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For the Bee.

Gray the Poet,—A dialogue concerning Youth.
Continued from p. 181.


Your principles, gentlemen, are just, and your reflections excellent; but give me leave to say, that your plans of education are better adapted to people of fortune and eminence, than to the public at large.

Much has been talked and written concerning a code of education; but this would be incompatible with a free government, and would require in every different case, a dif ferent mode of application to the situation, capacity, and genius of the subject. By what means then do think it possible to establish and diffuse among the people, modes of education productive of useful knowledge an of virtue ?


Gray. My plan is not above the reach of people of the middle station and fortune; and were it once established as the best for them, it would soon be adopted in the schools for the people at large. Europe, and particularly our country, swarms with societies for the incouragement and improvement of sciences, arts, manufactures, and every thing that can either amuse or enrich the public; but I never heard of a society for the improvement of this most important of all public works, the formation of good and useful citizens.

A society of this nature once judiciously formed, would lead to thousands of the same nature, and to the general adoption of a system for the improvement of the human mind, in knowledge and virtue, without entrenching on the freedom of families in the management of their children.

It hath always been my opinion, that, next to a well poised and well administered government, a virtuous institution of youth, is the most effectual method of giving efficacy to the laws, and prosperity to the state.

1 Indeed, I might well have given it the first place, if I had not made the art of government so much my study, as to foresee the practicability of a system of government being arranged so as to produce the effect desired, without the interposition of the legislative power, or the invasion of the sacred right of domestic authority.

The formation of a brave, well organised, and good citizen, ought to begin indeed from his first origin; for it is impofsible that the spawn of enervated luxury can grow into any thing that can be fit for great occasions. The mind cannot act in a feeble body for the great and energetic purposes of society. Nerves, but not the nerves of modern tone, are supereminently required, and you must make your pupil a man, before you can think of making him good or great.

The next step towards the preparation of the man of my system, is the exposure of his body to the greatest pofsible number of harmlefs excitements, and his mind, through that only medium, to the greatest pofsible number of elementary imprefsions, whereby the first is strengthened, and the latter informed experimentally with nature and sentiment. I would have my pupil nursed by a robust, sensible, talkative mother, if he has one, and if not, by à nurse chosen for such qualities. He ought to walk without help if he is properly trained, in his earliest infancy, and, by exposure to various little accidents, he will gather acquaintance with all the objects that are about him, be able to keep himself out of the way of mischief, and to help himself on a great many little occasions.


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It is the want of institution which occasions the despicable helplessness of our modern noblefse. Accustomed from the cradle to do every thing by proxy, they afsume this privilege of peerage throughout the whole of their existence; they cannot buckle their own fhoes, shave their beards, put on their cloaths, act in their own businefs, keep their own accounts, pay their own debts, or even be at the pains to continue their own families: All is to be done by proxy, all through the media of valets, frizeurs, gentlemen of the chamber, attornies, chaplains, or stout Irishmen.

Children educated in crowded hospitals, where, from their number, and the mercenary unconcernedness of their attendants, they are not excited by various objects and events, or by the novelty and variety of conversation, are in general powerlefs, helpless, and dull in their concep


The faculties of the mind, as well as of the body, become paralytic by disuse. The ear is provided with muscles of erection, and I have known individuals who could prick up their ears like an afs; but almost all of us have los: this faculty by early ligature, or by disuse.

My next maxim, relating to education, is, that it should be suited to the climate, government, and religion of the country, and to the probable situation of the individual in that country.

After the years of infancy, therefore, my pupil is gradually formed by his nurture to the general scope of his future life; without permitting, however, any extraordinary marks of genius to escape unnoticed, whereby his parents or guardians may be enabled to regulate the quantity and quality of his intellectual food.

If he is the child of a great nobleman, and solitary in the family, let his father generously take the charge of

two or three children of his friends or neighbours, of the same age, and put them under the tuition of a gentleman fit at once to perform the part of a father, a friend, and preceptor; for it is with concern that I am obliged to remark, that men of our condition, who have the gifts of fortune, and have not been bred, like us, in the school of adversity, have seldom any thing but wealth to fit them for those important functions.

My pupils, thus situated, are to appear constantly at the family table, or in the pubic rooms at meals. They are to be encouraged in the fharpest and most critical at、 tention to the virtues, oddities, and aukwardnesses of each other, and to excite and improve each other by innocent and gay exercises of this sort, so that their capacities may be continually strengthened: For wit, humour, and sterling good sense, consist in little more than a conception, more or lefs rapid, of the minute and characteristic relations of things, exprefsed with more or lefs gaiety, contrast, velocity, or correctnefs. As my pupils advanced, I would have them sent to public schools, but under the same eye and tuition, and that private should be judiciously mixed with public education, so as to do no more than to hold up as it were the chins of my pupils till their feet touched the ground.

I would have them taught to labour by themselves; I would have them inspired by the love of virtuous fame and the admiration of illustrious characters.

I would rather see the tears standing in their eyes, when they read or recited the stories of the death of Brutus, Cato, Helvidius Priscus, Arulenus Rusticus, Thrasea Pætus, and of Arria, than melting with the fictitious and enervating sorrow of a love novel, or gaping at the ridiculous immensity of a fairy tale. I would have them trained to an uncontaminated appetite for truth, exercis

ing itself in the careful collection of intricate but useful information, and to fear nothing so much as to be outdone by their clafs fellows.

This mode of education I would continue, accompanying it with the manly exercises of wrestling and the chace, until their bodies and their minds were fully invigora ted.

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They should not leave the schools till fifteen, nor the colleges until twenty-one; and four years more I would allot for the study of politics, the belies lettres, beaux arts, and to foreign travel.

To the present mode of education may be imputed the frivolity and indecency of our women, and the want of learning and public spirit among our men.

Our women are educated in general more upon the plan of governefses, opera girls, or fortune hunters, than of wives and mothers. They are taught, with, or without genius or fortune, to speak a language for which they have little or no use in this country, and which leads to the expensive fopperies only of a great and respectable nation, whom we venture to call perfidious, because it wishes to oppose the the tyranny of a nation that would usurp the freedom not only of her own distant subjects, but of the nations of Europe and of Asia.

They are taught, with or without genius, to play on musical instruments, to sing, and to dance a minuet, which their countrymen in general have either not abilities or taste enough to dance with them.

All these accomplishments are attempted to be taught within the compafs of three or four years; and the plain girl, with five hundred pounds fortune, is educated in the same manner with the beauty who has five thousand.

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