Imatges de pÓgina

ness, in a constant conversation with his pupils. But of this , have spoken at large in another place.


172. At the same time that he is learning French and Latin, a child, as has been said, may also be entered in arithmetic, geography, chronology, history, and geometry too. For if these be taught him in French or Latin, when he begins once to understand either of these tongues, he will get a knowledge in these sciences, and the language to boot.

Geography, I think, should be begun with; for the learning of the figure of the globe, the situation and boundaries of the four parts of the world, and that of particular kingdoms and countries, being only an exercise of the eyes and memory, a child with pleasure will learn and retain them: and this is so certain, that I now live in the house with a child, whom his mother has so well instructed this way in geography, that he knew the limits of the four parts of the world, could readily point, being asked, to any country upon the globe, or any county in the map of England; knew all the great rivers, promontories, straits, and bays in the world, and could find the longitude and latitude of any place, before he was six years old. These things, that he will thus learn by sight, and have by rote in his memory, are not all, I confess, that he is to learn upon the globes. But yet it is a good step and preparation to it, and will make the remainder much easier, when his judgment is grown ripe enough for it: besides that, it gets so much time now, and by the pleasure of knowing things, learls bim on insensibly to the gaining of languages.

173. When he has the natural parts of the globe well fixed in his memory, it may then be time to begin arithmetic. By the natural parts of the globe, I mean several positions of the parts of the earth and sea, under different names and distinctions of countries; not coming yet to those artificial and imaginary lines, which have been invented, and are only supposed, for the better improvement of that science.


174. Arithmetic is the easiest, and consequently the first sort of abstract reasoning, which the mind commonly bears, or accustoms itself to; and is of so general use in all parts of life and business, that scarce any thing is to be done without it. This is certain, a man can not have too much of it, nor too perfectly; he should therefore begin to be exercised in counting, as soon, and as far, as he is capable of it; and do something in it every day till he is master of the art of numbers. When he understands addition and subtraction, he may then be advanced farther in geography, and after he is acquainted with the poles, zones, parallel circles, and meridians, be taught longitude and latitude, and by them be made to understand the use of maps, and by the numbers placed on their sides, to know the respective situation of countries, and how to find them out on the terrestrial globe. Which when he can readily do, he may then be entered in the celestial; and there going over all the circles again, with a more particular observation of the ecliptic or zodiac, to fix them all very clearly and distinctly in his mind, he may be taught the figure and position of the several constellations, which may be showed him first upon the globe, and then in the heavens.


When that is done, and he knows pretty well the constellations of this our hemisphere, it may be time to give him some notions of this our planetary world, and to that purpose it may not be amiss to make him a draught of the Copernican system; and therein explain to him the situation of the planets, their respective distances from the sun, the center of their revolutions. This will prepare him to understand the motion and theory of the planets the most easy and natural way. For, since astronomers no longer doubt of the motion of the planets about the sun, it is fit he should proceed upon that hypothesis, which is not only the simplest and least perplexed for a learner, but also the likeliest to be true in itself. But in this, as in all other parts of instruction, great care must be taken with children, to begin with that which is plain and simple, and to teach them as little as can be at once, and settle that well in their heads, before you proceed to the next, or any thing new in that science. Give them first one simple idea, and see that they take it right, and perfectly comprehend it, before you go any farther; and then add some other simple idea, which lies next in your way to what you aim at; and so proceeding by gentle aud insensible steps, children, without confusion and amazement, will have their understandings opened, and their thoughts extended, farther than could have been expected. And when any one has learned any thing himself, there is no such way to fix it in his memory, and to encourage him to go on, as to set him to teach it others.

GEOMETRY 175. When he has once got such an acquaintance with the globes, as is above mentioned, he may be fit to be tried a little in geometry; wherein I think the six first books of Euclid enough for him to be taught. For I am in some doubt whether more to a man of business be necessary or useful; at least if he have a genius and inclination to it, being entered so far by his tutor, he will be able to go on of himself without a teacher.

The globes, therefore, must be studied, and that diligently, and, I think, may be begun betimes, if the tutor will but be careful to distinguish what the child is capable of knowing, and what not; for which this may be a rule, that per: haps will go a pretty way, (viz.) that children may be taught any thing that falls under their senses, especially their sight, as far as their memories only are exercised: and thus a child very young may learn, which is the equator, which the meridian, &c., which Europe, and which England, upon the globes, as soon almost as he knows the rooms of the house he lives in; if care be taken not to teach him too much at once, nor to set him upon a new part, till that, which he is upon, be perfectly learned and fixed in his memory.


176. With geography, chronology ought to go hand in hand; I mean the general part of it, so that he may have in his mind a view of the whole current of time, and the several considerable epochs that are made use of in history. Without these two, history, which is the great mistress of prudence and civil k-owledge; and ought to be the proper study of a gentleman or man of business in the world; without geography and chronology, I say, history will be very ill retained, and very little useful; but be only a jumble of matters of fact, confusedly heaped together without order or instruction. It is by these two that the actions of mankind are ranked into their proper places of times and countries; under which circumstances, they are not only much easier kept in the memory, but, in that natural order, are only capable to afford those observations, which make a man the better and the abler for reading them.

177. When I speak of chronology as a science he should be perfect in, I do not mean the little controversies that are in it. These are endless, and most of them of so little importance to a gentleman, as not to deserve to be inquired into were they capable of an easy decision. And, therefore, all that learned noise and dust of the chronologist is wholly to be avoided. The most useful book I have seen in that part of learning, a small treatise of Strauchius, which is printed in twelves, under the title of “Breviarium Chronologicum," out of which may be selected all that is necessary to be taught a young gentleman concerning chronology; for all that is in that treatise a learner need not be cumbered with. He has in him the most remarkable or usual epochs reduced all to that of the Julian period, which is the easiest, and plainest, and surest method, that can be made use of in chronology. To this treatise of Strauchius, Helvicus's tables may be added, as a book to be turned to on all occasions.


178. As nothing teaches, so nothing delights, more than history. The first of these recommends it to the study of grown men; the latter makes me think it the fittest for a young lad, who, as soon as he is instructed in chronology, and acquainted with the several epochs, in use in this part of the world, and can reduce them to the Julian period, should then have some Latin history put into his hand. The choice should be directed by the easiness of the style; for wherever he begins, chronology will keep it from confusion; and the pleasantness of the subject inviting him to read, the language will insensibly be got, without that terrible vexation and uneasiness which children suffer where they are put into books beyond their capacity, such as are the Roman orators and poets, only to learn the Roman language. When he has by reading mastered the easier, such perhaps as Justin, Eutropius, Quintus Curtius, &c., the next degree to these will give him no great trouble: and thus, by a gradual progress from the plainest and easiest historians, he may at last come to read the most difficult and sublime of the Latin authors, such as are Tully, Virgil, and Horaca


179. The knowledge of virtue, all along from the beginning, in all the instances he is capable of, being taught him, more by practice than rules; and the love of reputation, instead of satisfying his appetite, being made habitual in him; I know not whether he should read any other discourses of morality, but what he finds in the Bible; or have any system of ethics put into his hand, till he can read Tully's Offices, not as a school-boy to learn Latin, but as one that would be informed in the principles and precepts of virtue, for the conduct of his life.


180. When he has pretty well digested Tully's Offices, and added to it “Puffendorf de Officio Hominis et Civis," it may be seasonable to set him upon “Grotius de Jure Belli et Pacis,” or, which perhaps is the better of the two, "Puffendorf de Jure Naturali et Gentium," wherein he will be instructed in the natural rights of men, and the original and foundations of society, and the duties resulting from thence. This general part of civil law and history are studies which a gentleman should not barely touch at, but constantly dwell upon, and never have done with. A virtuous and well-behaved young man, that is well versed in the general part of the civil law, (which concerns not the chicane of private cases, but the affairs and intercourse of civilized nations in general, grounded upon principles of reason) understands Latin well, and can write a good hand, one may turn loose into the world, with great assurance that he will find employment and esteem everywhere.


181. It would be strange to suppose an English gentleman should be igno. rant of the law of his country. This, whatever station he is in, is so requisite, that, from a justice of the peace to a minister of state, I know no place he can well fill without it. I do not mean the chicane or wrangling and captious part of the law; a gentleman whose business is to seek the true measures of right and wrong, and not the arts how to avoid doing the one, and secure himself in doing the other, ought to be as far from such a study of the law, as he is concerned diligently to apply himself to that wherein he may be serviceable to his country. And to that purpose I think the right way for a gentleman to study our law, which he does not design for his calling, is to take a view of our English constitution and government, in the ancient books of the common law, and some more modern writers, who out of them have given an account of this government. And having got a true idea of that, then to read our history, and with it join in every king's reign the laws then made. This will give an insight into the reason of our statutes, and show the true ground upon which they came to be made, and what weight they ought to have.

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182. Rhetoric and logic being the arts that in the ordinary method usually follow immediately after grammar, it may perhaps be wondered that I have said so little of them. The reason is, because of the little advantage young people receive by them; for I have seldom or never observed any one to get the skill of reasoning well, or speaking handsomely, by studying those rules which pretend to teach it; and therefore I would have a young gentleman take a view of them in the shortest systems could be found, without dwelling long on the contemplation and study of those formalities. Right reasoning is founded on something else than the predicaments and predicables, and does not consist in talking in mode and figure itself. But it is besides my present business to enlarge upon this speculation. To come therefore to what we have in hand; if you would have your son reason well, let him read Chillingworth; and if you would have him speak well, let him be conversant in Tully, to give him the truo idea of eloquence; and let him read those things that are well writ in English, to perfect his style in the purity of our language.

183. If the use and end of right reasoning be to have right notions, and a right judgment of things; to distinguish betwixt truth and falsehood, right and wrong, and to act accordingly; be sure not to let your son be bred up in the art and formality of disputing, either practicing it himself, or admiring it in others; unless, instead of an able man, you desire to have him an insignificant wrangler, opiniatre in discourse, and priding himself in contradicting others; or, which is worse, questioning every thing, and thinking there is no such thing as truth to be sought, but only victory, in disputing. There can not be any thing so disingenuous, so misbecoming a gentleman, or any one who pretends to be a rational creature, as not to yield to plain reason, and the conviction of clear arguments. Is there any thing more inconsistent with civil conversation, and the end of all debate, than not to take an answer, though ever so full and satisfactory; but still to go on with the dispute, as long as equivocal sounds can furnish [a “medius terminus”) a term to wrangle with on the one side, or a distinction on the other? Whether pertinent or impertinent, sense or nonsense, agreeing with, or contrary to, what he had said before, it matters not. For this, in short, is the way and perfection of logical disputes, that the opponent never takes any answer, nor the respondent ever yields to any argument. This neither of them must do, whatever becomes of truth or knowledge, unless he will pass for a poor baffled wretch, and lie under the disgrace of not being able to maintain whatever he has once affirmed, which is the great aim and glory in disputing Truth is to be found and supported by a mature and due consideration of things themselves, and not by artificial terms and ways of arguing: these lead not men so much into the discovery of truth, as into a captious and fallacious use of doubtful words, which is the most useless and most offensive way of talking, and such as least suits a gentleman or a lover of truth of any thing in the world.

There can scarce be a greater defect in a gentleman, than not to express himself well, either in writing or speaking. But yet, I think, I may ask my reader, whether he doth not know a great many, who live upon their estates, and so, with the name, should have the qualities of gentlemen, who can not so much as tell a story as they should, much less speak clearly and persuasively in any business? This I think not to be so much their fault, as the fault of their education; for I must, without partiality, do my countrymen this right, that where they apply themselves, I see none of their neighbors outgo them. They have been taught rhetoric, but yet never taught how to express themselves handsomely with their tongues, or pens, in the language they are always to use; as if the names of the figures, that embellished the discourses of those who understood the art of speaking, were the very art and skill of speaking well. This, as all other things of practice, is to be learned not by a few or a great many rules given, but by exercise and application, according to good rules, or rather patterns, till habits are got, and a facility of doing it well.


Agreeable hereunto, perhaps it might not be amiss to make children, as soon as they are capable of it, often to tell a story of any thing they know; and to correct at first the most remarkable fault they are guilty of, in their way of putting it together. When that fault is cured, then to show them the next, and so on, till, one after another, all, at least the gross ones, are mended. When they can tell tales pretty well, then it may be time to make them write them. The fables of Æsop, the only book almost that I know fit for children, may afford them matter for this exercise of writing English, as well as for reading and translating, to enter them in the Latin tongue. When they are got past

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