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knowledge among such as are less diligent, or less advanced*. It is, however, confessed, that the method now proposed, is impracticable in its full extent, except on the supposition that, during the master's absence, the senior pupils have access to books which treat more largely of the subjects recommended to their study. The mention of this circumitance naturally leads me to advert to the great utility of a school-libraryt for the use of those scholars.
In the best-regulated seminaries vacant hours occur, many of which will be often wafted in the perusal of pernicious, or at
* It will not, I trust, be thought irrelative to the present subject to remark in this place, that besides the method here recommended, of an attempt to diffuse, in some small degree at least, general knowledge, through the medium of a particular branch of education, a writing-master has it, moreover, in his power, to introduce much miscellaneous information into the schools which he attends, by means of a judicious choice of copies for the senior pupils*, particularly geographical ones, and such as contain historical facts, biographical anecdotes, &c. relative to places, rivers, and the like. These examples being transcribed by the scholar, committed to memory, the respective places fought in an atlas (a pursuit which will always afford great entertainment) and then recited to the master, at the time above specified, the pupil, withal
, being enjoined to relate in what particular part of the map, section of the globe, &c. the places were found, will, in a short time, and with very little additional trouble to either party, be found to furnish even such as do not learn geography scientifically, with a confiderable portion of the knowledge in quellion, and tend to impress, almost indelibly, upon the minds of those who do, the most valuable part of the lessons which they statedly receive in this delightful study. Let me add, that this is not a mere speculative, theoretical plan, but one whose practicability and success have been long fanétioned by my own experience.
N. B. It is meant, that the recital above mentioned thould include the copies which were written on both writing-days, to give the pupils the habit of retaining what they learnt.
* See the preface to my engraved Introduction to Arithmetic. + The examples here recommended should also be occafionally diversified with extracts from eminent nioral writers and the best poets, agreeably to the observation of Quintilian, who says, “ I would have the writing copy lines to corifist not of idle “ sentences, but of such as should inculcate fome moral precept. The remembrance " will continue to old age, and the impression on a tender mind may prove conducive “ to a virtuous life.
The sayings, likewise, of illustrious men, and select passages « out of poets, things very agreeable to children, may be learned by way of diver“ fion."
De Infiitutione Oratoria, lib. I. cap. 1. + The following, it is apprehended, would be proper books for the formation of such a collection. The histories of Great-Britain and Ireland; of Greece and Rome, and of the most considerable European nations. Rollin's Ancient History. Plutarch’s Lives, translated by Langhorne. Russell's History of Modern Europe. Biographical Dictionary, 12 vols. 8vo. last edit.
best, frivolous novels*, if better books are not at hand. We are fully sensible with Dr. Knox, that, as a regular course of history would too much interfere with other parts of learning in the academies of young gentlemen, fome of the time of recreation must be allotted to the attainment of that invaluable acquisition. Females, in general, are exactly in the fame predicament; and should, therefore, be encouraged to devote a part
British Biography, 12 vols. 8vo. British Plutarch, 8 vols. 12mo. Good Translations of the Greek and Roman Classics, so strongly and forcibly recommended to the perusal of the ladies, by the late Mr. Sheridan, in his lectures, Dr. Knox is also of opinion, that ladies, such of them at least as possess genius, should be brought to as much knowledge of the Greek and Roman claslics, as their situation and circumstances will permit; and others, he says. “ should be well and early acquainted with the French and the “ English claslics.- Milton, Addison, and Pope, must be the standing models " in English; Boileau, Fontenelle, and Vertot in French.” The following are also proper books for such a school-library. Lempriere's Classical Dictionary. Mortimer's Student's Dictionary. Some of the best periodical publications. A large, but well chofen, collection of those small, but valuable tracts, expressly written for the improvement of youth, such as Sandford and Merton, Evenings at Home, &c. 'The Cyclopædia. The Encyclopædia Britannica. The Spectator, Tatler, Guardian, Rambler, and Adven
Mrs. Rowe's Letters, moral and entertaining. Gay's Fables. Moore's Fables for the Female Sex. Cotton's Visions in verse. Mason's Self-knowledge. Dr. Gregory's Father's Legacy to his Daughters. Mrs. Chapone's Letters. Ancient and Modern Atlafles. Dr. Priestley's Historie cal and Biographical Charts, &c. Dr. Watts, the countess of Sillery, and other eminent writers on education, recommend that maps, charts, historical prints, &c. should be suspended at length, in rooms appropriated to educa. tion.
To a library thus furnished, the parents of such children, as are capable of benefiting by it, could not reasonably object to subscribe nos, a year; a sum, which, in a tolerably large school, would, in no great length of time, completely reimburse the governess, for the expence incurred by the first purchase of the books, and enable her to make occasional additions.
* “ The frivolity of the age, says an elegant writer, affords a very shame. ful encouragement to a species of literary composition called a Novel, which is nothing more than a romance taken from the manners of the times; and is, in general, worked up in such a form, as to corrupt the minds of young women, and to enable old ones to murder that time of which they have fo litve remaining.' It is, indeed, poflible, for excellent sentiments, and valuable knowledge, to be communicated in the form of a novel ; but there are very few productions of this kind in our language ; and, in general, it is much better for young persons to employ such time, as they can spare for that purpose, in the perufal of real hillory, and of biographical accounts of persons eminent for virtue and for knowledge. But among moral romances, and those from which useful knowledge may be derived, may be mentioned the following: Telemachus. Robinson Crusoe. Dr. Johnson's Rasselas, Prince of Abyffinia. Dr. Hawkefworth's Almoran and Hamet. History of David Simple. Julia, by Miss Williams. Eugenius; or, Anecdotes of the Golden Vale. And the Hiflory of Philip Waldegrave, lately published by T. EVANS.
of those seasons of relaxation to the acquisition of a species of knowledge, which, however necessary and ornamental, the multiplicity of ordinary business renders unattainable at other times. It is hoped, that the following performance will not be thought altogether ill calculated to facilitate the desirable end just mentioned; as many of the questions in it either create some new idea, convey some useful or pleasing information, or fix the date of some memorable transaction; a circumstance deemed of such consequence by Mrs. Chapone, that she observes, “ It is to little “purpose that you are able to mention a fact, if you cannot “ nearly ascertain the time in which it happened, which alone, « in many cases, gives importance to the fact itself.” The same judicious writer ellewhere remarks, not inapplicably to the general design of the following compilation, that whatever “ tends to embellish the understanding, and to furnish the mind « with ideas to reflect upon when alone, or to converse upon in
company, is certainly well worth the acquisition.”
But let us direct our attention principally to female education, which judicious observers have represented as so eminently conducive to the welfare of a state. Now, in order to estimate the high obligations women of cultivated minds may confer on the coinmunity, let us, first, refle&t with Rouffeau, that “the edu. « cation of most consequence, is that which is received in infan
cy; and this first education belongs incontestably to the “ WOMEN.” The early part of education must, therefore, be one of the mother's most appropriate and most important duties.
To select a few examples, among the ancients, especially the Roman matrons, among whom the economical virtues, particularly indefatigable industry in the cultivation of the minds of their offspring, continued longest to flourish. Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi; Aurelia, of Julius Cælar; and Attia, of Augustus, superintended the education of their respective children. Among the Greeks, he of whom antiquity, fanctioned by the testimony of an oracle, boasts itself as of the wisest of mortals, who is called by a modern author, “ the Philosophic Patriarch, and " the divinest man, who ever appeared in the heathen world,” even SOCRATES himself, derived considerable advantage from the conversation of Diotyma and Aspasia, women who are faid to have been excellently learned.
Why, demanded a Persian ambassador, are women held in such high estimation at Lacedæmon? Because, replied the consort of Leonidas, they only are competent to form men. To a Greek lady who displayed her jewels before Phọcion's mother,
and expressed a desire of seeing her's, the latter introduced her CHILDREN, saying, These are my jewels and ornaments; I hope one day they will be all my glory.
“ Will the important business of DRESSING and going to “ public places," asks Dr. Knox, “prove so fatisfactory to “ mothers, a few years hence, as the consciousness of having « sown the seeds of virtue, taste, and learning, in the infant “ bosoms of their own offspring ?” Pitiable, indeed, is the mother, if she deserves the name, who knows not, that such an office has sweets beyond the giddiness of pleasure, the incense of admiration, and the essence of perfumes.
If, in the next place, we observe, how greatly the conduct of men is influenced by the other sex ; what effectual discouragement their influence gives to vice and ignorance in their male relatives and acquaintance; “that” as the elegant writer just quoted pertinently observes, “the dignity of female virtue, con« fiftently supported, is better calculated than any moral lefion, " to strike confusion and awe into the breast of the EMPTY and “ARTFUL VILLAIN; and that they may indeed become the “ BEST REFORMERS:" these, with other obvious considerations, will abundantly evince the fingular advantages necessarily resulting from female improvement.
Should any doubts still remain of the very exalted benefits, which, we contend, naturally and neceffarily flow from female influence, let an appeal be made to matter of fact, I mean to ancient and modern history. To select only two or three prominent and decisive instances, out of the innumerable examples which the records of all nations supply in the utmost profusion. Who is ignorant of the patriotic ardour, the invincible intrepidity, inspired by the truly laconic admonition of the Spartan matrons to their husbands and fons, when, after the last embrace that preceded an expected conflict, they charged them « to return either with OR UPON THEIR SHIELDS*." In Dr. Gordon's History of the American Revolution, what decisive effects do we not frequently perceive resulting from the exhortations of the DAUGHTERS OF LIBERTY, on that continent, to their near kindred and others, to extirpate tyranny, and plant
* It was the first and most inviolable law of war with the Spartans, never to flee, or turn their backs, whatever superiority of numbers the enemy's army might consist of; never to quit their post; never to deliver up their arms; in a word, either to conquer, or to die on the spot.-And sometimes they that were flain were brought home upon their shields.
independence independence in the soil which the baleful weed had so long and so lawlessly appropriated. Our own country affords passages equally animating. Its annals will, in the persons of the queens Boadicea*, Matildat, Margarets, and Elizabethg, as well as ladies of inferior rank, exemplify not only how forcibly females have exhorted, but how magnanimously they have achieved. Of the distinguished success of the same sex in alınost every department of study, even the most cursory notice is superfluous, at least in England, where we are all admiring witnesses of the deep reflection, manly eloquence, refined sentiment, and classic wit, which are displayed in many of their productions||
. What just appreciator, then, of the eminence of our fair countrywonen in every literary, not to say scientific, pursuit, will charge the author with the introduction of many questions irrelative to female education ? will censure him for having borrowed most of his themes from subjects in which, at this very day, so many adult ladies excel, rather than composing questions in the common routine way ?
In the mean time, without expecting a formal defence of the propriety of every individual question in this collection, I am encouraged to hope, that the candid and the serious part of the public will approve of a design (however imperfectly it may have been executed) which has for its chief object a desire to facilitate the path of science, to allure the learner to mental exertions, to impress an early veneration and love for civil and religious LIBERTY, to exhibit the beauty of virtue, and the fatal consequences of vice and profligacy; to hold up to the admiration of the rising generation characters eminent for patriotism, benevolence, and general philanthropy; and to their detestation and abhorrence those of despots, tyrants, and persecutors; to inculcate rational and manly ideas of government, and to enforce
* Boadicea, a celebrated British heroine, who being defeated and ill used by the Romans, poisoned herself, A. D. 61.
+ Matilda defeated king Stephen, and took him prisoner at the battle of Lincoln, in 1141.
Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry VI. fignalized herfelf, by heading her troops, in several battles, against the house of York.
Every history of England is enriched with Elizabeth's speech to the troops which she had encamped at Tilbury-Fort, to oppose the expected Spanish invasion.
|| To fuch of our young readers as may not be acquainted with the respective merits and names of our most celebrated female writers, we carnestly recommend the perufal of an initructive and entertaining performance entitled “ DIALOGUES concerning the LADIES," fold by C. Dilly, in the Poultry, and T. Evans, in Paternoster-Row.