|TO THE KING|
|Written by Ephraim Chambers|
|Thursday, 01 January 1728 09:00|
THE ARTS and SCIENCES humbly crave Audience of Your Majesty. The near Concern they have in the Happiness of a People, assures 'em of the favourable Attention of a Prince who makes that Happiness his own. 'Tis by These, the Parsimony of Nature is supplied, and Life render'd easy and agreeable under its numerous Infirmities. By these the Mind is reclaim'd from its native Wildness ; and enrich'd with Sentiments which lead to Virtue and Glory. 'Tis these, in sine, that make the Difference between your Majesty 's Subjects, and the Savages of Canada, or the Cape of Good Hope.
THE Protection of Arts has ever been esteemed the proper Province of the Great. 'Tis a Branch of the Regal Office; which a Prince, like Your Majesty, equal to the whole Charge of a Crown, will not suffer to be alienated into other Hands. From this, do the first and most distinguish'd Names in the List of Fame, derive a large Share of their Glory : and if there be any Age or Nation more conspicuous than the rest, and which is look'd on with Envy by our own ; 'tis that wherein the Sovereigns have signaliz'd themselves most in this Quality. Indeed, the Time seems at hand, when we are no longer to envy Rome her AUGUSTUS and Augustan Age, but Rome in her turn shall envy ours.
SOMETHING extraordinary is apparently intended by Providence in calling such a Prince, to such a People : A Prince who feels a generous Impulse to devote his Cares and all his Toils to the Welfare of Mankind ; and a People conspiring with unexampled Ardor and Unanimity to all his glorious Views. Some of our best Princes have had their Hands ty'd down ; check'd by reluctant Factions, who opposed every nobler Design : Your Majesty has sound the happy Secret, to make even Contention do you Homage ; and turn Opposition itself into Approbation, and Applause.
THERE is a Time reserv'd in Fate for every Nation to arrive at its Height; and the uppermost Place on the Terrestrial Ball is held successively by several States. May not the numerous Presages which usher in Your Majesty's Reign, give us room to expect that our Turn is next ; and that what Greece was under ALEXANDER, and Rome under AUGUSTUS Cæsar, 'Britain shall be under GEORGE and CAROLINE?
BUT even this were to under-rate our Hopes, which are rais'd, by Your Majesty, to something still more truly glorious. Greatness, so fondly coveted, has already cost the World very dear ; and, tho still pursued by unthinking Men under almost every Shape, is only desirable in a few. Of it self it is rather an Object of Terror and Alarm, than Delight ; and at best only pleases, when join'd with something naturally amiable. From the Practice of Your Majesty, Men may correct their Sentiments, and learn, that Greatness has no Charm except when founded in Goodness. To be Great, and a King, is but a small Matter with Your Majesty ; 'tis a Quality many others enjoy in common with You, and to which some have even been doom'd, to their Infamy : 'tis what Herod was, and Nebuchadnezzar was ; and Nero, and Domitian were. But, while other Princes chuse to be great in what is destructive, and others in things wholly indifferent ; 'tis Your Majesty 's Praise to be great in what is the Perfection of our Nature, and that whereby we approach nearest the Deity. Happy Choice ! to use Power only as the Means of rendering your Beneficence more diffusive ; and thus make Power and Royalty minister to the Happiness of Mankind, which they have too often invaded. YOUR Majesty commands a People capable of every thing. Not more fitted to shine in Arms, or maintain an extended Commerce ; than to succeed in the stiller Pursuits of Philosophy and Literature. And it will be Your Majesty's Glory, not to let any of their Talents lie unemploy'd. ---- If Your Majesty gives the Word, while some of 'em are busied in avenging Your Cause, by humbling some turbulent Monarch ; some in extending your Dominions by new Settlements, and some in increasing your Peoples Wealth, by new Trades : Others will be employ'd in enlarging our Knowledge, by new Discoveries in Nature, or new Contrivances of Art ; others in refining our Language ; others in improving our Morals ; and others in recording the Glories of your Reign, in immortal Verse. THE Work I here presume to lay at Your Majesty's Feet, is an Attempt towards a Survey of the Republick of Learning, as it stands at the Beginning of Your Majesty's auspicious Reign. We have here the Boundary that circumscribes our present Prospect ; and separates the known, from the unknown Parts of the Intelligible World. Under Your Majesty's Princely Influence and Encouragement, we promise our selves this Boundary will be removed, and the Prospect extended far into the other Hemisphere. Methinks I see Trophies erecting to Your Majesty in the yet undiscover'd Regions of Science ; and Your Majesty's Name inscribed to Inventions at present held impossible ! I am, with all Sincerity and Devotion, May it please Your MAJESTY, Tour Majesty's most 'Dutiful, and Obedient Subject, and Servant, Ephraim Chambers.