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moral topic. Thus when there are not above twenty boys in cach class, every boy in the three lower classes appears in public twice a year, and those of the two higher classes four times. There are exercises of the same kind in the higher classes of the academy and mechanic's school. And, in the Latin school, there are quarterly examinations, and proper rewards distributed to excite emulation.
There is one thing peculiar to the Miranians in these exercises, which I had almost forgot to mention; viz. that they are most commonly in the English tongue. No people are more careful than they to teach youth to translate Latin readily, as may appear in the course of the foregoing studies, where every author is read in the original: but, when this is attained, they aim at nothing more. They are sensible, that there is a great difference between being able to explain a classic author extempore, and being able to write with as much purity as that author. Almost any person may attain to the first; but only a few have attained to the perfection of writing pure classic Latin, unmixed with barbarisms and foreign idioms, since it became a dead language.
They do not however deny, but learned men, to render their works more universally useful, may write in the Latin tongue, though they cannot write with classic elegance and purity. But they greatly condemn the practice of neglecting the mothertongue, and embarrassing a young student, by obliging him to speak or compose in a dead language. While he is hunting after words to convey his ideas, he is continually on the rack; one half of his senti.
ments, one half of the sprightly sallies of fancy which would otherwise. shine through his compositions, must escape his memory before he can find language to express them. . The consciousness of speaking improperly, often barbarously, must damp his ardour, and restrain him from delivering himself with that becoming ease and confidence, that grace of voice and action, that propriety and harmony, which he could not fail of, by applying that time and pains to composition in the English tongue;' which is often without success given to the Latin. Besides, my countrymen seem to think it in some sort dishonoura. ble to declaim only in a foreign tongue, before an English audience. In particular, my friend, continued Evander, very gaily, to speak in Latin, we think, would be an affront to our ladies, who often honour us with their presence on those occasions. Yet still, to shew that it is not for want of ability to speak in Latin that this method is in general discontinued, there are always some Latin orations and disputations at the anniversary commencements, and on other private occasions.
There are likewise masters in the college for teaching the French, Italian, Spanish and German tongues, at private hours; and a fencing master, who, besides the use of the sword, teaches the military exercise. There is, lastly, a dancing-master, whom I should have mentioned first; as this art is learned by the boys when very young, viz. in the lowest classes of the Latin and mechanic's school. None of the youth, however, are obliged, by the statutes of the college, to attend these masters; and if they do attend them, it must be before they are entered into the fourth or rhetorical class, because they will not suffer any thing to interfere with the duties of the two higher classes; which, as you will remember, consist chiefly in reading and writing in private.
The students in these two classes are esteemed men; and it is reckoned shameful for them to be ignorant of dancing, fencing, and modern languages till that time. None of these masters are included in the institution, in any other thing, but that the governors or trustees, upon any complaint that their characters are bad, and their example dangerous, may deprive them of the benefit of teaching the youth;a punishment great enough. For, though they have no salaries from the public, yet as each of them has generally thrice the number of boys that are in any of the classes, their income is nothing inferior to the income of the masters that are upon the establishment. And the college also gives such of them, as behave well, a handsome gratuity yearly; as a testimony of their being willing to encourage the acquisition of all polite arts, and manly exercises among the youth.
Here Evander paused, as if in expectation of some remarks from me upon the excellency of the institution he had given me an account of. I told him, that as far as he had yet proceeded, I greatly approved of it: but that I thought the study of religion, without which no scheme of education could be of advantage to the state, or private persons, did not sufficiently enter into his account; and that if the Mira. nians did nothing more this way than he had spoken
of, I judged their scheme deficient in the most in. teresting article.
He resumed, that my observation was just; and that it was for this very reason he had left the account of their method of inculcating religion and morals to a separate article; as well, because of their importance, as because they are the chief object of the studies of every class, and consequently could not be brought into the account of any particular one.
My countrymen, proceeded he, are fully per. suaded that those, who are entrusted with the educa. tion of youth, can do more lasting service to the in, terests of religion and virtue, at a time when the heart is susceptible of every impression, than all the good men, armed with all the power of a country, can do; if, for want of education, the heart is suffered to be. come callous, as it were, and obstinate in the habits of vice. They were therefore extremely careful to look for something still better than learning in all the masters they chose into this seminary, admitting none but men of irreproachable characters; men whose lives should be a daily comment on their precepts, and their genuine goodness of heart a constant pledge for the morals of the youth committed to their care; men indefatigable in the discharge of their duty, from a consciousness of the weighty trust reposed in them, and an unfeigned zeal for the present and future interests of their pupils; men, in a word, formed to command love and reverence, and, from their sweetness of temper, disposed to strew the path to science with roses. They prudently foresaw, that upon their meeting with men of this character at first, not only de. pended the reputation of the college, but, in a great measure, the morals and genius of their country to the latest generations.
Such men it was their happiness to meet with; and it will prove a pleasing speculation to take a more particular view of the method of inculcating virtue, which is practised by them, and may be practised by every good master, in the course of these studies. Some may be ready to imagine that they bestow a great deal of labour this way; but, on the contrary, though religion and goodness be a sulject always in their eye, it is not always in their mouth. They know well enough that youth are apt to give but a cool attention to whatever has the appearance of set lectures, and formal discourses on morality; while a word dropt, as it were casually, by a skilful master, in a proper season, shall strike so much the deeper as it was not expected, and make an impression perhaps never to be erased.
His great business then, who would train up youth to the love of religion, seems to consist, in the first place, in getting the entire possession of their hearts, in keeping a watchful eye over them, in preventing the approach of every thing that is of a noxious quality, in making all around them breathe inno. cence, purity and truth; and, lastly, while the heart is in this sound state, in watching the proper opportunities of dropping into it the seeds of goodness, which will not fail to bring forth an hundred fold; provided he adds to the whole his own example, and seems fully persuaded of the truths he would impress