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modulations of voice, due emphasis, and suitable action, where action is required; and put the youth on imitating his manner.
Where the author has used an expression not the best, let it be pointed out; and let his beauties be particularly remarked to the youth.
Let the lessons for reading be varied, that the youth may be made acquainted with good styles of all kinds, in prose and verse, and the proper manner of reading each kind; sometimes a well-told story, a piece of a sermon, a general's speech to his soldiers, a speech in a tragedy, some part of a comedy, an ode, a satire, a letter, blank verse, Hudibrastic, heroic, &c. But let such lessons be chosen for reading, as contain some useful 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 ar English dictionary, to help him over difficulties. 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 before his tongue, and makes him master of the sentiment. Accustoming boys to read aloud what they do not first understand, is the cause of those even, set tones, so 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 scarcely find a good one. For want of good reading, pieces 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 akin 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 (avoiding 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 further 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 epochas in chronology. They may begin with Rollin's Ancient and Roman histories, and proceed at proper hours, as they go through the subsequent classes, 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, to those who are able to give the best account of what they have read, as to time, places, names of persons, &c.
This will make them read with attention, and imprint the history well in their memories. In remarking on the history, the master will have fine opportunities 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 well as the most entertaining. The merchant may thereby be enabled better 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 manufactures, or 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 lines; 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 consolation, of expostulation, excuse, &c. In these they should be taught to express
themselves clearly, concisely, and naturally, without affected words or high-flown phrases. All their letters to pass through the master's hand, who is to point out the faults, advise the corrections, and commend what he finds right. Some of the best letters published in our 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 transcribed 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 further instruction in chronology, and in that part of geography (from the mathematical 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 good reading, and proper speaking, still continued at suitable times.
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 them poets, but for this reason, that nothing acquaints a lad so speedily with variety of expression as the necessity of finding such words and 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 judgment is not ripe enough for forming new essays, let the sentiments of a Spectator be given, and required to be clothed in the scholar's own words; or the circumstances of some good story, the scholar to find expression. Let them be put sometimes on abridging 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 Principles of Human Knowledge, containing a logic, or art of reasoning, &c. be read by the youth, and the difficulties that may occur to them be explained by the master. The reading of history, and the exercises of good reading and just speaking, still continued.
In this class, besides continuing the studies of the preceding in history, rhetoric, logic, moral and natural philosophy, the best 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 Telemachus, Travels of Cyrus, &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 best, a less valuable one to him that comes up next 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.