« PreviousContinue »
Tom. I am no enemy to dancing, I assure you, friend Harry. It is an accomplishment suitable enough for those to learn who expect to have but little else to do. But for you and me, who are destined to get our living by some mechanical profession, there are doubtless many pursuits more advantageous. I think we ought to employ but a very small part of our time in learning to dance. We will suppose, for instance, that you learn the trade of a carpenter; I would ask you, if it would not be necessary to understand figures, so that you might be able to keep your own accounts; and so much geometry as to be able to measure heights and distances, superfices and solids? Would it not be very convenient to know a little of history, in order to acquaint yourself with the various orders of architecture, and where they had their origin? If you were shown a picture of St. Peter's Church, or a plan of Grand Cairo, would you not like to know enough of geography to tell in what part of the world they are situated?
Har. These are subjects which cousin Tim says never are agitated in the fashionable circles which he visits. And so I bid you good bye.
EXTRACT FROM MR. JOHN QADAMS' ORATIOn, delivERED AT BOSTON, JULY 4, 1793.
AMERICANS! let us pause for a moment,
to consider the situation of our country, at that eventful day when our national existence commenced. In the full possession and enjoyment of all those prerogatives for which you then dared to adventure upon "all the varieties of untried being," the calm and settled moderation of the mind is scarcely competent to conceive the tone of heroism to which the souls of freemen were exalted in that hour of perilous magnanimity.
2. Seventeen times has the sun, in the progress of his annual revolutions, diffused his prolifick radiance over the plains of Independent America. Millions of hearts, which then palpitated with the rapturous glow of patriotism, have
already been translated to brighter worlds; to the abodes of more than mortal freedom. Other millions have arisen to receive from their parents and benefactors, the inestimable recompense of their achievements.
3. A large proportion of the audience, whose benevolence is at this moment listening to the speaker of the day, like him were at that period too little advanced beyond the threshold of life, to partake of the divine enthusiasm which inspired the American bosom; which prompted her voice to proclaim defiance to the thunders of Britain; which consecrated the banners of her armies; and finally erected the holy temple of American Liberty, over the tomb of departed tyranny.
4. It is from those who have already passed the meridian of life; it is from you, ye venerable asserters of the rights of mankind, that we are to be informed, what were the feelings which swayed within your breasts, and impelled you to action, when, like the stripling of Israel, with scarcely a weapon to attack, and without a shield for your defence, you met, and, undismayed, engaged with the gigantick greatness of the British power.
5. Untutored in the disgraceful science of human butchery; destitute of the fatal materials which the ingenuity of man has combined to sharpen the scythe of death; unsupported by the arm of any friendly alliance, and unfortified against the powerful assaults of an unrelenting enemy; you did not hesitate at that moment, when your coasts were infested by a formidable fleet, when your territories were invaded by a numerous and veteran army, to pronounce the sentence of eternal separation from Britain, and to throw the gauntlet at a power, the terrour of whose recent triumphs was almost co-extensive with the earth.
6. The interested and selfish propensities, which in times of prosperous tranquillity have such powerful dominion over the heart, were all expelled; and in their stead, the publick virtues, the spirit of personal devotion to the common cause, a contempt of every danger in comparison with the subserviency of the country, had assumed an unlimited control.
7. The passion for the publick had absorbed all the rest; as the glorious luminary of heaven extinguishes in a flood
of refulgence the twinkling splendour of every inferiour planet. Those of you, my countrymen, who were actors in those interesting scenes, will best know, how feeble and impotent is the language of this description to express the impassioned emotions of the soul, with which you were then agitated.
8. Yet it were injustice to conclude from thence, or from the greater prevalence of private and personal motives in these days of calm serenity, that your sons have degenerated from the virtues of their fathers. Let it rather be a subject of pleasing reflection to you, that the generous and disinterested energies, which you were summoned to display, are permitted by the bountiful indulgence of Heaven, to remain latent in the bosoms of your children.
9. From the present prosperous appearance of our publick affairs, we may admit a rational hope that our country will have no occasion to require of us those extraordinary and heroick exertions which it was your fortune to exhibit.
10. But, from the common versatility of all human destiny, should the prospect hereafter darken, and the clouds of publick misfortune thicken to a tempest; should the voice of our country's calamity ever call us to her relief, we swear by the precious memory of the sages who toiled, and of the heroes who bled in her defence, that we will prove ourselves not unworthy of the prize which they so dearly purchased; that we will act as the faithful disciples of those who so magnanimously taught us the instructive lesson of republi
THE knowledge of the world, in its compre-,
hensive sense, is a knowledge greatly to be desired. To understand the human heart, to know human manners, laws, languages, and institutions of every kind, aud in various nations, and to be able to reflect on all these with moral end political improvement, is an attainment worthy of the greatest statesman and the wisest philosopher.
2. But there is a knowledge of the world of a very iuferiour kind, but which many parents value at a high price. Greek and Latin are always mentioned with contempt on a comparison with this. In compliance with custom, indeed, and to get him out of the way, the boy is placed at school; but the knowledge to be gained there is little esteemed by the empty votaries of fashion.
3. Men and things, not words, are magisterially pointed out as the proper objects of study, by those who know little of men, things or words. It is not the knowledge of books (say they) which he is to pursue, but the knowledge of the world; ignorant that the knowledge of books is necessary to gain a valuable knowledge of the world.
4. The parents, who give such directions to their children, are themselves merely people of the world, as it is called; persons for the most part of very moderate understandings, who have never made any solid improvements in learning, and, consequently, never felt its pleasures, or its advantages.
5. They have, perhaps, raised themselves by dint of worldly policy, by the little arts of simulation and dissimulation; and having seen the effects of dress, address, and an attention to exterior accomplishments, but at the same time being totally unacquainted with real and solid attainments, they are naturally led to wish to give their children the most useful education, which, according to their ideas, is a knowledge of the world.
6. But what is. this knowledge of the world? A knowledge of its follies and vices; a knowledge of them at a time of life, when they will not appear in their true light, contemptible in themselves, and the sources of misery; but flattering and pleasurable. To see these at a boyish age, before the mind is properly prepared, will not cause an abhorrence, but an imitation of them.
7. To introduce boys to scenes of immoral and ind...cent behaviour, is to educate them in vice, and to give he young mind a foul stain, which it will never lose. And ret I have known parents in the metropolis suffer boys of f urteen or fifteen to roam wheresoever they pleased; to frequent theatres, and other places of publick diversions, by themselves; to return home late at night; and all this with
plenty of money, and without giving any account of the manner of consuming that or their time.
8. The parents were pleased with their son's proficiency in the knowledge of the world; the son was pleased with liberty. All for a short time went on to their mutual satisfaction. But after a few years, a sad reverse usually appeared. The boy became a spendthrift and a debauchee; alienated his father's affections by incurring debt, and ruined his constitution by every species of excess.
9. What remained, after his money and his health were dissipated? No learning, no relish for the works of literary taste. The spring of life, when the seeds of these should have been sown, was employed in another manner. Nothing remained but a wretched and a painful old age, devoted to cards, dice, and illiberal conviviality.
10. He who is attending to his books, and collecting ideas which will one day render him a blessing and an honour to all with whom he is connected, will appear dull, awkward, and unengaging to many, in comparison with the pert stripling, who has been plunged into vice and dissipation, before he knows the meaning of the words.
11. The reception which the latter meets with in company, gives him additional spirits; and the poor parents usually triumph a while in the conscious superiority of their judgement. In four or five years, they commonly see and feel the effects of their folly.
12. Their conduct, as it often undoubtedly proceeds from ignorance, is to be compassionated; but if ever it arise from affectation of singularity, pride, vicious principles, or carelessness concerning their offspring, it deserves the severest reprehension.
13. It is obvious to observe in the world, multitudes of beardless boys assuming airs of manhood, and practising manly vices, to obtain a title to the appellation of men.— The present age abounds with such examples.
14. A most fatal mistake is made by parents of all classes in the present age. Many of them seem to think vice and irregularity the marks of sense and spirit, in a boy; and that innocence, modesty, submission to superiours, application to study, and to every thing laudable, are the signs of