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As to science, on another occasion, I heard him dispute (in such a manner as surprised me) upon the motions of the heavenly bodies, the distance, magnitude, revolutions, and especially the influences of the planets, the nature and probable revolutions of comets, the excellency of the new philosophy, and the like; but this man was no scholar.
In geography and history he had all the world at his fingers' ends. He talked of the most distant countries with an inimitable exactness; and changing from one place to another, the company thought of every place or country he named that certainly be must have been born there. He knew not only where everything was, but what everybody did in every part of the world; I mean what business, what trade, what manufacture was carrying on in every part of the world, and had the history of almost all the nations of the world in his head,-yet this man was no scholar.
This put me upon wondering, even so long ago, what this strange thing called a man of learning was, and what is it that constitutes a scholar? For, said I, here's a man speaks five languages, and reads the sixth, is a master of astronomy, geography, history, and abundance of other useful knowledge, (which I do not mention, that you may not guess at the man, who is too modest to desire it,) and yet, they say, this man is no scholar.' What then will become of me, said I, who know nothing but a little mere Greek and Latin? What must I do to preserve the name of a scholar, for such I pass for now; but certainly must quickly forget and disown it, nay the very name of it, if such as these pass for men of no learning?
But mocting with a brisk, pretty fellow, at White's Chocolate House, the other day, whom I took to be a little in my class, for we had studied, that is, fooled a little time away together, at the University formerly, and as I thought were classic dunces together; I say, meeting with him one day, I made my grievance known to him, and asked him what I must do.
"Phoo!" says he, you are all wrong, and the thing is right; the fellow you speak of, was a mere blockhead, for as the world has a different taste of learning now from what it had in former days, so if you will pass for a scholar you must take up a new method."
In a subsequent number (Nov. 6) he illustrates what Learning is by the character of a Pedant:
In ray lost, I gave you an example of a person within the compass of my own knowledgo, who could speak five languages, and could read six, who was a master of science, who discoursed of the stars and the regions above as if he had been born there, who had the history of the world all in his head, the geography of it at his fingers' ends, and understood the interests of all nations as if he had lived among them; but all this would not reach it, this man would by no means pass for a scholar.
I went soine years under the amusement of this cramp question, who was a scholar? When, after some time, I had occasion to put my son to a grammar school, and inquiring after a proper person, I had a friend, who hearing of it recom:nended a man to me; and among all the rest of his qualifications, he told me he was a great man, a profound scholar, that he had been eight years fellow of a college in Cambridge, that he had written a book upon the pointings of the Hebrew, and had made some learned amendments to the Greek Grammar; that he spoke the Latin better than the English; and, in short, ho was known and valued for a man of extraordinary learning. Upon which you may be sure I put my son to school to him most readily.
Having committed my son to his care for erudition, I had frequent occasions to converse with this great scholar; and, as near as I can, you shall have his just character,
He was, in tho first place, of a sour, cynical, surly, retired temper; this I suppose, though some of it came from mere nature, yet had grown upon him by time, being the consequence of poring upon his book.
'In the next place, if he performed anything as a scholar, it came from him by the violent labor of his head, violent mortifying application, and with not only twice the labor, but twice the time that other men ordinarily took for such things.
At the same timo that he was a critic in the Greek and Hebrew, he hardly could, or at least did not, spell his mother tongue, English.
His style was all rough laconics, thronged with colons and full-points; and he seldom made his paragraphs above a line and a half.
He was in Orders, and sometimes read a sermon or two; but preached away all his hearers, not being able to suit his discourse to his auditory: Ho mado his ord'nary sermons the same as if he had been to preach ad clerum, or to the heads of the University.
Writing a letter to me once upon a disaster which had befallen one of his scholars, he wrote that there was a sad accidence fallen out in his school; and when I showed it him, and would have mentioned it as a mistake of his pen, he began to be warm, would needs justify the orthography of it, and began to talk of the etymology and derivation of the words.
He knew no mors of the world abroad than if he had never seen a map, or read the least description of things. He could give no more account of Africa or Arnerica than if they had never been discovered; only, that he know St. Cyprian and St. Augustine, but not whereabouts they lived, or whether Africa was divided from America by water or by land.
He understood not a word of French, Dutch, Spanish, or Italian. He had read the Roman histories, and the Church histories, and had the names of all the great cities and kingdoms in the Grecian, Persian, and Assyrian Monarchies by heart; but could not tell in what part of the globe they were to be found.
He had Horace and Virgil in his head, and was as good as an index verborum to Juvenal and Persius. As for the Bible, give him his due, he was a walking Concordance, and had a local memory for chapter and verse; but when he preached, he was all exposition, without either inference or application.
Take him among his books, everything that was ancient, crabbed, and critical, suited; everything modern, smooth, eloquent, and polite, provoked him to wrath. Ho had learning enough to find fault, but not good humor enough to m nd; he liked nothing, and nothing he performed could be liked. His mere learning must be buried with him, for 'tis like a great crowd pressing out at a little door: not being able to come out all at once, it cannot come at all.
In a word, he knows letters, and perhaps could read half the Polyglot Bible, but knows nothing of the world, - bas neither read men nor things; and this, they say, is a scholar. Why, then, that SCHOLAR IS A LEARNED FOOL.
DEFOL'S ESSAY UPON PROJECTS, This Essay of Defoo was the first work of his publication which attained the dignity of a volume—"An Essay upon Projects. London. Printed by R. R. for Thomas Cockerill, at the corner of Warwick Lane, near Paternoster Row. 1697.” It consists of 350 pages, and might rather be called a series of Essays upon important public improvements suggested by the author. After an Introduction, and a short History of Projects and Projectors, the first scheme he recommends is a Royal or National Bank, with affiliated Provincial Establishments. The next relates to Public Highways, and their improvement in construction, repair, and management. Then follows a proposa of Assurances, under which he includes insuranco against shipwreck, fires, titles of lands, etc., but singularly says, he cannot admire insuring of life. In recommending friendly societies, which, he says, “is in short a number of people entering into a mutual compact to help one another, in case any disaster or distress fall upon them,” ho has many excellent suggestions, showing that the principle admits of great extension; instancing assistance of seaman, and support of destitute widows. He then proposes a pension office in every county, for the reception of deposits from the poor for their relief in sickness and old age; this was an anticipation of the modern institution of Savings Banks, combined with the still more recent provision for conversion into annuities. Under the head “Of Fools," he urges the croction of an institution for the caro and maintenance of idiots; whom he calls "a particular rentcharge on the great family of mankind.” For the benefit of trade, and honest but unfortunate traders, ho next projects a commission of enquiry into bankruptcy. In the true spirit of improvement, our author suggests the formation of Academies to supply somo neglected branches of education. One of these was the refinement and correction of the English language, and suppression of profane swearing and vulgarisms. Another important recommendation, that he esteemed tho most noble and useful in his book, was an academy for military studies. Suyplementary thereto, he proposes an academy for military exercisos. Under this head he has also a project for an academy for women. The last schems in the series is one for the registration of all the seamen of the United Kingdom; which was attempted soon after by Act of Parliament.
We have in England fewer of these than in any part of the world, at least where learning is in so much esteem. But to make amends, the two great seminaries we have are without comparison the greatest, I won't say the best, in the world; and though much might be said here concerning Universities in general, and Foreign Academies in particular, I content myself with noting that part in which we seem defective
An Academy of English Philology. The French, who justly value themselves upon erecting the most celebrated academy of Europe, owe the lustre of it very much to the great encouragement the kings of France have given to it. And one of the members making a speech at his entrance, tells you, That 'tis not the least of the glories of their Invincible Monarch, lo have engrossed all the learning of the world in that sublime body.
The peculiar study of the Academy of Paris has been to refine and correct their own language; which they have done to that happy degree that we see it now spoken in all the courts of Christendom, as the language allowed to be most universal.
I had the honor once to be a member of a small society, who seemed to offer at this noble design in England. But the greatness of the work, and the modesty of the gentlemen concerned, prevailed with them to desist an enterprise which appearcd too great for private hands to undertake. We want indeed a Richlieu to commence such a work: for I am persuaded, were there such a genius in our kingdom to lead the way, there would not want capacities who could carry on the work to a glory equal to all that has gone before them. The English tongue is a subject not at all less worthy the labor of such a society than the French, and capable of a much greater perfection. The learned among the French will own, that the comprenensiveness of expression is a glory in which the English tongue not only equals but excels its roighbors; Rapin, St. Evremont, and the most eminent French authors have acknowledged it: And my Lord Roscommon, who is allowed to be a good judgo of English, because he wrote it as exactly as any ever did, expresses what I mean in these lines:
For who did crer in French acthors see
Drawu to Freich wire would thrJugh whole p ges shi e.' The work of this society should be to encourage polite learning, to polish and refine the English tongue, and advance the so-much-neglected faculty of correct language; also to establish purity and propriety of style, and to purge it from all the irregular additions that ignorance and affectation have introduced; and from all those innovations of speech, if I may call them such, which some dogmatic writers gave the confidence to foster upon their native language, as if their authority were sufficient to make their own fancy legitimate.
Into this society should be admitted none but persons eminent for learning, and yet none, or but very few, whose business or trade was learning; for I may be allowed, I suppose, to say, We have seen many great scholars, mere learned men, and graduates in the last degree of study, whose English has been far from polite, full of stiffress and affectation, hard words, and long unusual coupling of syllables and sentences, which sound harsh and untunable to the ear, and shock the reader both in expression and understanding.
In his plan of operations, Defoe includes the extirpation of the absurd and unprofitable practice of swearing-by force of example. 'If the gentlemen of England would drop this most nonsensical as well as vicious practice, it would soon grow odious and out of fashion-for there is neither pleasure or profit in it.'
MILITARY ACADEMY. 'I allow that war is the best academy in the world, where men study by necessity, and practice by force, and both to some purpose, with duty in the action, and a reward in the end; and 'tis evident to any man who knows the world, or has made any observations on things, what an improvement the English nation has made during this Seven Years' War.
‘But should you ask how dear it first cost, and what a condition England was in for a war at first on this account; how almost all our engineers and great officers were foreigners, it may put us in mind how necessary it is to have our people so practised in the arts of war that they may not be novices when they come to the experiment.'
"Men are not born with muskets on their shoulders, nor fortifications in their heads; neither is it natural to shoot bombs and undermine towns. As long as nations will continue war they should be prepared to enter upon it with effect. For this purpose the people should be trained to it in time of peace.' 'Ships are ready, and our trade keeps the seamen always taught, and breeds up more; but soldiers, horsemen, engineers, gunners, and the like, must bo bred and taught.'
He fixes upon Chelsea College as a suitable situation for his Academy, of which the King should be the founder, the expense to be borne by the public out of the annual revenue to be granted by the crown. He then enumerates the studies, and recommends that the hours of recreation should be filled up by manly exercises. As a substitute for effeminate amusements, he urges upon youth in general the practice of shooting at a mark and of swimming, as not only conducive to health, but of other utilities, personal and national
*And that the whole kingdom might in soms degree be better qualified for service, I think the following project would be very useful. When our military weapon was the long-bou, at which our English nation in some measure excelled the whole world, the meanest countryman was a good archer; and that which qualified them so much for service in the war, was their diversion in times of peace; which also had this good effect. That when an army was to be raised, they needed no disciplining; and for the encouragement of the people to an exercise so publicly profitable, an act of Parliament was made to oblige every parish to maintain buts for the youth in the country to shoot at.
'Since our way of fighting is now altered, and this destructive engine, the musket, is the proper arms for the soldier, I could wish the diversion also of the English would change too, that our pleasures and profit might correspond. 'Tis a great hindrance to this nation, especially where standing armies are a grievance, that if ever a war commence, men must have at least a year before they are thought fit to face an enemy, to instruct them how to handle their arms, and new-raised men are called raw soldiers. To help this, at least in some measure, I would propose, that the public exercises of our youth should by some public encouragement (for penalties won't do it) be drawn off from the foolish boyish sports of cocking, and cricketing, and from tipling, to shooting with a firelock; an exercise as pleasant as 'tis manly and generous; and swimming, which is a thing so many ways profitable, besides its being a great preservative of health, that methinks no mun ought to be without it. Our country gentlemen should establish annual shooting matches, for their respective towns and neighborhoods, which would set all the young men in Eagland a shooting, and make marksmen of them, and the advantage would be seen in the execution done by the first batallion composed of such recruits in our next war.'
ACADEMY FOR WOMEN. "We reproach the sex every day with folly and impertinence, while I am confident had they the advantages of education equal to us, they would be guilty of less than ourselves.' He complains that the women of his time were taught merely the mechanical parts of knowledge-such as reading, writing, and sewing-instead of being exalted into rational companions; and he argues that men in the same class of society would cut a sorry figure if their education were to be equally neglected.'
The soul is placed in the body like a rough diamond, and must be polished, or the lustre of it will never appear. And it is manifest, that as the rational soul distinguishes us from brutes, so education carries on the distinction, and makes some less brutish than others. Why, then, should women be denied the benefit of instruction? If knowledge and understanding had been useless additions to the sex, God would never have given them capacities, for He mado nothing needless.' What has woman done to forfeit the privilege of being taught? Does she plague us with her pride and impertinence? Why do we not let her learn, that she may have more wit? Shall we upbraid woman with folly, when it is only the error of this inhuman custom that hinders her being made wiser?
Women, in my observation of them, have little or no difference, but as they are or are not distinguished by education. Tempers, indeed, may in some degree influence them, but the main distinguishing part is their breeding. If a woman be well-bred, and taught the proper management of her natural wit, she proves generally very sensible and retentive; and, without partiality, a woman of sense and manners is the finest and most delicate part of God's creation, the glory of her Maker, and the great instance of His singular regard to man, to whom He gave the best gift either God could bestow or man receive; and it is the sordidest piece of folly and ingratitude in the world to withhold from the sex the due lustre which the advantages of education give to the natural beauty of their minds. A woman, well-bred and well-taught, furnished with the additional accomplishments of knowledge and behavior, is a creature without comparison. Her society is the emblem of sublimer enjoyments; she is all softness and sweetness, love, wit, and delight; she is every way suitable to the sublimest wish; and the man that has such a one to his portion has nothing to do but to rejoice in her and be thankful. I cannot think that God ever made them so delicate, so glorious creatures, and furnished them with such charms, so agreeable and delightful to mankind, with souls capable of the same enjoyments as men, and all to be only stewards of our homes, cooks and slaves.
The persons who enter (one of the Houses, of which there should be at least one in each county, and ten in London) should be taught all sorts of breeding suitable to both their genius and their quality; and in particular music and dancing, which it would be cruelty to bar the sex of, because they are their darlings: but besides this, they should be taught French and Italian, and I would venture the injury of giving a woman more tongues than one.
They should, as a particular study, be taught all the graces of speech, and all the necessary air of conversation; which our common education is so defective in, that I need not expose it; they should be brought to read books, and especially history, and so to read as to make them understand the world, and be able to know and judge of things when they hear of them.
To such whose genius would lead them to it, I would deny no sort of learning; but the chief thing in general is to cultivate the understandings of the sex, that they may be capable of all sorts of conversation; that their parts and judgments being improved, they may be as profitable in their conversation as they are pleasant.
In short, I would have men take women for companions, and educate them to be fit for it. A woman of sense and breeding will scorn as much to encroach upon the prerogative of the man, as a man of sense will scorn to oppress the weakness of the woman. But if the women's souls were refined and improved by teaching, that word would be lost; to say, The Weakness of the Sec, as to julgment, would be nonsense; for ignorance and folly would be no more to be found among women than men. I remember a passage which I heard from a very fine woman, who had wit and capacity enough, an extraordinary shape and face, and a great fortune, but had been cloistered up all her time, and for fear of being stolen had not had the liberty of being taught the common necessary knowledge of women's affairs; and when she came to converse in the world, her natural wit made her so sensible of the want of education, that she gave this short reflection on herself :
I am ashamed to talk with my very maids, for I don't know when they do right or wrong: I had more need to go to school, than be married.'