« AnteriorContinuar »
at the same time that I do not see any more ge- not, to give children a relish for learning? They nerally despised, or whose talents are so ill re must esteem learning very much, when they see warded.
its professors used with such ceremony! If the Were the salaries of schoolmasters to be aug- usher be despised, the father may be assured his mented from a diminution of useless sinecures, child will never be properly instructed. how might it turn to the advantage of this people; But let me suppose, that there are some schools a people whom, without flattery, I may in other without these inconveniences; where the master
I respects term the wisest and greatest upon earth! and ushers are men of learning, reputation, and But while I would reward the deserving, I would assiduity. If there are to be found such, they dismiss those utterly unqualified for their employ- cannot be prized in a state sufficiently. A boy ment: in short, I would make the business of a will learn more true wisdom in a public school in schoolmaster every way more respectable, by in- a year, than by a private education in five. It is not creasing their salaries, and admitting only men of from masters, but from their equals, youth learn proper abilities.
a knowledge of the world; the little tricks they There are already schoolmasters appointed, and play each other, the punishment that frequently they have some small salaries; but where at pre-attends the commission, is a just picture of the sent there is but one schoolmaster-appointed, there great world, and all the ways of men are practised should at least be two; and wherever the salary is in a public school in miniature. It is true, a child at present twenty pounds, it should be a hundred. is early made acquainted with some vices in a school, Do we give immoderate benefices to those who but it is better to know these when a boy, than be instruct ourselves, and shall we deny even subsist- first taught them when a man, for their novelty ence to those who instruct our children ? Every then may have irresistible charms. member of society should be paid in proportion as In a public education boys early learn tempehe is necessary: and I will be bold enough to say, rance; and if the parents and friends would give that schoolmasters in a state are more necessary them less money upon their usual visits, it would than clergymen, as children stand in more need of be much to their advantage, since it may justly be instruction than their parents.
said, that a great part of their disorders arise from But instead of this, as I have already observed, surfeit, plus occidit gula quam gladius. And we send them to board in the country to the most now I am come to the article of health, it may not ignorant set of men that can be imagined. But be amiss to observe, that Mr. Locke and some lest the ignorance of the master be not sufficient, others have advised, that children should be inured the child is generally consigned to the usher. to cold, to fatigue, and hardship, from their youth; This is generally some poor needy animal, little but Mr. Locke was but an indifferent physician. superior to a footman either in learning or spirit, Habit, I grant, has great influence over our coninvited to his place by an advertisement, and kept stitutions, but we have not precise ideas upon this there merely from his being of a complying dispo- subject. sition, and making the children fond of him. We know that among savages, and even among “You give your child to be educated to a slave,” our peasants, there are found children born with says a philosopher to a rich man; "instead of one such constitutions, that they cross rivers by swimslave, you will then have two."
ming, endure cold, thirst, hunger, and want of It were well, however, if parents, upon fixing sleep, to a surprising degree; that when they haptheir children in one of these houses, would ex- pen to fall sick, they are cured without the help amine the abilities of the usher as well as of the of medicine, by nature alone. Such examples are master ; for, whatever they are told to the contrary, adduced to persuade us to imitate their manner of the usher is generally the person most employed in education, and accustom ourselves betimes to suptheir education. If, then, a gentleman, upon put-port the same fatigues. But had these gentlemen ting out his son to one of these houses, sees the considered first, that those savages and peasants usher disregarded by the master, he may depend are generally not so long-lived as they who have upon it, that he is equally disregarded by the boys; led a more indolent lise ; secondly, that the more the truth is, in spite of all their endeavours to laborious the life is, the less populous is the counplease, they are generally the laughing-stock of try: had they considered, that what physicians the school. Every trick is played upon the usher; call the stamina vita, by fatigue and labour become the oddity of his manners, his dress, or his lan- rigid, and thus anticipate old age: that the number guage, is a fund of eternal ridicule ; the master who survive those rude trials, bears no proportion himself now and then cannot avoid joining in the to those who die in the experiment: had these laugh, and the poor wretch, eternally resenting things been properly considered, they would not this ill-usage, seems to live in a state of war with have thus extolled an education begun in fatigue all the family. This is a very proper person, is it and hardships. Peter the Great, willing to inure
the children of his seamen to a life of hardship, never exposed to our view, we have no great de ordered that they should drink only sea-water, but sire to become acquainted with those parts of learnthey unfortunately all died under the experiment. ing which pretend to account for the phenomena.
But while I would exclude all unnecessary la-One of the ancients complains, that as soon as bours, yet still I would recommend temperance in young men have left school, and are obliged to conthe highest degree. No luxurious dishes with high verse in the world, they fancy themselves transportseasoning, nothing given children to force an ap- ed into a new region. Ut cum in forum venerint petite, as little sugared or salted provisions as pos- existiment se in aliam terrarum orbem delatos. sible, though never so pleasing; but milk, morning We should early therefore instruct them in the exand night, should be their constant food. This diet periments, if I may so express it, of knowledge, would make them more healthy than any of those and leave to maturer age the accounting for the slops that are usually cooked by the mistress of a causes. But, instead of that, when boys begin boarding-school; besides, it corrects any consump- natural philosophy in colleges, they have not the tive habits, not unfrequently found amongst the least curiosity for those parts of the science which children of city parents.
are proposed for their instruction; they have never As boys should be educated with temperance, before seen the phenomena, and consequently have so the first greatest lesson that should be taught no curiosity to learn the reasons. Might natural them is, to admire frugality. It is by the exercise philosophy therefore be made their pastime in of this virtue alone, they can ever expect to be use- school, by this means it would in college become ful members of society. It is true, lectures con- their amusement. tinually repeated upon this subject may make some In several of the machines now in use, there boys, when they grow up, run into an extreme, would be ample tield both for instruction and and become misers; but it were well, had we more amusement : the different sorts of the phosphorus, misers than we have among us. I know few the artificial pyrites, magnetism, electricity, the escharacters more useful in society; for a man's periments upon the rarefaction and weight of the having a larger or smaller share of money lying air, and those upon elastic bodies, might employ useless by him no way injures the commonwealth; their idle hours, and none should be called from since, should every miser now exhaust his stores, play to see such experiments but such as thought this might make gold more plenty, but it would not proper. At first then it would be sufficient if the increase the commoditics or pleasures of life; they instruments, and the effects of their combination, would still remain as they are at present: it mat- were only shown; the causes should be deferred to ters not, therefore, whether men are misers or not, a maturer age, or to those times when natural curiif they be only frugal, laborious, and fill the station osity prompts us to discover the wonders of nature. they have chosen. If they deny themselves the Man is placed in this world as a spectator; when necessaries of life, society is no way injured by their he is tired with wondering at all the novelties about folly.
him, and not till then, does he desire to be made Instead, therefore, of romances, which praise acquainted with the causes that create those wonyoung men of spirit, who go through a variety of ders. adventures, and at last conclude a life of dissipa- What I have observed with regard to natural tion, folly, and extravagance, in riches and matri- philosophy, I would extend to every other science mony, there should be some men of wit employed whatsoever. We should teach them as many of to compose books that might equally interest the the facts as were possible, and defer the causes tinpassions of our youth; where such a one might be til they seemed of themselves desirous of knowing praised for having resisted allurements when young, them. A mind thus leaving school stored with all and how he at last became lord mayor; how he the simple experiences of science, would be the was married to a lady of great sense, fortune, and fittest in the world for the college course; and beauty : to be as explicit as possible, the old story though such a youth might not appear so bright, of Whittington, were his cat left out, might be or so talkative, as those who had learned the real more serviceable to the tender mind, than either principles and causes of some of the sciences, yet Tom Joncs, Joseph Andrews, or a hundred others, he would make a wiser man, and would retain a where frugality is the only good quality the hero more lasting passion for letters, than he who was is not possessed of. Were our schoolmasters, if early burdened with the disagreeable institution of any of them had sense enough to draw up such a effect and cause. work, thus employed, it would be much more In history, such stories alone should be laid be serviceable to their pupils than all the grammars fore them as might catch the imagination : instead and dictionaries they may publish these ten years. of this, they are too frequently obliged to toilthrough
Children should early be instructed in the arts, the four empires, as they are called, where their from which they would afterwards draw the great- memories are burdened by a number of disgusting est advantages. When the wonders of nature are names, that destroy all their future relish for our
best historians, who may be termed the truest find me once moro addressing schoolmasters on the teachers of wisdom.
present method of teaching the learned languages, Every species of flattery should be carefully which is commonly by literal translations. I would avoided; a boy, who happens to say a sprightly ask such, if they were to travel a journey, whether thing, is generally applauded so much, that he hap- those parts of the road in which they found the pens to continue a coxcomb sometimes all his life greatest difficulties would not be most strongly reafter. He is reputed a wit at fourteen, and be membered? Boys who, if I may continue the alcomes a blockhead at twenty. Nurses, footmen, lusion, gallop through one of the ancients with the and such, should therefore be driven away as much assistance of a translation, can have but a very as possible. I was even going to add, that the slight acquaintance either with the author or his mother herself should stifle her pleasure, or her language. It is by the exercise of the mind alone vanity, when little master happens to say a good that a language is learned; but a literal translation or smart thing. Those modest lubberly boys who on the opposite page leaves no exercise for the seem to want spirit, generally go through their memory at all. The boy will not be at the fatigue business with more ease to themselves, and more of remembering, when his doubts are at once satissatisfaction to their instructors.
fied by a glance of the eye; whereas, were every There has of late a gentleman appeared, who word to be sought from a dietionary, the learner thinks the study of rhetoric essential to a perfect would atttempt to remember, in order to save him education. That bold male eloquence, which often the trouble of looking out for it for the future. without pleasing convinces, is generally destroyed To continue in the same pedantic strain, though by such institutions. Convincing eloquence, how- no schoolmaster, of all the various grammars now ever, is infinitely more serviceable to its possessor taught in the schools about town, I would recomthan the most florid harangue or the most pathetic mend only the old common one; I have forgot tones that can be imagined; and the man who is whether Lily's, or an emendation of him. The thoroughly convinced himself, who understands his others may be improvements; but such improvesubject, and the language he speaks in, will be ments seem to me only mere grammatical niceties, more apt to silence opposition, than he who studies no way influencing the learner, but perhaps loadthe force of his periods, and fills our ears with ing him with trifling subtleties, which at a proper sounds, while our minds are destitute of convic- age he must be at some pains to forget. tion.
Whatever pains a master may take to make the It was reckoned the fault of the orators at the learning of the languages agreeable to his pupil, he decline of the Roman empire, when they had been may depend upon it, it will be at first extremely long instructed by rhetoricians, that their periods unpleasant.* The rudiments of every language, were so harmonious, as that they could be sung as therefore, must be given as a task, not as an amusewell as spoken. What a ridiculous figure must ment. Attempting to deceive children into inone of these gentlemen cut, thus measuring syl- struction of this kind, is only deceiving ourselves; lables, and weighing words, when he should plead and I know no passion capable of conquering a the cause of his client! Two architects were once child's natural laziness but fear. Solomon has said candidates for the building a certain temple at it before me; nor is there any more certain, though Athens; the first harangued the crowd very learn- perhaps more disagreeable truth, than the proverb edly upon the different orders of architecture, and in verse, too well known to repeat on the present showed them in what manner the temple should occasion. It is very probable that parents are told be built; the other, who got up to speak after him, of some masters who never use the rod, and conseonly observed, that what his brother had spoken quently are thought the properest instructors for he could do; and thus he at once gained his cause. their children; but though tenderness is a requisite
To teach men to be orators, is little less than to quality in an instructor, yet there is too often the teach them to be poets; and, for my part, I should truest tenderness in well-timed correction. have too great a regard for my child, to wish him Some have justly observed, that all passion a manor only in a bookseller's shop.
should be banished on this terrible occasion; but, I Another passion which the present age is apt to know not how, there is a frailty attending human run into, is to make children learn all things; the nature, that few masters are able to keep their languages, the sciences, music, the exercises, and temper whilst they correct. I knew a good-naturpainting. Thus the child soon becomes a talker ed man, who was sensible of his own weakness in in all, but a master in none. He thus acquires a this respect, and consequently had recourse to the superficial fondness for every 'thing, and only following expedient to prevent his passions from beshows his ignorance when he attempts to exhibit ing engaged, yet at the same time administer jus
tice with impartiality. Whenever any of his puAs I deliver my thoughts without method or pils committed a fault, he summoned a jury of his connexion, so the reader must not be surprised to peers, I mean of the boys of his own or the next
classes to him; his accusers stood forth; he had a who find satisfaction in such acclamations, made liberty of pleading in his own defence, and one or worse by it; and history has too frequently taught two more had a liberty of pleading against him: me, that the head which has grown this day gdy when found guilty by the panel, he was consigned with the roar of the million, has the very next been to the footman who attended in the house, who had fixed upon a pole. previous orders to punish, but with lenity. By As Alexander VI. was entering a little town in this means the master took off the odium of pun- the neighbourhood of Rome, which had been just ishment from himself; and the footman, between evacuated by the enemy, he perceived the townsmen whom and the boys there could not be even the busy in the market-place in pulling down from a slightest intimacy, was placed in such a light as to gibbet a figure, which had been designed to reprebe shunned by every boy in the school.* sent himself. There were also some knocking down
And now I have gone thus far, perhaps you will a neighbouring statue of one of the Orsini family, think me some pedagogue, willing, by a well-timed with whom he was at war, in order to put Alexanpuff, to increase the reputation of his own school; der's effigy, when taken down, in its place. It is posbut such is not the case. The regard I have forsible a man who knew less of the world would have society, for those tender minds who are the objects condemned the adulation of those bare-faced flatof the present essay, is the only motive I have for terers; but Alexander seemed pleased at their offering those thoughts, calculated not to surprise zeal, and turning to Borgia his son, said with a by their novelty, or the elegance of composition, but smile, Vides, mi fili, quam lere discrimen patidamerely to remedy some defects which have crept lum inter et statuam. “You see, my son, the into the present system of school-education. If small difference between a gibbet and a statue." this letter should be inserted, perhaps I may trouble If the great could be taught any lesson, this might you in my next with some thoughts upon a uni- serve to teach them upon how weak a foundation versity education, not with an intent to exhaust their glory stands, which is built upon popular apthe subject, but to amend some few abuses. I am, plause, for as such praise what seems like merit, etc,
they as quickly condemn what has only the appearance of guilt.
Popular glory is a perfect coquette; her lovers ON THE INSTABILITY OF WORLDLY must toil
, feel every inquietude, indulge every caGRANDEUR.
price, and perhaps at last be jilted into the bargain.
True glory, on the other hand, resembles a woman An alehouse-keeper near Islington, who had of sense; her admirers must play no tricks; they long lived at the sign of the French King, upon feel no great anxiety; for they are sure in the end the commencement of the last war with France of being rewarded in proportion to their merit. pulled down his old sign, and put up the Queen When Swift used to appear in public, he generalof Hungary. Under the influence of her red face ly had the mob shouting in his train. “Por tako and golden sceptre, he continued to sell ale till she these fools," he would say, " how much joy might was no longer the favourite of his customers; he all this bawling give my Lord Mayor!" changed her, therefore, some time ago, for the We have seen those virtues which have, while King of Prussia, who may probably be changed in living, retired from the public eye, generally transturn for the next great man that shall be set up for mitted to posterity as the truest objects of admiravulgar admiration.
tion and praise. Perhaps the character of the late Our publican in this imitates the great exactly, Duke of Marlborough may one day be set up, even who deal out their figures one after the other to above that of his more talked-of predecessor; since the gaping crowd beneath them. When we have an assemblage of all the mild and amiable virtues sufficiently wondered at one, that is taken in, and is far superior to those vulgarly called the great another exhibited in its room, which seldom holds ones. I must be pardoned for this short tribute to its station long; for the mob are ever pleased with the memory of a man, who, while living, would as variety.
much detest to receive any thing that wore the ap I must own I have such an indifferent opinion pearance of fattery, as I should to offer it. of the vulgar, that I am ever led to suspect that I know not how to turn so trite a subject out of merit which raises their shout; at least I am cer- the beaten road of common-place, except by illustain to find those great, and sometimes good, men, trating it, rather by the assistance of my memory
than my judgment, and instead of making reflecThis dissertation was thus far introduced into the volume tions, by telling a story. of Essays, afterwards published by Dr. Goldsmith, with the A Chinese, who had long studied the works following observation: " This treatise was published before Rousseau's Emilius:
of Confucius, who knew the characters of fourteen If there be a similitude in any one instance, it is hoped the au. thousand words, and could read a great part of thor of the present essay will not be termed a plagiarist," every book that came in his way, once took it into
his head to travel into Europe, and observe the customs of a people whom he thought not very SOME ACCOUNT OF THE ACADE. much inferior even to his own countrymen, in the
MIES OF ITALY. arts of refining upon every pleasure. Upon his arrivalat Amsterdam, his passion for letters naturally
There is not, perhaps, a country in Europe, in led him to a bookseller's shop; and, as he could which learning is so fast upon the decline as in speak a little Dutch, he civilly asked the bookseller Italy ; yet not one in which there are such a numfor the works of the immortal lixofou. The book- ber of academies instituted for its support. There is seller assured him he had never heard the book scarcely a considerable town in the whole country, mentioned before. “What! have you never heard which has not one ortwo institutions of this naof that immortal poet ?" returned the other, much ture, where the learned, as they are pleased to call surprised ; that light of the eyes, that favourite of themselves, meet to harangue, to compliment each kings, that rose of perfection! I suppose you other, and praise the utility of their institution. know nothing of the immortal Fipsihihi, second Jarchius has taken the trouble to give us a list cousin to the moon ?”_"Nothing at all, indeed, of those clubs or academies, which amount to five sir," returned the other. “Alas !" cries our tra- hundred and fifty, each distinguished by somewhat veller, " to what purpose, then, has one of these whimsical in the name. The academies of Bo fasted to death, and the other offered himself up as logna, for instance, are divided into the Abbandosacrifice to the Tartarean enemy, to gain a renown nati, the Ausiosi, Ociosio, Arcadi, Confusi, Dubbiwhich has never travelled beyond the precincts of osi, etc. There are few of these who have not China !""*
published their transactions, and scarcely a member There is scarcely a village in Europe, and not who is not looked upon as the most famous man in one university, that is not thus furnished with its the world, at home. little great men. The head of a petty corporation, Of all those societies, I know of none whose who opposes the designs of a prince who would works are worth being known out of the precincts tyrannically force his subjects to save their best of the city in which they were written, except the clothes for Sundays; the puny pedant who finds Cicalata Academia (or, as we might express it, one undiscovered property in the polype, describes the Tickling Society) of Florence. I have just an unheeded process in the skeleton of a mole, and now before me a manuscript oration, spoken by the whose mind, like his microscope, perceives nature late Tomaso Crudeli at that society, which will at only in detail; the rhymer who makes smooth once serve to give a better picture of the manner verses, and paints to our imagination when he in which men of wit amuse themselves in that should only speak to our hearts; all equally fancy country, than any thing I could say upon the occathemselves walking forward to immortality, and sion. The oration is this : desire the crowd behind them to look on. The “The younger the nymph, my dear companions, crowd takes them at their word. · Patriot, philoso- the more happy the lover. From fourteen to sevenpher, and poet, are shouted in their train. Where teen, you are sure of finding love for love ; from was there ever so much merit seen ? no times so seventeen to twenty-one, there is always a mixture important as our own! ages yet unborn shall gaze of interest and affection. But when that period is with wonder and applause ! To such music the past
, no longer expect to receive, but to buy : no important pygmy moves forward, bustling and longer expect a nymph who gives, but who sells swelling, and aptly compared to a puddle in a her favours. At this age, every glance is taught its storm.
duty; not, a look, not a sigh without design ; the I have lived to see generals, who once had crowds lady, like a skilful warrior, aims at the heart of hallooing after them wherever they went, who another, while she shields her own from danger. were bepraised by newspapers and magazines, “On the contrary, at fifteen you may expect those echoes of the voice of the vulgar, and yet they nothing but simplicity, innocence, and nature. have long sunk into merited obscurity, with scarce- The passions are then sincere; the soul seems ly even an epitaph left to flatter. A few years ago, seated in the lips; the dear object feels present hapthe herring fishery employed all Grub-street ; it piness, without being anxious for the future ; her was the topic in every coffee-house, and the burden eyes brighten if her lover approaches; her smiles of every ballad. We were to drag up oceans of are borrowed from the Graces, and her very misgold from the bottom of the sea ; we were to sup- takes seem to complete her desires. ply all Europe with herrings upon our own terms. “Lucretia was just sixteen. The rose and lily At present we hear no more of all this. We took possession of her face, and her besom, by its have fished up very little gold that I can learn ; nor hue and its coldness, seemed covered with snow. do we furnish the world with herrings as was ex- So much beauty and so much virtue seldom want pected. Let us wait but a few years longer, and admirers. Orlandino, a youth of sense and merit, we shall find all our expoctations a herring fishery. I was among the number. He had long languished