« AnteriorContinua »
which, having very little to do with civil life, were yet formerly unknown to the most warlike nations; and seem to have added little of force or courage to those who have received them, unless we will think martial skill or prowess have been improved by duelling, with which fencing came into, and with which, I presume, it will go out of the world. 194. These are my present thoughts concerning learning and accomplish
The great business of all is virtue and wisdom.
* Nullum numen abest, si sit prudentia."
Teach him to get a mastery over his inclinations, and submit his appetite to
This being obtained, and by constant practice settled into habit, the hardest part of the task is over. To bring a young man to this, I know nothing which so much contributes, as the love of praise and commendation, which should, therefore, be instilled into him by all arts imaginable. Make his mind as sensible of credit and shame as may be: and when you have done that, you have put a principle into him, which will influence his actions, when you are not by; to which the fear of a little smart of a rod is not comparable, and which will be the proper stock, whereon afterwards to graft the true principles of morality and religion.
195. I have one thing more to add, which as soon as I mention, I shall run the danger of being suspected to have forgot what I am about, and what I have above written concerning education, all tending towards a gentleman's calling, with which a trade seems wholly to be inconsistent. And yet, I can not forbear to say, I would have him learn a trade, a manual trade; nay, two or three, but one more particularly.
196. The busy inclination of children being always to be directed to something that may be useful to them, the advantages proposed from what they are set about may be considered of two kinds; 1. Where the skill itself, that is got by exercise, is worth the having. Thus skill not only in languages, and learned sciences, but in painting, turning, gardening, tempering, and working in iron, and all other useful arts, is worth the having. 2. Where the exercise itself, without any consideration, is necessary, or useful for health. Knowl. edge in some things is so necessary to be got by children, whilst they are young, that some part of their time is to be allotted to their improvement in them, though those employments contribute nothing at all to their health: such are reading, and writing, and all other sedentary studies, for the cultiva. ting of the mind, which unavoidably take up a great part of gentlemen's time, quite from their cradles. Other manual arts, which are both got and exercised by labor, do many of them, by that exercise, not only increase our dexterity and skill, but contribute to our health too especially; such as employ us in the open air. In these, then, health and improvement may be joined together, and of these should some fit ones be chosen, to be made the recreations of one, whose chief business is with books and study. In this choice, the age and inclination of the person is to be considered, and constraint always to be avoided in bringing him to it. For command and force may often create, but can never cure an aversion: and, whatever any one is brought to by com. pulsion, he will leave as soon as he can, and be little profited, and less recreated by, whilst he is at it.
197. That which of all others would please me best, would be a painter, were there not an argument or two against it not easy to be answered. First, ill painting is one of the worst things in the world; and to attain a tolerable degree of skill in it, requires too much of a man's time. If he has a natural inclination to it, it will endanger the neglect of all other more useful studies, to give way to that; and if he have no inclination to it, all the time, pains, and money shall be employed in it, will be thrown away to no purpose. An other reason why I am not for painting in a gentleman, is, because it is a sedentary recreation, which more employs the mind than the body. A gentleman's more serious employment, I look on to be study; and when that demands relaxation and refreshment, it should be in some exercise of the body, which unbends the thought, and confirms the health and strength. For these two reasons I am not for painting.
GARDENING. JOINERY. 198. In the next place, for a country gentleman, I should propose one, or rather both these; viz. gardening or husbandry in general, and working in wood, as a carpenter, joiner, or turner; these being it and healthy recreations for a man of study, or business. For since the mind endures not to be constantly employed in the same thing, or way; and sedentary or studious men should have some exercise, that at the same time might divert their minds, and employ their bodies; I know none that could do it better for a country-gentleman, than these two, the one of them affording him exercise, when the weather or season keeps him from the other. Besides that, by being skilled in the one of them, he will be able to govern and teach his gardener; by the other, contrive and make a great many things both of delight and use: though these I propose not as the chief end of his labor, but as temptations to it; diversion from his other more serious thoughts and employments, by useful and healthy manual exercise, being what I chiefly aim at in it.
199. The great men among the ancients understood very well how to reconcile manual labor with affairs of state, and thought it no lessening to their dig. nity to make the one the recreation to the other. That indeed which seems most generally to have employed and diverted their spare hours was agriculture. Gideon amongst the Jews was taken from threshing, as well as Cincinnatus amongst the Romans from the plow, to command the armies of their countries against their enemies; and it is plain their dexterous handling of the flail or the plow, and being good workmen with these tools, did not hinder their skill in arms nor make them less able in the arts of war or government. They were great captains and statesmen as well as husbandmen. Cato major, who had with great reputation borne all the great offices of the commonwealth, has left an evidence under his own hand how much he was versed in country affairs; and, as I remember, Cyrus thought gardening so little beneath the dignity and grandeur of a throne, that he showed Xenophon a large field of fruit-trees, all of his own planting. The records of antiquity, both amongst Jews and Gentiles, are, full of instances of this kind, if it were necessary to recommend useful recreations by examples.
200. Nor let it be thought that I mistake, when I call these or the like exercises of manual arts, diversions or recreations; for recreation is not being idle,
(as every one may observe,) but easing the wearied part by change of business and he that thinks diversion may not lie in hard and painful labor, forgets the early rising, hard riding, heat, cold and hunger of huntsmen, which is yet known to be the constant recreation of men of the greatest condition. Delving, planting, inoculating, or any the like profitable employments, would be no less a diversion, than any of the idle sports in fashion, if men could but be brought to delight in them, which custom and skill in a trade will quickly bring any one to do. And I doubt not, but there are to be found those, who, being frequently called to cards, or any other play, by those they could not refuse, have been more tired with these recreations, than with any of the most serious employment of life; though the play has been such as they have naturally had no aversion to, and with which they could willingly sometimes divert themselves.
201. Play, wherein persons of condition, especially ladies, waste so much of their time, is a plain instance to me, that men can not be perfectly idle; they must be doing something. For how else could they sit so many hours toiling at that, which generally gives more vexation than delight to people, whilst they are actually engaged in it? It is certain, gaming leaves no satisfaction behind it to those who reflect when it is over, and it no way profits either body or mind: as to their estates, if it strike so deep as to concern them, it is a trade then, and not a recreation, wherein few, that have any thing else to live on, thrive: and at best, a thriving gamester has but a poor trade on it, who fills his pocket at the price of his reputation.
Recreation belongs not to people, who are strangers to business, and are not wasted and wearied with the employment of their calling. The skill should be, 80 to order their time of recreation, that it may relax and refresh the part that has been exercised, and is tired; and yet do something, which, besides the present delight and ease, may produce what will afterwards be profitable. It has been nothing but the vanity and pride of greatness and riches, that has brought unprofitable and dangerous pastimes (as they are called,) into fashion, and per: suaded people into a belief, that the learning or putting their hands to any thing that was useful, could not be a diversion fit for a gentleman. This has been that, which has given cards, dice, and drinking, so much credit in the world: and great many throw away their spare hours in them, through the prevalency of custom, and want of some better employment to fill up the vacancy of leisure, more than from any real delight is to be found in them. They can not bear the dead weight of unemployed time lying upon their hands, nor the uneasiness it is to do nothing at all: and having never learned any laudable manual art wherewith to divert themselves, they have recourse to those foolish, or ill ways in use, to help off their time, which a rational man, till cor. rupted by custom, could find very little pleasure in.
TRADE. 202. I say not this, that I would never have a young gentleman accommodate himself to the innocent diversions in fashion, amongst those of his age and condition. I am so far from having him austere and morose to that degree, that I would persuade him to more than ordinary complaisance for all the gaieties and diversions of those he converses with, and be averse or testy in nothing, they should desire of him, that might become a gentleman and an honest man; though as to cards and dice, I think the safest and best way is never to learn any play upon them, and so to be incapacitated for those dangerous temptations, and
encroaching wasters of useful time. But allowance being made for idle and jovial conversation, and all fashionable becoming recreations; I say, a young man will have time enough, from his serious and main business, to learn almost any trade. It is want of application, and not of leisure, that men are not skillful in more arts than one; and an hour in a day, constantly employed in such a way of diversion, will carry a man, in a short time, a great deal farther than he can imagine: which, if it were of no other use but to drive the common, vicious, useless, and dangerous pastimes out of fashion, and to show there was no need of them, would deserve to be encouraged. If men from their youth were weaned from that sauntering humor, wherein some, out of custom, let a good part of their lives run uselessly away, without either business or recreation, they would find time enough to acquire dexterity and skill in hun. dreds of things, which though remote from their proper callings, would not at all interfere with them. And therefore, I think, for this, as well as other reasons before-mentioned, a lazy, listless humor, that idly dreams away the days, is of all others the least to be indulged, or permitted in young people. It is the proper state of one sick, and out of order in his health, and is tolerable in nobody else, of what age or condition soever.
203. To the arts above-mentioned, may be added perfuming, varnishing, graving, and several sorts of working in iron, brass and silver : and if, as it happens to most young gentlemen, that a considerable part of his time be spent in a great town, he may learn to cut, polish and set precious stones, or employ himself in grinding and polishing optical glasses. Amongst the great variety there is of ingenious manual arts, it will be impossible that no one should be found to please and delight him, unless he be either idle or debauched, which is not to be supposed in a right way of education, And since it can not be always employed in study, reading, and conversation, there will be many an hour, besides what his exercises will take up, which, if not spent this way, will be spent worse. For, I couclude, a young man will seldom desire to sit perfectly still and idle; or if he does, it is a fault that ought to be mended.
204. But if his mistaken parents, frightened with the disgraceful names of mechanic and trade, shall have an aversion to any thing of this kind in their children; yet there is one thing relating to trade, which when they consider, they will think absolutely necessary for their sons to learn.
Merchants' accounts, though a science not likely to help a gentleman to get an estate, yet possibly there is not any thing of more use and efficacy to make nim preserve the estate he has. It is seldom observed, that he who keeps an account of his income and expenses, and thereby has constantly under view the course of his domestic affairs, lets them run to ruin; and I doubt not but many a man gets behind-hand before he is aware, or runs further on, when he is once in, for want of this care, or the skill to do it. I would therefore advise all gentlemen to learn perfectly merchants' accounts, and not to think it is a skill that belongs not to them, because it has received its name from, and has been chiefly practiced by men of traffic.
205. When my young master has once got the skill of keeping accounts, (which is a business of reason more than arithmetic,) perhaps it will not be amiss, that his father from thenceforth require him to do it in all his concern
ments. Not that I would have him set down every pint of wine, or play, that costs him money; the general name of expenses will serve for such things well enough: nor would I have his father look so narrowly into these accounts, as to take occasion from thence to criticise on his expenses. He must remember, that he himself was once a young man, and not forget the thoughts he had then, nor the right his son has to have the same, and to have allowance made for them. If, therefore, I would have the young gentleman obliged to keep an account, it is not at all to have that way a check upon his expenses, (for what the father allows him, he ought to let him be fully master of,) but only, that he . might be brought early into the custom of doing it, and that it might be made familiar and habitual to him betimes, which will be so useful and necessary to be constantly practiced through the whole course of his life. A noble Venetian, whose son wallowed in the plenty of his father's riches, finding his son's expenses grow very high and extravagant, ordered his cashier to let him have, for the future, no more money than what he should count when he received it. This one would think no great restraint to a young gentleman's expenses, who could freely have as much money as he would tell. But yet this, to one, who was used to nothing but the pursuit of his pleasures, proved a very great trouble, wbich at last ended in this sober and advantageous reflection: "If it be so much pains to me, barely to count the money I would spend, what labor and pains did it cost my ancestors, not only to count, but get it?” This rational thought, suggested by this little pains imposed upon him, wrought so effectually upon his mind, that it made him take up, and from that time forwards prove a good husband. This, at least, every body must allow, that nothing is likelier to keep a man within compass, than the having constantly before his eyes the state of his affairs, in a regular course of account.
206. The last part usually in education, is travel, which is commonly thought to finish the work, and complete the gentleman. I confess, travel into foreigu countries has great advantages; but the time usually chosen to send young men abroad, is, I think, of all other, that which renders them least capable of reaping those advantages. Those which are proposed, as to the main of them, may be reduced to these two: first, language; secondly, an improvement in wisdom and prudence, by seeing men, and conversing with people of tempers, customs, and ways of living, different from one another, and especially from those of his parish and neighborhood. But from sixteen to.one-and-twenty, which is the ordinary time of travel, men are, of all their lives, the least suited to these improvements. The first season to get foreign languages, and form the tongue to their true accents, I should think, should be from seven to fourteen or sixteen; and then, too, a tutor with them is useful and necessary, who may with those languages, teach them other things. But to put them out of their parents' view, at a great distance, under a governor, when they think themselves too much men to be governed by others, and yet have not prudence and experience enough to govern themselves; what is it but to expose them to all the greatest dangers of their whole life, when they have the least fence and guard against them? Till that boiling boisterous part of life comes on, it may be hoped the tutor may have some authority; neither the stubbornness of age, nor the tempt. ation or examples of others can take him from his tutor's conduct, till fifteen or sixteen; but then, when he begins to consort himself with men, and thinks