This Author expresses a juit and manly resentment against those shocking abuses of the pulpit, which pass with the herd of illiterate and enthusiastic hearers for sound and savoury doctrine: but which, in fact, are a burlesque on religion, and a most shameful infult on the common sense of mankind. • Those empty indecent rhapsodies,' says Mr. Martin,' always betray, but no where so much as in the pulpit, a want of good manners, as well as common sense. It is not only shameful, but shocking to observe, how the pulpit is sometimes prostituted by those pitiful puns, and seniele's quibbles, those idle and indelicate stories, which come delight to retail in that solemn fituation, as if it were a mighty achievement to select, and throw out such oddities as seem best calculated to divert the foolith, and disgust the wiser part of mankind!'

We heartily with these reflections may have their proper influence on the swarm of fanatical preachers which infest the capital, and extend their baneful influence to the country. But we are afraid, that the most candid remonftrances, and the most poignant invectives, will fail of producing any falutary effect, where interest joins iffue with ignorance, and convinceth the man of noise and nonsense, that by this craft he gets his bread,

ART. VI. An Address to the Public on an improved Plan of Education

in public Schools. 8vo. 1 s. Evans. 1779. THE object of this Address is of considerable importance,

and merits the attention of all who are entrusted with the education of youth. The Author (who, we find from an advertisement prefixed to this Address, is ' the Master of Scorton school, in the county of York') writes like a man of experience and understanding. He proposeth no vifionary and phantastic plan, merely for the fake of departing from an established mode; but modestly offers one, that appears, on the whole, to be well-founded, and might, if adopted by a skilful tutor, be attended with much success. He considers the present method of education at public schools, as too vague and indircriminate. Youth are treated in the same unvaried manner, and their attention directed to the lanie objects, let their future profeflions be ever so different. This our Author deems a capital absurdity in education ; and he wilhes to rectify it, by diversifying, as far as requisite, the objects of tuition, and regulating the studies of the pupil by the views of his future proteision and employments. As education is now generally conducted at public (chools, little, if any thing more is regarded, than the furnishing the pupil's mind with a certain degree of clati:al knowledge :---often to the great neglect of the more refined parts of English literature, and generally, to the total neglest

fed prays the man of, and be

of many branches of science, equally ornamental and beneficial to the scholar, the gentleman, or the man of business.

Though it cannot be supposed (says this Writer) that young people in general are capable of any long, intense, or methodia cal reasoning, yet as they do, and must necessarily reason, judge and determine upon many occasions for the mielves, it is of great importance to enable them, as early as possible, to perform these operations aright. That education which aims at nothing more than storing the mind with knowledge, without enabling it to discriminate and appreciate that knowledge, is certainly defective in the most effential part. This is knowledge without judgment, which fetters and enslaves, without improving and invigorating the powers of the mind. However specious such qualifications may appear to incompetent judges, their real merit is inconsiderable. Those who are intended for learned profesions, in which their success and eminence depend so much on acuteness and accuracy of realoning, will owe no great obligations to that tutor, whose instructions have been applied to their memory rather than their judgment. In learning the dead languages, indeed, the attention of youth must necessarily be Jong confined to words, and the mere exercise of memory, be. fore they can be competent judges of sentiment; but their preceptors should always remember, that words are of no use in any language, but as they are the vehicle of sentiment. If, therefore, they be accustomed too long to regard the former in preference to the latter, they will become pedants, or mere verbal critics, but never elegant or polite scholars.'

There is much truth in this remark, if there be no novelty in it. The general run of our public schools affords perpetual evidences of a moft disgraceful neglect of the mind. But we would not infinuate any reflection on classical knowledge. On the contrary, we eleem it absolutely essential to a finished education. It frequently lays the foundation of the most important acquisitions :--gives an elegance to the mind, and opens on ic beauties peculiar to itself:-and such as a mere English scholar will be scarcely able to form any tolerable conception of. It will be the means of forming the pupil to the purest and most perspicuous methods of composition, and will befiow a grace and correctness on his common conversation. A man of sound, classical erudition may, by a discerning critic, be distinguished almost immediately from a person who was not originally, and who hath not been thoroughly conversant with the ancient models of all that is sublime in genius, and beautiful in expresion : and who hath acquired all his knowledge from, and formed bis' taste on translations, and English writers only. There will be a deficiency, which the best natural abilities, and the most extensive English rading, will feldom, if ever, be able F f 2


· to supply. We pretend not to account for this : but we are

persuaded it is a fact; and from that persuasion, would most earnestly recommend the study of the Greek and Roman claffics to all who are designed for a learned profession, or for genteel life: nor let thein Aatter themselves with a hope, which is chiefly supported by indolence and vanity, that they can acquire a sufficient stock of knowledge to qualify them for their stations in life, without submitting to the drudgery of consulting the originals.

This presumption is the general resource of the lazy and the superficial, whose underftandings are of a Aimsy contexture, and whole acquisitions in science and literature are the une mellowed fruits of a vacant hour.

Our great predilection for the Greek and Latin classics hath drawn from us this warm attestation to their excellence and utility. And yet, we cannot help lamenting the wrong methods of education which prevail at most schools,-especially those which have been establithed on endowments. Boys are shackled and hampered by words. Their ideas are left by the master to Thoot at random, and to open of their own accord. The memory is loaded, and the mind uninformed. The great objects of life are totally disregarded, and the boy is sent to college, or placed out for some other employment in life, with a heap of words on his head, or the fables of antiquity, ill understood, Aoating in his imagination. This is all the master hath accomplished after fix, seven, and sometimes eight long years, of lecturing and flogging. Glorious acquisitions ! How well prepared is the pupil to add a lustre to profession in life, where knowledge and souod judgment are requisite! If, indeed, he is designed for any profeflion, except the pulpit, his insufficiency will be a bar to his reaping any, considerable advantage from it. We say, except the pulpit-for this is too frequently an asylum for dunces. The parlon may be nothing more than a school-boy run to feed; and what through ignorance and superftition among some, and infidelity and indifference among others, there is now no ab. folute neceflity, that what is sown in weakness fhould be raised in power.'

Art, VII, Scelta di Lettere familiari, &c. i. e, A Selection of

familiar Letters, for the Ule of Studenis ia the Italian Tongue. By Joseph Barretti, Secretary for foreign Correspondence, to

the Royal Academy. 12mɔ. 2 Vols. 75. 6d. Nourfe. 1779. M H E Author obferves in his preface, that the present

I selection will, perhaps, be deemed superior to every other in the beauty and variety of subjects handled in the different letters, as well as in the correctness and elegance of language with which thefe subjects are adorned.' He infifts much og the time and pains which he has bestowed, in order to give his performance these two advantages, and to render it compleiely deserving of the public approbation.'

The task of selecting the finest passages from the works of agreeable writers, requires attention, taste, and judgment, but is not commonly considered as a work of much labour. Mr. Barretti, however, is of a different opinion: and as he has toiled through what appears to him a very arduous undertaking, with so much Christian patience *, it is pity he does not persevere a few minutes longer, and gratify his reader, by subjoining a table of contents, with the titles of the various subjects treated in his eighty-six letters. At prefent, his publication has rieither index, contents, nor mottos, prefixed to the letters, expressive of the subjects treated in them : so that, partly on this account, and partly from the long-winded, round-about manner, familiar to the Italian writers, we must proceed a considerable length in each letter, before we discover the subject of it. Nor is this the only inconvenience arising from such careleffness. A book fent into the world with fo little regard to the patience of the reader, produces a continued series of disappointments. Seeing a letter from Captain

to Colonel you expect obferva. tions, perhaps, on the art of war, but are wearied with a common-place lecture of morality. You may hear of battles and fieges from a bishop, when you expected a fermon. A duke or earl entertains you with a discourse on the parts of speech; and a learned academician talks to you of the culture of pineapples, .

We mean not, by thefe obfervations, to disapprove of the fe. lection itself, which contains a great variety of letters equally entertaining and instructive, and which, we are persuaded, will be found far superior to any thing of the kind in the Italian Janguage. We wish, however, that Mr. Barretti had taken the trouble to inform us, how he came poflefled of the manůscript letters which he publishes, and from what books he ex- , tracted the printed ones. By this means, we might be enabled to learn what alterations he has made, and whether we are read. ing the works of Annibal Caro, or of Giufeppe Barretti. This is left doubtful in the Author's preface, in which he only says« E chi s'intende di fcrivere, vedra ch'io non mi sono ne seguenti fogli lafciato andar soverchio all'infingardia.' And whoever is acquainted with the art of composition will perceive, that in the following sheets I have not allowed myself to be ina fuenced by laziness,'

found fra and inftractive, and great variety of prove of the le.

* Se soggiungesi, che, per procacciarle questi due pregi, io mi sono cristianamente sconcio quanto doveva, & senza il minimo risparmio di fatica, &c.



The most valuable letters in this selection are those which treat of the Italian literature, and explain the character, the virtues, and defects, of the Italian poets and historians. We cannot, however, agree with Mr. Barretti * (for we presume, the opinion is his own), that Algarotti, Goldoni, and Beccaria, are ( rude and barbarous, and foolish writers. If we except the greatest poet of tl;e age t, the three names above mentioned are, perhaps, those which do most honour to the list of the late 1, or living authors of Italy. Their works are read and esteemed in their own country, and they have had the good fortune to pass the seas, and to meet with much applause from foreign nations. * Vol. II. p. 248.

+ Metastasio. I Algarotti is dead, and has a magnificent mooument at Pisa, erected to his honour by the King of Prulla, with this inscription, ! Ovidij Æmulo, Newtoni Discipulo.'

ART. VIJI. The Widowed Queen : or, Elizabeth, Dowager of Edward

IV. delivering up her Second Son from Santuary : and, i biippa to Edward ill. in favour of the Burghers of Calais. being a Poen, and Oration, to which Prizes were adjudged by the Provost and Senior-Fellows of Trinity-College, Dublin, in Hillary Term, 1777. Written by Jerom Alley. 4to. 15. 6 d. Wallis. 17;3. THE establishment of literary prizes for the young students

at our universities, is an improvement on academical education, which does great credit to the present age : and it is attended with advantages too obvious to escape the notice of the most inattentive observer.

There is one circunstance respecting these literary contests, which ought, in our opinion, to have made part of the plan of their inftitution; namely, to have the successful compofition printed, at the public expence of the particular seminary where the prize has been adjudged.

It is true, that the Poemata Scatoniana, which are annually printed, do not seem to favour our opinion; but it must be considered, that the cases are by no means exactly similar, Among those who have taken their Master of Arts degree, and who alone are qualified to be candidates for Mr. Seaton's prize, the few, who are capable of distinguishing themselves with credit, have generally, before that time, an established reputation, so that academical honours and rewards are no longer objects of ambition.

But with the young student, who has a name and reputation to acquire, the case is totally different. And, indeed, facts prove that it is so: of those who have obtained early academic cal honours (we confine ourselves to the English universities,

« VorigeDoorgaan »