Alberti, Leone Battista, Architecture, 1755

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to divine Worſhip, and the Service of Poſterity? Or laſtly, why ſhould I mention the Rocks
cut, Mountains bored through, Vallies filled up, Lakes confined, Marſhes diſcharged into the
Sea, Ships built, Rivers turned, their Mouths cleared, Bridges laid over them, Harbours formed,
not only ſerving to Men's immediate Conveniencies, but alſo opening them a Way to all Parts
of the World; whereby Men have been enabled mutually to furniſh one another with Proviſi-
ons, Spices, Gems, and to communicate their Knowledge, and whatever elſe is healthful or
Add to theſe the Engines and Machines of War, Fortreſſes, and the like Inventi-
ons neceſſary to the Defending the Liberty of our Country, Maintaining the Honour, and En-
creaſing the Greatneſs of a City, and to the Acquiſition and Eſtabliſhment of an Empire.
am really perſuaded, that if we were to enquire of all the Cities which, within the Memory of
Man, have fallen by Siege into the Power of new Maſters, who it was that ſubjected and over-
came them, they would tell you, the Architect; and that they were ſtrong enough to have
deſpiſed the armed Enemy, but not to withſtand the Shocks of the Engines, the Violence of
the Machines, and the Force of the other Inſtruments of War, with which the Architect diſ-
treſſed, demoliſhed and ruinated them.
And the Beſieged, on the contrary, would inform
you, that their greateſt Defence lay in the Art and Aſſiſtance of the Architect.
And if you
were to examine into the Expeditions that have been undertaken, you would go near to find
that moſt of the Victories were gained more by the Art and Skill of the Architects, than by the
Conduct or Fortune of the Generals; and that the Enemy was oftener overcome and conquered
by the Architect's Wit, without the Captain's Arms, than by the Captain's Arms without the
Architect's Wit: And what is of great Conſequence is, that the Architect conquers with a
ſmall Number of Men, and without the Loſs of Troops.
Let this ſuffice as to the Uſefulneſs
of this Art.
BUT how much the Study and Subject of Building delights, and how firmly it is rooted in
the Mind of Man, appears from ſeveral Inſtances, and particularly from this; that you ſhall
find no body who has the Means but what has an Inclination to be building ſomething: And
if a Man has happened to think of any Thing new in Architecture, he is ſond of communicat-
ing and divulging it for the Uſe of others, as if conſtrained thereto by Nature.
And how oſten
does it fall out, that even when we are employed upon other Things, we cannot keep our
Thoughts and Imaginations, from Projecting ſome Ediſice?
And when we ſee other Men's
Houſes, we immediately ſet about a careful Examination of all the Proportions and Dimenſions,
and, to the beſt of our Ability, conſider what might be added, retrenched or altered; and pre-
ſently give our Opinions how it might be made more compleat or beautiful.
And if a Build-
ing be well laid out, and juſtly finiſhed, who is he that does not view it with the utmoſt Plea-
ſure and Delight?
But why need I mention not only how much Benefit and Delight, but how
much Glory to Architecture has brought to Nations, which have cultivated it both at home
and abroad?
Who that has built any publick Edifice does not think himſelf honoured by it,
when it is reputable to a Man only to have built a handſome Habitation for himſelf?
Men of
publick Spirits approve and rejoice when you have raiſed a fine Wall or Portico, and adorned
it with Portals, Columns, and a handſome Roof, knowing you have thereby not only ſerved
yourſelf, but them too, having by this generous Uſe of your Wealth, gained an Addition of
great Honour to yourſelf, your Family, your Deſcendants, and your City.
The Sepulchre of
Jupiter was the firſt Step to the ennobling the Iſland of Crete; and Delos was not ſo much
reſpected for the Oracle of Apollo, as for the beautiful Structure of the City, and the Majeſty of
the Temple.
How much Authority accrued to the Roman Name and Empire from their
Buildings, I ſhall dwell upon no further, than that the Sepulchres and other Remains of the
ancient Magnificence, every where to be found, are a great Inducement and Argument with us
for believing many Things related by Hiſtorians, which might otherwiſe have ſeemed incredible.
Thucydides extreamly commends the Prudence of ſome Ancients, who had ſo adorned their City
with all Sorts of fine Structures, that their Power thereby appeared to be much greater than it
really was.
And what potent or wiſe Prince can be named, that among his chief Projects for
eternizing his Name and Poſterity, did not make Uſe of Architecture.
But of this enough.
The Concluſion is, that for the Service, Security, Honour and Ornament of the Publick, we
are exceedingly obliged to the Architect; to whom, in Time of Leiſure, we are indebted for

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