Слике страница
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

Without interfering with particular branches of education, all the parts of this work may be rendered familiar within two years : one paragraph may be committed to memory every day; and The Book of Questions may be answered twice over within that period. When this task has been finished, what an accession of varied knowledge will have falien to the lot of the pupil !-How stored will be his mind, with interesting ideas for contemplation and conversation; and how compar. atively blank musi be the minds of others, who have pot enjoyed the same advantages ! - Yet particular studies, at the same time, need not be neglected !-- This book may, iisdeed, be collateral in labor, although it will prove primary in effect. - But the author may be said to be sanguine; he, therefore, forbears to say all to which his hopes prompt him, and leaves his book to speak for itsell and prove its worth, by its actual effects on the rising generation.

D. B.

THE

UNIVERSAL PRECEPTOR;

OR,

GRAMMAR

OF

GENERAL KNOWLEDGE.

I. Introductory Particulars. 1. KNOWLEDGE is either necessary and useful, or ornamental and luxurious.

It distinguishes civilized from savage life. Its cultivation in youth promotes virtue, by creating habits of mental discipline; and by inculcating a sense of moral obligation.

Knowledge is, therefore, the best foundation of happiness.

2. Necessary KNOWLEDGE is that which simply provides man with food; and with the means of sustaining life.

3. Useful KNOWLEDGE is that which teaches the arts of agriculture, clothing, building, restoring health, preserving social order, maintaining national independence, and rendering the produce of all climates subservient to the wants of our own.

4. Ornamental KNOWLEDGE relates to subjects of taste; as drawing, painting, poetry, grammar, geometry, eloquence, history, music, dancing, dramatic representations, and the living languages.

5. Luxurious KNOWLEDGE includes abstract enquiries; as physics, metaphysics, many branches of ex

perimental philosophy, heraldry, antiquities, and the dead languages.*

6. Man is an animal endowed with the powers of communication, memory, association, imitation, reflection, and reasoning ; talents given him by his MAKER; for the good use of which, he will be accountable in a future state.

7. In his unimproved and uncivilized condition, man is naked, without habitation, without means of defence or offence, and possessed of no means of subsistence, besides the wild fruits and spontaneous produce of the earth.

8. To this day, some nations live naked in caverns under ground, perform no labour, and depend for their subsistence on the spontaneous products of the earth, and on the flesh of animals, which they destroy by simple stratagems.

Observation-Such are some of the nations of Africa, the inhabitants of New Holland ; the people of many of the South Sea Islands; the Greenlanders; the natives of Hudson's Bay; and some of the Siberian nations ; of whom, very curious particulars will be found in books of voyages and travels, and in Goldsmith's popular systeio of Geography.t

9. Till the Romans invaded England, the Britons lived naked, chiefly under ground, painting their bodies of various colours, bestowing no cultivation on. the soil, and depending for subsistence on acorns, berries, and roots, and upon their skill and success in hunting and fishing.

Obs.The people of Britain are indebted to the great ambition of Julius Cæsar for the introduction into these islands of those arts of civilization, which had travelled from the Ganges iato Persia, froin Persia into Egypt, from Egypt to Greece, and from Greece into Italy; whence, hy the lust of, conquest, they were spread over Europe. In like manner, at this day, and from the same causes, the English are the in

* This division of knowledge is unavoidably imperfect and is little respected in the details of this work.

+ The observations are not to be committed to memory; but to be read by the popil to the tutor, or by the pupil alone.

struments of reflecting back the arts of civilization, amended by a true religion, to the banks of the Ganges; and of disseminating the saine blessings among the Africans; the Americans; and the insulated people of the South Sea Islands.

10. The Romans introduced among the Britons, all the arts and knowledge which they had themselves received from the Greeks; and laid the foundation of that social state, in which we find ourselves in England, after the lapse of nearly two thousand years.

Obs—'To take a view of knowledge, as it has extended it. self from the most barbarous and uncultivated times, down to this age of literature, science, and philosophy; and to render the whole plain and familiar to young minds, and to the meanest capacities, are the objects of the present work.

II. Of the Simple Arts of Savage Life. 11. The arts of savage life are those which were possessed by the ancient Britons; and which are witnessed at this day, among all barbarous people. They include the arts of swimming, hunting, taking aim with missile weapons, and procuring fire.

12. The art of swimming, depends, first, on keeping the arms and hands under the water; on protruding only the face and a part of the head out of the water; and then using such action, as will direct the body in any particular course.

Obs. The inferior animals swinu without instruction ; because they are unable to lift their fore-legs over their heads. The secret of this art depends, then, on keeping down the hands and arms, and acting under the water with them. The parts of any body which rise out of the water, sink the parts that are immersed within it. !

13. Hunting is performed by most savage nations on foot, and their only weapons are clubs. The swiftest of foot, and the strongest, usually become, therefore, chiefs among such people.

Obs.--Hence, Hercules, the hero of antiquity, is drawn with no other weapon than a club; with which, alone, he is said to have performed all his wonderful exploits. Some nations, little removed above savages, are, however, found to have acquired the use of bows and arrows.

14. In taking aim with missile weapons, the precision which savage nations have attained, is wonderful. In throwing a stone, they seldom miss the smallest mark; they transfix fish in the water; knock down birds on the wing; and strike every enemy with unerring exactness.

Obs.-Every one is acquainted with the success of the shepherd David, in killing Goliah. Even such is the precision of the South Sea islanders at the present day.

15. The greatest attainment of savage life, is the procuring of artificial fire; but this was an art not known to all barbarous people. The inhabitants of the Ladrones considered fire as an invisible monster, when the Spaniards first introduced it among them.

16. The Persians, and other eastern nations, after they had once acquired, or obtained fire, made its preservation a religious duty; and fire was continued in their temples, without being once extinguished, for many hundred years. Hence they became, or were considered, fire-worshippers

17. Among savages, the usual mode of producing fire, is, by the rapid friction of two pieces of wood till they produce flame. Having no metals, they do not possess the simple method of communicating a spark to tinder, by the violent collision of flint and steel.

18. The clothing of savage nations has reference solely to the inclemency of the weather : and consists generally of the skins of animals, or of the natural products of vegetables, without preparation or the intervention of art.

19. A precarious mode of subsistence is so unfavourable to the human species, that, it is found, savage tribes, in a series of ages, do not increase their numbers: and that they often become altogether extinct.

20. In the back settlements of North America, the souls in the various half-starved savage tribes, do not exceed twenty thousand ; while, on an equal space of country in China, two or three hundred millions, aided

« ПретходнаНастави »