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sitions of pupils, seemed to the author a gross defect. To what extent the principle was carried in his time, it is difficult to ascertain. But it is clear, that the founders of many schools so far thought with him, as to direct the more promising students to be brought up to the deeper learning; whilst others, “ more fitted for trades,” were to be instructed only in the elements useful in common occupations. Of this the Charter-house, founded in 1614, is an example.
Note after the Letter on the increase of Elementary Books. It may be thought that this evident increase in the demand for classical books is not more than commensurate with the increased population of the country. If, however, it be further considered, that the increased population is chiefly to be found amongst the lower orders, the objection will have less weight. Greater numbers of them have, of late, had access to the rudiments of language, than ever was known before without doubt; but the proportionate ignorance of the middle and lower orders, at an earlier period, seems not to have been so great as at present. A safe conclusion to this effect may be drawn, perhaps, from the bench of bishops. Within the last hundred years fewer individuals of obscure birth have been raised to it than was previously the case.
In the dedication of Cave's Primitive Christianity, the fact is adduced as a topic of gratulation, and as what confessedly tended to the splendor of the establishment.
Mably mentions a similar fact in the bistory of early France, but in a less consolatory tone of remark. He considers it to have led directly to the introduction of bad government.
Further testimony in support of the opinion I am advocating is derived from the Dissenters; and it will be admitted to be above exception on this subject. The noble endowments of the establishment, which cannot be shared in most instances without considerable classical knowledge, are so many inducements for candidates to become learned, which the Dissenters are without. If the courses of study which are adopted by those having in view the benefits of their endowments are pursued with equal vigor by others not enjoying them, it proves that the intrinsic value of learning is duly estimated by the latter. That in fact the classics are cultivated with increased avidity by dissenters; many well informed persons amongst them think therefore so far as their practices in this respect evince the disposition of the people of England, I may be permitted to deny that a disinclination to become acquainted with the classics exists.
A most material consideration with reference to the exclusive system at Grammar Schools is, that Boys left them during the first century after the Reformation, three or four years before the age to which they now continue there; so that if it were clear that in those days nothing but the classics was to be attended to from seven to fourteen or fifteen, yet it would be grossly inconsequent to say that therefore the same courses should be pursued from seven to eighteen. At Westminster, Dr. Busby may perhaps be said to have introduced the lengthened stay of boys at school. But it deserves further remark, that when the Grammar School was exclusively in some instances classical only, it was usual to send the Boys at certain times in the day to subsidiary schools adjoining, for the purpose of instruction in minor elements. To this practice may be traced the early constitution of the Blue Coat School in London. Boyle was bred at Eton, in 159 or 160, and not confined to classical studies.
See Junua Scientiarum, by the unfortunate and eminentCharles Blount.
AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE CAUSES AND
ORIGIN OF THE DRY ROT;
FOR SEASONING TIMBER;
ROT, OR INTERNAL DECAY;
THE ABOVE PROPOSAL.
The Author begs to state, that the purport of this Treatise is, to submit to the Government of this country, and to the Public at large, a remedy, to stop that dreadful disease in Timber, called the Dry Rot, as also, a palliative to prevent the premature decay of Timber in general, which has been prosecuted by the Author, at great individual expense and labor, for the last two years, upon a series of experiments and study not to be controverted.
This Treatise is not given to the public as a disclosure of the remedy, or as a perfect literary composition, but as niatter of fact; and to solicit that patronage, either public or private, as will enable the Author to establish this national desideratum, of such importance to the country.
have been the authors, who have unsuccessfully proposed to themselves the accomplishment of the object to which the present undertaking is directed, and so great has been the difficulty of the subject itself, that some persons will probably, from those very circumstances, be perhaps inclined to consider the present as only a similar attempt to effect what they may, though very erroneously, suppose an impossibility; and consequently will, without reading,
But to such persons it is apparently necessary to observe, that, in all cases, and in all inventions, many unsuccessful attempts have preceded that which has at length established itself by the strongest evidence of reason and facts; and that, till the actual reception of this last, the subject has been regarded by all, or the greatest part of the rest of mankind, as unattainable. These previous discouragements have not, however, been of sufficient avail to determine better informed persons from exerting their endeavours on other principles; and it is for the interest of the world at large, that sincere and well-weighed attempts, founded on rational grounds, should be at least so far encouraged in the first instance, as to have a fair opportunity afforded for trying the merit of their pretensions to success. What, for example, would have been the state of all the arts, if successive attempts at improvement, at different times, on rational grounds, had never been made or encouraged ? or, what must have been the condition of literature or science in general, if one opinion, however erroneous, was not to be questioned or examined, because it had antiquity to boast? or another, however correct, was not to be received or admitted, because it had never
occurred to the minds of authors who had florished more than two thousand years ago ?
Every man of sense and candor must see, it is as great an imputation on his understanding, not to admit or perceive the force of an argument well proved by all the rules of logic and reason, as it would be to credit and give assent to one wholly destitute of those supports. And, although it is not uncommon in these times to hear persons endeavouring to defend groundless assertions, which they have hastily, incautiously, and inconsiderately made, merely because they cannot bring themselves to admit the possibility of their having before been mistaken in their opinions; yet it is evident, that this conduct, instead of raising, tends to ruin their reputation for abilities, with all who can think justly on the subject; because they are obliged to profess, as they invariably do, that they cannot discern what is, perhaps, perfectly clear to every one else. Nothing is, or can be, so injurious to science or intelligence of all kinds, as fallacious arguments; because, by their means, the investigation of truth, instead of being promoted and assisted, is rendered more difficult and laborious. But, on the contrary, it is but justice to acknowledge, that in the instance of the Government, and those in public situations in this country, although from the multitude of unfounded applications they have been obliged to be cautious, yet when once a decided ground of probability for success has been established, they have always been ready to attend to suggestions for material and substantial improvements.
Considering its magnitude and importance to this country at large, it is hoped that, in the present instance, men of science, and those in situations affording the means and power of making experiments, as well as requiring in their nature, that all possible beneficial improvements should be made within their several departments, will see the necessity of judging coolly and deliberately; and that they will, in consequence, candidly lay aside all former impressions, arising from the present mode of conducting the process for seasoning timber for ship-building in this or any other country, or the unsuccessful schemes hitherto proposed to preserve it from decay. It is also trusted, that they will first examine, (and with the more attention and stricter scrutiny, the better,) the facts and principles on which the present proposal rests: and if they find it, as it is believed they will, fully supported, that they will exert themselves to the utmost, in endeavouring to obtain or afford the means of subjecting it to the necessary decisive experiments on a larger scale, for the purpose of establishing its merit; and adopting the remedy, if its utility is satisfactorily proved.
If professional gentlemen in the use of timber would only turn