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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 made acquainted with the causes that create those wonders.
What I have observed with regard to natural philosophy, I would extend to every other scienoe whatsoever. We should teach them as many of the facts as were possible, and defer the causes until they seemed of themselves desirous of knowing them, A mind thus leaving school, stored with all the simple 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 so 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 institution of effect and cause.
In history, such stories alone should be laid before them as might catch the imagination; instead of this, they are too frequently obliged to toil through the four empires, as they are called, where their memories are burdened by a number of disgusting 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 such, should therefore be driven away as much as possible. I was even going to add, that the mother herself should stifle her pleasure, or her vanity, when little master happens to say a good or smart thing. Those modest lubberly boys, who seem to want spirit, generally go through their business with more ease to themselves and more Eatisfaction to their instructors.
There has of late a gentleman appeared,* who thinks the study of rhetoric essential to a perfect education, That bold male eloquence, which often without pleasing convinces, is generally destroyed by such institutions. Convincing eloquence, however, is infinitely more serviceable to its possessor 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 destitute of conviction.
It 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, that they could be sung as well as spoken. What a ridiculous figure must one of these gentlemen cut thus measuring syllables, and weighing words, wben he should plead the cause of his client! Two archi tects were once candidates for the building a certain temple at Athens; the first barangued the crowd very learnedly upon the different orders of architecture, and showed 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 super
* (No doubt, Mr. Thomas Sheridan, who had been reading lectures on Elocution.)
ficial fondness for every thing, and only shows his ignorance when he attempts to exhibit his skill.
As I deliver my thoughts without method or connection, so the reader must not be surprised 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 such, if they were to travel a journey, whether those parts of the road in which they found the greatest difficulties would not be the most strongly remembered ? Boys who, if I may contipue 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 satisficd by a glance of the eye; whereas were every word to be sought from a dictionary, the learner would attempt to remember it, to save himself the trouble of looking out for it for the future.
To continue in the same pedantic strain, though no schoolmaster-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 seem 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 con quering 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 verse, too well known to repeat on the present occasion. It is very probable that parents are told of some masters who never use the rod, and consequently are thought the properest instructors for their children ; but though tenderness is a requisite quality in an instructor, yet there is too often the truest tenderness in well-timed correction.*
Some have justly observed, that all passion should be banished on this terrible occasion; but, I know not how, there is a frailty attending human nature, that few masters are able to keep their temper whilst they correct. I knew a good-natured man, who was sensible of his own weakness in this respect, and consequently had recourse to the following expedient to prevent his passion from being engaged, yet at the same time administer justice with impartiality. Whenever any of his pupils committed a fault, he summoned a jury of his peers, I mean of the boys of his own or the next classes to him; his accusers stood forth; he had a liberty of pleading in his own defence, and one or two more bad a liberty of pleading against him: when found guilty by the pan. nel, he was consigned to the footman who attended in the house, who had previous orders to punish, but with lenity. By this means the master took off the odium of punishment from himself; and the footman, between whom and the boys there could not be even the slightest intimacy, was placed in such a light as to be shunned by every boy in the school.
* ["I have ever found it a vain task to try to make a child's learning its amusement; nor do I see what good end it would answer were it attained. The child, as was said, ought to have its share of play, and it will be benefited thereby; and for every reason also, it ought to have its share of labor. The mind, by early labor, will be thus accustomed to fatigues and subordination ; and whatever be the person's future employment in life, he will be better fitted to endure it: he will thus be enabled to support the drudgeries of office with content; or to fill up the vacancies of life with variety. The child, therefore, should by times be put to its duty; and be taught to know, that the task is to be done, or the punishment to be endured. I do not object against alluring it to duty by reward ; but we well know, that the mind will be more strongly scimulated by pain ; and both may, upon some occasions, take their turn to operate."- Animated Nature, vol. ii. p. 67.]
And now I have gone thus far, perhaps you will think me some pedagogue, willing, by a well-timed puff, to increase the reputation of his own school; but such is not the case. The regard I have for society, for those tender minds who are the objects of the present essay, is the only motive I have for offering those thoughts, calculated not to surprise by their novelty, or the elegance of composition, but merely to remedy some deiects wbich have crept into the present system of school education. If this letter should be inserted, perhaps I may trouble you in my next with some thoughts upon an univetsity education; not with an intent to exhaust the subject, but to amend some few abuses.
ON THE INSTABILITY OF WORLDLY GRANDEUR.
An alehouse-keeper near Islington, who had long lived av the sign of the French King, upon the commencement of the last war with France, pulled down his old sign, and put up the Queen of Hungary. Under the influence of her red face and golden sceptre, he continued to sell ale till she was no longer the favorite of his customers; he changed her, therefore, some time ago for the King of Prussia, who may probably be changed in turn for the next great man that shall be set up for vulgar admiration.
Our publican in this imitates the great exactly, who deal out their figures one after the other to the gazing crowd ber cath them. When we have sufficiently wondered at one, that is taken