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fore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does ; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence, to hear that our councils are confounded, like those of the builders of Babylon, and that our states are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting each other's throats.
Thus I consent, Sir, to this constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure that this is not the best. The opinions I have had of its errors, I sacrifice to the public good. I have never whispered a syllable of them abroad. Within these walls they were born ; and here they shall die. If every one of us, in returning to our constituents, were to report the objections he has had to it, and endeavour to gain partisans in support of them, we might prevent its being generally received and thereby lose all the salutary effects and great advantages resulting naturally in our favour among foreign nations, as well as among ourselves, from our real or apparent unanimity. Much of the strength or efficiency of any government, in procuring and securing happiness to the people, depends on opinion ; on the general opinion of the goodness of that government, as well as of the wisdom and integrity of its governors.
I hope, therefore, that for our own sakes as a part of the people, and for the sake of our posterity, we shall act heartily and unanimously in recommending this constitution, wherever our influence may extend, and turn our future thoughts and endeavours to the means of having it well administered.
On the whole, Sir, I cannot help expressing a wish, that every member of the convention, who may still have objections, would with me on this occasion, doubt a little of his own infallibility, and to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument.
[The motion was then made for adding the last formula, viz.
Done in convention by the unanimous consent, &c. which was agreed to, and added accordingly.]
SKETCH OF AN ENGLISH SCHOOL.
FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF THE TRUSTEES OF THE
It is expected that every scholar to be admitted into this school, be at least able to pronounce and divide the syllables in reading, and to write a legible hand. None to be received that are under years of age.
FIRST, OR LOWEST CLASS. Let the first class learn the English Grammar rules, and at the same time let particular care be taken to improve them in orthography. Perhaps the latter is best done by pairing the scholars ; two of those nearest equal in their spelling to be put together. Let these strive for victory ; each propounding ten words every day to the other to be spelled. He that spells truly most of the other's words, is victor for that day ; he that is victor most days in a month, to obtain a prize, a pretty neat book of some kind, useful in their future studies. This method fixes the attention of children extremely to the orthography of words, and makes them good spellers very early. It is a shame for a man to be so ignorant of this little art in his own language, as to be perpetually confounding words of like sounds and different significations ; the consciousness of which defect makes some men, otherwise of good learning and understanding, averse to writing even a common letter.
Let the pieces read by the scholars in this class be short ; such as Coxal's fables and little stories. In
giving the lesson, let it be read to them; let the meaning of the most difficult words in it be explained to them; and let them con over by themselves before they are called to read to the master or usher; who is to take particular care that they do not read too fast and that they duly observe the stops and pauses. А vocabulary of the most useful difficult words might be formed for their use, with explanations ; and they might daily get a few of those words and explanations by heart, which would a little exercise their memories; or at least they might write a number of them in a small book for the purpose, which would help to fix the meaning of those words in their minds, and at the same time furnish every one with a little dictionary for his future use.
THE SECOND CLASS.
To be taught reading with attention, and with prcper-modulation of the voice ; according to the sentiment and subject.
Some short pieces, not exceeding the length of a Spectator, to be given this class for lessons (and some of the easier Spectators would be very suitable for the purpose.) These lessons might be given every night as tasks; the scholars to study them against the morning. 'Let it then be required of them to give an ac, count, first of the parts of speech and construction of one or two sentences. This will oblige them to recur frequently to their grammar, and fix its principal rules in their memory. Next, of the intention of the writer, or the scope of the piece, the meaning of each sentence, and of every uncommon word. This would early acquaint them with the meaning and force of words, and give them that most necessary habit, of reading with attention.
The master then to read the piece with the proper modulations of voice, due emphasis, and guitable action,
where action is required ; and put the youth on imitating his manner.
Where the author has used an expression not the best, let it be pointed out; and let his beauties be particularly remarked to the youth.
Let the lessons for reading be varied, that the youth may be made acquainted with good styles of all kinds in prose and verse, and the proper manner of reading each kind sometimes a well-told story, a piece of a sermon, a general's speech to his soldiers, a speech in a tragedy, some part of a comedy, an ode, a satire, a letter, blank verse, Hudibrastic, heroic, &c. But let such lessons be chosen for reading, as contain some useful instruction, whereby the understanding or morals of the youth may at the same time be improved.
It is required that they should first study and understand the lessons, before they are put upon reading them properly ; to which end each boy should have an English dictionary, to help him over difficulties. When our boys read English to us, we are apt to imagine they understand what they read, because we do, and because it is their mother tongue. But they often read as parrots speak, knowing little or nothing of the meaning. And it is impossible a reader should give the due modulation to his voice, and
pronounce properly, unless his understanding goes before his tongue, and makes him master of the sentiment. ACcustoming boys to read aloud what they do not first understand, is the cause of those even set tones so common among readers, which, when they have once got a habit of using, they find so difficult to correct; by which means, among fifty readers we scarcely find a good one. For want of good reading, pieces published with a view to influence the minds of men, for their own or the public benefit, lose half their force. Were there but one good reader in a neighbourhood, a public orator might be heard throughout a nation with the
same advantages, and have the same effect upon his audience, as if they stood within the reach of his voice.
THE THIRD CLASS.
To be taught speaking properly and gracefully ; which is near a-kin to good reading, and naturally follows it in the studies of youth. Let the scholars of this class begin with learning the elements of rhetoric from some short system, so as to be able to give an account of the most useful tropes and figures. Let all their bad habits of speaking, all offences against good grammar,
all corrupt or foreign accents and all improper phrases, be pointed out to them. Short speeches from the Roman or other history, or from the parliamentary debates, might be got by heart, and delivered with the proper action, &c. Speeches and scenes in our best tragedies and comedies (avoiding things that could injure the morals of youth) might likewise be got by rote, and the boys exercised in delivering or acting them; great care being taken to form their manner after the truest models.
For this farther improvement, and a little to vary their studies, let them now begin to read history, after having got by heart a short table of the principal epochas in Chronology. They may begin with Rollin's ancient and Roman histories, and proceed at proper hours, as they go through the subsequent classes, with the best histories of our own nation and colonies. Let emulation be excited among the boys, by giving weekly, little prizes, or other small encouragements, to those who are able to give the best account of what they have read, as to times, places, names of persons, &c. This will make them read with attention, and imprint the history well in their memories. In remarking on the history, the master will have fine opportunities of instilling instructions of various kinds,