Abbildungen der Seite

oseful instruction, whereby the understanding or morals of the youth may at the same time be improved.

It is required that they should first study and understand the lessons, before they are put upon reading them properly; to which end each boy should have an English dictionary to help him over difficul. ties. When our boys read English to us, we are apt to imagine they understand what they read, because we do, and because it is their mother tongue. But they often read as Parrots speak, knowing little or nothing of the meaning. And it is impossible a reader should give the due modulation to his voice, and pronounce properly, unless his understanding goes be. fore his tongue, and makes bim master of the sentiment. Accustoming boys to read aloud what they do not first understand, is the cause of those even set tones 50 common among readers, which, when they have once got a habit of using, they find so difficult to correct; by which means, among fifty readers we scarce. by find a good one. For want of good reading, pie. ces published with a view to influence the minds of men, for their own or the public benefit, lose half their force. Were there but one good reader in a neighbourhood, a public orator might be heard throughout a nation with the same advantages, and have the same effect upon his audience as if they stood within the reach of his voice."

THE THIRD CLASS. To be taught speaking properly and gracefully; which is near a-kin to good reading, and naturally follows it in the studies of youth. Let the scholars of this class begin with learning the elements of rhetoric from some short system, so as to be able to give an account of the most useful tropes and figures. Let all their bad habits of speaking, all offences against good grammar, all corrupt or foreign accents, and all improper phrases be pointed out to them. Short speeches from the Roman or other history, or from the parliamentary debates, might be got by heart, and delivered with the proper action, &c.--Speeches and scenes in our best tragedies and comedies (avoid. ing every thing that could injure the morals of youth) might likewise be got by rote, and the boys exercised in delivering or acting them; great care being taken to form their manner after the truest models.

For their farther improvement, and a little to vary their studies, let them now begin to read history, after having got by heart a short table of the principal epochs in chronology. They may begin with Rollin's ancient and Roman histories, and proceed at proper hours, as they go though the subsequent clasces, with the best histories of our own nation and colonies. Let emulation be excited among the boys, by giving, weekly, little prizes, or other small encouragements 10 those who are able to give the best account of what they have read, as to times, places, names of persons, &c. This will make them read with attention, and imprint the history well in their memories. În remarking on the history, the master will have fine op. portunites of instilling instruction of various kinds, and improving the morals, as well as the understandings, of youth.

The natural and mechanic history, contained in the Spectacle de la Nature, might also be begun in this class, and continued through the subsequent classes, by other books of the same kind; for, next to the knowledge of duty, this kind of knowledge is certainly the most useful, as welı as the most entertaining. The merchant may thereby be enabled bet. ter to understand many commodities in trade; the handicraftsman to improve his business by new instruments, mixtures, and materials, and frequently hints are given for new methods of improving land, that may be set on foot greatly to the advantage of a country.

THE FOURTH CLASS. To be taught composition. Writing one's own language well, is the next necessary accomplishment after good speaking. It is the writing master's business to take care that the boys make fair characters, and place them straight and even in the lincs: but to form their style, and even to take care that the stops

and capitals are properly disposed, is the part of the English master. The boys should be put on writing letters to each other on any common occurrences, and on various subjects, imaginary business, &c. containing little stories, accounts of their late reading, what parts of authors please them, and why ; letters of congratulation, of compliment, of request, of thanks, of recommendation, of admonition, of conso. lation, of expostulation, excuse, &c. In these ther Khould be taught to express themselves clearly, concisely, and naturally, without affected words or high. flown phrases. All their letters to pass through their master's hand, who is to point out the faults, advise the corrections, and conmend what he finds right. Some of the best letters published in their own language, as Sir William Temple's, those of Pope and his friends, and some others, might be set before the youth as models, their beauties pointed out and explained by the master, the letters themselves transscribed by the scholar.

Dr. Johnson's Ethices Elementa, or First Principles of Morality, may now be read by the scholars, and explained by the master, to lay a solid foundation of virtue and piety in their minds. And as this class continues the reading of history, let them now, at proper hours, receive some farther instruction in chronology ard in that part of geography (from the mathemnatical master) which is necessary to understand the maps and globes. They should also be acquainted with the modern names of the places they

find mentioned in ancient writers. The exercises of wgood reading, and proper speaking, still continued

at suitable times.


ww To improve the youth in composition, they may now, besides continuing to write letters, begin to write little essays in prose, and sometimes in verse; not to make thein poets, but for this reason, that nothing acquaints a lad so speedily with a variety of expression, as the necessity of finding such words fond phrases, as will suit the measure, sound, and

rhyme of verse, and at the same time well express the sentiment. These essays should all pass under the master's eye, who will point out their faults, and put the writer on correcting them. Where the judgmcnt is not ripe enough for forming new essays, let the sentiinents of a Spectator be given, and required 10 be clothed in the scholars own words; or the cir cumstances of some good story: the scholar to find expression. Let them be put sometimes on abridg ing a paragraph of a diffuse author: sometimes on dilating or amplifying what is wrote more closely And now let Dr. Johnson's Noetica, or First Princi ples of Human Knowledge, containing a logic, or art of reasoning, &c. be read by the youth, and the difficulties that inay occur to them be explained by the master. The reading of history, and the exer. cises of good reading and just speaking, still continued.

SIXTH CLASS. In this class, besides continuing the studies of the preceding in history, rhetoric, logic, moral and natural philosophy, the hest English authors may be read and explained; as Tillotson, Milton, Locke, Addison, Pope, Swift, the higher papers in the Spectator and Guardian, the best translations of Homer, Virgil and Horace, of Telenjechus, Travels of Cy. rus, &c.

Once a year, let there be public exercises in the hall; the trustees and citizens present. Then let fine gilt books be given as prizes to such boys as distinguish themselves, and excel the others in any branch of learning, making three degrees of comparison; giving the best prize to him that performs bost, a less valuable one to him that comes up nex) to the best; and another to the third. Commendations, encouragement, and advice to the rest, keeping up their hopes, that, by industry, they may excel another time. The names of those that obtain the prize, to be yearly printed in a list.

The hours of each day are to be divided and dise posed in such a manner as that some classes may be with the writing master, improving their hands, others with the mathematical master, learning arithmetic, accounts, geography, use of the globes, drawing, mechanics, &c. ; while the rest are in the En. glish school, under the English master's care.

Thus instructed, youth will come out of this school fitted for learning any business, calling, or profession, except in such wherein languages are required; and though unacquainted with any ancient or foreign tongue, they will be masters of their own, which is of more immediate and general use; and withal, will have attained many other valuable accomplishments: the time usually spent in acquiring those languages often without success, being here employed in laying such a foundation of knowledge and ability, as, properly improved, may qualify them to pass through and execute the several offices of civil life, with advantage and reputation to themselves and country.



Philadelphia, Dec. 26, 1789. DEAR SIR, I RECEIVED some time since your Dissertation on the English Language. It is an excellent work, and will be greatly useful in turning the thoughts of our countrymen to correct writing. Please to accept my thanks for it, as well as for the great honour you have done me in its dedication. I ought to have made this acknowledgement sooner, but much indisposition prevented me.

I cannot but applaud your zeal for preserving the purity of our language both in its expression and pronunciation, and in correcting the popular errors several of our states are continually falling into with respect to both. Give me leave to mention some of them, though possibly they may have already occur

« ZurückWeiter »