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to the great Design of pleasing by Instruction, than any
which has hitherto been admitted into our Seminaries of Literature. There are not indeed wanting in the World Compendiums of Science,
many were written at a Time when Philosophy was imperfect, as that of G. Valla; many contain only naked Schemes, or Synoptical Tables, as that of Stierius; and others are too large and voluminous, as that of Alstedius; and, what is not to be considered as the least Objection, they are generally in a Language, which, to Boys, is more difficult than the Subject; and it is too hard a Talk to be condemned to learn a new Science in an unknown Tongue. As in Life, so in Study, it is dangerous to do more things than one at a time, and the Mind is not to be harrassed with unnecessary Obstructions, in a Way, of which the natural and unavoidable Asperity is such as too frequently produces Despair.
If the Language however had been the only Objection to any of the Volumes already extant, the Schools might have been supplied at a small Expence by a Translation ; but none could be found that was not so defective, redundant, or erroneous, as to be of more Danger than Use. It was necessary then to examine, whether upon every single Science there was not some Treatise written for the Use of Scholars, which might be adapted to this Design, so that a Collection might be made from different Authors, without the Necessity of writing new Systems.
This Search was not wholly without Success;
With what Judgment the Design has been
The Title has already declared, that these
miliar Manner ; for the Mind used only to common Expressions, and inaccurate Ideas, does not fuddenly conform itself to scholastic Modes of Reasoning, or conceive the nice Distinctions of a subtile Philosophy, and may be properly initiated in speculative Studies by an Introduction like this, in which the Grossness of vulgar Conception is avoided, without the Observation of Metaphysical Exactness. It is observed, that in the Course of the natural World no Change is instantaneous, but all its Vicissitudes are gradual and slow; the Motions of Intellect proceed in the like imperceptible Progression, and proper Degrees of Transition from one Study to another are therefore necessary; but let it not be charged upon the Writers of this Book, that they intended to exhibit more than the Dawn of Knowledge, or pretended to raise in the Mind any nobler Product than the Blossoms of Science, which more powerful Institutions may ripen into
For this Reason it must not be expected, that in the following Pages should be found a complete Circle of the Sciences ; or that any Authors, now defervedly esteemed, should be rejected to make way for what is here offered. It was intended by the Means of these Precepts, not to deck the Mind with Ornaments, but to protect it from Nakedness; not to enrich it with Afluence, but to supply it with Necessaries. The Enquiry therefore was not what Degrees of Knowledge are desirable, but what
are in most Stations of Life indispensably required; and the Choice was determined not by the Splendor of any Part of Literature, but by the Extent of its Use, and the Inconvenience which its Neglect was likely to produce.
1. The Prevalence of this Consideration appears in the first Part, which is appropriated to the humble Purposes of teaching to Read; and Speak, and Write Letters; an Attempt of little Magnificence, but in which no Man needs to blush for having employed his Time, if Honour be estimated by Use. For Precepts of this Kind, however neglected, extend their Importance as far as Men are found who communicate their Tnoughts one to another ; they are equally useful to the highest and the lowest; they may often contribute to make Ignorance less inelegant; and may it not be observed, that they are frequently wanted for the Embellishment even of Learning?
In order to shew the proper use of this part, which consists of various Exemplifications of such Differences of Stile as require correspondent Diversities of Pronunciation, it will be proper to inform the Scholar, that there are in general three Forms of Stile, each of which demands it particular Mode of Elocution: the Familiar, the Solemn, and the Pathetic. That in the Familiar, he that reads is only to talk with a Paper in his Hand, and to indulge himself in all the lighter
Liberties of Voice, as when he reads the common Articles of a News-Paper, or a cursory Letter of Intelligence or Business. That the Solemn Stile, such as that of a serious Narrative, exacts an uniform Steadiness of Speech, equal, clear, and calm. That for the Pathetic, such as an animated Oration, it is necessary the Voice be regulated by the Sense, varying and rising with the Passions. These Rules, which are the most general, admit a great Number of subordinate Observations, which must be particularly adapted to every Scholar; for it is observable, that though very few read well, yet every Man errs in a different Way. But let one Remark never be omitted : inculcate strongly to every Scholar the Danger of copying the Voice of another; an Attempt, which though it has been often repeated, is always unsuccessful.
The Importance of writing Letters with Propriety justly claims to be consider’d with Care, since next to the Power of pleasing with his Presence, every Man would wish to be able to give Delight at a Distance. This great Art Thould be diligently taught, the rather, because of those Letters which are most useful, and by which the general Business of Life is transacted, there are no Examples easily to be found. It seems the general Fault of those who undertake this Part of Education, that they propose for the Exercise of their Scholars, Occasions which rarely happen; such as Congratulations and Condolances, and neglet those without which Life cannot VOL. I.