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it and pursue general ideas. The works of Nature present a boundless and a delightful field for research, but before a single human mind, even in its infancy of intelligence, these works, nay universal Nature herself, sink into insignificance, into annihilation.
Being thus led to think on education, I was led also to express my thoughts, in a correspondence carried on with a lady who has been for some years a teacher of youth. She was pleased to express her approbation
sentiments, and likewise a wish that I would give them publicity. The solicitation of friends has been but too frequently stated by authors as their motive for giving their performances to the world; but besides that my correspondent is my friend, she has had, and still has, committed to her, and to one who shares her labours, the education
of the daughters of wise and good parents. What therefore she was pleased to approve, and to deem worthy of public attention, it became not me to withhold. Not the entreaties of a friend therefore, but the opinion of a guide of youth induces me to publish the following Thoughts.
I have read but few writers on education: my aim has not been to make a book, but from the encouragement already mentioned, to give a few plain thoughts in plain language, intelligible to my own, and I hope therefore, to every capacity. If the simple understand me, the wise certainly will : ideas that might be generally useful, are sometimes rendered of no avail because they are not adapted to general comprehension. It may be pleasant to have the applause of
the learned, but it is more so, if we aim to do good, to be felt and understood by all.
Though at the risk of being termed an egotist, I have not hesitated when opportunity occurred, to offer my personal observation and experience: to these, not myself, would I call the attention of my readers; farthermore, if there be egotism in speaking of self, there may be affected humility and false delicacy where this is constantly avoided.
Would I were here permitted to name my friend already alluded to, and her fellowlabourer in her arduous undertaking, with the esteem I feel for them; but I dare not. Should this little work meet with public approbation, or indeed whether it should or
not, I owe them a debt of gratitude for many practical hints which their situation enabled them to furnish me, and for many opportunities of personal remark, which were most pleasant to me. Although erpressly forbidden to name my two friends, the following pages are now inscribed to them; this I cannot refrain from doing, though at the hazard of even thus giving pain to their modesty.
I have only to add farther, that by ano-, ther name, the daughter of the late Rev. Dr. Henry Hunter, once more makes her appearance before the Public.
AGNES SOPHIA SEMPLE,
12, Felix Place, Islington,
June 12, 1812.