« PreviousContinue »
quaint them with the meaning and force of words, and give them that most necessary habit of reading with ate. tention. .
The master then to read this 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 par. ticularly remarked to the youth.
let the lessons for reading be variedy 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 cde, a satire, a leto! ter, 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 saine time be iinproved..
It is required that they should first study and under. stand 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 reat, 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 read ers, 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.ca. iniluence the minds of men, for their own or the publice
benefit, Inse half their force. Were there but one good reader in a neighborhooci, a public orator might be heard throughout a nation with the same adran. tagưs, and have the same effect upon his audience, as il 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 reaoing, and naturally fullows 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 corrupi or foreign accents, and all in proper 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 from our best tragedies and comedies (avoiding things that could injure the morals of youth) might likewise be gol by iote, 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 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, lille prizes, or other small encouragements, to those who are able to give the best account of what they have read, as to tirnes, places, Daines of persons, &c. This will make them read with attention, and imprint the history well in their memories.' In remarkiiig on the history, the master will ha Ye fine opportunities of in
stilling instruction of various kinds, and improving tire 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 usea. ful, 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 materi. als; and frequently hints are given for new manufac: tures, or new methods of improving laud, and may be set on foot greatly, to the advantage of the country...
THE FOURTH Class. To be taught composition. Writing one's own lan.. guage 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 litite stories, aco' counts of their late reading, what parts of author's please them, and why ; letters of congratulatioli, of compliment, of request, of thanks, of recommendation, of admonition, of consolation, of expostulation, excuse, &C.. In these they should be taugha to express theme selves clearly, concisely and naluraily, without affected words or high-flown phrases. Alliherr leiters to pass through the master's hand, who is to point out the faults, advise the corrections, and commend what ne finds right. Some of the best letler's published in our own language, as Sir William Temple's, those of Pope and his friends, and sunie others, might be set bcfore.
the fouth as models, their beauties pointed out and ex plained 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 .viriue 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, and in that part of geography (froin 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 inentioned in writers. The exercises of good reading, and proper speaking, still continued at suitable times.
FIFTH CLASS. To improve the youth in their coinposition, 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 upon 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 Noetics, or First Principles of Human Knowledge, containing a . logic, or art of reasoning, &c. be read by the youlb, , and the difficulties that may occur to them be explais
e d by the master. The reading of history, and the exercises 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 best English authors niay 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, Te. lemachus, 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 distin. guish themselves, and excel the others in any branch of learning, making three degrees of comparison : give ing the best prize to him that performs best; a less va. luable 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 printa ed in a list.
The hours of each day are to be divided and disposed in such a manner as, that some classes may be with the writing-master, improving their hands; and others with the mathematical master, learning arithmetic, ac. counts, geography, use of the globes, drawing, mecha. nics, &c. wbile the rest are in the English schools, un.. der the English master's care.
Thus instructed, youth will come out of this school fitted for learning any business, calling, or profession, except 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: Wie