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chapter iii - George Turnbull, Observations upon Liberal Education, in All its Branches 
Observations upon Liberal Education, in All its Branches, ed. Terrence O. Moore, Jr. (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003).
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Of teaching languages, and of the exercises and their uses; together with the observations of the ancients upon punishments and reproofs confirmed by examples.
Mr. Locke’s sentiments about the proper methods of teaching the Latin language, or rather talking it into children, are well known, and they are supported by incontestible arguments: He had known several examples of good success in that way: And the advantageousness of the practice hath been since confirmed by many experiments. I shall only copy a few paragraphs from him on this head, and then go on.28 “If grammar ought to be taught at any time, it must be to one that can speak the language already, how else can he be taught the grammar of it? This, at least, is evident from the practice of the wise and learned nations amongst the ancients. They made it a part of education to cultivate their own, not foreign tongues. The Greeks counted all other nations barbarous, and had a contempt for other languages. And tho’ the Greek learning grew into repute amongst the Romans towards the end of their common-wealth, yet it was the Roman tongue that was the study of their youth: Their own language they were to make use of, and therefore it was their own language they were instructed and exercised in. But more particularly, to determine the proper season for grammar; I do not see how it can reasonably be made any one’s study but as an introduction to rhetoric; when it is thought time to put any one upon the care of polishing his tongue, and of speaking better than the illiterate, then is the time for him to be instructed in the rules of grammar, and not before. For grammar being to teach men not to speak, but to speak correctly, and according to the exact rules of the tongue, which is one part of elegancy, there is little need of the one to him that has no need of the other; where rhetoric is not necessary grammar may be spared. I know not why any one who should waste his time, and beat his head about the Latin grammar, who does not intend to be a critic, or make speeches and write dispatches in it. When any one finds in himself a necessity or disposition to study any foreign language to the bottom, and to be nicely exact in the knowledge of it, it will be time enough to take a grammatical survey of it. If his use be only to understand some books wrote in it, without a critical knowledge of the tongue itself, reading alone will attain this end, without charging the mind with the multiplied rules and intricacies of grammar. We ought to distinguish three cases. 1. Men learn languages for the ordinary intercourse of society and communication of thoughts in common life, without any further design in their use of them. And for this purpose the original way of learning a language by conversation, not only serves well enough, but is to be preferred as the most expedite, proper and natural. Therefore, to this use of language, one may answer, that grammar is not necessary. This so many of my readers must be forced to allow, as understand what I here say, and who, conversing with others, understand them without ever having been taught the grammar of the English tongue, which I suppose is incomparably the greatest part of Englishmen, of whom I have never yet known any one who learned his mother-tongue by rules. 2. Others there are, the greatest part of whose business in the world is to be done with their tongues and with their pens; and to those it is convenient, if not necessary, that they should speak properly and correctly, whereby they may let their thoughts into other men’s minds the more easily and with the greater impression. Upon this account it is, that any sort of speaking, so as will make him to be understood, is not thought enough for a gentleman. He ought to study grammar amongst the other helps of speaking well, but it must be the grammar of his own tongue, of the language he uses, that he may understand his own country[’s] speech nicely, and speak it properly without shocking the ears of those it is addressed to, with solecisms and offensive irregularities, and to this purpose grammar is necessary. But it is the grammar only of their own tongues, and to those only who would take pains in cultivating their language, and in perfecting their stiles. Whether all gentlemen should not do this, I leave to be considered, since the want of propriety and grammatical exactness is thought very misbecoming one of that rank, and usually draws on one guilty of such faults the censure of having had a lower breeding and worse company than suits with his quality. If this be so (as I suppose it is) it will be matter of wonder why young gentlemen are forced to learn the grammars of foreign and dead languages, and are never once told of the grammar of their own tongues: They do not so much as know there is any such thing, much less is it made their business to be instructed in it. Nor is their own language ever proposed to them as worthy of their care and cultivating, tho’ they have daily use of it, and are not seldom, in the future course of their lives, judged of by their handsome or awkward way of expressing themselves in it. Whereas the languages whose grammars they have been so much employed in, are such as probably they shall scarce ever speak or write. Would not a Chinese who took notice of this kind of breeding, be apt to imagine, that all our young gentlemen were designed to be teachers and professors of the dead languages, and not to be men of business in their own. 3. There is a third sort of men who apply themselves to two or three foreign, dead, and, which amongst us are called the learned languages, make them their study, and pique themselves upon their skill in them. No doubt those who propose to themselves the learning of any language with this view, and would be critically exact in it, ought carefully to study the grammar of it. I would not be mistaken here, as if this were to undervalue Greek and Latin. I grant these are languages of great use and excellency, and a man can have no place amongst the learned in this part of the world, who is a stranger to them. But the knowledge a gentleman would ordinarily draw for his use out of the Roman and Greek writers, I think he may attain without studying the grammars of those tongues, and by bare reading, may come to understand them sufficiently for all his purposes. How much further he shall at any time be concerned to look into the grammar and critical niceties of either of these tongues, he himself will be able to determine, when he comes to propose to himself the study of any thing that shall require it.—The formation of the verbs first, and afterwards the declension of the nouns and pronouns perfectly learned by heart, may facilitate the acquaintance with the genius and manner of the Latin tongue, which varies the signification of verbs and nouns, not as the modern languages do, by particles prefix’d, but by changing the last syllables. More than this of grammar I think he needs not have till he can read himself Sanctii Minerva, with Scioppius and Perizonius’s notes.”
These are the sentiments of a very great man, drawn, as he tells us, from experience; and they have been confirmed since by repeated trials. Suffer me only to say, that the prevailing method of teaching Latin may be pursued, without making that or any other language, as is generally done, the sole employment of youth, in their most retentive, as well as docile years. He who looks upon Latin and Greek, or any part of what is commonly called literature, as the main part of education, must be very improper, very unqualified for the great and important business of instructing and fitting youth timeously for the duties and business of life. And how much is it to be regretted, that instruction in the useful sciences is so long delayed, seeing they must be confessed to be of much superior utility to the deepest skill in languages; but more especially, since there is indeed time enough for both? How many young lads have made great proficiency at home, under proper tuition and care, in geography, history and morals, as well as in French, Greek and Latin, at an age when boys come from our greater schools with Latin syntax and prosody, perhaps by rote, but without any taste of solid science, and for that reason absolute strangers to the spirit and sense of the ancient authors they can mechanically construe? Why may not two or three hours a day suffice for any one learned language? And how much might be done in the rest of the day, by taking proper methods? The design of education is to light up gradually the understanding; or to use another similitude, it is to teach young ideas and judgments to shoot and bud. But whether bestowing all the time in cramming the memories of children with mere words, be doing any thing to beget the love of true knowledge, or to reform and strengthen their understandings, we may form some notion from the confessed difference between a man of taste in classical learning, and the mere pedant or verbal critic, in comparison to which tall, full-grown tree, the young construer and etymologist, with his grammar and rhetoric at his finger-ends, is but the budding slip. Why is the best of their time thrown away upon erudition, perfection in which, if it be not united with other knowledge, makes, in the opinion of all good judges, one of the lowest characters even in the republic of letters? ’Tis a turn of mind which none who know the world would wish his son to take: And why then is he wholly employed in a way that can give him no other bent? For what can we expect, at best, if words be all the business, but mere verbalism? Can any one hesitate which to choose, whether that his son should early be acquainted with men, manners and things, or that he should early be a profound linguist, without any tincture of the substantial sciences, supposing it impossible to mix instruction in them with languages? But it is far from being impracticable: Progress in the one needs not exclude due pains about the other, as hath been found in many instances, whatever the ordinary methods in the schools may be. Need I dwell long on this subject? What man of sense, if he thinks of the matter seriously, and balances impartially the values of things in his mind, would not rather have his son at fourteen tolerably skilled in geography and history, acquainted with the true method of unraveling nature, and discovering her laws and final ends, and with the duties which justice, public love, and generosity and fortitude require at his hands, and able to express truths of these classes with propriety and taste, in his own language, tho’ he should yet have made but small proficiency in any learned or foreign language, rather than utterly ignorant of all these sciences, but quite master of the Greek and Latin grammars, which is all that can be learned, where nothing else is taught? Let instruction in real knowledge be the chief care from the first dawn of reason, if verbal knowledge be not of greater excellence and utility. And let us not imagine that the understanding opens otherwise than in proportion to the pains taken to let in light into it, and to brighten and strengthen it by instruction and proper exercise. As candle lighteth candle, so doth instruction light up the understanding. And the longer fit methods of drawing forth reason to seek information, and of informing the mind are delayed, the more difficult instructing work becomes. ’Tis the same here as with regard to the body: The fibres of the latter do not become more stiff and inflexible, for want of early use, than the intellectual faculties become, if they are not exercised, dull or restive, and unsusceptible of their proper movements. And if any one can think information in natural or moral history more unentertaining or insipid to youth than grammatical lessons, and the rationale of the latter more easy and comprehensible to them, let him but try the difference, and he will quickly find the former highly agreeable to the youngest scholar, and that he will make with delight very speedy progress in science; whereas grammar is exceeding irksome to him, and is not at all understood by youth, even after their memories can rote it away most fluently. Every one who will allow himself to think, must immediately perceive that the use and design of grammar and all its rules, cannot be understood till the mind is pretty well stored with the knowledge of things, seeing the foundation of the chief grammatical rules in every language can be none other but either perspicuity, propriety, force or elegance, and harmony of expression. But if this be true, it requires no proof, that tho’ the books that are put into children’s hands, in whatever language they are taught, should not only be correct but elegant, and they should be used to pronounce gracefully, and speak or write accurately, yet they ought not to be much plagued with rules, till they are able to trace the more essential ones to some good reasons for them, founded in one or other of the designs of discourse just mentioned. As one may not only have a very good ear for music, but even be able to play very well upon some musical instrument, tho’ he does not understand the principles and foundations of combination in music; so is it with respect to grammar and languages in a great measure. In teaching music, care is taken first to form the ear, and then, and not till then, is it thought expedient to teach the scholar the maxims or rules of composition. And for the same reasons, the like method ought to be pursued in teaching grammar and rhetoric, that the feelings of the ear may, by these arts, be enabled to justify themselves to the understanding, as far as philosophy or reason can have place with relation to the structure and idiom of a language; for here, no doubt, much must be resolved into mere custom. But grammar, rightly taught, will teach to distinguish what rules are really founded on this reason, e.g. to prevent ambiguity, or some such other equivalent one, and what are founded on harmony and rhythm, and what merely on chance and subsequent use. When it is proper to read grammar in a critical, or rather philosophical manner with youth, ’tis certainly the grammar of their own native tongue for which they are to have most use in life, that they ought most carefully and accurately to be instructed in. The Greeks, perhaps, made more early advances in the most useful sciences than any youth have done since, chiefly on this account, that they studied no other language but their own: This, no doubt, saved them very much time: But they applied themselves carefully to the study of their own language, and were early able to speak and write it in the greatest perfection. ’Twas from the Greeks that the Romans derived all their philosophy and learning; and therefore the Roman youth were timeously taught the Greek tongue: But they did not neglect their own, but studied it more carefully than we now do Greek and Latin, without minding or giving ourselves any trouble about our own tongue. This, not to tire the reader with many proofs of it, we may learn from the compliment Horace pays to Maecenas;
And the passages from ancient authors, which are commonly quoted by Horace’s commentators in their notes on that place; one in particular, in the beginning of Cicero’s book of offices, wrote for the use of his son. “Ut ipse ad meam utilitatem semper cum Graecis Latina conjunxi, neque id in philosophia tantum, sed etiam in dicendi exercitatione feci, idem tibi censeo faciendum, ut par sis in utriusque orationis facultate.”30 And from the account Quintilian gives us of his method of teaching grammar and rhetoric, thinking preceptors may glean excellent rules and helps for teaching the grammar of any language.
All I now contend for is, that there is time enough for teaching many dead and foreign languages, without being forced to neglect more substantial and important parts of education. Let French and Italian be early talked into youth, as is usually done with excellent success. And as for Latin, let conjugations and declensions, and some more general rules of construction be taught regularly: But let the more difficult and abstruse parts of grammar be delayed till their understandings being enriched with useful knowledge, and their ears having been accustomed to clear, strong and elegant expression, they are qualified for examining, with the assistance of masters, the received principles of rhetoric, of which grammar is the first, and yet the most difficult part. Let due pains be taken to make Latin as easy to them as possible, by ranging the words to them in their natural order, and explaining the author, they read, to them in English, as near to the Latin as the idioms of these two languages permit. Let no helps be denied them, that will either save them time or harsh labour; none especially which will remove all the difficulty that may arise to very young scholars, merely from want of acquaintance with their own tongue. But let care be taken the translations or other helps that are allowed them in this view, be just and good in every respect, i.e. be good English, as well as true explications of the author’s meaning. It will be soon enough to begin Greek with youth when they have got a sufficient stock of Latin words to be able to interpret Greek into Latin; and then they will be improving in the latter every step they advance in the former. But whatever language they are learning, one chief thing is to trace with them metaphorical words, which are by far the greatest number in every language, to their roots and primitive significations, and to point out to them the analogies or resemblances in nature, which lay the foundations for similitudes or comparisons, and metaphors which are similitudes expressed in single words, without the formality of telling us that a comparison is designed. This is necessary, in order to one’s being able to comprehend quickly and relish fully the propriety and force of metaphors: And exercises of this kind must not only enrich and improve the fancy, but exceedingly ripen and extend the judgment: For there is not a more useful or more entertaining branch of knowledge, than to be gathering from nature just conceptions, and large views of the likenesses and correspondences which obtain throughout all her works, even those which at the first sight seem most heterogeneous or desperate, and consequently to have the least relation or affinity. And I need not tell those who have any notion of poetry, painting and sculpture, commonly called, with great justice, because of their close dependence, the sister arts, that were there not such an extensive analogy between the moral world and the natural, that almost every moral sentiment may be figured or pictured to us under some material semblance, these arts would be utterly unknown to us: There would be no foundation for them in the frame and contexture of things. To give a just taste of metaphorical language, is to teach to judge what is or what is not a proper image for conveying a clear and warm idea of a subject intended to be illustrated by a lively and true picture of it to the imagination. And so far teaching of languages coincides with philosophy, or is at least an essential step towards forming good taste, and quickening, embellishing and refining the fancy. The perfection of wit and taste consists in finding out readily proper material images for exhibiting moral sentiments in an agreeable garb or dress. And therefore, without overlooking the likenesses and resemblances in nature, which make a most entertaining branch of knowledge, and are the basis of all the ingenious imitative arts, and without neglecting the culture of the imagination, this part of teaching cannot be omitted.
Much depends upon a fit choice of books for young scholars. Quintilian did not think it expedient to read all Horace with his disciples. And Plutarch lays down many excellent cautions about reading the poets with youth, in order to put them into the way of drawing solid advantages from them, and to prevent the bad influence the magic of fiction and numbers must have, if they be not wholesomely employed. If we would form good taste, let them not touch or taste any thing that is not truly chaste and elegant: And if we would preserve their hearts pure and uncorrupted, which is still of greater consequence, let all evil or infectious communication be far removed from them; let them have no fellowship with what must pollute their minds or inflame hurtful passions. Let fables, allegories, and characters, which tend to insinuate in an agreeable manner moral truths or precepts into their minds; which display the folly, absurdity, and deformity of the vices, or the beauty and excellence of the virtues be early read to them and by them. This was the ancient practice, as we are assured by many authors: And our Saviour himself hath, by his frequent use of parables, given a particular recommendation, or rather sanction to this method of instruction. A treatise strongly recommended to preceptors by Mr. Rollin, as one of the best they can put into the hands of young Latin scholars, intitled, Historiae selectae e profanis scriptoribus, &c. were more poetry, i.e. more descriptions and recommendations of the several virtues, and more dehortations from their opposite vices taken from the poets, and some fables added to it under proper heads, would make a perfect book for the use of schools, it being nothing else but excerpts from the Latin writers in their own language, containing moral maxims and precepts, confirmed by characters and histories. I have often wished that there were, for the use of young Latin students, a collection made from Cicero, whose works would furnish a great deal, and other Roman authors, of observations upon final causes in nature, or the wisdom and goodness of God’s works of creation and providence: And one who is very well qualified for it, hath given me encouragement to expect such a work very soon from his hands. And when youth are by such reading prepared for considering the nature of composition, I know not why any other author should be preferred to Cicero himself, i.e. to proper select parts from him, on the beauty of writing. For there all the rules of oratory are fully explained? Nay, there all the different species of true and false wit are more perfectly described and illustrated than in any of our modern systems of rhetoric.
But let me, upon a subject where I would willingly avoid all appearance of dictating to more experienced teachers, just add, That what the very ingenious and worthy Mr. Rollin has said upon teaching languages, deserves the most careful perusal from every one who is engaged in the instruction of youth, because his rules are drawn from his own experience, or such as he could equally found upon. That I may not, however, swell this book too much, I shall only give the substance of what he has collected from the ancients, upon an article which all good men will acknowledge to be by far the most momentuous branch of education.31
“The education of youth hath ever been regarded by the best philosophers and the wisest legislators as the most certain source of happiness, not only to families, but to states or kingdoms. In effect, what is a republic or kingdom but a vast body, whose vigour and health depends upon that of the families, which are, as it were, its parts and members, none of which can fail in its functions without detriment to the whole? But is it not good education which puts all the citizens, the great and noble, more especially, into a condition of executing with dignity their respective offices? Is it not evident that the youth of a state are the nursery by which it is preserved and renewed? From it come fathers of families, magistrates, ministers, in one word, all persons of authority and power? And may we not be assured, that faults in education will shew their bad effects, in the behaviour of those who are placed in these stations? Laws, in truth, are the foundation of states; and by maintaining regularity and good order in them, support public peace and tranquillity. But whence do the laws derive their force and vigour, if not from good education, accustoming the minds of subjects to approve and submit to them? Without this precaution, they are but a very feeble barrier against the passions of mankind.
“Plutarch makes a very judicious observation upon this subject, that deserves to be weighed with attention. It is in his remarks upon Lycurgus. That wise lawgiver, says he, did not think it sufficient to commit his constitutions and orders to writing, being persuaded that the most effectual way of rendering states happy, and any people virtuous, is by practising them in, and inuring them to virtue, till its habits are become natural. For the principles and dispositions which are engraved upon the heart by education, remain firm and unshakeable, as being founded on inward conviction, and the bent and inclination of the will, which is a much stronger and more lasting bond than constraint, and therefore becomes a law to youth, and holds in their minds the quality of a legislator. Here, methinks, is the truest idea that can be given of the difference between laws and education. The laws, by themselves, are a severe imperious mistress, a kind of necessity which fetters man, in what he naturally loves most, and is most jealous of, I mean his liberty. They fret and grieve him, they oppose and contradict him, they are deaf to all his remonstrances and desires; they are inflexible, and speak to him always in a menacing tone, and exhibit nothing to his view but punishments. And therefore it is not surprizing that he should willingly shake off this yoke, when he can do it with impunity, and give himself up to those natural inclinations which the laws had only restrained, not changed or destroyed. ’Tis not so with respect to education. It is a sweet and insinuating mistress, an enemy to all violence and constraint, that delights to act only in the way of persuasion, and endeavours to make its instructions liked by speaking always truth and reason, and aims at making virtue easier by rendering it more amiable. These lessons commencing with infancy, grow up and strengthen with the child, and spreading their roots by degrees, soon pass from the memory and the understanding into the heart, and by practice and habitude become a second nature, which it is almost impossible to efface or alter. ’Tis not then to be wondered at, that the ancient sages should have so earnestly recommended particular concern about education, and considered it as the securest way of rendering a state truly stable and flourishing. Their capital maxim was, that children belonged more to the republic than to their parents, and therefore, that their institution ought not to be left to the caprice of the latter, but be the care of the public. ’Tis true, every species of government hath its particular genius. The spirit and character of a common-wealth is one thing, and that of a monarchical state is another. But ’tis by education that the spirit and character of a people is formed. It is in consequence of the principles we have now laid down that Lycurgus, Aristotle, Plato, and in one word, all those ancients who have left us instructions concerning civil government, declare with one voice, that it is the principal, the most essential duty of a magistrate, a minister, a legislator, a prince, to give attention to the education, in the first place of their own children, who often succeed to their dignities, and in the next place to that of the subjects in general, which constitute the public body; and they have observed that all the disorders of states chiefly spring from neglect of this double duty. Plato quotes an illustrious example of it in the person of one of the most accomplished princes in ancient history, the famous Cyrus. He wanted none of the qualities necessary to make a truly great man, but this one we are now to mention. Being entirely occupied by his conquests, he abandoned to his women the education of his children. So that these young princes were not brought up according to the hard and austere discipline of the Persians, which had such excellent success with regard to Cyrus himself, but in the manner of the Medes, that is to say, in luxury, softness and voluptuousness. Their ears were open to nothing but praise and flattery: All who came near them bended the knee, and laid themselves at their feet; and they thought it essential to their grandeur to keep at an immense distance from all the rest of mankind, whom they looked upon as of a different species. An education from which all controul, all checks were banished, had, says Plato, the effect one must naturally expect from it. The two princes, immediately after the decease of their father, armed the one against the other, neither being able to bear a superior or equal; and Cambyses becoming, by the death of his brother, absolute master, threw himself, like one who had lost his senses, and was quite infatuated, into excesses of all kinds, and brought the Persian empire to the very brink of ruin. Cyrus had left him a vast extent of provinces, immense revenues, an army of incredible numbers; but all this contributed to his ruin, through want of another good, infinitely more valuable, which he neglected to leave him, I mean a good education.
“Philip King of Macedon behaved in another manner. So soon as he was a father (and it was in the middle of his conquests, and in the time of his greatest exploits) he wrote the following letter to Aristotle. ‘I acquaint you that a son is born to me. I do not thank the Gods so much for his birth, as for his happiness in being born while there is an Aristotle in the world. For I hope that, being educated under your care, he will become worthy of the glory of his father, and of the empire I shall leave him.’ This was speaking and thinking like a great prince, who well knew the importance of good education. Alexander had the same sentiments. An historian tells us, that he loved Aristotle as his father, because, said he, to the one I owe my life, to the other the art of living well.
“If it be a great fault in a prince not to give due attention to the education of his own children, it is not a less one to neglect that of his subjects in general. Plutarch, in his parallel between Lycurgus and Numa, remarks very judiciously, that it was this neglect that rendered all the good designs and noble establishments of the latter ineffective. The passage is remarkable. All the care of Numa, says he, being solely aimed at maintaining Rome in peace and quiet, evanished with him: For immediately after his death, the double-gated temple, that really during his time kept in the Demon of war, as if he had been chained by him, burst open, and Italy was forthwith filled with blood and slaughter. And thus his best orders proved abortive, and did not long subsist, because the only support that could preserve and uphold them was wanting, good education of the youth. It was a quite opposite conduct which supported for so long a time the laws of Lycurgus in their full power. For as the same Plutarch observes, the oath which he exacted from the Lacedemonians would have been but a very weak resource after his death, if he had not taken care by his regulations about education to imprint his laws upon their manners, and to make them suck in with their first milk the love of his polity. Accordingly we find, that his chief ordinances preserved themselves more than five hundred years, as a good and strong tincture that had penetrated to the very bottom of the soul. It is astonishing to think how far back the best persons of antiquity carried their attention and vigilance in this matter. They recommended taking the greatest precaution from the very birth of infants, with relation to the persons put about them. We know that Quintilian had taken from Plato and Aristotle what he says with relation to nurses. He advises, like these sages, that in the choice of them regard ought to be had to their language and accent, but yet more especially to their temper, character and manners. And the reasons he gives are admirable. What is learned in infancy gently slides into the mind, and quickly taking deep root there is not easily erazed. Young minds are like fresh vessels, which preserve a long time the flavour of the first liquor that is poured into them; or as wool which never recovers its first whiteness after it has been dyed. And the misfortune is, that bad habits last longer than good ones. It was for the same reasons, that these philosophers looked upon it to be one of the chief duties of those charged with the education of children, to remove far from them the slaves and domestics, who by their discourse, and yet more by their example, might be hurtful to them. They added to this care another, the neglect of which will be the condemnation of many christian parents and masters. They kept carefully from infants not only all books, but all paintings, sculptures, or tapistry that could raise any dangerous image in their minds. All such corruptive pieces of art were strictly forbidden; and it was thought incumbent upon the magistrates to take care that these might be prohibitions were carefully observed. They were persuaded, that from objects so proper to kindle and flatter bad passions and appetites, there proceeded a most pestilential and contagious air. These sages earnestly desired that care might be taken that every thing should teach and inspire virtue, inscriptions, pictures, statues, spectacles, conversations; that every thing, in fine, that presents itself to the senses, and strikes the eyes or ears, should breath a salutary air, which might imperceptibly insinuate itself into young minds, and being aided and supported by the instructions of masters, might, from their tenderest years blow up and cherish in them the love of virtue, and a relish for honest things. There is in the original Greek of Plato, a delicacy of expression of which no other language is susceptive. And tho’ the passage be long, I thought it not amiss to quote a great part of it, to give some idea of his stile. I return to my subject, and I shall conclude this article, by entreating the reader to consider how paganism itself always regarded it as the principal duty of fathers, mothers, magistrates and princes, to watch over the education of children, as an affair of the last moment to private and public happiness. In fact, whilst the mind is yet tender and flexible, it may be moulded and formed just as we please, whereas age and long habit render faults almost incorrigible. ‘Frangas enim citius, quam corrigas quae in pravum induruerunt.’33
“In order to succeed well in the education of youth, the first step, methinks, one ought to take, is to settle well the scope to be proposed, to enquire which is the road to it, and to choose an able and experimented guide, qualified for conducting to it. Tho’ it be in general a very wise and judicious rule, to avoid all singularity, and to follow the established customs; yet I know not, if with regard to the affair in question, this maxim does not admit of some exception, and there be not reason to fear the dan gers and inconveniencies of a sort of servitude, that makes us follow blindly the steps of those who went before us, and consult custom more than reason, and regulate ourselves by what has been, rather than by what ought to be done: From whence it not unfrequently happens, that an error once established, goes from hand to hand, and from age to age, and so becomes almost a law that can’t be prescribed. But are mankind so happy, that the greater number always approves what is best? Doth not the very contrary happen much the oftenest? If we think with any degree of seriousness upon the matter, it will easily be granted, that the design of masters is not merely to teach their scholars Greek and Latin, or to instruct them in making themes, verses, amplifications; to load their memories with historical dates and aeras; to teach them to rear up syllogisms in mood and figure, or to draw lines and figures upon paper. These arts are, I deny not, useful and estimable, but as means, and not as the end; when they lead us to something else, and not when they are rested in as the principal part of instruction; when they serve as preparatives and instruments for better things, the ignorance of which renders every thing else useless. Youth would be to be pitied indeed, if they were condemned to pass eight or ten of their best years in learning, at great expence, and with incredible labour, one or two languages, and other such things, for which they may perhaps have very rarely any occasion. The great use of masters, in the long carrier of studies, is to accustom their disciples to thinking and serious application, and to make them love and esteem the sciences, to excite a hunger and thirst in them after solid knowledge, which will spur them to seek after it, when they leave the schools and colleges; to direct them into the true road to it, and to imprint upon their minds a deep sense of its value and price, and by this means, to qualify them for the different employments to which divine providence may call them. Nay, the scope of masters ought to be something more yet, which is to form their hearts and inclinations; to inspire into them good principles, the principles of honour and probity, and to train up in their minds good habits; to correct and amend in them by soft and sweet methods, any bad dispositions they may have discovered, such as pride, insolence, self-conceit, selfishness, and a spirit of railery, that delights in irritating and insulting, or a habit of laziness and indolence, which would render the best accomplishments profitless. Education, properly speaking, is the art of fashioning the heart and mind. It is of all the sciences the most difficult and the rarest: It is the most important, but it is not studied enough. To judge of the matter by common experience, one would say, that man is the most untractable of all animals. This is the judicious reflection with which Xenophon begins his institution of Cyrus. After having remarked that herds of sheep or cattle never rebel against their leaders, whereas amongst mankind nothing is more common. It seems, says he, as if we ought to conclude from hence, that it is more difficult to command men than beasts. But upon casting his eyes towards Cyrus, who was able to govern so many provinces, and keep them in peace, and to make himself equally beloved by conquered nations and his own natural subjects, he infers, that the fault is not owing to the refractoriness of those who ought to obey, but to superiors who know not how to rule. We may say the same of those who are charged with the education of children. It must be owned that the spirit of man, even in the tenderest age, is impatient of the yoke, and inclines to what is forbidden. But what ought we to conclude from this, but that the art of managing youth requires great prudence and address; and that youth yield more readily to mild methods than to violence? We often see a horse skittish, and spurn and fret at the bit, when it is the fault of his rider, who curbs and checks him unskilfully: Mount another on the same horse, better versed in horsemanship, and he will manage him very easily. To gain this end, the master’s first care ought to be to find out the genius and character of his trust: For accordingly ought he to regulate his management. Some children are retained by fear, and others are dispirited and discouraged by it. Some are hardly to be diverted or drawn from study and application: Others only study by fits and starts. To attempt to bring all upon the same level, or to subject all to one rule and discipline, is to force nature. The prudence of a master lies chiefly in keeping the middle between two extremes: For here the good borders so near upon the bad, that it is easy to mistake the one for the other, and this it is that renders the government of young folks so difficult. Too much liberty begets licentiousness, and too much restraint, on the other hand breaks the spirit. Praise awakes and rouses, but it also inspires vanity and presumption. We must therefore study to keep a just mean, that may balance or avoid these two inconveniencies, and imitate the conduct of Isocrates,34 with regard to Ephorus and Theopompus his scholars, who were of very different characters. This great master, who had no less success in teaching than in writing, as his disciples and writings proved, employed the bridle to keep in the vivacity of the one, and the spur to awake and push forward the other; and did not dream of treating them both in the same manner. His aim in reducing the one and goading the other, was to bring each to the particular perfection of which his nature was capable. Here is the model that ought to be followed in education. Infants carry in their minds the principles, and, as it were, the seeds of all the virtues and vices. Great sagacity is requisite to distinguish their several genius’s and characters; to find out their humours, their talents, their propensities, and, above all, their predomining passions, not with the view or hope of changing entirely their temperament, as for instance, to render one gay who is naturally grave and morose, or him serious who is naturally sprightly and lively. There are certain characters which like bodily deformity may be mended a little, but cannot be wholly changed. Now, the way to know children is to give them liberty from their earliest years to discover their inclinations, and to exert their natural humours; to bear with their little infirmities, that they may not be afraid to let them appear, to observe them narrowly, especially when they are at play, and do not hide or disguise themselves. For young people are naturally open and simple: But when they imagine they are observed, they are fettered, and this puts them upon their guard.
“It is also of great moment to distinguish the nature of the faults to which children are incident. In general, there is a probability that those in which their childhood, bad education, ignorance, misleading, and bad example have any share, are not remediless: And there is ground on the contrary to fear, that the faults which are rooted on the natural character of the mind, and the corruption of the heart, will be found very difficult to be cured, such as insincerity, dissimulation, flattery, a propensity to tale- bearing, in order to sow division, to envy and evil-speaking; a taunting mocking spirit, especially if it exert itself against advice, or things revered as sacred, a spirit of contradiction and obstinacy, and which is the ordinary consequence of it, a willingness and readiness to pervert and misconstruct.
“To get authority over children early is of principal consequence to masters during the whole course of education. I mean by authority a certain air and manner, which imprints respect and gains obedience. And ’tis neither age nor stature, nor the tone of the voice, nor menaces, which give this authority; but a moderate, agreeable, firm character of mind, which is always master of itself, and is always guided by reason, and never acts by caprice or in passion. ’Tis this excellent quality which preserves all in order, maintains an exact discipline, makes rules to be observed, saves from the trouble of reprimanding, and almost totally prevents the necessity of any other punishments. But it is from the very beginning that parents and masters must get this ascendency. If they do not seize the favourable minute, and put themselves from the first in possession of this authority, they will ever after find insurmountable difficulties in obtaining it, and the child will be master. There is in the heart of man a love of independency, which develops and shews itself in the tenderest years, and from the cradle. Now this is the season for breaking hardness and obstinacy, by accustoming children from their cradles to overcome their appetites, and to have no will of their own, but to yield and obey willingly. If what they cried for was never given them, they would quickly learn to give over fretting and peevishness, and by consequence, would not be so troublesome to themselves and others as they are generally rendered during their whole lives by ill-judged indulgence to their humours in their infancy. When I say this, I do not mean, that we should have no indulgence for children: I am far from such a disposition. I only say that nothing ought to be yielded to their crossness and peevishness: On the contrary, if they redouble their importunity they ought to be made to feel, that for this very reason they are not to have what they call for. And this we should lay down for a certain maxim, that after we have once refused them, we must resolve not to succumb to their obstinacy, unless we have a mind to teach them to be impatient and chagrined by so gratifying them. Don’t we see several well- bred children, who at table, whatever be before them, desire nothing, but take chearfully whatever is given them? Whereas, in other families children call tumultuously for whatever they like, and must be served first. Now whence comes this difference but from difference of discipline and education? The younger infants are, the less ought we to indulge their disorderly desires. The less reason they have, there is the more necessity of their absolute subjection to the will of their governors. And when they have once contracted this habit of pliableness, the trouble is over, and obedience will ever after be very easy to them.
Virg. Geo. l. 2. v. 272.35
What I have said of younger infants may be applied to those of riper years. A scholar who is put under a new master, makes it his first business to study and sound him. He will leave no artifice untried to find him out, and get the ascendent over him. But when he finds all his ruses and arts to no purpose, and that his master, with tranquillity and steadiness pursues his method, and will be obeyed, then the young man surrenders himself with good grace, and this kind of little war, or rather short skirmish which served to try forces on both sides, terminates happily in a peace and good understanding, which render all the after-time they have to be together very sweet and pleasant.
“The respect upon which the authority I have been speaking of is founded includes two things, fear and love, which mutually support and assist one another, and are the two chief handles or springs of government in general, in the management of youth in particular. Being of an age, in which reason is not yet very strong, and far from being able to rule, fear must sometimes come to its assistance, and take its place. But if fear be alone, and not followed very close with something to soften it and give delight, it will not long be listened to, its lessons will have but a very slight and transitory effect, which the hope of impunity will quickly dissipate. Wherefore, in education the great skill and ability of a master consists in mingling force to retain children, without dispiriting them, with love to gain them without softening them. On the one side mildness takes off what is harsh and austere in commanding; it blunts the sting of empire: On the other, prudent severity fixes the volatility and unsteadiness of an age not yet capable of deep reflection, or of governing itself. ’Tis then this happy mixture of sweetness and severity, fear and love, which procures authority to a master, is the soul of government, and inspires into pupils that respect which is the firmest bond of submission and obedience, in such a proportion, however, that it is mildness that ought to predomine and have the ascendant. But it may be said, that this mild way of governing youth, and of making one’s self beloved by his pupils, is much easier to be pursued by a private tutor than by masters of public schools. I own it is very difficult to preserve, in the management of a numerous school, that wholesome temperament between severity and excessive sweetness, of which we have been speaking. But it is not impossible; for we have seen it put in practice by some rare persons, who had hit on the secret of making themselves at once feared and loved. The whole depends upon the character of the masters. Quintilian tells us what the qualities of such a master must be, and how he must conduct himself in order to gain the affection of his disciples.36
“1. Because it is a general maxim that love cannot be bought but by love, ‘Si vis amari ama,’ the first thing Quintilian demands is, that a master should put on the sentiments and feelings, the bowels of a parent for his charge, and consider himself as holding the rank of those who have committed their children to him. 2. Next, That he should indulge no vices in himself, and suffer none in others. But that his austerity should have nothing rude in it, and his facility, on the other hand, no mixture of the too soft, lest he be either despised or hated. 3. That he be not choleric or passionate; but that on the other side, he do not shut his eyes against faults that deserve his animadversion. 4. That his manner of teaching be simple, calm, patient, and correct; and that he count more upon his own application and distinctness than upon the assiduity of his scholars: That he take pleasure in answering their questions: Nay, that he often prevent them, and raise their curiosity by asking them proper questions if they do not come to him with any. 5. That he do not grudge them the praise they have merited in due place and time, but that he be not too lavish of it; for the one discourages, and the other occasions a dangerous self-confidence and security. 6. When he is obliged to reprove, let it be done without bitterness or irritation. For many have contracted an aversion to study, because their master’s reprimands to them were as surly as if he had conceived a hatred against them. 7. That he speak often to them of virtue, and always with high relish, delight and commendation: That he always set it forth to them in the most engaging, captivating colours, as the most excellent and precious of all treasures, the most worthy possession of a reasonable agent; that which gains one the greatest honour, as a quality absolutely necessary to procure universal esteem and love, and as the only means of true happiness. The more pains he takes in informing them of their duties, the less will he be necessitated to chastise. Let him every day teach them himself something which they will take pleasure to carry with them, and by which they will profit. Tho’ reading may furnish with good examples, yet what a master says of himself viva voce, has quite another force, and produces quite a different effect, especially if it come from a master whom the scholars love and honour. For we much more willingly hearken to and imitate those for whom we have preconceived a liking and esteem.
“Those are the qualities which Quintilian requires in a master of rhetoric; (and they are equally requisite to every one who is entrusted with the care of youth) to the end, saith he, that where there are great numbers of students, the prudence of the master may preserve the younger from infection, and his gravity may check the licentiousness of those who are of an age more difficult to govern. For it is not enough that he be a man of virtue, if he be not also able to keep his disciples in order by exact discipline. Let us not doubt but a preceptor of this character will make himself both feared and loved. But the greater part seem to think, that they take a much surer way, namely that of reproof and punishment. It must be acknowledged, that this method appears easier, and that it costs less to the master than the insinuating mild manner, but it is as true, that it succeeds much worse. For by punishments one never arrives at the great end of education, which is to persuade, and to inspire the sincere love of virtue.
“The common compendious way for correcting children is the rod, the only one many of those entrusted with education seem to know. But this remedy often produces a worse disease than those it is employed to redress; especially, if it be employed out of season and measure. For besides that the whip and the rod have something indecent, low and servile in them, they are not in themselves proper remedies for faults, and there is no likelihood that correction will be of any use to a child, if the shame of suffering for having done amiss make not a greater impression upon his mind than the pain of being beat or lashed. Besides, these punishments give him an incurable aversion against the very things one ought to take all pains to make him like. They do not change the temper, but only restrain it for a while, and so only serve to make the passions break forth with more violence, when the curb is removed, and they feel themselves at liberty. They often stupify the mind, and oftener still harden in the vice we would reform: For an infant, who has so little sense of honour as not to be sensible to a reprimand, accustoms himself to stripes like a slave, and is at length very little affected by very severe punishments. Ought we to infer from this, that chastisements should never be applied? I am far from being of that opinion. I know what the wise man says against parents who spare the rod. But it is plain from the general tenor of his writings, that he only enjoins corporal punishment in case of obstinacy and insensibility to honour and reproof. Punishments may therefore be employed, but for faults of great importance, even as violent cures are never used but in extreme danger. Every person who is set over others, in order to correct those under his tuition, ought first to use gentle remonstrances, try the persuasive way, and endeavour to make honour, truth and justice relished; and to inspire esteem for virtue and abhorrence against vice. If this method won’t do, he may then have recourse to more violent and more piquing reproaches. But let him not proceed to corporal punishment till he hath tried all other milder means in vain, and that by degrees, leaving still some hopes of pardon, and thus reserving greater severities for the most desperate cases. When we compare a person of this prudence and moderation with a brutish, passionate, violent master, such as Orbilius, to whom Horace, who had been his scholar, gives the character of Plagosus,37 who does not perceive the difference of the effects that may be expected from their very opposite methods? Which of the two preceptors would we prefer, says Seneca, him who by his sage advices and counsels, and by motives of honour applies himself to amend his scholars, or him who tears their hides into pieces with his rod for a grammatical blunder, or some such like fault? If we should take this way to manage a horse, would we not quite spoil him? A skilful horseman never goes so rudely to work: And why must men be treated more roughly than brutes? The truth of the matter is, what makes it necessary to have at any age recourse to severe punishments, is chiefly the indulgence by which children are spoil’d in their tender years. Would we inure them betimes to obey reason, a reasonable habit would soon be fixed in their minds, that would save us the trouble and pain of punishing them in their more advanced years. But it is of the greatest importance to distinguish faults that demerit punishment from pardonable ones. I scruple not to place in the latter class all those which are done through inadvertency or ignorance, and which cannot be attributed to malice or bad intention, there being none that render culpable but those of the will. Of this kind are many levities and childish frailties which experience and age will infallibly correct. Nor do I think the whip or rod ought to be employed for any slips a child may commit in reading, writing, dancing, in learning any language, as Latin, Greek, &c. except in certain cases, of which I shall speak afterwards. There ought to be other punishments for faults in which there appears no bad disposition of the heart, nor no desire to shake off the yoke of authority. It is likewise the duty of parents and masters to contrive different sorts and degrees of punishments for different faults. It depends upon them to attach shame or ignominy to a thousand things which are indifferent in themselves, and that only become punishments in consequence of the ideas attached to them.—The only vice, in my opinion, that deserves severe treatment, is obstinacy in evil: A determined evident obstinacy. For we must not give this name to faults of levity and inconstancy, into which children, naturally heedless and unfixed, may frequently relapse without having bad dispositions. Suppose a child has told a lie; if it was violent fear drove him to it, the fault is much less on that score, and requires no more than a gentle reprimand. But if it be deliberate and voluntary, and pertly persisted in, it is a real fault that certainly merits punishment. Yet I think even for such a fault the rod ought not to be used the first time; for beyond this what can we do with children? It is the last remedy with relation to them. Does a father, says Seneca, disinherit his son for the first fault, however gross it may be? No. He tries all methods of reclaiming him, and making him return to himself; and it is only when he has lost all hopes of his amendment that he carries matters to such an extremity. A master ought in his sphere to observe the same rule. I say just the same of indocility and disobedience, when they are accompanied with obstinacy, or an air of arrogance, contempt and rebellion. But there is a particular kind of obstinacy with respect to study, and which we may call obstinate idleness, which commonly creates a great deal of trouble to masters, and that is, when children will learn nothing unless they be forced to it. I own nothing is more embarrassing, or more difficult to manage than this character, especially, if insensibility and indifference be joined with indolence, as is not uncommon. ’Tis in such a case, particularly, that a master stands in need of all his prudence, and of all his art, to render study, if not agreeable, at least not nauseous to his disciple, by mixing severity with mildness, threats with promises, punishments with rewards. When nothing else will succeed, one may have recourse to chastisement, but not daily and customarily; for such a remedy is worse than the disease. When punishment is necessary, there are proper times or seasons, and there is a proper manner of inflicting it. No less address and dexterity is requisite in treating the distempers of the mind than in managing those of the body. Nothing is more dangerous to the former than a cure unseasonably applied. A wise physician watches the favourable moment for applying his remedy: He waits till the patient is in a condition to bear it: The first rule therefore, with regard to the chastisement of children, is not to punish them in the very instant they are found in a fault, lest they be irritated and pushed by such severity to extremity: But time ought to be given them to come to themselves, and perceive their fault, and the necessity or justice of punishing them for it, that they may thus be in a condition for profiting by chastisement. The master ought never to punish in passion or anger, more especially, if the fault committed anywise regard his own person in particular. He ought to bear in mind that fine saying of Seneca to a slave, with whom he had reason to be angry, ‘I would punish you as you have deserved, were I not in passion.’ ’Twere to be wished that all persons invested with authority over others were in this respect like the laws, which punish without any commotion or disquiet, and that purely for the sake of justice and public good. The scholar soon perceives the least appearance of wrath in his master’s face or tone of voice, and then he is apt to conclude, that it is not so much his regard to his duty, as the ardor of his passion that instigates him: And there needs no more to render punishment quite fruitless; because the youngest children are sensible that it is reason alone that hath a right to correct. As punishment ought very rarely to be inflicted, so all fit means ought to be used to make it answer its end. Shew, for instance, a child all you have done to avoid coming to this extremity. Let him see that you are really grieved to be forced to it. Speak often in his hearing to other persons of the unhappiness of those who have so little regard to honour and reason, that there is a necessity for using severities with them. Retrench the ordinary marks of your love, till you find that he begins to want consolation. Let the punishment be private or public, as you shall find it necessary for the child’s good, to shew him your tenderness, or to bring him to greater shame. Let public shame be reserved for your last resource. Make use sometimes of some reasonable person to take proper pains with him to bring him to himself, to whom he is likely to open his mind with more freedom than he dare to you. But, above all, let it be evident that you desire no other submissions of him but what are reasonable. Endeavour to convince him, so that he may condemn himself, and so nothing may remain for you to do but to mitigate his punishment. These general rules ought to be applied according to particular circumstances. But if the youth is insensible to honour or shame, care ought to be taken that the first punishment be such as will work its end in place of a more noble motive. I need not say that blows on the head or face are absolutely forbidden to masters by universal consent. They ought not to punish but to correct, and passion cannot correct. Let a master but ask himself if it is in cold blood, and without any emotion he gives a blow to a child? Anger, which is itself a vice, can it be a proper remedy for curing the vices of others?
“No less precaution and prudence are necessary in giving reprimands than in inflicting corporal chastisements; because there is more frequent occasion for the former, and the consequences of them may be equally pernicious. To render them of use, there are three things principally to be observed, the cause, the time, and the manner of giving them. ’Tis not an uncommon error to have recourse to reproof for very slight faults, hardly avoidable by children: And this takes off all their force, and renders them fruitless when they are proper. I have not forgot the observation I have already quoted from Quintilian, that the way to punish rarely is to admonish often. ‘Quo saepius monuerit hoc rarius castigabit.’38 But there is a distinction between admonitions and reprimands. The former savour more of the friend than of the master. They are always accompanied with an air and tone of sweetness, which makes them agreeably received, and therefore they may often be used. But because reproofs always provoke self-love, and not unfrequently borrow a severe mien and tone, they ought to be reserved for the more considerable defaults, and consequently be seldomer employed. The prudence of a master chiefly shews itself, by taking the proper moments when the mind of the young offender is best disposed to profit by correction. These moments Virgil elegantly calls, ‘Molles aditus, mollissima fandi tempora’; and in discerning these he places the address of a negotiator, ‘Quibus rebus dexter modus.’39 Never reprove a child, says Mr. de Fenelon,40 neither in his nor your first emotion. If you do it in yours, he may perceive that you act precipitantly and in anger, and are not moved by reason or love; and thus you will irrecoverably lose your authority: If, while he is in heat, his mind cannot be free or calm enough to avow his fault, overcome his passion, and perceive the utility and reasonableness of your advice: Let him always see that you are absolute master of yourself; and nothing can better evidence that than your patience and calmness. Watch him every moment for several days, if it be necessary, till you catch a proper time for correcting him. ’Tis indeed a very difficult matter to give correction and reproof in a profitable manner. The reason is, because the affair we undertake is, to make men perceive what they do not like to perceive: It is attacking self-love in its tenderest and most sensible part, and where it never yields without violent resistance and struggling. One loves himself whatever he be, and will needs find out reasons for justifying his self-conceit: Hence it is, that various deceitful colours are studied for varnishing over our defects or faults. And therefore it is not to be wondered at, if men take it amiss to be contradicted or condemned, because thus an attack is made at one and the same time upon a mistaken understanding and a corrupted heart. This it is that renders correction and reprimand so delicate a matter to manage. We must let nothing appear to a youth that may mar the end of reproof. We must therefore avoid provoking his anger by harsh words, or his pride by marks of contempt. Let not matters be exaggerated; and it would be right even never to tell a child of a fault without shewing him how he may surmount or remedy it. Parents and masters, says Cicero, are sometimes obliged to use a high tone of voice and strong words in their corrections, but that ought rarely to be done, as physicians only have recourse to certain medicines in extremity. And reprimands, however strong it may be necessary that they should be, ought to have nothing harsh or incensing in them; for if anger mixes in any degree with punishment, it entirely spoils it of its effect. Let the child see that if we use strong terms, it is with regret, and purely for his good. We may reckon upon it, that reproofs have had their full success when they bring the youth to acknowledge his fault, and to desire to have his failures pointed out to him, and to receive the advices given him with docility. When we have gained so much, we have made great progress. For the child who desires to improve, has already made considerable proficiency. ’Tis a sure mark of a solid judgment, and a good mind, when one becomes sensible of faults to which his eyes had hitherto been shut, as it is a good sign when the patient begins to feel his sores. Some children are naturally of such a happy disposition that it is enough to shew them their duty: They do not need long lectures from masters, but immediately discern the fair and fit, and yield themselves to truth and reason. Seneca calls such, Rapacia virtutis ingenia.41 There are, we may say, such sparks of all the virtues in these minds, as require but very gentle blowing to be kindled into a bright flame: But such characters are rarer, and want but little guidance. There are others who have indeed a very good natural foundation, but their minds seem to be block’d up against instruction, either because they have not had early instruction to open their minds, or because, being brought up in a soft manner, and in total ignorance of their duty, they have contracted many bad habits, which are a kind of rust that it is very difficult to remove. Such stand most in need of masters; yet masters seldom fail of correcting and reforming their faults, when they employ much mildness and patience for that effect. These methods may be called, in one word, using reason with children, acting always without choler, and always giving a reason for your conduct towards them. We ought, says Mr. de Fenelon, to try all means of making those things which we exact of young people agreeable to them. If you have any thing laborious or troublesome to propose to them, give them to understand, that the pleasure that is to ensue to them from it, will abundantly recompense their pain: Never fail to let them see the advantage of whatever you teach them; the use of it in life and civil commerce. Tell them it is to qualify them for doing what they must one day do: It is in order to ripen their judgments; it is to accustom them to reason solidly and judiciously about the affairs of life. ’Tis proper always to point out to them a useful or agreeable end of their labour, that may support them in it: And they ought never to be put upon any thing by mere force or absolute authority. When they deserve, whether punishment or rebuke, they themselves should be led to perceive the necessity of correcting them, and be asked whether they think it possible to treat them in any other manner. I have been astonished, says Mr. Rollin, to see, when the reasonable but provoking necessity of chastisement, or a public rebuke, might have chagrined scholars, and tempted them to rebellion, what impression the account I gave them of my conduct made upon them, and how they condemned themselves, and consented that I could not deal otherwise with them. For I owe this justice to all who have ever been under my tuition, to acknowledge here, that I have almost always found them very reasonable, tho’ they were not exempt from all faults. Children are much sooner capable of understanding reason than we are apt to imagine, and they naturally love to be treated as reasonable creatures from their tenderest years. And this good disposition ought carefully to be cherished in them: We ought to make good use of this sentiment of honour, and employ it as a very proper handle to turn them towards virtue. They are likewise very sensible to praise, and masters ought to take hold of this disposition, and endeavour to make a virtue of it. It would discourage them never to commend them when they do well. And tho’ praise is a little dangerous, on account of its tendency to intoxicate with vain conceit; yet it may be employed to animate youth without puffing them up. For of all the motives proper to affect a reasonable soul, there are none which have more force than a sense of honour and shame: Indeed, when we have formed in youth a delicate sense of these, all is gained. They feel a sincere pleasure in being applauded by their parents, and those on whom they depend, more especially. If they therefore caress them and give them praise when they behave well, and if they look down upon them and slight them when they do wrong, and if they make it a rule to themselves to treat their children uniformly and steadily in this manner, this management will make much deeper impression upon them than menaces or even corporal punishments. But to render this usage truly beneficial, two things are to be observed. First of all, when parents or masters are cold or indifferent to children, all others who are about them ought to behave in the same manner towards them, that they may find no consolation for the just anger of their parents or preceptors, in the caresses of governesses or servants. For then they are necessitated to reflect on their faults, and they can’t choose but conceive an aversion against what brings such a general contempt upon them. In the second place, when parents or masters have once assumed a sour or cold look, they must take care not, as it often happens, to lay it very soon aside, and put on their former tenderness and cheerfulness. For if they manage children in this way, it will soon be perceived that their reprimands are but a storm that quickly passes away. Children ought therefore not to be restored to favour, till their care to reform their faults has sufficiently evinced the sincerity of their professed repentance for them. Recompences ought to be employed in education; for tho’ these, no more than praise, ought to be the principal motive that actuates them, yet both may be rendered subservient to the promotion of virtuous dispositions in them, both may be employed to animate and spur them on in their studies. Is it not fit and advantageous that they should know, that they can never suffer, but must always gain by good behaviour, and therefore that their interest, as well as their duty, should engage them to perform carefully and diligently what is required of them, whether with relation to study or conduct? But recompences ought to be wisely chosen, as well as judiciously applied. One certain rule with regard to this matter, to which, however, for ordinary, very little attention is paid, is, that dress, finery, or delicacy, or other things of these kinds, ought never to be presented to their minds under the idea of rewards. The reason is obvious. ’Tis by promising such things to them under the notion of recompences, that a taste, liking, and propensity towards them is engendered and raised in their minds: ’Tis thus they are inspired with esteem for what they ought to despise. The same rule holds with respect to money, the passion for which is so much the more dangerous that it is so general, and that it must grow up with age. They ought to be inured to consider money in no other view but as the means of doing good to others. I have known several scholars, who of their own proper motion and accord divided any money that was given them into three parts, one of which was destined to charitable uses, another to purchase books, and the remainder to their innocent diversions. Children may be recompensed by allowing them innocent amusements, which require a little activity and industry; by taking them out to walk, at which time conversation may be used to great advantage; and by little presents of books, pictures, prints, or by carrying them to see curiosities or rarities of nature or art, as the art of printing, for instance, or any ingenious manufacture. The wisdom of parents and masters lies in contriving proper rewards, and in diversifying them, inciting a liking to them or desire of them; in keeping a certain fit order in the distribution of them, by beginning always with the more simple, and making these last as long as possible. But above all, let promises to them be punctually performed: Let this be an indispensible rule in the government of youth. For one of the vices we ought to take the greatest care to correct, or rather to prevent, is lying: Against this, too great an aversion or abhorrence cannot be raised. We must always speak of it to them as something base, unworthy, cowardly, that absolutely dishonours a person, and that is not to be born with even in slaves. Dissimulation, equivocation, and feigned excuses, approach very near to this vice, or at least never fail to draw into it. And therefore children ought early to know, that twenty faults will much sooner be pardoned than one simple disguisement of the truth to cover other faults. For which reason, when the child candidly confesses his fault, let his ingenuity be applauded, and his transgression be forgiven, without ever upbraiding him for it, or even so much as mentioning it to him afterwards, unless it becomes a mere ruse in him to escape correction; for then it is incompatible with candour and sincerity. All that youth hear from their masters or parents, ought to conspire to inflame their minds with the love of virtue and truth, and to excite their abhorrence of doubleness or falshood. And therefore we ought never to use any blind to please them, or prevail with them to do what we would have them to do: Never to make any promises or threats which they know are not to be executed. For this way of treating them would but teach and confirm them in the cunning to which they commonly have very early but too strong a propension. Accustom them to tell freely and ingenuously what gives them pleasure or pain: And let them understand that cunning always bewrays a bad heart; because one only has recourse to it to hide what he really is, or to give himself an appearance of being what he is not: lead them to remark the ridicule of certain artifices others may have used; the bad success such arts commonly have, and the contempt they generally bring upon those who use them. Make them ashamed when you catch them dissembling; and sometimes deprive them of what they like, because they shewed a disposition to get it by little cunning arts; and assure them they shall have what they ask honestly and without disguise. ’Tis on this point, chiefly, that we ought to pique their sense of honour. Shew them the difference between a child who is sincere and loves truth, in whom every body places entire confidence, because he is looked upon as incapable of lying or dissembling, and another of whom one is always suspicious and diffident, and to whose words none gives any credit, even when he tells truth. Be sure to put them often in mind of what Cornelius Nepos (and Plutarch gives the same encomium to Aristotle) observes of Epaminondas, that he was such a lover of veracity that he never would lie, not so much as in jest.42 What I have been saying proves it to be the indispensible duty of parents and masters, to be very strict to truth in all their dealings with those under their care; the indispensible duty of masters, in particular: For in truth, according to the common course of the world, it is their business to defend their pupils against the bad influence of the conversation and example even of parents, as well as against the false prejudices and wicked principles that are authorised by too general practice. They ought to be to their scholars their faithful guardians and monitors, which, as Seneca speaks, are to take care to preserve and deliver them from popular errors, and to inspire into them principles founded on and conformable to reason. They themselves ought therefore to be so deeply impregnated with the sincere love of reason and truth, as never to think or speak but with prudence and veracity. For nothing can be done or said before children which has not some effect upon them: ’Tis upon what they hear and see that they model themselves. ’Tis from the discourses and practices of those about them they imbibe their first and most lasting notions and passions. For this reason it is, that Quintilian, as we have already observed, so frequently exhorts masters to speak frequently to their pupils of honesty and candour. And Seneca tells us what excellent impressions his master’s discourses of this kind made upon him. The passage is exceeding beautiful:43 ‘Scarcely can one imagine what force good discourse has upon youth, or how strongly it influences the young mind. For the flexible tender hearts of children are easily turned towards virtue. Being docile, and not yet infected by any corruptive contagion, truth very easily finds admittance into their minds, provided it but meets with an intelligent advocate to plead its cause, and display its merit to them. For my own part, when I heard Attalus inveigh against any vice, any disorderly practice, or any irregularity in life, I pitied mankind, and thought nothing estimable but a man capable of such sentiments. When he set himself to describe the advantages of poverty, and to prove that all above a moderate competency ought to be regarded as a useless, a troublesome burden, he made me in love with poverty. If he decried vitious pleasures and praised chastity, frugality, sobriety, and purity of soul, I found myself heartily disposed to renounce all pleasures, even the most innocent and legitimate. But there is a shorter and surer way yet of conducting the young to the love of virtue, and that is by good example. For the language of actions is much stronger and more persuasive than that of words. “Longum iter est per praecepta, breve & efficax per exempla.”44 ’Tis a great happiness when youth meet with masters whose whole lives are one continued lesson: Masters whose actions never belie their instructions, but who do what they advise, and avoid what they blame, and who are yet more admired for their conduct than for their learning or eloquence.’
“Now, is there any thing wanting in what hath been said concerning the duties of parents and preceptors? I think not. And yet let me tell Christians, that all hitherto is taken from pagan writers: ’Tis from Lycurgus, Plato, Cicero, Seneca, Quintilian, I have borrowed all these instructions I have been giving, conformity to which would render education an unfailing source of virtue, and therefore of public and private happiness. ’Tis plain, from what hath been said, that it is vice only that ought to be punished, and not unattentiveness or heedlesness, or any other faults in learning languages, or even sciences. Here all that can be done is to render study as agreeable as possible. But as this is the most important, so it is the most difficult art in the institution of youth. For among the vast number of masters who do not want merit in other regards, how few are there that are capable of succeeding in this point? Good success in it depends much upon the first impressions that are made upon young minds, and consequently, upon the great attentiveness of those masters who are employed in teaching the first elements to children, to prevent their conceiving any aversion to reading and study, which at first they cannot like, lest the disagreeableness of it should be remembered, and follow them to a more advanced age. In order to this, says Quintilian,45 study should be made a play or amusement to children: Let a sprouting genius be flattered and encouraged to shew itself, by asking him little simple questions, and be animated by praise and commendation, that the infant may have ground to be content with himself, and pleased with his having learned something. Sometimes it may be proper to teach another what one refuses to learn or attend to, in order to provoke his jealousy and emulation. Enter also into little disputations sometimes with children, and let them have a seeming victory over you: Endeavour likewise to bait or engage them to study, by recompenses suited to their age. But the great secret, says Quintilian, for rendering study agreeable to young minds, is the master’s knowing how to make himself beloved by them. When this is the case, they willingly hearken to him, they chearfully yield to his teaching, they are desirous to gain and keep his favour, and thus they take a pleasure and pride in receiving his lessons; nay, they even receive his admonitions and corrections with submission: being very sensible to his applause, they exert themselves to merit his friendship, by acquitting themselves well, and doing their duty with complacency and good grace. There is in the minds of children, as well as of men, a natural fund of curiosity, that is, a desire to understand, know and learn, of which great advantages may be made, in order to render learning pleasant and delightsome. All they see being new to them they naturally ask questions, and demand the names and uses of every thing that presents itself to them. We ought therefore to answer their interrogatories without shewing any chagrin or uneasiness, any marks of dissatisfaction with their curiosity; we ought rather to applaud it, and endeavour to content it, by the clearest and exactest answers to their questions we can devise: We ought never to rebuke them, or to trifle with them: But above all, we ought never to put them off with blinds, or to prevaricate with them, and endeavour to deceive or impose upon them. For this they will soon discover, and the discovery will have a very bad effect upon their minds, as hath been already observed in this treatise. In every art and science, the beginnings, the first rudiments are dry and insipid, and consequently forbidding. And for this reason, it is of moment to abridge and facilitate the toil of learning them as much as can be done, or to take off as much as may be from their harshness, by mixing as much sweetness with the draught as possible. ’Tis on this account I think the way of beginning by reading and explaining authors to young folks preferable to that of making them compose themes; because the latter is more irksome and difficult, and exposes them more to reprimands and chastisements. In private education, a skilful, well-qualified master does all he can to make study palatable and of easy digestion, so to speak. He waits for proper opportunities of teaching, studies the taste, temper, and genius of his pupil; he mixes play and amusement with labour and study; he seems to leave matters to their own choice; he avoids formality in giving his lessons; he keeps up and quickens their appetite by means of little interruptions; in one word, he turns himself into a thousand shapes, and invents a thousand arts for accomplishing his end. In colleges or large schools many of these arts are not practicable. In a numerous class, preservation of order and discipline demands a certain regularity and uniformity which all must exactly observe, and which is therefore an embarassment upon masters, that renders their accommodating themselves to different tempers and genius’s almost impossible. It requires great prudence, great address, to govern with steady reins a great number of youth of differing characters; some lively to impetuosity, others phlegmatic and slow; some whom it is necessary to keep in with bit and bridle; others to whom you must give head; others who want a goad or spurring.—It is extremely difficult, I say, to manage at the same time so great a diversity of minds, so as to bring all, notwithstanding all differences of humour, ability and character, to the same goal, in the same path or tract. It must be acknowledged, that it is this that makes the principal difficulty with respect to public education; it is this that renders it a work of so much prudence and patience. But in instructing youth, this essential principle is ever to be kept in view, ‘That study depends upon the will, and admits not of violence or constraint.’ ‘Studium discendi, voluntate quae cogi non potest, constat.’46 You may confine a youth within the school, double his labour by way of punishment, force him to fulfil his appointed task, or deprive him of play and recreation if he don’t. But to labour thus like a galley-slave under the rod, is that to study? Or what can be the fruit of this drudgery, and the austerity forcing to it, but hatred to books, and study, science, instruction and teachers, for their whole after-life? ’Tis the heart, the will that must be gained, and they can only be gained by mildness, by friendship, good-will, persuasion, and by the allures of pleasure, exciting a desire in youth to be instructed and become knowing: And let lessons be as much diversified as possible: Keep them not long at a time about mere words: Nay, let them feel that they are never learning mere vocables or phrases, but are always gaining some real knowledge that will be useful to them, that fits them at least for conversation, and gains them approbation and esteem. Teaching philosophy, or the knowledge of nature and mankind, admits of great diversification without breaking its unity; and so likewise do lessons upon any language. Hardly can we read any author with young people suited to their age, in which maps, medals, prints of statues, bas-reliefs, &c. have not naturally place as the best helps; and they are adminicles that wonderfully entertain, please and enlarge the mind. For a reward to a little application in getting words, let them be instructed in some part of science, amused with some useful experiment, with the description and anatomy of some plant or of some animal, or with the history of some great man’s actions or sayings, or some other such moral lesson. Travel with them, by way of recompence to some dry labour, over some part of the globe, and give them an account of its soil, climate, product, government, manners and customs, great men and principal revolutions. Take these and such- like methods of rewarding their more insipid tasks, and at the same time, facilitate what is really drudgery as much as possible, and you will find young minds grow in curiosity, and wonderfully expand and strengthen by such care, if the master be withal of a gentle and gracious temper and carriage, and knows how to mingle, in due proportions, familiarity and facetiousness with gravity and seriousness.” The greater part of these observations and advices are delivered to us by Plato, Cicero, Quintilian, and other ancient observers of human nature, from their experience. And we have laid them together almost in the order Mr. Rollin has given them to us in his excellent treatise upon teaching the belles-lettres and sciences, because so ranged they make a system; and they thus come to us with the additional confirmation of his own experience, together with that of Mr. de Fenelon and Mr. Nicol, and others of the best men, as well as best writers of that country: And upon comparison, they will be found perfectly agreeable to the sentiments of two of our own greatest men upon the important subject of education, Mr. Locke, whom we have already so often quoted, and Mr. Milton, whose incomparable piece on education deserves the most serious perusal of all concerned in the formation of youth. What we have said in the former part of this chapter concerning grammar, is exactly conformable to Mr. Milton’s47 opinion about this matter, as well as Mr. Locke’s.48 He justly considers rhetoric as making a part of logic. And beginning with logic in teaching philosophy, he, agreeably to the doctrine of Plato concerning this matter, represents as very absurd. For, if the business of logic be to teach the art of communicating or imparting knowledge to others, in an orderly, perspicuous and agreeable manner, does it not presuppose a mind already well freighted with substantial knowledge? Or if its business be to range ideas into categories, classes, or tribes, and observe their relations and dependencies, or differences, does not such work suppose a mind well stored with various ideas, previously collected by various observation and reading? If the end and intention of logic be to compare various sorts of reasoning amongst themselves, and hence to draw general rules for improving knowledge, searching into nature, making experiments, inferring conclusions from particular observations, and avoiding error, can any one be fit for this nicely critical work without being acquainted by use with all the variety of certain and probable evidence, without having been practised in reasoning and concluding in very different manners about a great diversity of objects? Or if the end of logic and rhetoric be to lead youth to make reflections upon the imperfections and abuses of words; the puzling obscurities in which the plainest matters may be involved by words, the various arts of moving the passions, and the sources and rules of all the different species of elegant composition, is this proper work for raw, unfurnished, empty, unexperienced minds? Do we take, says Plato, an inventary of an empty house? Or would we employ one in furnishing a house, and ranging and inventarying its furniture and utensils, who is an utter stranger to houshold arts, and the implements these require, and their respective uses? Do we send one to count without arithmetick, or to measure without a standard?
All that has hitherto been said, will, we think, receive no small confirmation from the account left us by Plato and Xenophon, concerning the education of the Persian princes and nobles. The manner of educating the future master of the empire in Persia, is admired by Plato, and recommended to the Greeks as a perfect model for a prince’s education. He was never wholly committed to the care of the nurse, who however generally was a woman of mean and low condition; but from among the chief officers of the houshold, some of the most approved merit and probity were chosen to take care of the young prince’s person and health till he was seven years of age, and to begin to form his manners and behaviour. He was then taken from them and put into the hands of other masters, who were to continue the care of his education, to teach him to ride as soon as his strength would permit, and to exercise him in hunting. At fourteen years of age, when the mind begins to open and attain to some maturity, four of the wisest and most virtuous men of the state were appointed to be his governors or preceptors. The first taught him magic, that is in their language, the worship of the Gods, according to their ancient maxims, and the laws of Zoroaster the son of Oromasus; he also instructed him in the principles of government. The second was to accustom him to speak truth and to administer justice. The third was to teach him not to be overcome by pleasures, that he might be truly a king, and always free, and master of himself and his desires. The fourth was to fortify his courage against fear, which would have made him a slave, and to inspire him with a noble and prudent assurance, so necessary for those that are born to command. Each of these governors excell’d in his way, and was eminent in that part of education assigned to him. One was particularly distinguished for his knowledge in religion and the art of governing. Another for his love of truth and justice: This for his moderation and abstinence from pleasures: That for a superior strength of mind and uncommon intrepidity. I do not know, says a very ingenious writer, whether such a diversity of masters, who, without doubt were of different tempers, and had perhaps different interests in view, was proper to answer the end proposed; or whether it was possible that four men should agree together in the same principles, and harmoniously pursue the same end. Probably the reason of having so many was, that they apprehended it impossible to find any one person possessed of all the qualities they judged necessary for giving a right education to the presumptive heir of the crown; so great an idea had they of the importance of a prince’s education. Be this as it will, it is well worth our notice, that all this care, as Plato himself remarks in the same place, was frustrated by the luxury, pomp and magnificence with which the young prince was surrounded; by the numerous train of attendants that served him with a servile submission; by all the appurtenances and equipage of a voluptuous, effeminate life of pleasure: the invention of new diversions seemed to engross all his attention: Dangers which the most excellent disposition could never surmount: The corrupt manners of the nation therefore quickly debauched the prince, and drew him into the reigning pleasures, against which the best education is hardly a sufficient defence. The education here spoken of by Plato can only relate to the children of Artaxerxes surnamed Longimanus, the son and successor of Xerxes, in whose time lived Alcibiades, who is introduced in the dialogue whence this observation is taken. For Plato elsewhere informs us, that neither Cyrus nor Darius ever thought of giving the princes their sons a good education: And what we find in history concerning Artaxerxes Longimanus, gives us reason to believe, that he was more careful than his predecessors in the point of educating his children, but was not much imitated, in that respect by his successors. It was strange, indeed, that Cyrus, who was so good a prince, and knew so well, by his own experience, the happy effects of good education, should have been so negligent about that of his sons. For he had been brought up according to the laws and customs of the Persians, which were, according to Xenophon’s account of them, in his Cyropoedeia, excellent in those days with respect to education. The public good, the common benefit of the nation, was the only principle and end of all their laws. The education of children was looked upon as the most important duty, and the most essential part of government. It was not totally left to the care of fathers and mothers, whose blind affection and fondness often render them incapable of that office; but the state took it upon themselves. Boys were all brought up in common, after one uniform manner, where every thing was regulated, the place and length of their exercises, the times of eating, the quality of their meat and drink, and their different kinds of punishment. The only food allowed either the children or the young men was bread, cresses and water; for their design was to accustom them early to temperance and sobriety: Besides, they considered that so frugal and plain a diet, without any mixture of sauces or ragouts, would enable them to undergo the hardships and fatigues of war to a good old age. Here boys went to school to learn justice and virtue, as they do in other places, to learn arts and sciences; and the crime most severely punished was ingratitude. The design of the Persians in all these wise regulations, was to prevent vice, being convinced how much better it is to prevent faults than to punish them: And whereas, in other states, the legislators are satisfied with establishing punishments for criminals, the Persians endeavoured so to order it as to have no criminals amongst them. Till sixteen or seventeen years of age the boys remained in the class of children; and here it was they learn’d to draw the bow, and to fling the dart or javelin; after which they were received into the class of young men. In this they were more narrowly watched and kept under than before, because that age requires the narrowest inspection, and has the greatest need of restraint. Here they remained ten years, during which time they passed all their nights in keeping guards, as well for the safety of the city, as to inure them to fatigue. In the day time they waited upon their governors to receive their orders, attended the king when he went a hunting, or improved in their exercises. The third class consisted of men grown up and formed; and in this they remained five and twenty years. Out of them all the officers that were to command in the troops, and all such as were to fill the different posts and commands or employments in the state, were chosen. When they were turned of fifty, they were not obliged to carry arms out of their own country. Besides these there was a fourth class, from whence men of the greatest wisdom and experience were chosen for forming the public council, and presiding in the courts of judicature. By this means, every citizen might aspire at the chief posts in the government, but not one could arrive at them till he had passed through all these several classes, and made himself capable of them by all these exercises. The classes were open to all; but generally such only, as were rich enough to maintain their children without working sent them thither.
I do not quote this extraordinary care of a state about education as a model that can or ought to be exactly followed in every form of civil government, but as one from which excellent maxims of government, and for the regulation of the most essential part in it, viz. education, may be gathered, abundantly confirming the more material observations that have been already mentioned, with relation to the chief end to be proposed and pursued in the institution and formation of youth, of those in particular whose birth and fortune call upon them to qualify themselves early for high and important offices in their country’s service. The sentiments of the best sages of Greece, in her more glorious days, have been fairly represented and fully discoursed upon in the former part of this work. Here we shall only take notice, that in after-times, even when the affairs and manners of Greece were sadly declined, we are assured that in the schools at Apollonia, whither Julius Caesar sent Octavius to be educated, in order to be qualified for succeeding him in the empire, care was taken to instruct youth in the arts of speaking and writing, but principal care was taken first of all to improve their reason and replenish their understandings with the most useful science, the knowledge of human obligations, which did not stop short at the more general and obvious duties of life, but went higher, and comprehended the arts and maxims of government, and all the laws of nature and nations relative to political affairs, the rights of war and peace, treaties, alliances, commerce, and in one word, all external or internal businesses of states and public magistrates; and to this teaching they joined such exercises as fitted for military command. To this school was Maecenas also sent, and there did he lay the foundation of his friendship with Augustus, which was of so great use to that prince afterwards. For Maecenas it was that gave this emperor a turn towards the muses; and to him chiefly was it owing that the government of an absolute prince, who in the first part of his conduct gave terrible proofs of a cruel temper, became afterwards so sufferable, which is the best that can be said of his or any arbitrary reign, however artfully it may be softened and sweetened. Chains are still chains, how much soever they are gilded or adorned.
We have already given some account of the first or most early part of Cicero’s education from an excellent writer of his life, and we shall here add what the same author hath collected to us from Cicero himself chiefly, concerning the subsequent and finishing parts of the same great man’s studies and exercises, by which he became so early capable of rendering the most eminent services to his friends and to his country in very difficult times.49
“After finishing the course of his puerile studies, before described, it was the custom to change the habit of the boy for that of the man, and take what they called the manly gown, or the ordinary robe of the citizens. This was an occasion of great joy to the young man, who by this change passed into a state of greater liberty and enlargement from the power of their tutors. They were introduced at the same time into the Forum, or the great square of the city, where the assemblies of the people were held, and the magistrates used to harangue them from the Rostra, and where all the public pleadings and judicial proceedings were usually transacted: This therefore was the grand school of business and eloquence; the scene on which all the affairs of the empire were determined, and where the foundation of their hopes and fortunes were to be laid: So that they were introduced into it with much solemnity, attended by all the friends and dependents of the family; and after divine rites performed in the capitol, were committed to the special protection of some eminent senator, distinguished for his eloquence or knowledge of the laws, to be instructed by his advice in the management of civil affairs, and to form themselves, by his example, for useful members and magistrates of the republic. Writers are divided about the precise time of changing the puerile for the manly gown: What seems the most probable is, that in the old republic it was never done till the end of the seventeenth year: But when the ancient discipline began to relax, parents out of indulgence to their children, advanced this aera of joy one year earlier, and gave them the gown at sixteen, which was the custom in Cicero’s time. Under the Emperors it was granted at pleasure, and at any age, to the great, or their own relations, for Nero received it from Claudius, when he just entered into his fourteenth year, which, as Tacitus says, was given before the regular season. Cicero being thus introduced into the Forum, was placed under the care of Q. Minucius Scaevola the augur, the principal lawyer as well as Statesman of that age; who had passed thro’ all the offices of the republic with a singular reputation of integrity, and was now extremely old: Cicero never stirred from his side, but carefully treasured up in his memory all the remarkable sayings which dropt from him, as so many lessons of prudence for his future conduct; and after his death applied himself to another of the same family, Scaevola the High-Priest, a person of equal character for probity and skill in the law; who, tho’ he did not profess to teach, yet freely gave his advice to all the young students who consulted him. Under these masters he acquired a complete knowledge of the laws of his country; a foundation useful to all who design to enter into public affairs, and thought to be of such consequence at Rome, that it was the common exercise of boys at school, to learn the laws of the twelve tables by heart, as they did their poets and classic authors. Cicero particularly took such pains in this study, and was so well acquainted with the most intricate parts of it, as to be able to sustain a dispute on any question with the greatest lawyers of his age; so that in pleading once against his friend S. Sulpicius, he declared by way of raillery, what he could have made good likewise in fact, that if he provoked him, he would profess himself a lawyer in three days time.
“The profession of the law, next to that of arms and eloquence, was a sure recommendation to the first honours of the republic, and for that reason was preserved, as it were hereditary, in some of the noblest families of Rome; who, by giving their advice gratis to all who wanted it, engaged the favour and observance of their fellow-citizens, and acquired great authority in all the affairs of state. It was the custom of those old senators, eminent for their wisdom and experience, to walk every morning up and down the Forum, as a signal of their offering themselves freely to all who had occasion to consult them, not only in cases of law, but in their private and domestic affairs. But in later times, they chose to sit at home with their doors open, on a kind of throne or raised seat, like the confessors in foreign churches, giving access and audience to all people. This was the case of the two Scaevola’s, especially the augur, whose house was called the oracle of the city, and who in the Marsic war, when worn out with age and infirmities, gave a free admission every day to all the citizens, as soon as it was light, nor was ever seen by any in his bed during that whole war. But this was not the point that Cicero aimed at, to guard the estates only of the citizens: His views were much larger; and the knowledge of the law was but one ingredient of many, in the character which he aspired to of an universal patron, not only of the fortunes, but of the lives and liberties of his countrymen: For that was the proper notion of an orator or pleader of causes, whose profession it was, To speak aptly, elegantly, and copiously on every subject which could be offered to him, and whose art therefore included in it all arts of the liberal kind, and could not be acquired to any perfection, without a competent knowledge of whatever was great and laudable in the universe.
“This was his own idea of what he had undertaken; and his present business therefore was, to lay a foundation fit to sustain the weight of this great character: So that while he was studying the law under the Scaevola’s, he spent a large share of his time in attending the pleadings at the bar, and the public speeches of the magistrates, and never passed one day without writing and reading something at home, constantly taking notes, and making comments on what he read. He was fond, when very young, of an exercise which had been recommended by some of the great orators before him, of reading over a number of verses of some esteemed poet, or a part of an oration, so carefully as to retain the substance of them in his memory, and then deliver the same sentiments in different words, the most elegant that occurred to him. But he soon grew weary of this, upon reflecting, that his authors had already employed the best words which belonged to their subject; so that if he used the same it would do him no good, and if different would even hurt him, by a habit of using worse. He applied himself therefore to another task of more certain benefit, to translate into Latin the select speeches of the best Greek orators, which gave him an opportunity of observing and employing all the most elegant words of his own language, and of enriching it at the same time with new ones, borrowed or imitated from the Greek. Nor did he yet neglect his poetical studies; for he now translated Aratus on the phaenomena of the heavens into Latin verse, of which many fragments are still extant; and published also an original poem of the heroic kind, in honour of his Countryman C. Marius. This was much admired, and often read by Atticus; and old Scaevola was so well pleased with it, that in an Epigram which he seems to have made upon it, he declares, that it would live as long as the Roman name and learning subsisted. There remains still a little specimen of it, describing a memorable omen given to Marius from the oak of Arpinum, which, from the spirit and elegance of the description, shews, that his poetical genius was scarce inferior to his oratorial, if it had been cultivated with the same diligence. He published another poem also called Limon, of which Donatus has preserved four lines in the life of Terence, in praise of the elegance and purity of that poet’s stile. But while he was employing himself in these juvenile exercises for the improvement of his invention, he applied himself with no less industry to philosophy, for the enlargement of his mind and understanding; and among his other masters, was very fond, at this age, of Phaedrus the Epicurean: But as soon as he had gained a little more experience and judgment of things, he wholly deserted and constantly disclaimed the principles of that sect; yet always retained a particular esteem for the man, on account of his learning, humanity and politeness. The peace of Rome was now disturbed by a domestic war, which writers call the Italic, Social, or Marsic, during the hurry of which, the business of the Forum was intermitted; the greatest part of the magistrates, as well as the pleaders, being personally concerned in it: Hortensius, the most flourishing young orator at the bar, was a volunteer in it the first year, and commanded a regiment the second. Cicero likewise took the opportunity to make a campaign, along with the Consul Cn. Pompeius Strabo, the father of Pompey the great. This was a constant part of the education of the young nobility; to learn the art of war by personal service under some general of name and experience; for in an empire raised and supported wholly by arms, a reputation of martial virtue was the shortest and surest way of rising to its highest honours; and the constitution of the government was such, that as their generals could not make a figure, even in camps, without some institution in the politer arts, especially that of speaking gracefully; so those who applied themselves to the peaceful studies, and the management of civil affairs, were obliged to acquire a com petent share of military skill, for the sake of governing provinces and commanding armies, to which they all succeeded of course, from the administration of the great offices of state. Cicero, we find, was not less diligent in the army than he was in the Forum, to observe every thing that passed; and contrived always to be near the person of the general, that no action of moment might escape his notice. The transactions of the Forum were greatly interrupted by civil dissentions; in which some of the best orators were killed, others banished. Cicero however attended the harangues of the magistrates, who possessed the Rostra in their turns; and being now about the age of twenty one, drew up probably those rhetorical pieces, which were published by him, as he tells us, when very young, and are supposed to be the same that still remain on the subject of invention: But he condemned and retracted them afterwards in his advanced age, as unworthy of his maturer judgment, and the work only of a boy, attempting to digest into order the precepts which he had brought away from the school. In the mean while Philo, a philosopher of the first name in the Academy, with many of the principal Athenians, fled to Rome from the fury of Mithridates, who had made himself master of Athens, and all the neighbouring parts of Greece. Cicero immediately became his scholar, and was exceedingly taken with his philosophy, and by the help of such a professor gave himself up to that study with the greater inclination, as there was cause to apprehend, that the laws and judicial proceedings which he had designed for the ground of his fame and fortunes, would be wholly overturned by the continuance of the public disorders. But Cinna’s party having quelled all opposition at home, while Sylla was engaged abroad in the Mithridatic war, there was a cessation of arms within the city for about three years, so that the course of public business began to flow again in its usual channel; and Molo the Rhodian, one of the principal orators of that age, and the most celebrated teachers of eloquence, happening to come to Rome at the same time, Cicero presently took the benefit of his lectures, and resumed his oratorical studies with the same ardor. But the greatest spur to his industry was the fame and splendor of Hortensius, who made the first figure at the bar, and whose praises fired him with such an ambition of acquiring the same glory, that he scarce allowed himself any rest from his studies either day or night: He had in the house with him Diodatus the stoic, as his preceptor in various parts of learning, but more particularly in logic; which, Zeno, as he tells us, used to call a close and contracted eloquence, as he called eloquence an enlarged and dilated logic; comparing the one to the fist, or hand doubled, the other to the palm opened. Yet with all his attention to logic, he never suffered a day to pass, without some exercise in oratory, chiefly that of declaiming; which he generally performed with his fellow-students, M. Piso and Q. Pompeius, two young noblemen a little older than himself, with whom he had contracted an intimate friendship. They declaimed sometimes in Latin, but much oftener in Greek; because the Greek furnished a greater variety of elegant expressions, and an opportunity of imitating and introducing them into the Latin; and because the Greek masters, who were far the best, could not correct and improve them, unless they declaimed in that language. Cicero, in fine, runs through all that course of discipline which he lays down as necessary to form the complete orator: For in his treatise on that subject, he gives us his own sentiments in the person of Crassus, on the institution requisite to that character, declaring, That no man ought to pretend to it, without being previously acquainted with every thing worth knowing in art or nature; that this is implied in the very name of an orator, whose profession it is to speak upon every subject which can be proposed to him; and whose eloquence, without the knowledge of what he speaks, would be the prattle only and impertinence of children. He had learned the rudiments of grammar and languages from the ablest teachers; gone through the studies of humanity and the politer letters with the poet Archias; been instructed in philosophy by the principal professors of each sect, Phaedrus the Epicurean, Philo the Academic, Diodotus the Stoic; acquired a perfect knowledge of the law from the greatest lawyers, as well as the greatest statesmen of Rome, the two Scaevola’s; all which accomplishments were but ministerial and subservient to that, on which his hopes and ambition were singly placed, the reputation of an orator: To qualify himself therefore particularly for this, he attended the pleadings of all the speakers of his time; heard the daily lectures of the most eminent orators of Greece, and was perpetually composing somewhat at home, and declaiming under their correction: And that he might neglect nothing, which could help in any degree to improve and polish his stile, he spent the intervals of his leisure in the company of the ladies; especially of those who were remarkable for a politeness of language, and whose fathers had been distinguished by a fame and reputation of eloquence. While he studied the law therefore under Scaevola the augur, he frequently conversed with his wife Laelia, whose discourse, he says, was tinctured with all the elegance of her father Laelius, the politest speaker of his age: He was acquainted likewise with her daughter Mucia, who married the great orator L. Crassus, and with her granddaughters, the two Liciniae, one of them the wife of L. Scipio, the other of young Marius, who all excelled in that delicacy of the Latin tongue, which was peculiar to their families, and valued themselves on preserving and propagating it to their posterity.
“Thus adorned and accomplished, he offered himself to the bar about the age of twenty-six, not as others generally did, raw and ignorant of their business, and wanting to be formed to it by use and experience, but finished and qualified at once to sustain any cause which should be committed to him. Two years after he went abroad: And we have a clear account from himself of the real motive of his journey: ‘My body, says he, at this time was exceedingly weak and emaciated, my neck long and small, which is a habit thought liable to great risk of life, if engaged in any fatigue or labour of the lungs; and it gave the greater alarm to those who had a regard for me, that I used to speak without any remission or variation, with the utmost stretch of my voice and great agitation of my body: When my friends therefore and physicians advised me to meddle no more with causes, I resolved to run any hazard, rather than quit the hopes of glory, which I proposed to myself from pleading: But when I considered, that by managing my voice, and changing my way of speaking, I might avoid all danger, and speak with more ease, I took a resolution of travelling into Asia, merely for an opportunity of correcting my manner of speaking: So that after I had been two years at the bar, and acquired a reputation in the Forum, I left Rome, &c.’ He was twenty-eight years old, when he set forward upon his travels to Greece and Asia, the fashionable tour of all those who travelled either for curiosity or improvement: His first visit was to Athens, the capital seat of arts and sciences; where some writers tell us that he spent three years, tho’ in truth it was but six months: He took up his quarters with Antiochus, the principal philosopher of the old academy: And under this excellent master renewed, he says himself, those studies which he had been fond of from his earliest youth. Here he met with his school-fellow T. Pomponius, who, from his love to Athens, and his spending a great part of his days in it, obtained the sirname of Atticus; and here they revived and confirmed that memorable friendship, which subsisted between them through life with so celebrated a constancy and affection. Atticus being an Epicurean, was often drawing Cicero from his host Antiochus to the conversations of Phaedrus and old Zeno, the chief professors of that sect, in hopes of making him a convert, on which subject they used to have many disputes between themselves: But Cicero’s views in these visits was but to convince himself more effectually of the weakness of that doctrine, by observing how easily it might be confuted, when explained even by the ablest teachers. Yet he did not give himself up so intirely to philosophy as to neglect his rhetorical exercises, which he performed still every day diligently with Demetrius the Syrian, an experienced master of the art of speaking. It was in this journey to Athens that he was initiated, most probably, into the Eleusinian mysteries. The reverence with which he always speaks of these mysteries, and the hints he has dropt of their use and end, seem to confirm what a very learned and ingenious writer has delivered of them, that they were contrived to inculcate the unity of God, and the immortality of the soul. From Athens he passed into Asia, where he gathered about him all the principal orators of the country, who kept him company through the rest of his voyage, and with whom he constantly exercised himself in every place where he made any stay.
“The chief of them, says he, was Menippus of Stratonica, the most eloquent of all the Asiatics; and, if to be neither tedious nor impertinent be the characteristic of an Attic orator, he may be justly ranked in that class. Dionysius also of Magnesia, Aeschylus of Cnidos, and Xenocles of Adramyttus were continually with me, who were reckoned the first rhetoricians of Asia: Nor yet content with these, I went to Rhodes, and applied myself again to Molo, whom I had heard before at Rome, who was both an experienced pleader and a fine writer, and particularly expert in observing the faults of his scholars, as well as in his method of teaching and improving them: His greatest trouble with me was to restrain the exuberance of a juvenile imagination, always ready to overflow its banks, within its due and proper channel. But as at Athens, where he employed himself chiefly in philosophy, he did not intermit his oratorial studies, so at Rhodes, where the chief study was oratory, he gave some share of his time also to philosophy, with Possidonius, the most esteemed and learned stoic of that age; whom he often speaks of with honour, not only as his master but as his friend. It was his constant care that the progress of his knowledge should keep pace with the improvement of his eloquence; he considered the one as the foundation of the other, and thought it in vain to acquire ornaments before he had provided necessary furniture: He declaimed here in Greek, because Molo did not understand Latin; and upon ending his declamation, while the rest of the company were lavish of their praises, Molo, instead of paying any compliment, sat silent a considerable time, till observing Cicero somewhat disturbed at it, he said, as for you, Cicero, I praise and admire you, but pity the fortune of Greece, to see arts and eloquence, the only ornaments that were left to her, transplanted by you to Rome. Having thus finished the circuit of his travels, he came back again to Italy, after an excursion of two years, extremely improved and changed, as it were, into a new man: The vehemence of his voice and action was moderated; the redundancy of his stile and fancy corrected; his lungs strengthened, and his whole constitution confirmed. This voyage of Cicero seems to be the only scheme and pattern of travelling from which any real benefit is to be expected: He did not stir abroad till he had compleated his education; for nothing can be more pernicious to a nation than the necessity of a foreign one; and after he had acquired in his own country whatever was proper to form a worthy citizen and magistrate of Rome, he went, confirmed by a maturity of age and reason, against the impressions of vice, not so much to learn, as to polish what he had learned, by visiting those places where arts and sciences flourished in their greatest perfection. In a tour the most delightful of the world, he saw every thing that could entertain a curious traveller, yet staid nowhere longer than his benefit, not his pleasure detained him. By his previous knowledge of the laws of Rome, he was able to compare them with those of other cities, and to bring back with him whatever he found useful, either to his country or to himself. He was lodged, wherever he came, in the houses of the great and eminent, not so much for their birth and wealth, as for their virtue, knowledge and learning; men honoured and reverenced in their several cities, as the principal patriots, orators, and philosophers of the age: These he made the constant companions of his travels; that he might not lose the opportunity, even on the road, of profiting by their advice and experience: And from such a voyage, it is no wonder that he brought back every accomplishment which could improve and adorn a man of sense.”
I could not choose but give this account of Cicero’s education at full length, because such an example sets forth to our view the proper methods of education and study with more force, and therefore will make a stronger impression than the best expressed maxims or precepts. Let me just subjoin to what hath been said, an admirable letter of Pliny the younger to his friend Fuscus about his studies, from which admirable hints may be taken for the direction of the studies and exercises of young gentlemen, after they are got above the first elements of instruction.
Pliny to Fuscus.50
“You ask me in what method you ought to study at your country house, where you have been a long time. The most useful rule, and what many have prescribed, is to translate Greek into Latin, or the contrary. By this exercise, the propriety and beauty of expression, the richness of figures, the facility of explication, and the talents of invention are acquired by an imitation of the best patterns. Besides, what might have escaped you in reading, cannot slip you in translating. It increases your understanding and judgment. You may likewise, after reading a thing, only to know the subject of it, handle it yourself, with a resolution not to fall short of your author. Then compare your writings with his, and carefully examine the odds of perfection. Your pleasure will be great, if you sometimes find you surpass him; and your spirit of emulation will be proportionable if he exceeds you in every thing. You may sometimes cull out the choicest passages, and vie with them. This struggle is private, and therefore not rash, tho’ daring. Tho’ we know many that have gone through this sort of contention with great applause, and have outgone those they were contented to follow, because they did not despair of it. When you have forgot your writing, you may take it up again; retain some parts, retrench others, make additions and alterations. I own this is laborious and fatiguing, but the trouble is attended with advantage; to recover your spirits afresh, and revive a force that has been broken and laid aside; and in short, join new limbs, in a manner, to a body that was framed before, without any disorder to the last structure. I know your present study is the eloquence of the bar, but I would not always persuade you to use that controversy and warlike stile. For as the earth is revived with a variety of different seeds; so our frailties are relieved now with this and now with that way of thinking. I would have you sometimes employ yourself upon some passage of history, or write an epistle with a particular care, or a copy of verses. For even in pleadings we are often obliged to use an historical and poetical manner of description; and a close and pure vein of language is drawn from epistles. It is likewise proper to amuse yourself with writing verses; I do not mean with long continued poems, (for that cannot be effected without the freest leisure) but by smaller pieces of pleasantry, of a concise turn, very proper to distinguish any serious cares and employments. These are called the sportings of poetry: But these sportings often procure a fame equal to the most solid performances. And so, for why should not I give a taste for verse by verses?
And hence it is that the greatest orators, and the most excellent men, have thus employed or diverted themselves, rather, have done both by poetry: For it is wonderful, how the mind is relaxed and bent again by these studies; for they take in love and hatred, anger, pity, politeness, every thing that belongs to life, or conversant in the business of the bar. There is likewise the same use in these as in other poems; that as they tie up to the rules of verse, they give us a greater relish for the prose, and that which we find easier on the comparison we write with more alacrity. Perhaps I have told you more than you required, yet I have omitted one thing, that is the choice of your authors and subjects in reading, tho’ this is implied in the former rules for writing. Remember to single out the best books in their kind; for it is a common observation, that much is to be read, but not many authors. Who these are is a point so commonly known and appealed to by all, that it wants no demonstration. Besides, I have stretched my letter to so extravagant a length, that while I give you directions for study, I have encroached upon your time for it. Why do not you therefore resume your Writing-tables, and either begin some of these works that I have pointed out to you, or pursue what you have begun already? Farewell.”51
Hitherto we have treated of teaching and study: But the minds even of grown and highly improved men cannot bear to be continually bent upon grave and deep meditation: They must often be refreshed by proper unbending and well-chosen relaxations: much more is this true with regard to the young. Uninterrupted application to study would soon wear out the whole force of their tender minds: And it is because of the necessity of corporal exercise to invigorate the soul as well as the body, that nature hath made children so fond of motion, so restless and lively: Let one be kept closely to reading, without allowing him any respite from thinking, or any exercise to his body, and were it possible to preserve long, by such a method, his liking to study and knowledge, or his health and vigour, yet we would soon find such an one become no less soft in his mind than in his outward man: Both mind and body would thus become gradually too relaxed, too much unbraced for the fatigues and duties of active life: Were it possible for such to improve, or so much as to preserve the natural force of their understanding, which it is not, yet their active powers would daily be losing of their strength and springiness, so to speak, and such a mind would soon become very unmanly, very timid and sluggish. Such, in fine, is the union between body and soul, that the same exercises which are conducive, when rightly managed, to consolidate or strengthen the former, are likewise equally necessary and fit to produce courage, firmness, and manly vigour in the latter. All this is well known, and therefore requires no proof: And what indeed doth knowledge avail, if the mind be not fit for action, but averse to it; or if every danger, every gloomy incident, every slight difficulty in life, intimidates and unhinges the mind, or makes it quake, tremble, and dissolve with fear? The disease is not uncommon amongst mere scholars, in whose education the liberal manly exercises have had no share. And what is the obvious conclusion from all this? But that certain exercises, tending at once to give health and vigour to the body, and strength and intrepidity to the mind, ought to be united in the institution of youth, with philosophy, rhetoric, and the sciences, and not severed the one from the other, as they too generally are, as if mind and body had no dependance, or as if, where there was knowledge of duty, due courage and hardiness of mind could be taken up at any time. I might here entertain my readers, not disagreeably, with some account of the ancient gymnastic exercises, in which the youth amongst the Greeks and Romans were daily practised, and that without much trouble to myself, by translating from several admirable dissertations upon all of them, in the memoires of the French academy of belles-lettres. But it is enough to our purpose to observe, that in these ancient nations, hunting, wrestling, and other such vigorous exercises, which required presence of mind, and caution without fear, were thought absolutely requisite to the formation of the souls, as well as of the bodies of their youth: And the fitness of some such exercises to all youth is strongly recommended by our own Milton, and all our best writers on education, on the same account; for reasons, which the least experience or reflection will immediately suggest, namely, for mutually and equally fortifying body and mind. Plato52 makes an excellent observation upon the natural tendency of the gentle or soft studies and exercises on the one hand, and that of rougher and hardier ones on the other, from which he infers the fitness of mixing them together, in due proportions, in the education of youth, whom we would form into a just temperature of body and mind, whether with respect to their own private happiness, or with respect to public service and utility. According to this admirable philosopher, speculations even about those duties of life, which require undaunted presence of mind, or fearless circumspection, are not sufficient, by themselves, without proper inurance to hardships, difficulties and dangers, to produce true fortitude of mind: And far less can other meditations or enquiries harden or invigorate the mind, and produce manly intrepidity: And far less still can music, and the other soft sciences do it, the genuine pleasures of which, however, cannot be supposed to be forbidden man by the Author of his frame, without imagining the supreme Being to act inconsistently with himself, since he hath framed man not only with eyes and ears, but also with a natural sense of harmony and proportion, improveable to a very great degree of perfection: The frequent repetition of certain exercises, in which dangers are to be foreseen, avoided and warded off, or bravely encountered and surmounted, are the only proper means of forming and improving this useful, this indispensibly necessary good temper of mind, by often calling it forth into action, and putting it to trials. But yet, on the other side, constant practice in the rough, austere, bold exercises, were no methods used to prevent the effect, would render the minds of men too savage and ferocious, and their manners quite rude, harsh and disagreeable, as we find from the character of the Spartans, in whose education the polite arts and sciences had no place, being quite excluded by their legislator. The middle between these two extremes, is the happy, the desirable temper: Gentleness that danger will quickly rouse to thought and courage, and foresight and fortitude, that will act with equal mildness, gentleness and firmness. And in order to produce or form such a disposition, exercises requiring vigour, both of body and mind, must be skilfully blended with more mollifying arts and studies, which have a natural aptitude to humanize the mind, and preserve it from degenerating into ferocity, as the other to strengthen and invigorate it, against all the too softening passions.
These are the reasons for which certain hardy exercises were reckoned by the ancients so essential a part in the formation of a liberal character: Such exercises, in particular, as qualified for just war in the defence of one’s country against hostile invasions. And no doubt, the better adapted the exercises of youth are to this end, the better will they serve the general purpose of exercises, with the additional advantage of fitting youth for the arts and toils of warfare in the public service. For which cause, could it be done, it would not be amiss, that in numerous schools young men were, according to ancient methods already taken notice of, not only initiated in warlike discipline, and trained to arms, but likewise accustomed to watch and keep guard. But not to dwell upon what mere gown men having very little notion of, will be very apt to stumble at, let it just be observed, that sedentary diversions are by no means the proper relaxations of students, neither in relation to health, nor the higher purpose that hath been just mentioned. And yet because certain times and places do not admit of any other, and some amusements to recreate their minds, must be allowed to students, it will not be wrong in bad weather, or the evenings, now and then, to practise them in such games as require some degree of thought, and they will find to be the fashionable diversions of the world, when they enter into it, provided care be taken to accustom them to play, not only without avarice and fairly, but with complaisance, ease and gracefulness. Montagne, I think, tells us, that his father used to play now and then at cards with his children, to inure them to temper, patience and candour in game, and thus secured them against the bad effects plays established in the world might otherwise have had upon them, so soon as they came into the world, and saw amusements that they had been kept strangers to. Let not children be restrained from any recreations that are innocent, but on the contrary, let them be taught to join in them with a genteel complaisance, when good company proposes it, and be accustomed to look with detestation upon unfairness, passion or avarice, and the other evil passions to which too great an itch for such diversions exposes. For till we can banish all play from among those, who being reckoned the fashionable part of the world, have the power of establishing modes, they will but be so much the fonder of what they were restrained from, so soon as they get loose from tutorage. ’Tis indeed no unnecessary part of genteel education, as the world now goes, to fix in young minds betimes proper and true sentiments concerning such amusements; an abhorrence of the vices they too often lead into, and the becoming disposition with which one ought to engage in them. But no sedentary recreations can be made the more common or frequent diversions of youth without detriment to their health; and which is of more consequence, without overlooking what is essential to the character of one fit to serve his country: A mind capable to forego pleasures and suffer hardships, when duty to his friends or country requires it; a mind not insensible to danger, or rashly desirous of it, but yet able to look danger in the face without confusion or disorder; a mind whose force peril unforeseen only serves to awake and call forth into brave behaviour, and which fully possessing itself, can then best discover prudent expedients, when there is most use for such sagacity. The fitter bodily exercises are for gaining this useful end, so much the properer are they, both in respect of body and mind, with relation equally to particulars themselves and society in general. Wherefore riding, fencing, wrestling, handling arms, and other such manly exercises, ought to have their place in the schools where youth are taught the languages and sciences. There ought to be fixed times for them, and daily practice in them too, and not in books only, ought to be made a task. Both being necessary, they ought to be judiciously intermingled, so that the one may serve as a relief from the other. But tho’ youth ought to be obliged to perform their parts both in exercise and study, because both are requisite to complete a truly liberal and manly temper and character; and that study alone may not be looked upon as work and labour; yet it must likewise be permitted to young people, in their youngest years more especially, sometimes not only to divert themselves, but to do it after their own fashion, provided it be innocently, and without prejudice to their health; for there can be no recreation without delight, which depends not always upon reason, but oftner on fancy. Through the whole course of education, from infancy itself, care should be taken, that what is of real advantage to them, they should always do with pleasure, and before they are wearied with one, they should be timely diverted to some other useful employment. But if they are not yet brought to that degree of perfection, that one way of improvement can be made to them a recreation from another, they must be let loose to the play they fancy, and be weaned from excessive fondness for it by a surfeit of it. But from studies or exercises of real use, they ought always to be sent away with appetite, at least be dismissed before they are quite weary and sick of them, that so they may return to them again with delight, as to something they have real pleasure in. For we must never think them rightly formed, till they can find satisfaction in the application to laudable things; and the profitable exercises of the body and mind taking their proper turns, make their time and improvement pass on very agreeably, as it were in one continued train of recreations, whereby the fatigued or wearied part is constantly refreshed and recruited. That this may be done in most children, if a right course be taken to raise in them the desire of esteem, credit, and reputation, there are examples enough to leave us no room to doubt. And such management never fails to make them in love with the hand that directs them, as well as with the virtuous and commendable course they are directed into. It is an essential duty in masters, to take care to appear not enemies, but friends to the pleasures and satisfactions of their pupils. And this great advantage, besides, may be gained, by allowing free liberty to children in their diversions, that this freedom will discover their natural tempers, inclinations and aptitudes, and be thereby a proper means of directing wise parents in the choice of the business and employment of life they shall design them for; and of suggesting fit remedies to them in the mean time, for redressing any wrong bent of nature whatsoever they may observe their children to be in most danger from. Above all things, inspectors of children ought to take care that children play or divert themselves together without fraud or chicane on the one hand, or violence, roughness and imperiousness on the other. They should be taught to have all the deference, complaisance and civility one for the other imaginable. And in this way will they quickly find more pleasure than in the other, when they see it procures them respect, love and honour, and that far from losing any superiority by it, it makes them beloved by their play-fellows, and esteemed by their parents and masters, and all who know and observe them. In order to this, it must be a constant rule with parents and preceptors not to receive or hearken too readily or favourably to the querulous accusations of children, one against another. For these are frequently but the clamours of anger, envy, or revenge, desiring aid. It weakens and effeminates children’s minds to indulge them in complaining: And on the contrary, if they suffer sometimes crossing and pain from others, without being allowed to bemoan themselves and make complaints, this will teach and inure them to sufferance, and harden them early. But tho’ we ought not to countenance and encourage the complaints of those who are apt to accuse, on every slight occasion, yet on the other side, care ought to be taken to curb the violence and insolence of the injurious. When you yourself happen to observe any such thing, let the offender be reproved before the injured party: But if the complaint be really worth your notice and prevention another time, then reprove the faulty child by himself alone, out of sight of him that complained, and make him go and ask pardon and make reparation for the injury he has done. This, when it appears to come as it were from himself, will be the more cheerfully performed and more kindly received; love will be confirmed and strengthened between them, and a habit of civility will thus grow familiar among children; a habit which every one of experience will acknowledge to be of the greatest utility in life, in civil commerce, and which for that reason cannot be too early or too carefully formed and cherished. To compleat this character, and make them not only courteous, civil and obliging, but liberal, teach them to part with what they have easily and freely, and with becoming grace to their friends; and let them find by experience, that the most liberal has always most plenty, with esteem, praise and love into the bargain, and they will quickly learn to practise it. Special care ought to be had, that children do never trifle with the rules of justice: But education should aim at something higher, and endeavour betimes to inspire a generous temper into children, and for that reason, take occasions to incite them to be kind and liberal, and to make them feel the pleasure of doing affectionate offices, and of being beloved for their goodness. Practice in accustoming children to share with one another, and to impart what they get one to another with joy and complacency, will make them kinder and civiler to one another, and consequently to others, than all the rules about good manners with which children are ordinarily incumbered and plagued. Indeed covetousness of having in our possession, and under our power more than we have need of, being the root of all evil, should be early and carefully weeded out, and the contrary quality ought to be diligently implanted and cultivated. This social sense, or benign disposition, should be encouraged by great commendation and credit, and strict care that the child lose nothing by his bounty. Let all the instances he gives of tenderness, humanity and generosity, be always repaid and with interest; and let him thus sensibly perceive, that the goodness he shews to others is no ill-husbandry for himself; but that it brings a return for kindness both from those who receive it, and those who look on. Make it a generous contention or emulation among children who shall outdo one another in this way; and by this means, by a constant practice, children having made it easy to themselves to part with what they have, benevolence may be settled in them into an habit, and they will soon come to take a most sincere pleasure, and a noble pride in being civil, kind and bountiful to others.
Upon this excellent disposition, it will be easy to build that amiable quality commonly called good breeding, and upon no other foundation can it be raised. For whence else can it spring but from a general good-will and regard for all people, deeply rooted in the heart, which makes any one that has it careful not to shew in his carriage, any contempt, disrespect, or neglect of them, but to express a value and respect for them, according to their rank and condition, suitably to the fashion and way of their country? ’Tis a disposition to make all we converse with easy and well-pleased. Good-breeding we may see from this short account of its only firm foundation in goodness of heart, consists in two things. First, a disposition of the mind not to offend others, or make them uneasy. Secondly, the habit of expressing that disposition in the most acceptable and agreeable way. From the former of these one is called civil or humane; from the other well-fashioned, or well-bred: And when these two meet, that is, when the agreeable manner of shewing civility is become natural, then is a man called thoroughly polite. And in truth, it is this lovely quality which gives true beauty to all other accomplishments, or renders them useful to their possessor, in procuring him the esteem and good-will of all that he comes near. Without this charming perfection, his other qualities, however good in themselves, make him but pass for proud, conceited, vain, or foolish. “Courage, says an excellent writer,53 in an ill-bred man, has the air, and escapes not the opinion of brutality; learning becomes pedantry; wit, buffoonery; plainness, rusticity; good-nature, fawning: And there cannot be a good quality in him which want of breeding will not warp and disfigure to his disadvantage. Nay virtue and parts, tho’ they are allowed their due commendation, yet are not enough to procure a man a good reception, and make him welcome wherever he comes. No body contents himself with rough diamonds, and wears them so, who would appear with advantage. When they are polished and set, then they give a lustre. Good qualities are the substantial riches of the mind, but ’tis good breeding sets them off. And he that will be acceptable must give beauty as well as strength to his actions. Solidity, or even usefulness, is not enough: A graceful way and fashion in every thing is that which gives ornament and liking. And in most cases, the manner of doing is of more consequence than the thing done. For upon that depends the satisfaction or disgust wherewith it is received. This, therefore, says the same author, which lies not in pulling off the hat, nor making of compliments, but in a due and free composure of language, looks, motions, posture, place, &c. suited to persons and occasions, and can be learned only by habit and use, tho’ it be above the capacity of children, and little ones should not be perplexed with rules about it, yet it ought to be begun, and in a good measure learned by a young gentleman whilst he is under a tutor, before he comes into the world upon his own legs: For then usually it is too late to reform several habitual indecencies which lie in little things. For the carriage is not as it should be, till it is become natural in every part, falling, as a musician’s fingers do, into harmonious order without care and without thought. If in conversation a man’s mind be taken up with a sollicitous watchfulness about any part of his behaviour, instead of being mended by it, it will be constrained, uneasy and ungraceful.” ’Tis therefore by accustoming children to decency and gracefulness in reading, speaking, in the whole of their behaviour, even in their first diversions with one another; but above all, by cherishing and strengthening in them a generous and humane temper, that they alone can become thoroughly well-bred and civil. The opposites therefore to this delightful temper and manner, are carefully to be corrected and amended, the chief of which are,54 1. a natural roughness which makes a man consult his own humour and inclinations only, and very uncomplaisant to others, so as to have no regard to their tempers or conditions. Every one agrees, that not to mind what pleases or displeases those we are with, is downright clownishness: Yet we may often find one in a very fashionable dress give an uncontrouled swing to his own humour in company, with absolute indifferency how others take it. It is however a brutality that is incompatible with the least tincture of good-breeding. For the very business and scope of good manners is to bend men’s tempers to compliance and accommodation with those we have to do with. 2. Contempt or want of due respect, bewrayed either by looks, word or gesture. This always creates uneasiness from whomsoever it comes: For self-love and pride naturally revolt against it. No body can bear being slighted. 3. Nothing is more repugnant to civility than a censorious temper, or an itch to find fault with others, and expose their weaknesses. Raillery is the most refined way of touching upon the faults of others. And because censuring, to deserve that name, must be managed with wit, pleasantry, and good language; and when it is such it usually gives entertainment to the politest company, people are apt to mistake concerning it, and think there is no incivility in it when it keeps within fair bounds. Hence it is, that this conversation obtains so much, and is so well received amongst people of the better rank. But let it be considered how contrary it is to humanity, to entertain the rest of a company at the cost of one, who being set to shew in burlesque colours, cannot be without uneasiness, unless the subject for which he is rallied be really matter of conversation. For then the pleasant images which make the raillery, carrying praise as well as sport with them, the rallied party finds his account and takes part in the diversion. But raillery being so delicate a matter, that the smallest mistake or wrong turn may spoil all, none ought to meddle with it who has not a very dextrous hand at it. And young people, more especially, should not venture upon it with their elders in particular. Complaisance may degenerate, it often does, into what we call an every man’s man, a softness that yields to the humour of every company, howsoever unreasonable. Now strict regard to truth and virtue is the only remedy against this excess of pliableness: And it ought to be often represented to youth as what it really is, cowardice. But tho’ complaisance does not require that we should assent to all the opinions or reasonings, or relations that the company we are in may be entertained with, nor that we should silently pass over all that is vented in our hearing, much less, that we should comply with every riot or foolery that may be proposed, yet there is in some people what is very properly called a spirit of contradiction, a disposition resolutely, and without regard to right or wrong, to oppose some one, or perhaps every one of the company, whatever they say or do, which surely must be diametrically repugnant to civility; since humanity requires, that all marks of regard and good-will should always accompany even reasonable contradiction to, or dissention from any person. And in truth, he who opposes in any other way, may gain the argument, but he will lose what every good man will far prefer to such a victory, the esteem and love of those who hear him. We may lay it down as a rule, founded on human nature, that he recommends himself very ill to another as aiming at his happiness, who in the services he does him, gives him pain, and makes him uneasy in the manner of doing them. He that understands how to make those he converses with easy, without degrading himself to low flattery or servile complaisance, has hit on the secret charm of living agreably in the world, and of being both useful and acceptable wherever he goes. Civility, therefore, is what in the first place should with great care and attention be rendered habitual to children and young people. And we may see, from the characteristics of it, how well it consists with the true courage and manly intrepidity which the exercises above mentioned are the proper means of producing, and strengthening betimes in young minds. But it is not sufficient to intitle one to the character of well-bred, that he has even the best heart, the most benign, social and generous disposition; one must likewise be acquainted with the proper language by which this excellent temper should shew and express itself, and have it at command, so as not to have it to seek from rules laid up in his head or memory on every emergency, but so ready at his hand, as that he naturally falls into the decency and gracefulness of looks, voice, words, motions, gestures, and the whole of outward demeanour, which takes in company, and makes those whom we converse with easy and well-pleased. For this is properly the outward language whereby the internal civility of the temper is expressed. And hence it evidently follows, that this, like all other languages, must very much depend upon the fashion and custom of every country, and in the rules and practice of it can therefore only be learned from observation, and by frequenting the society of those who are allowed to be exactly well-bred. But nothing is more proper to give children a becoming confidence and easy behaviour, and so to raise them to the conversation of those above their age, than dancing. For though its effect consist chiefly in outward gracefulness of motion, yet I know not how, it gives children manly thoughts, or at least manly carriage more than any thing. There is what we justly call a false modesty, or a sheepish bashfulness, a clownish shame facedness before strangers, or those above, one which confounds the thoughts, words and looks, and makes a person lose himself to such a degree, as not to be able to do any thing, or at least not to do it with that ease and gracefulness which pleases. Now dancing is a proper remedy for this, and together with it the frequenting of good company will soon introduce the contrary habit; not forwardness, pertness, or impudence, but genuine, winning, unabashed modesty. Dancing therefore, being that which gives graceful motions all the life, and above all things, manliness and a becoming assurance to young children, it cannot be learned too early, after they are once of an age and strength capable of it. But you must be sure to have a good master, that knows and can teach what is graceful and becoming, and what gives a freedom and easiness to all the motions of the body. One that teaches not this is worse than none at all, natural rusticity being more tolerable than an affected mien. What hath been said of dancing extends that exercise no further than so far as it tends to perfect a genteel, graceful carriage. And it hath never gained its effect, till it hath the influence upon outward behaviour which Quintilian thus describes. “Neque enim gestum componi ad similitudinem saltationis volo, sed subesse aliquid, in hac exercitatione puerili, unde nos non id agentes, furtim decor ille discentibus traditus prosequatur.”55 “I would not have one carry his body as if he were dancing, but I would have something of the puerile exercise to remain, so that without thinking of it, we may do every thing naturally, and with the grace it is principally designed to render habitual to us.” Quintilian here seems to have had in view these elegant lines of Tibullus, which contain an inimitably beautiful description of outward grace, and its charming effects upon all who see it.
After all, example is the chief thing, in order to form a genteel well-bred youth. And therefore it is necessary that the tutor under whose formation youth are put, be well-bred, and understand all the maxims of civility and good manners, in all the variety of persons, times and places. They are greatly mistaken, who think the whole of good-breeding consists in a certain way of pulling off the hat or making a leg: And they are much more so, who imagine it is enough if a preceptor be a sober man and a scholar. Good-breeding is the accomplishment that is most necessary to be formed by the example and care of a governor. And this is an art not to be learned or taught by books. Nothing can give it but good example and observation joined together. It is fit that an habitual gracefulness and politeness in all his carriage should be settled in a pupil before he goes out of his tutor’s hands, that he may not need advice in this point when he has neither time nor disposition to receive it, nor has any body left to give it him. A tutor ought therefore, in the first place, to be well-bred. And a young gentleman who gets this one quality from his governor, sets out into the world with great advantage, and will find, that this one accomplishment will more open his way to him, and get him more friends, and carry him farther in the world than all the learning he could have imbibed from him, tho’ that, as we have already shewn, should not be neglected. Indeed, besides being compleatly well-bred, the tutor should know the world throughly, the vices, the humours, the follies, the cheats and artifices of the age he is fallen into, and particularly of the country he lives in, that he may be able to shew them to his pupils as he finds him capable, and so teach him skill in men and manners.
But having elsewhere touched on this subject, I shall conclude this chapter, which is already swelled to a very great size, on account of the various particulars it was requisite to consider in it with some exactness, nay minuteness, by observing what a stress the Romans laid upon politeness, or urbanity, as they called it. It appears from an elegant discourse of Monsieur Simon upon this subject, in the memoirs of the academy of belles-lettres at Paris, that what they so called, comprehended purity of language and graceful pronunciation, and for this reason, they took special care of the language and accent, even of the nurses they put about young children: It comprehended likewise graceful demeanor of the body, or easy and genteel outward carriage: It comprehended civility, complaisance, and study to please company, and make them cheerful and happy. But it particularly meant a certain pleasantry or facetiousness of conversation, which promoted gaiety and good humour, without putting any one to pain or uneasiness. And to produce or form all these good qualities in children gradually, were the Romans at due pains. Mr. Simon having observed this, adds this remark. “May I here, says he, make a reflexion upon the education we commonly give our children? It is very remote from the precepts I have mentioned. We take a vulgar woman for a nurse, and it is from her the child learns to speak: To the nurse succeeds a governante, who speaks not a bit better; and out of her hands the child passes into those of a preceptor to whose capacity so little attention is paid, that it is not thought necessary he should have any. Hath the child arrived to six or seven years of age, he mixes with a herd of equally ill-bred boys at college, where under the pretext of teaching him Latin, no regard is had to his mother-tongue. And what happens? What we see every day. A young gentleman of eighteen, who has had this education, cannot read. For to articulate the words, and join them together, I don’t call reading, unless one can pronounce well, observe all the proper stops, vary the voice, express the sentiments, and read with a delicate intelligence. Nor can he speak a jot better. A proof of this is, that he cannot write ten lines without committing gross faults; and because he did not learn his own language well in his early years, he will never know it well. I except a few, who being afterwards engaged by their profession, or their natural taste, cultivate their minds by study. And yet even they, if they attempt to write, will find by the labour composition costs them, what a loss it is not to have learned their language in the proper season. Education amongst the Romans was upon quite a different footing: The Greek was their learned language; it was taught in public schools; they gave application to understand it; but they were no less sollicitous to learn the grammar of their own. Masters taught them early the principles, the difficulties, the subtleties, the depths of it. Masters of rhetoric instructed them in all its riches and beauty. When they went from these schools they were perfect masters of their own language, they never were at a loss for proper expressions; and I am much deceived if it was not owing to this that they produced such excellent works with so marvellous facility. When we consider the writings Cato the Censor, Cicero, Varro, and many others left behind them, men who had so much other business to employ them, men who had such a share in all the affairs of their times, we can’t comprehend how they could be equal to all they really did: And nothing can account for it but the reason we have given. It is not astonishing therefore, if the urbanity, which consists primarily in the purity of language, was so common among the Romans, and is so rare amongst us.— Urbanity came afterwards to signify that character of politeness which reigns in the air and manners of a person. But urbanity taken in this sense is the fruit of good education. Accordingly the great men I have mentioned, whom we may consider as the legislators of education, have recommended every thing that can contribute to polish youth. They would have music, dancing, and the genteel exercises, and even the theatre itself, all the arts, in one word, concur to give them the graces which render knowledge and virtue amiable. ‘Dandum etiam aliquid Comoedo,’57 says Quintilian. “Youth ought to take lessons even from players”; not barely to learn a correct and just pronunciation, but to form their countenance and gesture. With regard to music, he makes it to be an art absolutely necessary to all who would pass for persons of liberal education. And it is because music, according to Aristoxenus, comprehends two kinds of numbers or measures; one for regulating the voice, and the other for regulating those motions of the body whence results good grace in the outward carriage. As to the exercises, ’tis well known what stress the ancients laid upon them, and what share they had in the formation of their youth. Tilt and tournament came in the room of the ancient exercises, and were for some time in great vogue amongst us; and at present to the gymnastic exercises of the ancients, which a learned member of this academy hath so accurately described in his dissertations upon them, have succeeded those exercises which our youth learn at our academies, of which, however, they are now become less fond than they were formerly: Cicero would rather have a young man to form himself upon the model of soldiers, who have, to say the truth, generally a much easier and freer air than most others. These were the methods the Romans took to acquire the urbanity for which they are so celebrated: Methods so much the more easy, that a very little practice in them suffices for giving an agreeable exterior to more solid and more essential virtues. It must be acknowledged, however, that these methods of polite education are now very much neglected. Some go so far as to affirm, that they are not necessary to all conditions of persons. Thus do many of our people of the gown think. And hence it is, that the urbanity I have been discoursing of, and which would so well befit them, is not very common among them. For why may not one speak here what he really thinks, when he hath no other view but the public-good? The austere and rigid education which they for the greater part receive, and by natural consequence give to their children, degenerates into a sort of gravity which Mr. le Duc de la Rochefaucault defines to be a mysterious exterior, invented to hide the defects of the mind; I should rather chuse to say the defects of education. They do not reflect, that very often the want of urbanity suffices to make the greatest talents, and the greatest virtues, hated or contemned. The Romans had in this respect great advantage above us. Amongst them professions were not distinguished or confined within narrow bounds, as they are amongst us. Here one of the robe is merely one of the robe; a magistrate is solely a magistrate; a scholar a mere scholar; a soldier nothing but a soldier; a churchman has his particular functions, and he meddles with little else. It was not so in ancient Rome: The same person had many different talents; he was a scholar, barrister, soldier, priest, augur, at one and the same time. I can easily imagine, that a person who was sufficiently qualified for so many different professions, derived graces from each of them, which mutually diffused themselves through all the rest. And hence I understand that Roman urbanity was not an empty name. In fact all the Romans, during some time, at least, went to war. The first of their employments were equally military and civil; I mean that of quaestor, which we may compare to that of our pay-master to, or intendant of the army. Was there ever a mere barrister, or one who attended the bar more closely than Cicero? Yet he commanded an army, he had the title of general, and kept it a considerable time. Horace, tho’ he does not boast of his courage, had however served under Brutus. But the same persons knew how to distinguish themselves in time of peace as well as of war. A general of the army, after having extended the Roman dominion by his conquests, after having gained victories, and had the honour of a triumph, returning to Rome, and becoming a simple citizen, found, in the diversity of his talents, new employment for his ambition. He became a protector of the laws, a defender of oppressed innocence; and at the bar or in the senate disputed the prize of eloquence with the most distinguished orators. It is no wonder that such a person pleaded or harangued with the same courage he fought, as is said of Caesar; nor that he mingled with the exercises of the bar the military graces he had imbibed by commerce with the gentlemen of the sword; nor that by consequence, he should have surpassed us so far in what I call urbanity. Add to this, that all persons of birth at Rome travelled into Greece, and went to improve their taste of the polite arts in the very bosom of politeness; not to mention their having Greeks at home, very well qualified to instil early that taste into them, or to cultivate it. All these are advantages we want, and many of them are not agreeable to our manners, our customs, our form of government. But for this reason, the culture I am now speaking of is so much the more necessary: And it consists, as hath been said, in a good education, and proper after-care. I will give you a strong example of what these may do with regard to urbanity. It is in Horace, as far as I am able to judge, that the character of urbanity shines more than in any other of the Latin poets. Now we need only call to mind a passage, in which this poet having very modestly praised himself, rather for the vices from which he was free, than for any virtues he possessed, attributes all the honour of his merit to the education his father had given him.
See here a model of education worthy of being imitated. But what did Horace himself add to this care? Not satisfied with the masters he had at Rome, he went to seek others at Athens: So he himself informs us.
Tho’ he was not very brave, yet he would needs make some campaigns, probably to learn the military art, the properest and most improving to young men. But neither the licentiousness which commonly attends that profession, nor the amusements and dissipation into which youth is so apt to run, ever diminished his taste for study and polite literature: He loved them so much as to think books as necessary to life as the things which support it.
Born a poet, he composed verses rather like a gentleman than a poet by profession, despising the approbation of the vulgar, and sollicitous only to please a small number of select readers.
Accordingly in reading Homer, with whom he was so charmed, he studied him as a philosopher more than as a poet: He thought he was reading Chrysippus or Crantor, and referred every thing he read in him to life and manners!
His distance by birth from the great did not dispirit him, but encouraged by his happy endowments, he frequented the most noble, and knew how to please them. Admitted on one side into the familiarity of a Pollio, of Messala, of Lollius, of Maecenas, of Augustus; and on the other side, being in strict friendship with Virgil, with Varus; with Tibullus, with Plotius, &c. in one word, with all the best men of Rome; I am not surprized that he, by commerce with these great men, acquired that politeness, that delicate refined taste, which his writings make us feel. This is what I call continued culture, and such as is requisite to accomplish the character of urbanity. In reality, however good one’s education may have been, if one ceases to improve and cultivate his mind and manners by reflexion, and by conversation with well-accomplished persons, and above all, with persons bred at courts, to whom politeness is as it were natural, he cannot avoid falling into something very opposite to politeness and urbanity. Accordingly it is reported of Cicero, that he could not let the smallest fault in speaking pass unreproved in his son; and of Caesar, that as much as he was taken up with his grand projects, he studied purity of language in his tents, amidst the noise and hurry of arms. Some may perhaps look upon these things as trifles; but to such let me make the answer Quintilian gives on a very like occasion. ‘These accomplishments do not hurt those who use them as steps by which they may rise to others, but those only who stop there, and confine themselves to them alone.’
“As for that part of urbanity which belongs to raillery, it hardly admits of precepts. Here at least my guides fail me, for both affirm it cannot be taught. Cicero says there is no art of wit or pleasant raillery; and in one of his dialogues, one of the personages expresly tells us, that having seen some Greek book intitled, the art of raillery, he expected at first to have learned something from it, but that in fact he found nothing in it but some examples of pleasant and witty sayings; for says he, the Sicilians, the Rhodians, but above all, the Athenians excelled in this way. Hence he concludes, that it is not a thing that can be taught by rules; and he gives a very good reason why. It is a talent that must be born with one, or for which one must be formed by nature herself. However Quintilian, who is more particular in treating things than Cicero, thinks young people may be turned or improved in this way by proper methods. Yet after all, these great masters only prescribe a certain temperament or moderation that ought to be preserved in raillery, that it may have that air of urbanity which is so adorning to a man of worth. What they principally recommend to us is, first of all, not to affect to make persons laugh; and they observe, that raillery better becomes one in defending than in attacking, because there it cannot be suspected of being studied or premeditated. Besides, it is natural for one to defend himself with such arms as he is attacked with. In the second place, they advise always to spare persons to whom we owe respect, or with whom we are in friendship. A maxim which it seems easy to observe, but which, however, it is almost impossible for those to observe who have naturally a turn for raillery. This made Ennius say, that it is easier for a wit to hold burning coals in his mouth, than to keep in a smart thing that presses to get out. Accordingly among the Romans, Crassus is the only person who is brought as an example of one who had a singular talent for raillery, but could keep within the rules of decency; and who could as easily forbear being witty as give way to his pleasantry. Quintilian gives us excellent precepts upon this head, precepts worthy of the Christian morality. ‘Let our wit and pleasantry, says he, always be innocent, and let us not prefer a smart saying to a friend. A humane, well-bred man will be facetious and witty with decency. It is putting too high a value upon wit and pleasantry, to give scope to it at the expence of probity.’ And hence we may learn with what care we ought to avoid all raillery that is gross and low; and how attentive we ought to be, lest through affectation of wit we become scoffers or buffoons, a character very unbefitting a person of dignity and merit. True pleasantry does not excite noisy laughter, it only gently tickles the soul. Plautus was not relished by Horace: It was because Plautus so often sinks into the low comic, and was fitter to divert the vulgar than people of education and good taste. With these precautions, raillery will have no more salt than is necessary to give life to conversation; refined from every thing that is bitter and offensive, it will be humane and polite, which proves what I said in the first part of this discourse, that urbanity in its strict sense, is a moral virtue, which renders society amiable and pleasant; and therefore I shall end this article with what Quintilian says, after giving a definition of manners. ‘Urbanity, besides the perfections I have already mentioned, requires a stock of benevolence, a liberal cast of mind, which is rarely to be found but in persons of birth.’
“That I may omit nothing that may be said about the means of acquiring it, I shall take notice of two defaults which are its opposites. The first is a certain timidity which gives one an embarassed air, and degenerates into false modesty. The remedy proposed for this by the author I have so often cited, is an honest assurance, or rather the intrepidity of a good conscience, to which must be added knowledge of the world, and great practice in it, without which an able man, with all his learning and wit, will make but a very awkward figure. The other is too great a desire to appear polite; whence proceeds I know not what affectation and formality, that spoils all. For if this character be not natural, as it were, to us, I would rather prefer rusticity, which, at least, has the merit of simplicity. In fact, whatever is not easy, but studied, instead of being graceful, gives pain to every spectator; and where grace is wanting, there true urbanity or politeness is not. Whatever is over-done, says Quintilian, is unbecoming; and for this reason, even what is in itself agreeable loses all its beauty, if it exceeds certain limits, and is not prudently moderated. But it is much easier to feel all this than to explain it. The perception of it depends more upon taste than upon precepts. And yet it is by adding politeness to knowledge and virtue that liberal education is finished and rendered complete.”
[28. ][Locke, Education, §168, §167.]
[29. ][Horace, Odes, 3.8.5: “you versed in the lore of either tongue!”]
[30. ][Cicero, De Officiis, 1.1: “just as I for my own improvement have always combined Greek and Latin studies—and I have done this not only in the study of philosophy but also in the practice of oratory—so I recommend that you should do the same, so that you may have equal command of both languages” (Loeb translation by Walter Miller).]
[31. ][Charles Rollin, De la manière d’énseigner et d’étudier les belles-lettres, Par raport à l’esprit & au coeur, 2 tomes (Paris: Estienne, 1740), 2:520–73.]
[32. ][Horace, Odes, 3.24.35–36: “Of what avail are empty laws, if we lack principle?”]
[33. ][Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, 1.3.12: “For once a bad habit has become engrained, it is easier to break than bend.”]
[34. ]Quintilian l. 2. c. 8. Cicero l. 3. de orator. n. 36.
[35. ][Virgil, Georgics, 2.272: “So strong is habit in tender years” (Loeb translation by H. Rushton Fairclough, revised by G. P. Goold). Quoted in Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, 1.3.13.]
[36. ][Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, 2.2.1–8.]
[37. ][Horace, Epistles, 2.1.70–71.]
[38. ][See note 36 in Part III, above.]
[39. ][Virgil, The Aeneid, 4.293–94: “temtaturam aditus et, quae mollissima fandi tempora, quis rebus dexter modus” (“will essay an approach and seek the happiest season for speech, the plan auspicious for his purpose”) (Loeb translation by H. Rushton Fairclough, revised by G. P. Goold).]
[40. ][François de Fénelon, De l’Education des Filles, ch. 5.]
[41. ][Seneca, Epistulae Morales, 95.36: “minds which seize quickly upon virtue” (Loeb translation by Richard M. Gummere).]
[42. ][Cornelius Nepos, 15.3.2.]
[43. ][Seneca, Epistulae Morales, 108.12–14.]
[44. ][Seneca, Epistulae Morales, 6.5.]
[45. ][Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, 1.3.9–10.]
[46. ][Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, 1.3.8.]
[47. ][John Milton, Of Education, in Complete Prose Works of John Milton (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959), 2:402–3.]
[48. ][Locke, Education, §§188–89.]
[49. ][Conyers Middleton, Life of Cicero, 1:12–19, 21, 27–29, 36–37, 43–44, 46–49.]
[50. ][Pliny, Letters, 7.9.]
[51. ]I copy this letter from the English translation of Pliny’s letters by several hands.
[52. ]De Repub. l. 3. [Plato, The Republic, book 3.]
[53. ][Locke, Education, §93.]
[54. ][Turnbull is paraphrasing Locke, Education, §143.]
[55. ][Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, 1.11.19.]
[56. ][Tibullus, 3.8.7–14: “Whatsoever she does, whithersoever she turns her steps, Grace follows her unseen to order all aright. Hath she loosed her hair? Then flowing locks become her. Hath she dressed it? With dressed hair she is divine. She fires the heart if she chooses to appear in gown of Tyrian hue; she fires it if she comes in the sheen of snowy robes. Like her, on everlasting Olympus, bounteous Vertumnus wears a thousand garbs, and wears with grace the thousand” (Loeb translation by J. P. Postgate).]
[57. ][Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, 1.11.1.]
[58. ][Horace, Satires, 1.6.71–82: “I owe this to my father, who, though poor with a starveling farm, would not send me to the school of Flavius … nay, he boldly took his boy off to Rome, to be taught those studies that any knight or senator would have his own offspring taught. … He himself, a guardian true and tried, went with me among all my teachers.”]
[59. ][Horace, Epistles, 2.2.43: “Kindly Athens added somewhat more training.”]
[60. ][Horace, Epistles, 1.18.109–10: “May I have a good supply of books and of food to last the year.”]
[61. ][Horace, Satires, 1.10.73–74: “and you must not strive to catch the wonder of the crowd, but be content with the few as your readers.”]
[62. ][Horace, Epistles, 1.2.3–4: “who tells us what is fair, what is foul, what is helpful, what not, more plainly and better than Chrysippus or Crantor.”]