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more plenty, but it would not increase the commodities or pleasures of life; they would still remain as they are at present; it matters not therefore, whether men are misers or not, if they be only frugal, laborious, and fill the station they have chosen. If they deny themselves the necessaries of life, fociety is no way injured by their folly.
Instead therefore of romances, which praise young men of spirit, who go through a variety of adventures, and at last conclude a life of difsipation, folly, and extravagance in riches and matrimony, there should be some men of wit employed to compose books that might equally interest the passions of our youth, where such an one might be praised for having resisted allurements when young, and how he at last became lord mayor; how he was married to a lady of great sense, fortune, and beauty: to be as explicit as possible, the old story of Whittington, were his cat left out, might be more serviceable to the tender mind, than either Tom Jones, Joseph Andrews, or an hundred others, where frugality is the only good quality the hero is not possessed of. Were our school-masters, if any of them had sense enough to draw up such a work, thus employed, it would be much more ferviceable to their pupils, than all the grammars and dictionaries they may publish these ten years.
Children should early be instructed in the arts from which they would afterwards draw the greatest advantages. When the wonders of nature are never exposed to our view, we have no great desire to become acquainted with those parts of learning which pretend to account for the phænomena. One of the ancients complains, that as soon as young men have left school, and are obliged to converse in the world, they fancy themselves transported into a new region. Ui cum in forum venerint existiment fe in aliam terrarum orbem delatos. We should early therefore instruct them in the experiments, if I may fo express it, of knowledge, and leave to maturer age the accounting for the causes. But instead of that, when boys begin natural philosophy in colleges, they have not the least curiosity for those parts of the science which are proposed for their instruction; they have never before seen the phænomena, and consequently have no curiofity to learn the reasons. Might natural philofophy therefore be made their pastime in school, by this means it would in college become their amusement.
In several of the machines now in use there would be ample field both for instruction and amusement; the different forts of the phosphorus, the artificial pyrites, magnetism, electricity, the experiments upon the rarefaction and weight of the air, and those upon elastic bodies, might employ their idle hours, and none should be called from play to see such experiments but such as thought proper. At first then it would be fufficient if the instruments, and the effects of their combination were only shewn; the causes should be deferred to a maturer age, or to those times when natural curiosity prompts us to discover the wonders of nature. Man is placed in this world as a spectator ; when he is tired with wondering at all the novelties about him, and not till then, does he desire to be inade acquainted with the causes that create those wonders.
What I have observed with regard to natural philosophy, I would extend to every other science whatsoever. We should teach them as many of the facts as were poflible, and defer the causes until they seemed of themselves desirous of knowing them. A mind thus leaving school stored with all the fimple experiences of science, would be the fittest in the world for the college course, and though such
a youth might not appear so bright, or fo talkative, as those who had learned the real principles and causes of some of the sciences, yet he would make a wiser man, and would retain a more lasting passion for letters, than he who was early burdened with the disagreeable inftitution of effect and cause.
In history, fuch stories alone should be laid before them as might catch the imagination; instead of this, they are too frequently obliged to toi! through the four empires, as they are called, where their memories are burdened by a number of difgusting names, that destroy all their future relish for our best historians, who may be termed the truest teachers of wisdom.
Every species of flattery should be carefully avoided; a boy, who happens to say a sprightly thing, is generally applauded so much, that he happens to continue a coxcomb sometimes all his life after. He is reputed a wit at fourteen, and becomes a blockhead at twenty. Nurses, footmen and fuch, should therefore be driven away as much as possible. I was even going to add, that the mother herself should ftifle her pleasure, or her vanity, when little mafter happens to say a good or a smart thing. Those modeft lubberly boys, who seem to want spirit, genetally go through their business with more ease to themfelves, and more satisfaction to their instructors.
There has of late a gentleman appeared, who thinks the study of rhetoric essential to a perfect education. That bold małe eloquence, which often without pleasing, convinces, is generally destroyed by such institutions. Convincing eloquence, however, is infinitely more serviceable to its poffeffor than the most florid harangue or the most pathetic tones that can be imagined ; and the man who is thoroughly convinced himself, who understands his subject, and the language he speaks in, will be more
apt to silence opposition, than he who studies the force of his periods, and fills our ears with sounds, while our minds are deftitute of conviction.
It was reckoned the fault of the orators at the decline of the Roman empire, when they had been long instructed by rhetoricians, that their periods were so harmonious, as that they could be lung as well as spoken. What a ridiculous figure must one of these gentlemen cut thus measuring syllables, and weighing words, when he should plead the cause of his client! Two architects were once candidates for the building a certain temple at Athens; the first harangued the crowd very learnedly upon the different orders of architecture, and Thewed them in what manner the temple should be built, the other who got up to speak after him, only observed, that what his brother had spoken he could do; and thus he at once gained his cause.
To teach men to be orators is little less than to teach them to be poets; and for my part, I should have too great a regard for my child, to wish him a manor only in a bookseller's shop.
Another passion which the present age is apt to run into, is to make children learn all things; the languages, the sciences, music, the exercises, and painting. Thus the child soon becomes a talker in all, but a master in none. He thus acquires a superficial fondness for every thing, and only shews his ignorance when he attempts to exhibit his skill.
As I deliver my thoughts without method or connection, so the reader must not be surprized to find me once more addressing schoolmasters on the present method of teaching the learned languages, which is commonly by literal translations. I would ask fuch if they were to travel a journey, whether those parts of the road in which they found the greatest difficulties would not be most strongly remembered ?
Boys who, if I may continue the allusion, gallop through one of the ancients with the assistance of a translation, can have but a very slight acquaintance either with the author or his language. It is by the exercise of the mind alone that a language is learned; but a literal translation on the opposite page
leaves no exercise for the memory at all. The boy will not be at the fatigue of remembering, when his doubts are at once satisfied by a glance of the eye ; whereas were every word to be fought from a dictionary, the learner would attempt to remember in order to save him the trouble of looking out for it for the future.
To continue in the fame pedantic strain, though no school-master, of all the various grammars now taught in the schools about town, I would recommend only the old common one; I have forgot whether Lily's, or an emendation of him. The others may be improvements; but such improvements seein to me only mere grammatical niceties, no way influencing the learner, but perhaps loading him with trifling subtilties, which at a proper age he must be at some pains to forget.
Whatever pains a master may take to make the learning of the languages agreeable to his pupil, he may depend upon it, it will be at first extremely unpleasant. The rudiments of every language, therefore, must be given as a task, not as an amusement. Attempting to deceive children into instruction of this kind, is only deceiving ourselves; and I know no passion capable of conquering a child's natural laziness but fear. Solomon has said it before me ; nor is there any more certain, though perhaps more disagreeable truth, than the proverb in verle, too well known to repeat on the present occasion. It is very probable chat parents are told of some masters who never use the rod, and consequently are thought the properest instructors for their children; but