« ZurückWeiter »
Tuesday, October 11th. This morning we weighed anchor with a gentle breeze, and passed by Newcastle, whence they hailed us and bade us welcome. It is extreme fine weather. The sun enlivens our stiff limbs with his glorious rays of warmth and brightness. The sky looks gay, with here and there a silver cloud. The fresh breezes from the woods refresh us; the immediate prospect of liberty, after so long and irksome confinement, ravishes us. In short, all things conspire to make this the most joyful day I ever knew. As we passed by Chester, some of the company went on shore, impatient once more to tread on terra firma, and designing for Philadelphia by land. Four of us remained on board, not caring for the fatigue of travel when we knew the voyage had much weakened us. About eight at night, the wind failing us, we cast anchor at Redbank, six miles from Philadelphia, and thought we must be obliged to lie on board that night; but, some young Philadelphians happening to be out upon their pleasure in a boat, they came on board, and offered to take us up with them; we accepted of their kind proposal, and about ten o'clock landed at Philadelphia, heartily congratulating each other upon our having happily completed so tedious and dangerous a voyage. Thank God |
No. III. pp. 143, 158.
PROPOSALS RELATING TO THE EDUCATION OF YOUTH IN PENNSYLVANIA."
The good education of youth has been esteemed by wise men in all ages, as the surest foundation of the happiness both of private families and of commonwealths. Almost all governments have
* This tract was first printed at Philadelphia, in the year 1749. It was illustrated by a large body of notes, being chiefly extracts from the best writers on education, such as Milton, Locke, Rollin, Turnbull, and others. The principal part of these notes was many years afterwards appended by the author to his Obserrations relative to the Intentions of the original Founders of the Academy in Philadelphia, (See Vol. II. p. 133.) The following “..?drertisement to the Reader" is prefixed to the original edition of the Proposals.
“It has long been regretted as a misfortune to the youth of this province, that we have no Academy, in which they might receive the accomplishments of a regular education. The following paper of hints towards forming a plan
therefore made it a principal object of their attention, to establish and endow with proper revenues such seminaries of learning, as might supply the succeeding age with men qualified to serve the public with honor to themselves and to their country. Many of the first settlers of these provinces were men who had received a good education in Europe; and to their wisdom and good management we owe much of our present prosperity. But their hands were full, and they could not do all things. The present race are not thought to be generally of equal ability; for, though the American youth are allowed not to want capacity, yet the best capacities require cultivation ; it being truly with them, as with the best ground, which, unless well tilled and sowed with profitable seed, produces only ranker weeds. That we may obtain the advantages arising from an increase of knowledge, and prevent, as much as may be, the mischievous consequences that would attend a general ignorance among us, the
for that purpose, is so far approved by some public-spirited gentlemen, to whom it has been privately communicated, that they have directed a number of copies to be made by the press, and properly distributed, in order to obtain the sentiments and advice of men of learning, understanding, and experience in these matters; and have determined to use their interest and best endeavours to have the scheme, when completed, carried gradually into execution; in which they have reason to believe they shall have the hearty concurrence and assistance of many, who are wellwishers to their country. Those, who incline to favor the design with their advice, either as to the parts of learning to be taught, the order of study, the method of teaching, the economy of the school, or any other matter of importance to the success of the undertaking, are desired to communicate their sentiments as soon as may be, by letter, directed to B. Franklin, Printer, in Philadelphia.”
Mr. Secretary Peters, speaking of the Academy in a letter to the Proprietaries, says; “Our Academy cuts a figure in print; the framers of the scheme have bought the new building and lot; they have raised an annual subscription for five years, which will amount to upwards of £800 a year, and they are now altering the south half of the great building into four rooms for four masters; but what is to be done next, I cannot tell. Mr. Martin, it is said, was engaged some time ago to be the head master; but he has been in town, and, though we are good friends, and, at the importunity of Mr. Allen, I became a trustee, yet he has never opened his mouth to me about it. I asked Mr. Franklin, who is the soul of the whole, whether they would not find it difficult to collect masters. He said, with an air of firmness, that money would buy learning of all sorts, he was under no apprehensions about masters; but, for all his sanguine expectations, it is my opinion that they have undertaken what is too high for them, and will not be able to carry it on ; not but that I heartily wish they may, and shall do all in my power to aid and spirit them up, but I find the matter is not understood.”— MS. Letter, February 17th, 1749. — Editor.
following hints are offered towards forming a plan for the education of the youth of Pennsylvania, viz. It is proposed, That some persons of leisure and public spirit apply for a charter, by which they may be incorporated, with power to erect an Academy for the education of youth, to govern the same, provide masters, make rules, receive donations, purchase lands, and to add to their number, from time to time, such other persons as they shall judge suitable. That the members of the corporation make it their pleasure, and in some degree their business, to visit the Academy often, encourage and countenance the youth, countenance and assist the masters, and by all means in their power advance the usefulness and reputation of the design; that they look on the Students as in some sort their children, treat them with familiarity and affection, and, when they have behaved well, and gone through their studies, and are to enter the world, zealously unite, and make all the interest that can be made to establish them, whether in business, offices, marriages, or any other thing for their advantage, preferably to all other persons whatsoever, even of equal merit. And if men may, and frequently do, catch such a taste for cultivating flowers, for planting, grafting, inoculating, and the like, as to despise all other amusements for their sake, why may not we expect they should acquire a relish for that more useful culture of young minds. Thomson says, “'T is joy to see the human blossoms blow, When infant reason grows apace, and calls For the kind hand of an assiduous care. Delightful task! to rear the tender thought, To teach the young idea how to shoot; To pour the fresh instruction o'er the mind, To breathe the enlivening spirit, and to fix The generous purpose in the glowing breast.”
That a house be provided for the Academy, if not in the town, not many miles from it; the situation high and dry, and, if it may be, not far from a river, having a garden, orchard, meadow, and a field or two.
That the house be furnished with a library if in the country, (if in the town, the town libraries may serve), with maps of all countries, globes, some mathematical instruments, an apparatus for experiments in natural philosophy, and for mechanics; prints, of all kinds, prospects, buildings, and machines.
That the Rector be a man of good understanding, good morals, diligent and patient, learned in the languages and sciences, and a correct, pure speaker and writer of the English tongue; to have such tutors under him as shall be necessary. That the boarding scholars diet together, plainly, temperately, and frugally. That, to keep them in health, and to strengthen and render active their bodies, they be frequently exercised in running, leaping, wrestling, and swimming. That they have peculiar habits to distinguish them from other youth, if the Academy be in or near the town; for this, among other reasons, that their behaviour may be the better observed. As to their studies, it would be well if they could be taught every thing that is useful, and every thing that is ornamental. But art is long, and their time is short. It is therefore proposed, that they learn those things that are likely to be most useful and most ornamental; regard being had to the several professions for which they are intended. All should be taught to write a fair hand, and swift, as that is useful to all. And with it may be learned something of drawing, by imitation of prints, and some of the first principles of perspective. Arithmetic, accounts, and some of the first principles of geometry and astronomy. The English language might be taught by grammar; in which some of our best writers, as Tillotson, Addison, Pope, Algernon Sidney, Cato's Letters, &c., should be classics; the styles principally to be cultivated being the clear and the concise. Reading should also be taught, and pronouncing properly, distinctly, emphatically; not with an even tone, which under-does, nor a theatrical, which over-does nature. To form their style, they should be put on writing letters to each other, making abstracts of what they read, or writing the same things in their own words; telling or writing stories lately read, in their own expressions. All to be revised and corrected by the tutor, who should give his reasons, and explain the force and import of words. To form their pronunciation, they may be put on making declamations, repeating speeches, and delivering orations; the tutor assisting at the rehearsals, teaching, advising, and correcting their accent. But if History be made a constant part of their reading, such as the translations of the Greek and Roman historians, and the modern histories of ancient Greece and Rome, may not almost all kinds of useful knowledge be that way introduced to advantage, and with pleasure to the student? As Geography, by reading with maps, and being required to point out the places where the greatest actions were done, to give their old and new names, with the bounds, situation, and extent of the countries concerned. Chronology, by the help of Helvicus or some other writer of the kind, who will enable them to tell when those events happened, what princes were contemporaries, and what states or famous men flourished about that time. The several principal epochas to be first well fixed in their memories. Ancient Customs, religious and civil, being frequently mentioned in history, will give occasion for explaining them ; in which the prints of medals, basso-rilievos, and ancient monuments will greatly assist. Morality, by descanting and making continual observations on the causes of the rise or fall of any man's character, fortune, and power, mentioned in history; the advantages of temperance, order, frugality, industry, and perseverance. Indeed, the general natural tendency of reading good history must be, to fix in the minds of youth deep impressions of the beauty and usefulness of virtue of all kinds, public spirit, and fortitude. History will show the wonderful effects of oratory, in governing, turning, and leading great bodies of mankind, armies, cities, nations. When the minds of youth are struck with admiration at this, then is the time to give them the principles of that art, which they will study with taste and application. Then they may be made acquainted with the best models among the ancients, their beauties being particularly pointed out to them. Modern political oratory being chiefly performed by the pen and press, its advantages over the ancient in some respects are to be shown; as that its effects are more extensive, and more lasting. History will also afford frequent opportunities of showing the necessity of a public religion, from its usefulness to the public; the advantage of a religious character among private persons; the mischiefs of superstition, and the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or modern. History will also give occasion to expatiate on the advantage of civil orders and constitutions; how men and their properties are protected by joining in societies and establishing government; their