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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
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 undermins 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 be 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 t:19 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 man 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 England 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 Ho 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 aistingu 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 broeding 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 Ser, as to judgment, 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.'
The Conduct of Human Life. 1. Remember how often you have neglected the great duties of religion and virtue, and slighted the opportunities that Providence has put into your bands; and, withal, that you have a set period assigned you for the management of tho affairs of human life; and then reflect seriously that, unless you resolve immediately to improve the little remains, the wholo must necessarily slip away insensibly, and then you aro lost beyond recovery.
2. Let an unaffected gravity, freedom, justice, and sincerity, shine through all your actions, and let no fancies and chimeras give the least check to those excellent qualities. This is an easy task, if you will but suppose everything you do to be yonr last, and if you can keep your passions and appetites from crossing your reason. Stand clear of rashness, insincerity or self-love.
3. Manage all your thoughts and actions with such prudence and circumspection as if you were sensible you were just going to step into the grave. A little thinking will show a man the vanity and uncertainty of all sublunary things, and enable him to examine maturely the manner of dying; which, if duly abstracted from the terror of the idea, will appear nothing more than an unavoidable appendix of life itself, and a pure natural action.
4. Consider that ill-usage from some sort of people is in a manner necessary, and therefore do not be disquieted about it, but rather conclude that you and your enemy are both marching off the stage together, and that in a little time your very memories will be extinguished.
5. Among your principal observations upon human life, let it be always one to take notico what a great deal both on time and ease that man gains who is not troubled with the spirit of curiosity, who lets his neighbor's affairs alone, and only takes care of honesty and a good conscience.
6. If you would live at your ease, and as much as possible be free from the incumbrances of life, manage but a few things at once, and let those, too, be such as are absolutely necessary. By this rulo you will draw the bulk of your business into a narrow compass, and have the double pleasure of making your actions good, and few into the bargain.
7. He that torments himself because things do not happen just as he would have them, is but a sort of ulcer in the world; and he that is selfish, narrowsouled, and sets up for a separate interest, is a kind of voluntary outlaw.
8. Never think anything below you which reason and your own circumstances require, and never suffer yourself to be deterred by the ill-grounded notions of censure and reproach; but when honesty and conscience prompt you to say or do anything, do it boldly ; never balk your resolution.
9. If a man does me an injury, what is that to me? It is his own action, and let him account for it. As for me, I am in my proper station, and only doing the business that Providence has allotted; and withal, I ought to cousider that the best way to revenge, is not to imitate the injury.
10. When you happen to be ruffled and put out of humor by any cross accident, rotire immediately into your reason, and do not suffer your passion to overrule you a moment; for the sooner you recover yourself now, the better you will be able to guard yourself for the future.
11. Do not be like those ill-natured people that, though they do not love to give a good word to their contemporaries, yet are mighty fond of their own commendations. This argues a perverse and unjust temper.
12. If any one convinces you of an error, change your opinion and thank him for it; truth and information are your business, and can never hurt anybody. Oa the contrary, he that is proud and stubborn, and wilfully continues in a mistake, it is he that receives the mischief.
13. Because you see a tring difficult, do not instantly conclude it to be impossible to master it. Diligence and industry are seldom defeated. Look, therefore, narrowly into the thing itself, and what you observe proper and practicable in another, conclude likewise within your own power.
14. The principle business of human life is run through within the short compass of twenty-four hours; and when you have taken a deliberate view of the present age, you have seen as much as if you had begun with the world, the rest being nothing else but an endless round of the same thing.
15. Bring your will to your fate, and suit your mind to your circumstances. Love your friends and forgive your enemies, and do justice to all mankind, and you will be secure to make your passage easy, and enjoy most of the comforts that human life is capable to afford you.
16. When you have a mind to entertain yourself in your retirements, let it be with the good qualifications of your friends and acquaintance. Think with pleasure and satisfaction upon the honor and bravery of one, the modesty of another, the generosity of a third, and so on; there being nothing more pleasant and diverting than the lively images and the advantages of those we love.
17. As nothing can deprive you of the privileges of your nature, or compel you to act counter to your reason, so nothing can happen to you but what comes from Providence, and consists with the interest of the universe.
18. Let people's tongues and actions be what they will, your business is to have honor and honesty in your view, Let them rail, revile, censure, and condemn, or make you the subject of their scorn and ridicule, what does it all signify? You have one certain remedy against all their malice and folly, and that is, to live so that nobody shall believe them.
19. Alas, poor mortals ! did wa rightly consider our own stato and condition, we should find it would not be long before we have forgot all the world, and to be even, that all the world will have forgot us likewise.
20. He that would recommend himself to the public, let him do it by the candor and modesty of h's behavior, and by a generous indifference to external advantages. Let him love mankind, and resign to Providence, and then his works will follow him, and his good actions will praise him in the gate.
21. When you hear a discourse, let your understanding, as far as possible, keep pace with it, and lead you forward to those things which fall most within the compass of your own observations.
22. When vice and treachery shall be rewarded, and virtue and ability slighted and discountenanced; when Ministers of State shall rather fear man than God, and to screen themselves run into parties and factions; when noise and clamor, and scandalous reports shall carry everything before them, it is natural to conclude that a nation in such a state of infatuation stands upon the brink of destruction, and without the intervention of some unforeseen accidunt, must be inevitably ruined.
23. When a prince is guarded by wise and honest men, and when all public officers are sure to be rewarded if they do well, and punished if they do evil, the consequence is plain; justice and honesty will flourish, and men will be always contriving, not for themselves, but for their king and country.
24. Wicked men may sometimes go unpunished in this world, but wicked nations never do; because this world is the only place of punishment for wicked nations, though not for private and particular persons.
25. An administration that is merely founded upon human policy must be always subject to human chance; but that which is founded on the Divine wisdom can no more miscarry than the government of heaven. To govern by parties and factions is the advice of an atheist, and sets up a government by the spirit of Satan. In such a government the prince can never be secure under the greatest promises, since, as men's interest changes, so will their duty and affections likewise.
26. It is a very ancient observation, and a very true one, that people generally despise where they flatter, and cringe to those they design to betray; so that truth and ceremony are, and always will be, two distinct things.
27. When you find your friend in an error, undeceive him with secrecy and civility, and let him see his oversight first by hints and glances; and if you cannot convince him, leave him with respect, and lay the fault upon yourself.
28. When you are under the greatest vexations, then consider that human life lasts but for a moment; and do not forget but that you are like the rest of the world, and faulty yourself in many instances; and withal, remember that anger and impatience often prove more mischievous than the provocation.
29. Gentleness and good humor are invincible, provided they are without hypocrisy and design; they disarm the most barbarous and savage tempers, and make even malice ashamed of itself.
30. In all the actions of life let it be your first and principal care to guard against anger on the one hand, and flattery on the other, for they are both unserviceable qualities, and do a great deal of mischief in human life.
31. When a man turns knave or libertine, and gives way to fear, jealousy, and fits of the spleen; when his mind complains of his fortune, and he quits the station in which Providence has placed him, he acts perfectly counter to humanity, deserts his own nature, and, as it were, runs away from himself.
32. Be not heavy in business, disturbed in conversation, nor impertinent in your thoughts. Let your judgment be right, your actions friendly, and your mind contented; let them curse you, threaten you, or despise you; let them go on; they can never injure your reason or your virtue, and then all the rest that they can do to you signifies nothing.
33. The only pleasure of human life is doing the business of the creation; and which way is that to be compassed very easily? Most certainly by the practice of general kindness, by rejecting the importunity of our senses, by distinguishing truth from falsehood, and by contemplating the works of God.
34. Be sure to mind that which lies before you, whether it be thought, word, or action; and never postpone an opportunity, or make virtue wait.
35. Whatever tends neither to the improvement of your reason nor the benefit of society, think it below you; and when you have done any consider able service to mankind, do not lessen it by your folly in gaping after reputation and requital.
36. When you find yourself sleepy in a morning, rouse yourself, and consider that you are born to business, and that in doing good in your generation, you answer your character and act like a man; whereas sleep and idleness do but degrade you, and sink you down to a brute.
37. A mind that has nothing of hope, or fear, or aversion, or desire, to weaken and disturb it, is the most impregnable security. Hither we may with safety retire and defy our enemies; and he that secs not this advantage must be extremely ignorant, and he that forgets it unhappy.
33. Do not disturb yourself about the faults of other people; but let everybody's crimes b3 at their own door. Have always this great maxim in your remombrance, that to play the kuave is to rebel against religion.
39. Do not contemn death, bat mzet it with a decont and religious fortitude, and look upon it as one of those things which Providence has ordered. If you want a cordial to make the apprehensions of dying go down a little the more easily, consider what sort of world and what sort of company you will part with. To conclude, do but look seriously into the world, and there you will see multitudes of people preparing for funerals, and mourning for their friends and acquaintances; and look out again a little afterwards, and you will see others doing the very same thing for them. The Dumb Philosophcr. 1719.