Sidebilder
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

curiosity of others, or to indulge our own feelings of domestic partiality.

In what we have written upon the rudi, ments of science, so far from attempting to teach them in detail, we refer our readers to treatises on the different branches of science, and on the various faculties of the human mind, which are to be found in every language. The chapters that we have introduced upon these subjects, are intended merely as specimens of the manner in which we think young children should be taught. We have found, from experience, that an early knowledge of the first principles of science may be given in conversation, and may be insensibly acquired from the usual incidents of life: if this knowledge be carefully associated with the technical terms which common use may preserve in the

memory, much of the difficulty of subsequent instruction may be avoided.

The sketches we have hazarded upon metaphysical subjects, in the chapters on

Attention, on Memory and Invention, Wit and Judgment, &c. may to some appear too slight, and to others too abstruseand tedious. To those who have explored the vast mines of human knowledge, small specimens appear trifling and contemptible; whilst, on the contrary, the less accustomed eye is somewhat dazzled and confused by the appearance even of a small collection : to the most enlightened mind, however, new combinations may be suggested by a new arrangement of materials; and the curiosity and enthusiasm of the inexperienced may be awakened, and excited to accurate and laborious researches by a familiar introduction to the rudiments of science,

With respect to what is commonly called the education of the heart, we have endeavoured to suggest the easiest means of inducing useful and agreeable habits, well regulated sympathy, and benevolent affecţions. A witty writer says,

Il est permis d'ennuyer en moralités d'ici jusqu'à Con

"stantinople.” Unwilling to avail ourselves of this permission, we have sedulously avoided declamation, and wherever we have been obliged to repeat ancient maxims, and common truths, we have at least thought it becoming to present them in a new dress.

On religion and politicks we have been, silent, because we have no ambition to gain partizans, or to make proselytes, and because we do not address ourselves exclusively to any sect or to any party. Our opinions concerning the female character and understanding have been fully detailed in a former publication ;* and, unwilling to fatigue by repetition, we have touched but slightly upon these subjects in our chapters on Temper, Female Accomplishments, Prudence, and Economy.

We have warned our readers not to expect from us any new theory of education,

* Letters for Literary Ladies.

but they need not apprehend that we have written without method, or that we have thrown before them a heap of desultory remarks and experiments, which lead to no conclusions, and which tend to the entablishment of no useful principles. We assure them that we have worked upon a regular plan, and where we have failed of executing our design, it has not been for want of labour or attention. Convinced that it is the duty and the interest of all who write, to inquire what others have said and thought upon the subject of which they treat, we have examined attentively the works of others, that we might collect whatever knowledge they contain, and that we might neither arrogate inventions what does not belong to us, nor weary the public by repetition. Some useful and ingenious essays may probably have escaped our notice, but we flatter ourselves, that our readers will not find reason to accuse us of

nego ligence, as we have perused with diligent

attention
every work

upon

education, that has obtained the sanction of time or of public approbation ; and, though we have never bound ourselves to the letter, we hope that we have been faithful to the spirit of their authors. Without incumbering ourselves with any part of their systems which has not been authorised by experience, we have steadily attempted immediately to apply to practice such of their ideas as we have thought useful: but whilst we have used the thoughts of others, we have been anxious to avoid plagiarism, and wherever we have borrowed, the debt has been carefully acknowledged.

When a book appears under the name of two authors, it is natural to enquire what share belongs to each of them. The work was resumed from a design formed and begun twenty years ago, by Mr. Richard Lovell Edgeworth ; all that relates to the art of teaching to read in the chapter on Tasks, the chapter on Grammar and Clas

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »