« ElőzőTovább »
and improving the morals, as well as the understandings of youth.
The natural and mechanic history, contained in the Spectacle de la Nature, might also be began in this class, and continued through the subsequent classes byother books of the same kind ; for, next to the knowledge of duty, this kind of knowledge is certainly the most useful, as well as the most entertaining. The merchant may thereby be enabled better to understand many commodities in trade ; the handicraftman to improve his business by new instruments, mixtures, and materials ; and frequent hints are given for new manufactures, and new methods of improving land, that may be set on foot greatly to the advantage of the country
THE FOURTH CLASS.
To be taught composition. Writing one's own language well, is the next necessary accomplishment after good speaking. It is the writing master's business to take care that the boys make fair characters, and place them strait and even in the lines ; but to form their style, and even to take care that the stops and capitals are properly disposed, is the part of an English master. The boys should be put on writing letters to each other on any common occurrences, and on various subjects, imaginary business, &c. containing little stories, accounts of their late reading, what parts of authors please them, and why ; letters of congratulation, of compliment, of requests, of thanks, of recommendation, of admonition, of consolation, of expostulation, excuse, &c. In these they should be taught to express themselves clearly, concisely, and naturally without affected words or high flown phrases. All their letters to pass through the master's hand, who is to point out the faults, advise the corrections, and commend what he finds right. Some of the best letters published in our own language, as Sir William
Temple's, those of Pope and his friends, and some others, might be set before the youth as models, their beauties pointed out, and explained by the master, the letters themselves transcribed by the scholar.
Dr. Johnson's Ethices Elementa, or First Principles of Morality, may now be read by the scholars, and explained by the master to lay a solid foundation of virtue and piety in their minds. And as this class continues the reading of history, let them now, at proper hours, receive some farther instructions,of Chronology and in that part of Geography (from the mathematical master) which is necessary to understand the maps and globes. They should also be acquainted with the modern names of places they find mentioned in ancient writers. The exercises of good reading, and proper speaking, still continued at suitable times.
To improve the youth in composition, they may now, besides continuing to write letters, begin to write little essays
and sometimes in verse ; not to make them poets, but for this reason, that nothing acquaints a lad so speedily with variety of expressions as the necessity of finding such words and phrases as well suit the measure, sound and rhyme of verse, and at the same time well express the sentiment. These essays should all pass under the master's eye, who will point out their faults, and put the writer on correcting them. Where the judgment is not ripe enough for forming new essays, let the sentiments of a Spectator be given, and required to be clothed in the scholar's own words; or the circumstances of some good story; the scholar to find expression. Let them be put sometimes on abridging a paragraph of a diffuse author : sometimes on dilating or amplifying what is wrote more closely. And now let Dr. Johnson's Noetica, or First Principles of Human Knowledge, containi ng a logic, or art of reasoning, &c. be read by the
youth, and the difficulties that may occur to them be explained by the master. The reading of history, and the exercise of good reading and just speaking, still continued.
In this class besides continuing the studies of the hall; preceding in history, rhetoric, logic, moral and natural philosophy, the best English authors may be read and explained; as Tillotson, Milton, Locke, Addison, Pope, Swift, the higher papers in the Spectator and Guardian, the best translations of Homer, Virgil, and Horace, of Telmachus, Travels of Cyrus, &c.
Once a year let there be public exercises in the trustees and citizens' presence. Then let fine gilt books be given as prizes to such boys as distinguish themselves, and excel the others in any branch of learning, making three degrees of comparison : giving the best prize to him that performs best; a less valuable one to him that comes up next to the best ; and another to the third. Commendations, encouragements, and advice to the rest ; keeping up their hopes, that by industry, they may excel another time. The names of those that obtain the prize, to be yearly printed in a list.
The hours of each day are to be divided and disposed in such a manner as that some classes may be with the writing-master, improving their hands; others with the mathematical master, learning arithmetic, accounts, geography, use of the globes, drawing, mechanics, &c. while the rest are in the English school, under the English master's care.
Thus instructed, youth will come out of this school fitted for learning any business, calling, or profession, except such wherein languages are required : and though unacquainted with any ancient or foreign tongue, they will be masters of their own, which is of more immediate and general use, and withal. will have
attained many other valuable accomplishments ; the time usually spent in acquiring those languages, often without success, being here employed in laying such a foundation of knowledge and ability, as properly improved, may qualify them to pass through and execute the several offices of civil life, with advantage and reputation to themselves and country.
From the American Weekly Mercury, from Tuesday,
January 28, to Tuesday, February 4, 1728-9.
MR. ANDREW BRADFORD,
I design this to acquaint you, that I, who have long been one of your courteous readers, have lately entertained some thought of setting up for an author myself: not out of the least vanity, I assure you, or desire of showing my parts, but purely for the good of my country. I have often observed with concern, that
Mercury is not always equally entertaining. The delay of ships expected in, and want of fresh advices from Éurope, make it frequently very dull ; and I find the freezing of our river has the same effect on news as trade. With more concern have I continually observed the growing vices and follies of my country folk : and though reformation is properly the concern of every man, that is, every one ought to mend one ; yet it is too true in this case, that what is every body's business is no body's business, and the business is done accordingly. I therefore, upon mature deliberation, think fit to take no body's business wholly into my own hands; and, out of zeal for the public good, design to erect myself into a kind of censor morum ; purposing,
with your allowance, to make use of the Weekly Mer. cury as a vehicle, in which my remonstrances shall be conveyed to the world.
I am sensible I have, in this particular, undertaken a very unthankful office, and expect little besides my labour for my pains. Nay, it is probable, I may displease a great number of your readers, who will not very well like to pay ten shillings a year for being told of their faults. But as most people delight in censure, when they themselves are not the objects of it, if any are offended at my publicly exposing their private vices, I promise they shall have the satisfaction, in a very little, time of seeing their good friends and neighbors in the same circumstances.
However, let the fair sex be assured, that I shall always treat them and their affairs with the utmost decency and respect. I intend now and then to dedicate a chapter wholly to their service ; and if my lectures any way contribute to the embellishment of their minds, and brightening of their understandings, without offending their modesty, I doubt not of having their favour and encouragement.
It is certain that no country in the world produces naturally finer spirits than ours, men of genius for every kind of science, and capable of acquiring to perfection every qualification, that is in esteem among mankind. But as few here have the advantage of good books, for want of which, good conversation is still more scarce, it would, doubtless, have been very acceptable to your readers, if, instead of an old out-ofdate article from Muscovy or Hungary, you had entertained them with some well chosen extract from a good author. This I shall sometimes do, when I happen to have nothing of my own to say that I think of more consequence. Sometimes, I purpose to deliver lectures of morality or philosophy, and (because I am naturally inclined to be meddling with things that do not concern me) perhaps I may sometimes talk poli