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parents and tutors, what tongue it is fit the child should learn. For it must be confessed, that it is fruitless pains, and loss of time, to learn a language, which, in the course of life that he is designed to, he is never like to make use of; or which one may guess by his temper, he will wholly neglect and lose again, as soon as an approach to manhood, setting him free from a governor, shall put him into the hands of his own inclination; which is not likely to allot any of his time to the cultivating the learned tongues; or dispose him to mind any other language, but what daily use, or some particular necessity, shall force
But yet, for the sake of those who are designed to be scholars, I will add what the same author subjoins, to make good his foregoing remark. It will deserve to be considered by all who desire to be truly learued, and, therefore, may be a fit rule for tutors to inculcate, and leave with their pupils, to guide their future studies :
"The study," says he, "of the original text can never be sufficiently recommended. It is the shortest, surest, and most agreeable way to all sorts of learning. Draw from the spring-head, and take not things at second-hand. Let the writings of the great masters be never laid aside; dwell upon them, settle them in your mind, and cite them upon occasion; make it your business thoroughly to understand them in their full extent, and all their circumstances: acquaint yourself fully with the principles of original authors; bring them to a consistency, and then do you yourself make your deductions. In this state were the first commentators, and do not you rest till you bring yourself to the
Content not yourself with those borrowed lights, nor guide yourself by their views, but where your own fails you, and leaves you in the dark. Their explications are not yours, and will give you the slip. On the contrary, your own observations are the product of your own mind, where they will abide, and be ready at hand upon all occasions in converse, consultation, and dispute. Lose not the pleasure it is to see that you were not stopped in your reading, but by difficulties that are invincible; where the commentators and scholiasts themselves are at a stand, and have nothing to say; those copious expositors of other places, who, with a vain and pompous overflow of learning, poured out on passages plain and easy in themselves, are very free of their words and pains where there is no need. Convince yourself fully by thus ordering your studies, that it is nothing but men's laziness, which hath encouraged pedantry to cram rather than enrich libraries, and to bury good authors under heaps of notes and commentaries; and you will perceive, that sloth herein hath acted against itself, and its own interest, by multiplying reading and inquiries, and increasing the pains it endeavored to avoid.”
This, though it may seem to concern none but direct scholars, is of so great moment for the right ordering of their education and studies, that I hope I shall not be blamed for inserting of it here, especially if it be considered, that it may be of use to gentlemen too, when at any time they have a mind to go deeper than the surface, and get to themselves a solid, satisfactory, and masterly insight in any part of learning.
Order and constancy are said to make the great difference between one man and another: This, I am sure, nothing so much clears a learner's way, helps him so much on in it, and makes him go so easy and so far in any inquiry, as a good method. His governor should take pains to make him sensible of this, aocustom him to order and teach him method in all the applications of his thoughts; show him wherein it lies, and the advantages of it; acquaint him with the several sorts of it, either from general to particulars, or from particulars to what is more general; exercise him in both of them; and make him see, in what case each different method is most proper, and to what ends it best serves.
In history the order of time should govern ; in philosophical inquiries that of nature, which in all progression is to go from the place one is then in, to that which joins and lies next to it; and so it is in the mind, from the knowledge it stands possessed of already, to that which lies next, and is coherent to it, and so on to what it aims at, by the simplest and most uncompounded parts it can divide the matter into. To this purpose, it will be of great use to his pupil to accustom him to distinguish well, that is, to have distinct notions, where ever the mind can find any real difference, but as carefully to avoid distinction in terms, where he has not distinct and different clear ideas.
190. Besides what is to be had from study and books, there are other accomplishments necessary for a gentleman, to be got by exercise, and to which time is to be allowed, and for which masters must be had.
Dancing being that which gives graceful motions all the life, and above all things manliness, and a becoming confidence to young children, I think it can not be learned too early, after they are once of an age and strength capable of it. But you must be sure to have a good master, that knows, and can teach, what is graceful and becoming, and what gives a freedom and easiness to all the motions of the body. One that teaches not this, is worse than none at all, natural unfashionableness being much better than apish, affected postures; and I think it much more passable to put off the hat, and make a leg, like an honest country-gentleman, than like an ill-fashioned dancing-master. For, as for the jigging part, and the figures of dances, I count that little, or nothing, farther than as it tends to perfect graceful carriage.
191. Music is thought to have some affinity with dancing, and a good hand, upon some instruments, is by many people mightily valued. But it wastes so much of a young man's time, to gain but a moderate skill in it, and engages often in such odd company, that many think it much better spared: and I have amongst men of parts and business, so seldom heard any one commended, or esteemed, for having an excellency in music, that amongst all those things, that ever came into the list of accomplishments, I think I may give it the last place. Our short lives will not serve us for the attainment of all things; nor can our minds be always intent on something to be learned. The weakness of our constitutions, both of mind and body, requires, that we should be often unbent: and he that will make a good use of any part of his life, must allow a large portion of it to recreation. At least this must not be denied to young people unless whilst you, with too much haste, make them old, you have the displeasure to set them in their graves, or a second childhood, sooner than you could wish. And therefore I think, that the time and pains allotted to serious improvements, should be employed about things of most use and consequence, and that too in the methods the most easy and short, that could be at any rate obtained: and, perhaps, as I have above said, it would be none of the least secrets of education, to make the exercises in the body and the mind, the recreation one to another. I doubt not but that something might be done in it, by a prudent man, that would well consider the temper and inclination of his pupil. For he that is wearied either with study or dancing, does not desire presently to go to sleep; but to do something else, which may divert and delight him. But this must be always remembered, that nothing can come into the account of recreation, that is not done with delight.
192. Fencing and riding the great horse, are looked upon as so necessary to parts of breeding, that it would be thought a great omission to neglect them: the latter of the two being for the most part to be learned only in great towns, is one of the best exercises for health, which is to be had in those places of ease and luxury: and upon that account, makes a fit part of a young gentleman's employment during his abode there. And as far as it conduces to give a man a firm and graceful seat on horseback, and to make him able to teach his horse to stop and turn quick, and to rest on his haunches, is of use to a gentleman both in peace and war. But whether it be of moment enough to be made a business of, and deserve to take up more of his time, than should barely for his health be employed at due intervals in some such vigorous exercise, I shall leave to the discretion of parents and tutors, who will do well to remember, in all the parts of education, that most time and application is to be bestowed on that which is like to be of greatest consequence, and frequentest use, in the ordi. Dary course and occurrences of that life the young man is designed for.
193. As for fencing, it seems to me a good exercise for health, but dangerous to the life. The confidence of their skill being apt to engage in quarrels those that think they have learned to use their swords. This presumption makes them often more touchy than needs, on points of honor, and slight or no provocations. Young men in their warm blood are forward to think they have in vain learned to fence, if they never show their skill and courage in a duel: and they seem to have reason. But how many sad tragedies that reason has been the occasion of, the tears of many a mother can witness. A man that can not fence will be more careful to keep out of bullies' and gamesters' company, and will not be half so apt to stand upon punctilios, nor to give affronts, or fiercely justify them when given, which is that which usually makes the quarrel. And when a man is in the field, a moderate skill in fencing rather exposes him to the sword of his enemy, than secures him from it. And certainly a man of courage who can not fence at all, and therefore will put all upon one trust, and not stand parrying, has the odds against a moderate fencer, especially if he has skill in wrestling. And therefore, if any provision be to be made against such accidents, and a man be to prepare his son for duels, I had much rather mine should be a good wrestler than an ordinary fencer; which is the most a gentleman can attain to in it, unless he will be constantly in the fencing-school, and every day exercising. But since fencing and riding the great horse, are so generally looked upon as necessary qualifications in the breeding of a gentleman, it will be hard wholly to deny any one of that rank these marks of distinction. I shall leave it therefore to the father, to consider, how far the temper of his son and the station he is like to be in, will allow, or encourage luim to comply with fashions, 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 accomplishments. 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 reason. 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. Knowledge 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 cultivating 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 compulsion, 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. Another 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 fit 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 dignity 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.
RECREATION. 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,