qualities beyond the narrow circle of , very likely , a set of frivolous companions i Require leave to do this ! Was there ever
heard suck an inconsistency ? The point ia misconceived . Be it again remarked , that in true science there is a greatness which can seldom receive , though it may often confer , obligations . Genius may more * properly be said to patronize than to be patronized .
€ t If a production be fit for the eye of men of taste , it ought to be acceptable to men of rank > who are ready enough to be' thought in possession of a fine taste themselves , and very frequently , no doubt , pay liberally for their dedications solely upon that principle . ¦
* ' If , on the other hand , a performance be crude , trifling and ill-written , and , notwithstanding such defects , is , without the consepi erf the patron , adorned with a name which it disgraces , such patron ought publicly to renounce his protection , and treat the pretender
as every pretender , of whatever profession , deserves to be treated $ still , however , with this salvo , that if the production could have done any service to literature , or have promoted ,
but in a small degree , the cause of science , he would have been the first man to acknowledge his obligations for having been thought a fit patron to assist that cause , and to strengthen those services /*
Again , as to Patronage , what says Johnson t " Seven years , my Lord , have now passed since I waited in your outward roomg ) or was repulsed from vour door ; during which time I have been
pushing on my work through difficulties , of which it is useless to complain , and have brought it at last to the verge of publication , without one act of assistance , one word of encouragement , or one smile of favour . Such
treatment I did not deserve , for I never had a patron before . " Is not a patron , my Lord , one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water , and , when he has reached ground , encumbers him with help ? The notice which
you have been pleased to take of my labours , had it been early , had been kind ; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent , and cannot enjoy it ; till I am solitary , and cannot impart it ; till I am known , and do not want it . I
hope it is no very cynical asperity not to confess obligations where no benefit has been received , or to be unwilling that the public should consider me as owing that to a patron which Providence has enabled me to do for
myself . "—Letter to the Earl of Chesterfield , 1765 . So much for Patronage and Dedi-
704 Patronage and Dedications .
that proposed by Dr . Priestley , if it were well founded , is extraordinary * but it must be remembered that Josephus was , after all , a modern Jew . SCRIBA ,
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Dec. 2, 1820, page 704, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2495/page/16/