Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

omy induced me to muster up what little arithmetic I was master of, and to make some calculations, which I shall give you, after observing, that utility is, in my opinion, the test of value in matters of invention, and that a discovery which can be applied to no use, or is not good for something, is good for nothing.

I took for the basis of my calculation the supposition, that there are one hundred thousand families in Paris, and that these families consume in the night half a pound of bougies, or candles, per hour. 'I think this is a moderate allowance, taking one family with another; for though I believe some consume less, I know that many consume a great deal more. Then estimating seven hours per day, as the niedium quantity between the time of the sun's rising and ours, he rising during the six following months from six to eight hours before noon, and there being seven hours of course per night in which we burn candles, the account will stand thus:

In 'the six months between the 20th of March

and the 20th of September, there are nights 183 Hours of each night in which we burn candles.. 7

Multiplication gives for the total number of hour

1,281 These 1,281 hours multiplied by 100,000 the

number of inhabitants, gives .. . 128,100,000 One hundred twenty-eight millions and

one hundred thousand hours, spent at Paris by candle-light, which at half a pound of wax and tallow per hour, gives

the weight of . . . . . . . . . . 64,050,000 Sixty-four millions and fifty thousand of

pounds, which estimating the whole at the medium price of thirty sols the pound, makes the sum of ninety-six millions and seventy-five thousand livres tournois, . . . . . . . . . . . . 96,075,000

An immense sum ! that the people of Paris might save every year, by the economy of using sunshine instead of candles.

If it should be said, that people are apt to be obstinately attached to old customs, and that it will be difficult to induce them to rise before noon, consequently my discovery can be of little use; I answer, Nil desperandum. I believe all who have common sense, as soon as they have learnt from this paper, that it is day. light when the sun rises, will contrive to rise with him ; and, to compel the rest, I would propose the following regulations:

First. Let a tax be laid of a louis per window, on every window that is provided with shutters to keep out the light of the sun.

Second. Let the same salutary operation of police be made use of to prevent our burning candles that inclined us last winter to be more economical in burning wood ; that is, let guards be placed in the shops of the wax and tallow-chandlers, and no family be permitted to be supplied with more than one pound of candles per week.

Third. Let guards also be posted to stop all the coaches, &c. that would pass the streets after sunset, except those of physicians, surgeons, and midwives.

Fourth. Every morning, as soon as the sun rises, let all the bells in every church be set a ringing; and if that is not sufficient, let cannon be fired in every street, to wake the sluggards effectually, and make them open their eyes to see their true interest.

All the difficulty will be in the first two or three days; after which the reformation will be as natural and easy

as the present irregularity; for " ce n'est que le premier · pas qui coute.” Oblige a man to rise at four in the morning, and it is more than probable he shall go willingly to bed at eight in the evening; and having eight hours sleep, he will rise more willingly at four the following morning. But this sum of ninety-six millions and seventy-five thousand livres is not the whole of what may be saved by my economical project. You may observe, that I have calculated upon only one 'half of the year, and much may be saved in the other, though the days are shorter. Besides, the immense stock of wax and tallow left unconsumed during the summer, will probably make candles much cheaper for the ensuing winter, and continue cheaper as long as the proposed reformation shall be supported.

For the great benefit of this discovery, thus freely communicated and bestowed by me on the public, 1 demand neither place, pension, exclusive privilege, or any other reward whatever. I expect only to have the honour of it. And yet I know there are little envious minds who will, as usual, deny me this, and say, that my invention was known to the ancients, and perhaps they may bring passages out of the old books in proof of it. I will not dispute with these people, that the ancients knew not the sun would rise at certain hours; They possibly had, as we have, almanacs that predict

ed it; but it does not follow from thence, that they knew he gave light as soon as he rose. This is what I claim as my discovery. If the ancients knew it, it must have been long since forgotten, for it certainly was unkown to the moderns, at least to the Parisians, which to prove, I need use but one plain simple argument: They are as well instructed, judicious, and prudent a people as exist any where in the world, all professing, like myself, to be lovers of economy; and from the many heavy taxes required from them by the necessities of the state, have surely reason to be economical. I say, it is impossible that so sensible a people, under such circumstances, should have lived so long by the smoky, unwholesome, and enormously expensive light of candles, if they had really known that they might have had as much pure light of the sun for nothing. I am, &c.

AN ABONNE.

0000SKETCH OF AN ENGLISH SCHOOL. For the Consideration of the Trustess of the Philadelphia

Academy.

It is expected that every scholar to be admitted into this school be at least able to pronounce and divide the syllables in reading, and to write a legible hand. None to be received that are under years of age.

FIRST, OR LOWEST CLASS. Let the first class learn the English grammar rules, and at the same time let particulur care be taken to improve them in orthography. Perhaps the latter is best done by pairing the scholars; two of those nearest equal in their spelling to be put together. Let these strive for victory ; each propounding ten words every day to the other to be spelled. He that spells truly most of the the other's words, is victor for that day; he that is victor most days in a month, to obtain a prize, a pretty neat book of some kind, useful in their future studies. This method fixes the attention of children extremely to the orthography of words, and makes them good spellers very early. It is a shame for a man to be so ignorant of this little art in his own language, as to be perpetually confounding words of like sound and different significations; the consciousness of which defect makes some men, otherwise of good learning and understanding, averse to writing even a common letter.

ng of the em con it master or read too taa vocabul for

Let the pieces read by the scholars in this class be short; such as Croxall's Fables, and little stories. In giving the lesson, let it be read to them; let the meaning of the difficult words in it be explained to them : and let them con it over by themselves before they are called to read to the master or usher ; who is to take particular care that they do not read too fast, and that they duly observe the stops and pauses. A vocabulary of the most usual difficult words might be formed for their use, with explanations ; and they might daily get a few of those words and explanations by heart, which would a little exercise their memories ; or at least they might write a numbor of them in a small book for the purpose, which would help to fix the meaning of those words in their minds, and at the same time furnish every one with a little dictionary for his future use.

SECOND CLAss. To be taught reading with attention, and with proper modulations of the voice, according to the sentiments and the subject.

Some short pieces, not exceeding the length of a Spectator, to be given this class for lessons (and some of the easier Spectators would be very suitable for the purpose.) These lessons might be given every night as a task; the scholars to study them against the morning. Let it then be required of them to give an account, first of the parts of speech, and construction of one or two sentences. This will oblige them to recur frequently to their grammar, and fix its principal rules in their memory. Next, of the intention of the writer, or the scope of the piece, the meaning of each sentence, and of every uncommon word. This would early acquaint them with the meaning and force of words, and give them that most necessary habit of reading with attention.

The master then to read the piece with the proper 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 an 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.

THIRD CLASS. To be taught speaking properly and gracefully; which is near a-kin to good reading, and naturally fola lows 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

« ZurückWeiter »