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fourteen, he would be most advantageously placed at a private school, under the care of a tutor, not only qualified to direct his literary pursuits, but who would watch, with anxious folicitude, over his manners and morals. Not that the parental attention should suffer any suspension upon this account; by that mild wisdom which fecures the affections while it informs the understanding, much may be effected without encroaching upon the province, or assuming the authority, of a tutor, at this period, when the intellectual powers advance rapidly towards maturity, and knowledge already begins to be pursued as the means of mental gratification.
It is a very frequent subject of complaint, that little besides the learned languages is attended to at the public schools ; but I think without sufficient foundation. At the age of thirteen or fourteen, which seems to be the proper period for entering into those feminaries, no inconsiderable stock of knowledge may reasonably be supposed, in a mind properly cultivated, to have been already attained. А general idea of ancient and modern History, the first elements of Geographical and Mathematical science, a perfect familiarity with the French language, and a considerable proficiency in the Greek and Latin tongues, may at least be presumed. The proper business of a public school is to perfect a youth, thus prepared, in claf
Siçal fical literature; and surely it is not possible to read the higher classics without acquiring, at the same time with an accurate knowledge of the languages, a knowledge of a far superior kind;a knowledge of facts, characters, and opinions, connected with the most distinguished and illus, trious periods of the general history of mankind, When an intimate acquaintance with the learned languages, and with those various kinds of know, ledge which are to be derived from a study of the most celebrated writers in those languages is acquired, the proper period arrives for a re, moval to the Universities, where a regular super. structure may be erected upon the extensive and solid foundation which has been previously laid. It is with reluctance that I presume to pass any censure upon the general mode of instruction adopted by those learned and noble seminaries ; I am well convinced that with right dispositions, and with a mind properly prepared and cultivated, a youth may make as rapid improvements in every branch of useful knowledge at Oxford or Cambridge as at any feat of learning in Europe; Of this, the many great and illustrious characters formed there, afford the most honourable and decisive proofs. Surely, however, in Christian feminaries of Education, it would not be im. proper to pay a somewhat greater degree of at, tention to the inculcating of the principles of the Christian religion. It is most certain that, excellent as it is in itself, and firm as is the evidence on which it stands, it can never be expected to produce any considerable effect where it has not been regularly and systematically taught. If the philosophers of Greece and Rome made it their great object to explain, and thought their time well employed in incul. cating the tenets of the several sects to which they were attached, can it be thought unworthy the attention, or beneath the dignity of Chriftian philosophers, to explain and inculcate the tenets of a divine revelation? In fact this ought to be a primary object of Education in a Chriftian country; but then it ought to be conducted in the true spirit of philosophy as well as of Christianity. What should we have said had we been informed, that it was the practice of the Grecian sages to exact from their pupils, at their admission into the celebrated Schools of Antiquity, an express declaration of their assent to those very tenets which were to be made the subject of future enquiry? How preposterous would it have appeared to them, -how contrary to the spirit of philosophy, had the public profession of an exploded system been extorted from them by the State, in order to qualify them for the office of public instructors! -A system originally framed in an age of comparative darkness, by men in no respect more, but in many respects less capable of forming a
judgment agreeable to truth than themselves : How would they have disdained to fetter their ar. dent minds, which in the pursuit of truth so often “passed the flaming bounds of place and time” in such ignoble shackles !-How would they have felt themselves degraded, and how low would they have funk in their own estimation, by such mental prostitution! Yet this is the wretched, the barbarous plan which still prevails in what we are pleased to call this enlightened age and country. It is a certain and melancholy truth, that the most able and intelligent men in our Universities are afraid to invite the attention of youth to the free investigation of the principles of Christianity, becaufe by such an investigation the inconsistency of their own conduct would appear in too striking and painful a point of view; and very serious inconveniencies would arise from exciting in the minds of those who are intended for public teachers of that religion, doubts and scruples respecting the lawfulness of complying with those conditions which the State has unhappily thought necessary to enjoin.
I cannot, in this cursory sketch, entirely omit to speak of the fashion which is become so universal-of fending young men of fortune, after they have taken their degree at the University, to make what is called the grand tour. No doubt many very plausible, and fome very just things may be faid of the advantages
to be derived from foreign travel; but I am well persuaded, that in order to attain those advantages, it is necessary to have a mind much better prepared and cultivated than the gene. rality of our young men of fashion possess. To expose an inexperienced youth, who has a very flight tin&ture of knowledge, and no true relish for it, whose passions are strong, and in whose mind no fixed principles of virtue are implanted, to counteract their influence - to expose a youth of such a description to the temptations which he must inevitably encounter in such a situation, is to expose him to almost certain ruin. The advice or remonftrances of a governor can no more avail to stem the torrent of dissipation and vice, than a bulrush can stop the inundations of the Nile. In fact, the very idea of appointing a governor implies an absurdity. If a youth is so devoid of sense or of virtue as to need a governor, he is not in such a state of mind as to be capable of improvement by travel.
If Education has been properly conducted, the most dangerous and critical years of life are passed, at that period when it is usual to commence traveller. term governor is justly displeasing
displeasing to the ear of youth now arriving at the age of manhood -it ought to be exchanged for that of companion and friend.
“Let your son,” I would say to the parent whom I was permitted to advise, “ be fole master of his own actions;-free from