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foose into the world, with great assurance that he will find employment and esteem every-where. . :$ 187. It would be strange to supposé an English gentleman should be ignorant of the
Law. law of his country. This, whatever station he is in, is so requisite, that, from a justice of the peace to a minister of state, I know no place he can well fill without it. I do not mean the chicane or wrangling and captious part of the law; a gentleman whose business is to seek the true measures of right and wrong, and not the arts how to avoid doing the one, and secure himself in doing the other, ought to be as far from such a study of the law, as he is concerned diligently to apply himself to that wherein he may be serviceable to his country. And to that purpose I think the right way for a gentleman to study our law, which he does not design for his calling, is to take a view of our English constitution and government, in the ancient books of the common law, and some more modern writers, who out of them have given an account of this government. And having got a true idea of that, then to read our history, and with it join in every king's reign the laws then made. This will give an insight into the reason of our statutes, and show the true ground upon which they came to be made, and what weight they ought to have.
§ 188. Rhetoric and logic being the arts Rhetoric. that in the ordinary method usually follow Logic. .' immediately after grammar, it may perhaps be won. dered, that I have said so little of them. The reason is, because of the little advantage young people receive by them; for I have seldom or never observed any one to get the skill of reasoning well, or speaking handsomely, by studying those rules which pretend to teach it: and therefore I would have a young gentleman take a view of them in the shortest systems could be found, without dwelling long on the contemplation and study of those formalities. Right reasoning is founded on something else than the predicaments and predicables, and does not consist in talking in mode and figure itself. But it is besides my present business to enlarge
upon this speculation. To come therefore to what we have in hand, if you would have your son reason well, let him read Chillingworth; and if you would have him speak well, let him be conversant in Tully, to give him the true idea of eloquence; and let him read those things that are well writ in English, to perfect his style in the purity of our language. · § 189. If the use and end of right reasoning be to have right notions, and a right judgment of things; to distinguish betwixt truth and falsehood, right and wrong, and to act accordingly; be sure not to let your son be bred up in the art and formality of disputing, either practising it himself, or admiring it in others; . unless, instead of an able man, you desire to have him an insignificant wrangler, opiniatre in discourse, and priding himself in contradicting others; or, which is worse, questioning every thing, and thinking there is no such thing as truth to be sought, but only victory, in disputing. There cannot be any thing so disingenuous, so misbecoming a gentleman, or any one who pretends to be a rational creature, as not to yield to plain reason, and the conviction of clear arguments. Is there any thing more inconsistent with civil conversation, and the end of all debate, than not to take an answer, though ever so full and satisfactory; but still to go on with the dispute, as long as equivocal sounds can furnish [a“ medius terminus”] a term to wrangle with on the one side, or a distinction on the other? Whether pertinent or impertinent, sense or nonsense, agreeing with, or contrary to, what he had said before, it matters not. For this, in short, is the way and perfection of logical disputes, that the opponent never takes any answer, nor the respondent ever yields to any argument. This neither of them must do, whatever becomes of truth or knowledge, unless he will pass for a poor baffled wretch, and lie under the disgrace of not being able to maintain whatever he has once affirmed, which is the great aim and glory in disputing. Truth is to be found and supported by a mature and due consideration of things themselves, and not by artificial terms and ways of arguing: these lead not men so much
into the discovery of truth, as into a captious and falla. cious use of doubtful words, which is the most useless and most offensive way of talking, and such as least suits a gentleman or a lover of truth of any thing in the world.
There can scarce be a greater defect in a gentleman, than not to express himself well, either in writing or speaking. But yet, I think, I may ask my reader, Whether he doth not know a great many, who live upon their estates, and so, with the name, should have the qualities of gentlemen, who cannot so much as tell a story as they should, much less speak clearly and persuasively in any business? This I think not to be so much their fault, as the fault of their education ; for I must, without partiality, do my countrymen this right, that where they apply themselves, I see none of their neighbours outgo them. They have been taught rhetoric, but yet never taught how to express themselves handsomely with their tongues, or pens, in the language they are always to use; as if the names of the figures, that embellished the discourses of those who understood the art of speaking, were the very art and skill of speaking well. This, as all other things of practice, is to be learned not by a few or a great many rules given, but by exercise and application, according to good rules, or rather patterns, till habits are got, and a facility of doing it well.
Agreeable hereunto, perhaps it might not Style. be amiss to make children, as soon as they are capable of it, often to tell a story of any thing they know; and to correct at first the most remarkable fault they are guilty of, in their way of putting it together. When that fault is cured, then to show them the next, and so on, till, one after another, all, at least the gross ones, are mended. When they can tell tales pretty well, then it may be time to make them write them. The fables of Æsop, the only book almost that I know fit for children, , may afford them matter for this exercise of writing English, as well as for reading and translating, to enter them in the Latin tongue. When they are got past the faults of grammar, and can join in a continued
coherent discourse the several parts of a story, without bald avd unhandsome forms of transition (as is usual) often repeated; he that desires to perfect them yet far. ther in this, which is the first step to speaking well, and needs no invention, may have recourse to Tully; and by putting in practice those rules, which that master of eloquence gives in his first book “ De Inven« tione," $ 20. make them know wherein the skill and graces of an handsome narrative, according to the several subjects and designs of it, lie. Of each of which rules fit examples may be found out, and therein they may be shown how others have practised them. The ancient classic authors afford plenty of such examples, which they should be made not only to translate, but have set before them as patterns for their daily imitation.
When they understand how to write English with due connexion, propriety, and order, and are pretty well masters of a tolerable narrative style, they may be advanced to writing of letters; wherein they should not be put upon any strains of wit or compliment, but taught to express their own plain easy sense, without any incohérence, confusion, or roughness. And when they are perfect in this, they may, to raise their thoughts, have set before them the example of Voiture's, for the entertainment of their friends at a distance, with letters of compliment, mirth, raillery, or diversion; and Tully's epistles, as the best pattern, whether for business Letters.
or conversation. The writing of letters e has so much to do in all the occurrences of human life, that no gentleman can avoid showing himself in this kind of writing: occasions will daily force him to make this use of his pen, which, besides the consequences, that, in his affairs, his well or ill managing of it often draws after it, always lays him open to a severer examination of his breeding, sense, and abilities, than oral discourses; whose transient faults, dying for the most part with the sound that gives them life, and so not subject to a strict review, more easily escape observation and censure.
Had the methods of education been directed to their right end, one would have thought this, so necessary a part, could not have been neglected, whilst themes and verses in Latin, of no use at all, were, so constantly every-where, pressed, to the racking of children's in, ventions beyond their strength, and hindering their cheerful progress in learning the tongues, by unnatural difficulties. But custom has so ordained it, and who dares disobey ? And would it not be very unreasonable to require of a learned country school-master (who has all the tropes and figures in Farnaby's rhetoric at his fingers ends) to teach his scholar to express himself handsomely in English, when it appears to be so little his business or thought, that the
& English. boy's mother (despised, it is like, as illiterate, for not having read a system of logic and rhetoric) outdoe's him in it?
To write and speak correctly, gives a grace, and gains a favourable attention to what one has to say: and, since it is English that an English gentleman will have constant use of, that is the language he should chiefly cultivate, and wherein most care should be taken to polish and perfect his style. To speak or write better Latin than English, may make a man be talked of; but he would find it more to his purpose to express himself well in his own tongue, that he uses every moment, than to have the vain commendation of others for a very insignificant quality. This I find universally neglected, and no care taken any-where to improve young men in their own language, that they may thoroughly understand and be masters of it. If any one among us have a facility or purity more than ordinary in his mother tongue, it is owing to chance, or his genius, or any thing, rather than to his education, or any care of his teacher. To mind what English his pupil speaks or writes, is below the dignity of one bred up amongst Greek and Latin, though he have but little of them himself. These are the learned languages, fit only for learned men to meddle with and teach; English is the language of the illiterate vulgar; though yet we see the policy of some of our neighbours hath not.