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do, by particles prefixed, but by changing the last syllables. More than this of grammar I think he need not have, till he can read himself “Sanctii Minerva," with Scioppius and Perizonius's notes.
In teaching of children this too, I think, it is to be observed, that in most cases, where they stick, they are not to be farther puzzled, by putting them upon finding it out themselves; as by asking such questions as these, viz. Which is the nominative case in the sentence they are to construe? or demanding what " aufero” signifies, to lead them to the knowledge what "abstulere" signifies, &c. when they cannot readily tell. This wastes time only in disturbing them; for whilst they are learning, and applying themselves with attention, they are to be kept in good humor, and everything made easy to them, and as pleasant as possible. Therefore, whenever they are at a stand, and are willing to go forwards, help them presently over the difficulty without any rebuke or chiding; remembering that, where harsher ways are taken, they are the effect only of pride and peevishness in the teacher, who expects children should instantly be masters of as much as he knows: whereas he should rather consider, that his business is to settle in them habits, not angrily to inculcate rules, which serve for little in the conduct of our lives ; at least are of no use to children, who forget them as soon as given. In sciences where their reason is to be exercised, I will not deny, but this method may sometimes be varied, and difficulties proposed on purpose to excite industry, and accustom the mind to employ its whole strength and sagacity in reasoning. But yet, I guess, this is not to be done to children whilst very young; nor at their entrance upon any sort of knowledge: then everything of itself is difficult, and the great use and skill of a teacher is to make all as easy as he can. But particularly in learning of languages there is least occasion for posing of children. For languages being to be learned by rote, custom, and memory, are then spoken in greatest perfection, when all rules of grammar are utterly forgotten. I grant the grammar of a language is sometimes very carefully to be studied : but it is only to be studied by a grown man, when he applies himself to the understanding of any language critically, which is seldom the business of any but professed scholars. This, I think, will be agreed to, that, if a gentleman be to study any language, it ought to be that of his own country, that he may understand the language, which he has constant use of, with the utmost accuracy.
When, by this way of interlining Latin and English one with another, he has got a moderate knowledge of the Latin tongue, he may then be advanced a little farther to the reading of some other easy Latin book, such as Justin, or Eutropius ; and to make the reading and understanding of it the less tedious and difficult to him, let bim help himself, if he please, with the English translation. Nor let the objection, that he will then know it only by rote, fright any one. This, when well considered, is not of any moment against, but plainly for, this way of learning a language; for languages are only to be learned by rote; and a man, who does not speak English or Latin perfectly by rote, so that having thought of the thing he would speak of, his tongue of course, without thought of rule or grammar, falls into the proper expression and idiom of that language, does not speak it well, nor is master of it. And I would fain have any one name to me that tongue, that any one can learn or speak as he should do, by the rules of grammar. Languages were made not by rules or art, but by accident, and the common use of the people. And he that will speak them well
, has no other rule but that ; nor anything to trust to but his memory, and the habit of speaking after the fashion learned from those that are allowed to speak properly, which, in other words, is only to speak by rote.
It will possibly be asked here, Is grammar then of no use? And have those who have taken so much pains in reducing several languages to rules and observations, who have writ so much about declensions and conjunctions, about concords and syntaxis, lost their labor, and been learned to no purpose ? I say not so ; grammar has its place too. But this I think I may say, there is more stir a great deal made with it than there needs, and those are tormented about it, to whom it does not at all belong; I mean children, at the age wherein they are usually perplexed with it in grammar-schools.
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 use 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 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 despatches in it. 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 of it be only to understand some books writ in it without a critical knowledge of the tongue itself, reading alone, as I have said, will attain this end, without charging the mind with the multiplied rules and intricacies of grammer.
For the exercise of his writing, let him sometimes translate Latin into English ; but the learning of Latin being nothing but the learning of words, a very unpleasant business both to young and old, join as much other real knowledge with it as you can, beginning still with that which lies most obvious to the senses; such as is the knowledge of minerals, plants, and animals, and particularly timber and fruit trees, their parts and ways of propagation, wherein a great deal may be taught a child, which will not be useless to the man. But more especially geography, astronomy, and anatomy. But whatever you are teaching him, have a care still, that you do not clog him with too much at once; or make anything his business but downwright virtue, or reprove him for anything but vice, or some apparent tendency to it.
But under whose care soever a child is put to be taught, during the tender and flexible years of his life, this is certain, it should be one who thinks Latin and language the least part of education ; one, who knowing how much virtue, and a well-tempered soul, is to be preferred to any sort of learning or language, makes it his chief business to form the mind of his scholars, and give that a right disposition: which if once got, though all the rest should be neglected, would, in due time, produce all the rest ; and which if it be not got, and settled, so as to keep out ill and vicious habits, languages and sciences, and all the other accomplishments of education, will be to no purpose, but to make the worse or more dangerous man. And indeed, whatever stir there is made about getting of Latin, as the great and difficult business; his mother may teach it him herself, if she will but spend two or three hours in a day with him, and make him read the evangelists in Latin to her : for she need but buy a Latin Testament, and having got somebody to mark the last syllable but one, where it is long, in words above two syllables, (which is enough to regulate her pronunciation, and accenting the words,) read daily in the Gospels; and then let her avoid understanding them in Latin, if she can. And when she understands the Evangelists in Latin, let her, in the same manner, read Æsop's Fables, and so proceed on to Eutropius, Justin, and other such books. I do not mention this as an imagination of what I fancy may do, but as of a thing I have known done, and the Latin tongue, with ease, got
But to return to what I was saying: he that takes on him the charge of bringing up young men, especially young gentlernen, should have something more in him than Latin, more than even a knowledge in the liberal sciences; he should be a person of eminent virtue and prudence, and with good sense bave good humor, and the skill to carry himself with gravity, ease, and kindness, in a constant conversation with his pupils.
This is, in short, what I have thought concerning a young gentleman's studies; wherein it will possibly be wondered, that I should omit Greek, since amongst the Grecians is to be found the original, as it were, and foundation of all that learning which we have in this part of the world. I grant it so; and will add, that no man can pass for a scholar that is ignorant of the Greek tongue. But I am not here considering the education of a professed scholar, but of a gentleman, to whom Latin and French, as the world now goes, is by every one acknowledged to be necessary. When he comes to be a man, if he has a mind to carry his studies farther, and look into the Greek learning, he will then easily get that tongue himself; and if he has not that inclination, his learning of it under a tutor, will be but lost labor, and much of his time and pains spent in that, which will be neglected and thrown away as soon as he is at liberty. For how many are there of an hundred, even amongst scholars themselves, who retain the Greek they carried from school; or ever improve it to a familiar reading, and perfect understanding of Greek authors ?
But yet, for the sake of those who are designed to be scholars, I will add what the same author* subjoins, to make good his foregoing remark. It will deserve to be considered by all who desire to be truly learned, and therefore may be a fit rule for tutors to inculcate, and leave with their pupils, to guide their future studies :
“ The study,” says he, “ of the original text can never be sufficiently recommended. It is the shortest, surest, and most agreeable way to all sorts of learning. Draw from the spring-head, and take not things at second-hand. Let the writings of the great masters be never laid aside; dwell upon them, settle them in your mind, and cite them upon occasion ; make it your business thoroughly to understand them in their full extent, and all their circumstances : acquaint yourself fully with the principles of original authors; bring them to a consistency, and then do you yourself make your deductions. In this state were the first commentators,and do not you rest till you bring yourself to the same. Content not yourself with those borrowed lights, nor guide yourself by their views, but where your own fails you, and leaves you in the dark. Their explications are not yours, and will give you the slip. On the contrary, your own observations are the product of your own mind, where they will abide, and be ready at hand upon all occasions in converse, consultation, and dispute. "Lose not the pleasure it is to see that you were not stopped in your reading, but by difficulties that. are invincible; where the commentators and scholiasts themselves are at a stand, and have nothing to say; those copious expositors of other places, who, with a vain and pompous overflow of learning, poured out on passages plain and easy in themselves, are very free of their words and pains, where there is no need. Convince yourself fully by thus ordering your studies, that it is nothing but men's laziness, which hath encouraged pedantry to cram, rather than enrich libraries, and to bury good authors under heaps of notes and commentaries; and you will perceive, that sloth herein hath acted against itself and its own interests, by multiplying
· La Bruyere.