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passions of our yonth, where such a 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 a hundred others, where frugality is the only good quality the hero is not possessed of. Were our schoolinasters, if any of them have sense enough to draw up such a work, thus employed, it would be much more serviceable 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 may 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 bave left school, and are obliged to converse in the world, they fancy themselves transported into a new region. 'Ut, cum in forum venerint, existiment se in alium terrarum orbem delatos.' We should early, therefore, instruct them in the expe. riments, if I may so express it, of knowledge, and leave to maturer age the accounting for the causes. But, instead of that, when boys begin natural phiJosophy 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 curiosity to learn the reasons. Might natural philosophy, therefore, be made their pastime in school, hy this means it would in college become their amusement.
In several of the machines now in there would be ample field both for instruction and amusement; the different sorts 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 sufficient if the instruments, and the effects of their combination, were only shown; 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 of 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 science 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 tbem. 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 wonld retain a more lasting passion for letters, than he who was early burthened 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 barthened by a number of disgusting names that destroy all their fature relish for our best bistorians, 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 sometimes continues a coxcomb 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 shónld stifle her pleasure, or her vanity, when little master happens to say a good or a smart thing. Those modest, lubberly boys, who seem to want spirit, generally go through their business with more ease to themselves, 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 male eloqnence, which often, without pleasing, convinces, is generally destroyed by such institutions. Convincing eloquence 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 tho. roughly convinced himself, who understands his subject, and the language he speaks in, will be 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 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 cold be sung 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 showed them in what manner the temple should be built ; the other, who got up after him, only observed, that what his brother bad 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 shows his ignorance when he attempts to exhibit his skill.
As 1 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 continue the allusion, galiop 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 me. mory at all. The boy will not be at the fatigue of remembering, when bis doubts are at once satisfied by a glance of the eye ; whereas, were every word to be sought from a dictionary, the learner would attempt to remember them, to save himself the trouble of looking out for them for the future.
To continue in the same pedantic strain, 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 emen. dation 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 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 of 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 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 tender. ness 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,