« PreviousContinue »
youth, and the difficulties that may occur to them be explained by the master. The reading of history, and the exercise of good reading and just speaking, still continued.
In this class besides continuing the studies of the hall; preceding in liistory, rhetoric, logic, moral and natural philosophy, the best English authors may be read and explained; as Tillotson, Milton, Locke, Addison, Pope, Swift, the higher papers in the Spectator and Guardian, the best translations of Homer, Virgil and Horace, of Telemachus, Travels of Cyrus, &c.
Once a year let there be public exercises in the the trustees and citizens present. Then let fine gilt books be given as prizes to such boys as distinguish themselves, and excel the others in any branch of learning, making three degrees of comparison : giving the best prize to him that performs best; a less valuable one to him that comes up next to the best ; and another to the third. Commendations, encouragements, and advice to the rest ; keeping up their hopes, that by industry, they may excel another time. The names of those that obtain the prize, to bc yearly printed in a list.
The hours of each day are to be divided and disposed in such a manner as that some classes may be with the writing-master, improving their hands; others with the matiematical master, learning arithmetic. accounts, geography, use of the globes, drawing, mechanics, &c. while the rest are in the English school, under the English master's care.
Thus instructed, youth will come out of this school fitted for learning any business, calling, or profession, except such wherein languages are required : ard though unacquainted with any ancient or foreign tongue, they will be masters of their own, which is of more immediate and general use, and withal will have attained many other valuable accomplishments; the time usually spent in acquiring those languages, often without success, being here employed in laying such a foundation of knowledge and ability, as properly improved, may qualify them to pass through and execute the several offices of civil life, with advantage and reputation to themselves and country.
THE BUSY-BODY.No. I.
From the American Weekly Mercury, from Tuesday,
January 28, to Tuesday, February 4, 1728-9.
MR. ANDREW BRADFORD, I
DESIGN this to acquaint you, that I, who have
long been one of your courteous readers, have lately entertained some thought of setting up for an author myself: not out of the least vanity, I assure you, or desire of showing my parts, but purely for the good of my country.
I have often observed with concern, that your Mercury is not always equally entertaining. The delay of ships expected in, and want of fresh advices from Europe, make it frequently very dull; and I find the freezing of our river has the same effect on news as trade. \Vith more concern have I continually obserta ed the growing vices and follies of my country folk : and though reformation is properly the concern of every man, that is, every one ought to mend one ; yet it is too true in this case, that what is every body's business is no body's business, and the business is done accordingly. I therefore, upon mature deliberation, think fit to take no body's business wholly into
my own hands; and, out of zeal for the public good, design to erect myself into a kind of censor morum ; purposing
with your allowance, to make use of the Weekly Mer cury as a vehicle, in which my remonstrances shall be conveyed to the world.
I am sensible I have, in this particular, undertaken a very unthankful office, and expect little besides my labour for my pains. Nay, it is probable, I may displease a great number of your readers, who will not very well like to pay ten shillings a year for being told of their faults. But as most people delight in censure, when they themselves are not the objects of it, if any are offended at my publicly exposing their private vices, I promise they shall have the satisfaction, in a very little time, of seeing their good friends and neighbors in the same circumstances.
However, let the fair sex be assured, that I shall always treat them and their affairs with the utmost de. cency and respect. I intend now and then to dedicate a chapter wholly to their service ; and if my lectures any way contribute to the embellishment of their minds, and brightening of their understandings, without offending their modesty, I doubt not of having their favour and encouragement.
It is certain, that no country in the world produces naturally finer-spirits than ours, men of genius for every kind of science, and capable of acquiring to perfection every qualification, that is in estcem among mankind. But as few here have the advantage of good books, for want of which, good conversation is still more scarce, it would, doubtless, have been very acceptable to your readers, if, instead of an old out-ofdate article from Myscovy or Hungary, you had entertained them with some well chosen extract from a good author. This I shall sometimes do, when I happen to have nothing of my own to say that I think of more consequence. Sometimes, I purpose to deliver lectures of morality or phylosophy, and fbecause I am naturally inclined to be meddling with things that do not concern me) perhaps I may sometimes talk polis tics. And if I can by any means furnish out a weekly entertainment for the public, that will give a rational diversion, and at the same time be instructive to the readers, I shall think my leisure hours well employed : and if you publish this, I hereby invite all ingenious gentlemen and others (that approve of such an undertaking) to my assistance and correspondence.
It is like, by this time, you have a curiosity to be acquainted with my name and character. As I do not aim at public praise, I design to remain concealed : and there are such numbers of our family and relations at this time in the country, that, though I have signed my name at full length, I am not under the least apprehension of being distinguished and discovered by it. My character indeed, I would favour you with, but that I am cautious of praising myself, lest I should be told my trumpeter's dead : and I cannot find in my heart, at present, to say any thing to my own disadvan. tage.
It is very common with authors in their first performances, to talk to their readers thus, If this meets with a suitable reception, or, if this should meet with due encouragement, I shall hereafter publish, &c.This only manifests the value they put on their own. writings, since they think to frighten the public into their applause, by threatening, that unless you approve what they have already wrote, they intend never to write again ; when perhaps it may not be a pin mata ter, whether they ever do or no. As I have not observed the critics to be more favorable on this account, I shall always avoid saying any thing of the kind; and conclude with telling you, that if you send me a bottle of ink and a quire of paper by the bearer, you may depend on hearing further from,
THE BUSYBODY:- No. II.
From Tuesday, February 4, to Tuesday, February 11,
All fools have still an itching to deride,
ONSIEUR Rochefocault tells us somewhere in
his Memoirs, that the Prince of Conde delighted much in ridicule, and used frequently to shut himself up for half a day together, in his chamber, with a gentleman, that was his favourite, purposely to di. vert himself with examining what was the foible, or ridiculous side of every noted person in the court.That gentleman said afterwards in some company, that he thought nothing was more ridiculous in any body, than this same humour in the prince ; and I am somewhat inclined to be of this opinion. The general tendency there is among us to this embeliishment (which I fear has too often grossly imposed upon my loving countrymen instead of wit) and the applause it meets with from a rising generation, fill me with fearful apprehensions for the future reputation of my country: a young man of modesty (which is the most certain indication of large capacities) is hereby discouraged from attempting to make any figure in life : his apprehensions of being out-laughed, will force him to continue in a restless obscurity, without having an opportunity of knowing liis own merit himself, or discovering it to the worid, rather than venture to expose himself in a place, where a pun or a sneer shall pass for wit, noise for reason, and the strength of the argument be judged by that of the lungs. Among these witty gentlemen, let us take a view of Ridentius : what a contemptible figure does he make with his train of paltry admirers? This wight shall give himself an hour's diversion with the cock of a man's hat,