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custom, not of law; and practice, therefore, not theory, should communicate it. “ And I fain would have any one name to me that tongue that any one can learn, or speak as he should do, by the rules of grammar. Languages were made not by rules or art, but by accident, and the common use of the people. And he that speaks them well has no other rule but that; nor anything to trust to, but his memory, and the habit of speaking after the fashion learned from those that are allowed to speak properly, which, in other words, is only to speak by rote." It is not intended by this that books of grammar have no use ; but that they may be very well dispensed with by all ordinary learners, who merely seek the common advantages and pleasures which a
new language holds out. The science of grammar is for those to study who are led to contemplate the philosophy of language, or who desire to be critics, and make literature their occupation. If then a tutor cannot be had who is able to teach Latin by oral practice, the second best method is by interlineation, or writing under each word in the Latin its corresponding English, with as much literality of translation as possible. In this method, some previous acquaintance with the conjugations and declensions will be necessary to supply the place of vivâ voce example. But, indeed, so little need these difficulties frighten any one, that any mother, who chooses, may undertake the Latin herself, if she will only get some one to mark the penultimate for her in words of more than one syllable, and then make the child read with her, in the Latin, the Evangelists, which she can hardly help understanding; and so on with other easy books. It is not generally advisable to teach by catechising, which is apt to lead to irritation, usually discomposing and alarming the pupil; copious information and ready helps, on the contrary, impart cheerfulness and keep up attention. Whenever trepidation is produced in the child, and his thoughts have received disturbance from without, no further instruction can do any good :—“ It is as impossible to draw fair and regular characters on a trembling mind, as on a shaking
As the mere acquirement of words possesses no attraction for a child, let his Latin be made the medium of some entertaining knowledge. But if, after all, he is to be sent to a public school, insist upon it that he shall not waste his time at themes and verses. The former are ordinarily given on subjects with which it is impossible the boy should have any acquaintance; but if he had, what chance is there of his arranging his thoughts to any purpose, while writing, or attempting to write, in an ancient language, where all the labour is how to make his words hang together? As to verses, if he has no genius for poetry, they can do him no good; and if he has, it is so dangerous and precarious a gift, that no father, who wishes to see his son happily settled in life, can desire that it should be cherished. The committing long passages to memory is another practice at schools much to be denounced. A good memory is not to be acquired; that which interests the feelings is easily retained in the mind, but a heap of Latin or Greek lines is not worth the pains it costs to remember it, and may make a pedant though it cannot make a scholar. But though this parrot-like repetition of long passages can further no good object, there are many opportunities of tasking the memory with real advantage. Children should every day have some moral sentiment—some fine sayingsome admirable proverb-given them, to learn off, which may not merely exercise the memory, but also afford food for reflection. “ It will oblige them often to turn their thoughts inwards, than which you cannot wish them a better intellectual habit.”
Of the other branches of education, that which should have precedence of the rest is geography; for this is less irksome and more pleasing and various than the others, and children are seldom seen to set themselves with reluctance to it. Arithmetic comes next, and may be considered a sort of introduction to logic; it should first be made to wait on geography, and recommend itself by its utility in solving questions in connection with the globe, in exhibiting the longitudes and latitudes, and in helping to find places on the map. It will then come to be applied to the celestial globe, and so lead to the study of astronomy. If there are several children, there is no better way of fixing things in the inemory than, when one has learnt something, to make him teach it to the others, which the distinction attending the act will always cause bim to be eager to do. For geometry, the six first books of Euclid will be enough to learn ; if any child possesses a genius for the study, thus much will be sure to discover it, and will enable him to accomplish the rest by himself. With geography, chronology and history ought to be combined. The Roman historians should be the first classical authors put into the hands of boys, beginning with the easiest, such as Justin, Eutropius, Quintus Curtius, &c. For a course of ethics, after the Bible, Cicero's Offices should be well perused, to which may be added Puffendorf de officio Hominis et Civis, and Grotius de Jure Belli et Pacis, or the de Jure naturali et Gentium of the preceding writer. Such works as these cannot be too frequently in the hands of one who desires to perfect himself in the niost necessary parts of knowledge. But above all he should never be content without acquiring a thorough insight into the nature of the constitution, and the history and laws of his own country, which it will be equally needful for him to have, whether he remains in a private station, or seeks to fulfil the duties of a magistrate, or aspires to ministerial honours. Without such knowledge, he cannot perform the part even of a private English gentleman with the dignity or justice proper to the character. Both rhetoric and logic may be useful, if properly pursued; but the logic of the schools, instead of leading to any advantageous employment of the reason, only sets the mind on quibbles and sophisms that perplex, not elucidate, the truth ; it also teaches a disingenuous habit of trickery and evasion, a love of argumentation for its own sake, and a desire to triumph in words, whatever becomes of sense or propriety. Chillingworth may be read with advantage in connection with this department of knowledge. The art of extemporaneous speaking is of great importance, and should be begun early, children being encouraged to relate stories which they have read, and to give an account of what they know or have seen. The usual faults of stammering and ungraceful speaking are entirely owing to neglect in education, for no nation surpasses England in the charms of eloquence when her public men choose to exercise that art. As soon as a boy can read Latin with tolerable ease, he should study the writings of Cicero, and consider the rules of speech which are given in the first book de Inventione, g 20. For the attainment of an easy and polished style of letter-writing, the same author's Epistles, and those of Voiture in the French, may be given him.
How little study without practice can avail to give a man conversational ease or excellence in writing, will appear when we compare the cases of a learned country schoolmaster and a well-bred lady. Latin and Greek are to be desired in moderation ; but for one who has no intention of devoting himself to a life of literature and criticism, but has to inake his way in the world by the force of his general qualifications, the cultivation of his own language is of far greater moment; and we should imitate the Romans in this, who made the Latin language, though it was their mother tongue, a separate and particular article of study. Natural philosophy can never be made a science, and it is in vain to hope to reap any solid additions to our present state of knowledge from metaphysical researches; but as an enlargement of the mind and a means of elevating it to the contemplation of great moral truths, natural philosophy should be studied at all times, the Bible being to be considered as the first step to it. To promote this object, a history of the Bible for young people, with an epitome of the same for children of the earliest reading age, should be made. And it will be well if knowledge of this spiritual kind be made always to precede that other department of philosophy which concerns physics ; for this reason, that material nature is so obvious to the senses, and so easily engrosses the understanding, that it is calculated to indispose the mind for the reception of spiritual ideas, if it be not early anticipated by them. And certainly without more than mere matter can suggest to us, it is impossible to