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291 For this reason it must not be expected, that in the following pages should be found a complete circle of the sciences; or that any authors, now deservedly esteemed, should be rejected to make way for what is here offered. It was intended by the means of these precepts, not to deck the mind with ornaments, but to protect it from nakedness; not to enrich it with affluence, but to supply it with necessaries. The enquiry, therefore, was not what degrees of knowledge are desirable, but what are in most stations of life indispensably required; and the choice was determined not by the splendor of any part of literature, but by the extent of its use, and the inconvenience which its neglect was likely to produce.
1. The prevalence of this consideration appears in the first part, which is appropriated to the humble purposes of teaching to read, and speak, and write letters; an attempt of little magnificence, but in which no man needs to blush for having employed his time, if honour be estimated by use. cepts of this kind, however neglected, extend their importance as far as men are found who communicate their thoughts one to another; they are equally useful to the highest and the lowest; they may often contribute to make ignorance less inelegant; and may it not be observed, that they are frequently wanted for the embellishment even of learning ?
In order to shew the proper use of this part, which consists of various exemplifications of such differences of style as require correspondent diversities of pronunciation, it will be proper to inform the scholar, that there are in general three forms of style, each of which demands its particular mode of
elocution : the familiar, the solemn, and the pathetick. That in the familiar, he that reads is only to talk with a paper in his hand, and to indulge himself in all the lighter liberties of voice, as when he reads the common articles of a news-paper, or a cursory letter of intelligence or business. That the solemn style, such as that of a serious narrative, exacts an uniform steadiness of speech, equal, clear, and calm. That for the pathetick, such as an animated oration, it is necessary the voice be regulated by the sense, varying and rising with the passions. These rules, which are the most general, admit a great number of subordinate observations, which must be particularly adapted to every scholar; for it is observable, that though very few read well, yet every man errs in a different way. But let one remark never be omitted : inculcate strongly to every scholar the danger of copying the voice of another; an attempt which, though it has been often repeated, is always unsuccessful.
The importance of writing letters with propriety justly claims to be considered with care, since, next to the power of pleasing with his presence, every man would wish to be able to give delight at a distance. This great art should be diligently taught, the rather, because of those letters which are most useful, and by which the general business of life is transacted, there are no examples easily to be found. It seems the general fault of those who undertake this part of education, that they propose for the exercise of their scholars, occasions which rarely happen ; such as congratulations and condolences, and neglect those without which life cannot proceed, It is possible to pass many years without the necessity of writing panegyricks or epithalamiums; but every man has frequent occasion to state a contract, or demand a debt, or make a narrative of some minute incidents of common life. On these subjects, therefore, young persons should be taught to think justly, and write clearly, neatly, and succinctly, lest they come from school into the world without any acquaintance with common affairs, and stand idle spectators of mankind, in expectation that some great event will give them an opportunity to exert their rhetorick.
II. The second place is assigned to geometry; on the usefulness of which it is unnecessary to expatiate in an age when mathematical studies have so much engaged the attention of all classes of men. This treatise is one of those which have been borrowed, being a translation from the work of Mr. Le Clerc ; and is not intended as more than the first initiation. In delivering the fundamental principles of geometry, it is necessary to proceed by slow steps, that each proposition may be fully understood before another is attempted. For which purpose it is not sufficient, that when a question is asked in the words of the book, the scholar likewise can in the words of the book return the proper answer ; for this may be only an act of memory, not of understanding : it is always proper to vary the words of the question, to place the proposition in different points of view, and to require of the learner an explanation in his own terws, informing him however when they are improper. By this method the scholar will become cautious and attentive, and the master will know with certainty the degree of his proficiency.
Yet, though this rule is generally right, I cannot but recommend a precept of Pardie's, that when the student cannot be made to comprehend some particular part, it should be, for that time, laid aside, till new light shall arise from subsequent observation.
When this compendium is completely understood, the scholar may proceed to the perusal of Tacquet, afterwards of Euclid himself, and then of the modern improvers of geometry, such as Barrow, Keil, and Sir Isaac Newton.
III. The necessity of some acquaintance with geography and astronomy will not be disputed. If the pupil is born to the ease of a large fortune, no part of learning is more necessary to him than the knowledge of the situation of nations, on which their interests generally depend ; if he is dedicated to any of the learned professions, it is scarcely possible that he will not be obliged to apply himself in some part of his life to these studies, as no other branch of literature can be fully comprehended without them ; if he is designed for the arts of commerce or agriculture, some general acquaintance with these sciences will be found extremely useful to him ; in a word, no studies afford more extensive, more wonderful, or more pleasing scenes; and therefore there can be no ideas impressed upon the soul, which can more conduce to its future entertainment.
In the pursuit of these sciences, it will be proper to proceed with the same gradation and caution as in geometry. And it is always of use to decorate the nakedness of science, by interspersing such observations and narratives as may amuse the mind, and ex
cite curiosity. Thus, in explaining the state of the polar regions, it might be fit to read the narrative of the Englishmen that wintered in Greenland, which will make young minds sufficiently curious after the cause of such a length of night, and intenseness of cold; and many stratagems of the same kind might be practised to interest them in all parts of their studies, and call in their passions to animate their inquiries. When they have read this treatise, it will be proper to recommend to them Varenius's Geography, and Gregory's Astronomy.
IV. The study of chronology and history seems to be one of the most natural delights of the human mind. It is not easy to live without inquiring by what means every thing was brought into the state in which we now behold it, or without finding in the mind some desire of being informed concerning the generations of mankind that have been in possession of the world before us, whether they were better or worse than ourselves ; or what good or evil has been derived to us from their schemes, practices, and institutions. These are inquiries which history alone can satisfy; and history can only be made intelligible by some knowledge of chronology, the science by which events are ranged in their order, and the periods of computation are settled; and which therefore assists the memory by method, and enlightens the judgment by shewing the dependence of one transaction on another. Accordingly it should be diligently inculcated to the scholar, that unless he fixes in his mind some idea of the time in which each man of eminence lived, and each action was performed, with some part of the contemporary history of the