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paid to the writings of the antients. Instead of considering them as useful assistants, as guides to knowledge, they have been extolled, as containing within themselves all that is worthy of being known, and men have mistaken the rudiments of science, for science itself. How many have devoted their lives to the study of the classics, as if there were no other duties to be performed, no other advantages to be obtained, no other laurels to be reaped? How many have continued, during their existence, in the elements of science, without extending their views to any thing beyond them, without indeed making use of their own understanding.
I should wish to see the antients studied for their matter, as well as for their language; but the information which they convey, is too commonly made a secondary consideration. The attention of youth is directed to the elegant latinity of Cæsar and of Horace, not to the facts, observations, or precepts, which are contained in these valuable authors. If the tutors of our youth condescend to remark even upon the beauties of the classics, it is not on the beauty of sentiment, it is not on the vigour of imagination, it is not on the poetical ornaments.
Their attention is at the utmost extended to a choice of words, to a curious grammatical connexion, or to the nice intricacies of idiomatical phraseology.
At the revival of letters a race of commentators were useful, if not necessary; they were the pioneers of literature, who cleared the way for more respectable adventurers. But in the present state of literature, can we behold without regret a man of genius dedicating a life to a few barren and fruitless verbal criticisms, to the regulating of a few phrases, or correcting in a few instances the quantity and metre of an obscure author; when, had he applied his talents as they ought to have been applied, he, perhaps, would have produced an original composition, more valuable than the produc tion on which he has so unworthily bestowed his labour?
To write Latin decently and intelligibly, may occasionally prove a convenience to a literary man; chiefly in facilitating his commerce with foreign literati; but surely the attempt (for it is but an attempt) to compose poetical produc tions in Greek and Latin, is, at best, only a species of elegant trifling. If life is short, and
science of unbounded extent; if our duties are many, and but few our opportunities of qualifying for them, and performing them as we ought, are we justified in neglecting solid and useful branches of knowledge; are we to pursue straws, and leaves, and gossimer, while we leave the grain and fruits, which should be the support of life, to perish and to rot ?
The example of some of our enlightened neighbours on the continent, may, perhaps, be worthy of our imitation. They study the antients, but they study them to read and imitate them. They are not devoted to this study alone; they make themselves masters not only of the antient, but of the modern languages; they can converse with the well-informed of other nations, and they can read their works. Thus an infinite extent of knowledge is opened to their view; and they are less likely to be the slaves of prejudice than the cloistered pedant, who expects to find the whole of knowledge in the blind reveries of antient scholiasts; whose philosophy is locked up in Plato, whose morals and politics are only derived from Aristotle, and who regards the tales of Pliny as the perfection of natural science.
It is by estimating truly the advantages of classical learning, and not by over-rating its importance, that we can give it respect, or promote its cultivation.
I think an acquaintance with the antient languages, essential to the formation of an accomplished character; but if a man would be ac complished he must not stop there; he must not expect to find in the antients what they do not contain; or see in Homer more than Ho mer knew."
In a word, without neglecting the antients, we may derive much wisdom, much taste, and much pleasure from the productions of mo dern writers; the study of both is compatible,, if we study both as we ought.
T. Gillet, Printer, Crown-court, Fleet-street.
AN ARRANGED LIST OF NEW AND IMPROVED
Intended for the use of Schools, Teacliers, and young persons, lately published by RICHARD PHILLIPS, Bridge-street, London, and to be had of Tabart and Co. 157, New Bondstreet, and all Booksellers and Dealers in Books, with the customary allowance in the purchase of quantities.
*Most of the following School Books are so well known among Teachers of Experience and Intelligence, that it will be superfluous to make any remarks on their Claims to Attention. The Design of the several Authors, and of the Publisher, has been to produce complete and perfect Works on the several Subjects, which should at the same time be of a Size suited to the Business and Convenience of Teachers, and of a Price adapted to the economical views of Parents.
ELEMENTS OF READING.
THE LONDON PRIMER; or First Boo for Children, at the earliest Age: intended as an Introduction to Dr. Mavor's, and the various other English Spelling Books. By M. PELHAM. Price sixpence.
THE ENGLISH SPELLING BOOK, accompanied by a progressive series of easy and familiar Lessons adapted to the capacities of Children, and embellished with a variety of Engravings; the whole intended to furnish, for the use of Schools, an improved introductory Book to the first Elements of the English Language. By WILLIAM MAVOR, LL.D. Rector of Stonesfield, Vicar of Hurley, Chaplain to the Earl of Moira, &c. The Sixtieth Edition, price Is. 6d.
THE FIRST CATECHISM for CHILDREN, containing common Things necessary to be known, and adapted to the capacity and curiosity of Children between Four and Ten Years of Age. By the Rev. DAVID BLAIR, price ninepence, or 13 to the Dozen, with the full Allowance to Schools.
READING EXERCISES for SCHOOLS, on a new and very popular plan, being a Sequel to Mavor's Spelling, and an Introduction to the Class Book, similar in arrangements to Brown's Testament. By the Rev. DAVID BLAIR, price 2s. 6d. bound. ny
SCRIPTURE HISTORIES; or ble Stories; consisting of a selection of all the interesting narratives and insulated Biographies and Histories contained in the Old and New Testa