Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

grave and fancied descant in lofty sugues, or the whole symphony with artful and unimaginable touches adorn and grace the well-studied chords of some choice composer ; sometimes the lute or soft organ-stop waiting on elegant voices either to religious, martial, or civil ditties, which, if wise men and prophets be not extremely out, have a great power over dispositions and manners to smooth and make them gentle from rustic harshness and distempered passions. The like also would not be unexpedient after meat, to assist and cherish nature in her first concoction, and send their minds back to study in good tune and satisfaction. Where having followed it under vigilant eyes until about two hours before supper, they are, by a sudden alarum or watch-word, to be called out to their military motions, under sky or covert according to the season, as was the Roman wont; first on foot, then, as their age permits, on horsebaek to all the art of cavalry; that having in sport, but with much exaelness and daily muster, served out the rudiments of their soldiership in all the skill of embattling, marching, encamping, fortifying, besieging, and battering, with all the helps of ancient and modern stratagems, tactics, and warlike maxims, they may, as it were out of a long war, come forth renowned and perfect commanders in the service of their country. They would not then, if they were trusted with fair and hopeful armies, suffer them for want of just and wise discipline to shed away from about them like sick feathers, though they be vever so oft supplied; they would not suffer their empty and unrecruitable colonels of twenty men in a company to quaff out or convey into secret hoards the wages of a delusive list and miserable remnant; yet in the meanwhile to be overmastered with a score or two of drunkards, the only soldiery left about them, or else to comply with all rapines and violences. No, certainly, if they knew aught of that knowledge which belongs to good men or good governors, they would not suffer these things. But to return to our own institute. Besides these constant exercises at home, there is another opportunity of gaining experience to be won from pleasure itself abroad : in those vernal seasons of the year, when the air is calm and pleasant, it were an injury and sullenness against nature not to go out and see her riches and partake in her rejoicing with heaven and earth. I should not, therefore, be a persuader to them of studying much then, after two or three years that they have well laid their grounds, but to ride out in companies with prudent and staid guides to all the quarters of the land, learning and observing all places of strength, all commodities of building and of soil for towns and tillage, harbours, and ports for trade. Sometimes taking sea as far as to our navy, to learn there also what they can in the practical knowledge of sailing and sea-fight. These ways would try all their peculiar gifts of nature, and if there were any secret excellence among them, would fetch it out and give it fair opportunities to advance itself by, which could not but mightily redound to the good of this nation, and bring into fashion again those old admired virtues and excellencies with far more advantage now in this purity of Christian knowledge. Nor shall we then need the monsieurs of Paris to take our hopeful youth into their slight and prodigal custodies, and send them over back again transformed into mimics, apes, and kekshose. But if they desire to see other countries at three or four and twenty years of age, not to learn principles but to en.

large experience and make wise observation, they will by that time be such as shall deserve the regard and honour of all men where they pass, and the society and friendship of those in all places who are best and most eminent. And perhaps then other nations will be glad to visit us for their breeding, or else to imitate us in their own country.

Now, lastly, for their diet there cannot be much to say, save only that it would be best in the same house; for much time else would be lost abroad, and many ill habits got; and that it should be plain, healthful, and moderate, I suppose is out of controversy.

Thus, Mr. Hartlib, you have a general view in writing, as your desire was, of that which at several times I had discoursed with you concerning the best and noblest way of education ; not beginning, as some have done, from the cradle, which yet might be worth many considerations, if brevity had not been my scope. Many other circumstances also I could have mentioned, but this, to such as have the worth in them to make trial, for light and direction may be enough. Only I believe that this is not a bow for every man to shoot in that counts himself a teacher, but will require sinews almost equal to those which Homer gave Ulysses ; yet I am withal persuaded that it may prove much more easy in the assay than it now seems at distance, and much more illustrious : howbeit not more difficult than I imagine, and that imagination presents me with nothing but very happy, and very possible according to best wishes, if God have so decreed, and this age have spirit and capacity enough to apprehend.

[blocks in formation]

SOME THOUGHTS CONCERNING

EDUCATION,

BY JOHN LOCKE,

This work, of which the following is an analysis, was published in 1690, and was written, as is stated in the Epistle Dedicatory to Edward Clarke, of Chipley, Esq., some years earlier. The Thoughts on Education are extremely discursive and irregular, the same topics being treated of in different places. The author of the following analysis has endeavoured to connect these disjointed parts, and to arrange the materials so as to give more method and unity to the whole ; but the opinions given are strictly those of Locke, and though excellent on the whole, they are not set forth as to be altogether implicitly adopted; the progress made in medical science, for instance, has shown that his recommendation of extreme hardship in the early education of the body is altogether erroneous. The original is divided into sections; but from the cause alluded to, it has been found impossible to indicate those divisions in the Analysis. Wherever the words of Locke have been used, they are placed between marks of quotation.

By education Locke understands the training, not of the mind only, a limitation too apt to be given to the sense of the word, but of the body also ; and ac

cordingly the first, and perhaps not the least valuable, portion of his treatise is devoted to a consideration of the important question of physical health, as it relates to children. And in the first place, be strongly reprehends that over-tenderness in mothers which, in their anxiety to shield their offspring from every risk, induces them to clothe them too warmly, and otherwise to confine them at an early age, so that a certain degree of present security is obtained at the expense of a double danger from every subsequent exposure; whereas experience teaches us that the body may be inured by habit to any sufferance of cold or heat. He recommends that a child should be early accustomed to slight clothing, that as soon as his hair grows the use of caps should be discontinued, that he should have his feet washed every day in cold water, and even that his shoes “be made so as to leak water;" which, with some other practises of a similar kind, calculated to strengthen the frame and render it independent, he enforces with much earnestness, deprecating the opposition of the mistress and the maid. With respect to diet, it should be ex. ceedingly plain, and flesh meat should make no part of it during the first three or four years of life. No kindness towards children should induce us to mix up with their food any seasoning that may occasion an early delicacy in the palate, but good dry bread should be made the test of their appetite, which will insure that they do not eat oftener than nature really demands. Amongst the Romans it was a reproach to a man if he indulged in more than one regular meal a day; and a great part of the diseases among Englishmen may be imputed to gross feeding, especially in the article of flesh-meat. So far is Locke from counselling regularity

« AnteriorContinuar »