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TABLE OF CONTENTS.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE READER.
IT was difficult to find a proper title for the following Essays. That which has been adopted is confessedly liable to objection. The term Profession is usually confined to the Church, the Law, Physic, and Arms; but in fact, Gentlemen, Statesmen, and Princes, exercise functions of the highest consequence in the state : and no word seems more proper to designate their occupations than the term Profession.
Circumlocution is unfit for a title page : what a man wishes to purchase should have a distinct and short name, by which he may inquire for what he wants. “Professional Education” has therefore been chosen as the least objectionable, the shortest, and most comprehensive title for these Essays.
It will probably be thought, that the ideas which have been developed in “ Practical Education” may be repeated in this volume, and that new form, instead of new substance, is now offered to the publick. The author hopes, that he has not hitherto given any just grounds for such a supposition. It is however impossible, to write upon the education peculiarly adapted to the principal professions, without recommending for each of them such modes of instruction, and such habits, as are common to them all; or without alluding to circumstances that have been elsewhere detailed.
A writer is required, by the great authority of Dr. Johnson, to make his book a whole, which shall contain all that the reader wishes to be informed of upon the subject laid before him: and at the same time an author is liable to censure, if he repeat himself, or if he ostentatiously refer the reader to his former writings. To shun these extremes, I have carefully looked over the following sheets, to determine how much of what they contain may be traced to “ Practical Education;" and the result of this examination induces me to believe, that the substance of about twenty of the subsequent pages are to be found in different parts of that work; and to save the reader trouble on this point, references are made in the margin by an asterisk to “ Practical Education," . wherever it is distinctly alluded to.
The first chapter of this book consists of general remarks upon the cultivation of those qualities and talents, which are necessary or useful in every profession; and it is consequently more analogous than any other chapter to what has been said in our former work. If this appear as a redundance, the fault arises from want of skill, and not from want of care.
Another difficulty occurred. In writing didactically, the use of that disgusting pronoun I, or the more important We, saves much trouble and much circumlocution; this mode of writing therefore had been adopted ; but by the advice of a judicious friend the whole has been revised with no small expense of time and trouble, to expunge the obnoxious pronouns. This circumstance is mentioned to give an unequivocal proof of that industry, which never should relax, from an author's becoming more familiar with the press ; and of that deference for the publick, which its former favours should exalt into respectful gratitude.
RICHARD LOVELL EDGEWORTH.