I am edified with your morning applications, and your evening gallantries at Venice, of which Mr. Harte gives me an account. Pray go on with both there, and afterward at Rome; where, provided you arrive in the beginning of December, you may stay at Venice as much longer as you please.
Make my compliments to Sir James Gray and Mr. Smith, with my acknowledgments for the great civilities they show you.
I wrote to Mr. Harte by the last post, October the 6th, O. S., and will write to him in a post or two upon the contents of his last. Adieu! 'Point de distractions'; and remember the GRACES.
LONDON, October 17, O. S. 1749.
DEAR BOY: I have at last received Mr. Harte's letter of the 19th September, N. S., from Verona. Your reasons for leaving that place were very good ones; and as you stayed there long enough to see what was to be seen, Venice (as a capital) is, in my opinion, a much better place for your residence. Capitals are always the seats of arts and sciences, and the best companies. I have stuck to them all my lifetime, and I advise you to do so too.
You will have received in my three or four last letters my directions for your further motions to another capital, where I propose that your stay shall be pretty considerable. The expense, I am well aware, will be so too; but that, as I told you before, will have no weight when your improvement and advantage are in the other scale. I do not care a groat what it is, if neither vice nor folly are the objects of it, and if Mr. Harte gives his sanction.
I am very well pleased with your account of Carniola; those are the kind of objects worthy of your inquiries and knowledge. The produce, the taxes, the trade, the manufactures, the strength, the weakness, the government of the several countries which a man of sense travels through, are the material points to which he attends; and leaves the steeples, the market-places, and the signs, to the laborious and curious researches of Dutch and German travelers.
Mr. Harte tells me, that he intends to give you, by means of Signor Vicentini, a general notion of civil and military architecture; with which I am very well pleased. They are frequent subjects of conversation; and it is very right that you should have some idea of the latter, and a good taste of the former; and you may very soon learn as much as you need know of either. If you read about one-third of Palladio's book of architecture with some skillful person, and then, with that person, examine the best buildings by those rules, you will know the different proportions of the different orders; the several diameters of their columns; their intercolumniations, their several uses, etc. The Corinthian Order is chiefly used in magnificent buildings, where ornament and decoration are the principal objects; the Doric is calculated for strength, and the Ionic partakes of the Doric strength, and of the Corinthian ornaments. The Composite and the Tuscan orders are more modern, and were unknown to the Greeks; the one is too light, the other too clumsy. You may soon be acquainted with the considerable parts of civil architecture; and for the minute and mechanical parts of it, leave them to masons, bricklayers, and Lord Burlington, who has, to a certain extent, lessened himself by knowing them too well. Observe the same method as to military architecture; understand the terms, know the general rules, and then see them in execution with some skillful person. Go with some engineer or old officer, and view with care the real fortifications of some strong place; and you will get a clearer idea of bastions, half-moons, horn-works, ravelins, glacis, etc., than all the masters in the world could give you upon paper. And thus much I would, by all means, have you know of both civil and military architecture.