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years in the learning of words only, and that too very imperfectly:
That a method be here established, for the infusing knowledge and language at the same time into them; and that this may be their apprenticeship in natural philosophy. This, we conceive, may be done, by breeding them up in authors, or pieces of authors, who treat of some parts of nature, and who may be understood with as much ease and pleasure, as those which are commonly taught; such are, in Latin, Varro, Cato, Columella, Pliny, part of Celsus and of Seneca, Cicero de Divinatione, de Naturâ Deorum, and several scattered pieces, Virgil's Georgicks, Grotius, Nemesianus, Manilius: And, because the truth is, we want good poets (I mean we have but few), who have
purposely treated of solid and learned, that is, natural matters (the most part indulging to the weakness of the world, and feeding it either with the follies of love, or with the fables of gods and heroes), we conceive that one book ought to be compiled of all the scattered little parcels among the ancient poets that might serve for the advancement of natural science, and which would make no small or unuseful or unpleasant volume. To this we would have added the morals and rhetoricks of Cicero, and the institutions of Quinctilian; and for the comedians, from whom almost all that necessary part of common discourse, and all the most intimate proprieties of the language, are drawn, we conceive, the boys may be made masters of them, as a part of their recreation, and not of their task, if once a month, or at least once in two, they act one of Terence's Comedies, and afterwards the most advanced) some of Plautus's; and this is for many reasons one of the best exercises they can be enjoined, and most innocent pleasures they can be allowed. As for the Greek authors, they may study Nicander, Oppianus (whom Scaliger does not doubt to prefer above Homer himself, and place next to his adored Virgil), Aristotle's history of animals, and other parts, Theophrastus and Dioscorides of plants, and a collection made out of several both poets and other Grecian writers. For the morals and rhetorick, Aristotle may suffice, or Hermogenes and Longinus be added for the latter. With the history of animals they should be shewed anatomy as a divertisement, and made to know the figures and natures of those creatures which are not common among us, disabusing them at the same time of those errors which are universally admitted concerning many. The same method should be used to make them acquainted with all plants; and to this must be added a little of the ancient and modern geography, the understanding of the globes, and the principles of geometry and astronomy. They should likewise use to declaim in Latin and English, as the Romans did in Greek and Latin ; and in all this travail be rather led on by familiarity, encouragement, and emulation, than driven by severity, punishment, and terror. Upon festivals and play-times, they should exercise themselves in the fields, by riding, leaping, fencing, mustering, and training, after the manner of soldiers, &c. And, to prevent all dangers and all disorder, there should always be two of the scholars with them, to be as witnesses and directors of their actions ; in foul weather, it would not be amiss for them to learn to dance, that is, to learn just so much (for all beyond is superfluous, if not worse) as may give them a graceful comportment of their bodies.
Upon Sundays, and all days of devotion, they are to be a part of the chaplain's province.
That, for all these ends, the college so order it, as that there may be some convenient and pleasant houses thereabouts, kept by religious, discreet, and careful persons, for the lodging and boarding of
scholars; that they have a constant eye over them, to see that they be bred up there piously, cleanly, and plentifully, according to the proportion of the parents' expences.
And that the college, when it shall please God, either by their own industry and success, or by the benevolence of patrons, to enrich them so far, as that it may come to their turn and duty to be charitable to others, shall, at their own charges, erect and maintain some house or houses for the entertainment of such poor men's sons, whose good natural parts may promise either use or ornament to
the commonwealth, during the time of their abode at school; and shall take care that it shall be done with the same conveniencies as are enjoyed even by rich men's children (though they maintain the fewer for that cause), there being nothing of eminent and illustrious to be expected from a low, sordid, and hospital-like education.
If I be not much abused by a natural fondness to my own conceptions (that copyin of the Greeks, which no other language has a proper word for), there was never any project thought upon, which deserves to meet with so few adversaries as this ; for who can without impudent folly oppose the establishment of twenty well-selected persons in such a condition of life, that their whole business and sole profession may be to study the improvement and advantage of all other professions, from that of the highest general even to the lowest artisan ? who shall be obliged to employ their whole time, wit, learning, and industry, to these four, the most useful that can be imagined, and to no other ends; first, to weigh, examine, and prove, all things of nature delivered to us by former ages; to detect, explode, and strike a censure through, all false monies with which the world has been paid and cheated so long; and (as I may say) to set the mark of the col
lege upon all true coins, that they may pass hereafter without any further trial : secondly, to recover the lost inventions, and, as it were, drowned lands of the ancients : thirdly, to improve all arts which we now have: and lastly, to discover others which we yet have not: and who shall, besides all this (as a benefit by the bye), give the best education in the world (purely gratis) to as many men's children as shall think fit to make use of the obligation? Neither does it at all check or interfere with any parties in a state or religion; but is indifferently to be embraced by all differences in opinion, and can hardly be conceived capable (as many good institutions have done) even of degeneration into any thing harmful. So that, all things considered, I will suppose this proposition shall encounter with no enemies : the only question is, whether it will find friends enough to carry it on from discourse and design to reality and effect; the necessary expences of the beginning (for it will maintain itself well enough afterwards) being so great (though I have set them as low as is possible, in order to so vast a work), that it may seem hopeless to raise such a sum out of those few dead relicks of human charity and publick generosity which are yet remaining in the world.
Printed by T.Davison, White-friars.