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Clifton, August 18, 1796. MULTIPLIED occupations of the most urgent nature put it totally out of my power to furnish you at present with those preliminary remarks on the utility of your mathematical models, which I gave your subscribers reason to expect. I do not however think
reflections I could offer of such importance, as to make it worth your while to suspend the delivery of your boxes; and I really know not when I shall be less engaged.
I intended to state, that you by no stand pledged to my theory of mathematical evidence. Neither have I been active in bringing out your mechanical demonftrations, as supposing them calculated to corroborate my argu
ments. Those arguments must stand by their own strength. I do not suppose them likely to be speedily overthrown.
Your apparatus in my opinion will be of infinite use to parents, interested in securing to their children the blessing of a clear and just understanding. A much greater proportion, I believe, than nine out of ten of those, who are educated to the professions, or to live without a profession, conceive an insuperable disgust against Geometry, as it is usually taught: and very little management will most surely be sufficient to prevent this pernicious effect by the help of your models.
It may be thought, that the long demonstrations in Euclid are of use in bestowing a facility in conceiving and recalling long chains of argument. This advantage I shall not call in question; for I am not disposed to depreciate the merits of the antient Geometricians.
I shall however observe that, as all ideas are derived from sense, all argument must consist of a statement of facts or perceptions. The true way therefore of making ideas durable, or rather easily excitable, is to make them distinct at first. It was on this account truly observed, that “ the art of memory is the art of attention." The same
end will be answered by any contrivance, calculated to render perceptions vivid. On this principle your tangible proofs of the properties of figures will be eminently serviceable to the intellectual faculties of young people. The effect will be exactly the reverse of that produced by READING-MADE-EASY and by the GRAMMARS in use.
For these several years, I have been corresponding and conversing with different friends about a project, much allied to that which you have now executed, and which will come in very well after yours. It is to establish a manufacture of RATIONAL Toys. I believe parents are become fufficiently attentive to education to give such a scheme support; and fortunately it cannot alarm any prejudice. The design is to construct models, at first of the most simple, and afterwards of more complicated machines. The models are not to be very small, and they are to be so constructed, that a child may be able to take them to pieces, and to put them together again. The particulars of the design are too numerous to be given here. It comprehends engravings and a good deal of letter-press. I have in view, not merely information in mechanics, chemistry, and technology, but the improvement of the senses by presenting, in a certain order and upon principle, objects of touch along with objects of sight. In this important business we have hitherto trusted to chance. But there is every reason to suppose, that INTELLIGENT ART will produce a much quicker and greater effect. Should instruction addressed to sense be made in any country the principle of education, should the best methods of cultivating the senses be studied, and should proper exercises be devised for reproducing ideas (originally well-defined) sometimes with rapidity, at others in diversified trains, the consequence is to me obvious. The inhabitants of that country would speedily become as far superior to the rest of mankind in intellect and efficiency-in the scire and Posse of Baconas the most cultivated people of Europe are now superior to the Portuguese, or to the Moors of Barbary.
The design which I have here intimated is as boundless as nature and art. In the course of the ensuing winter I hope to get a few sets of these rational toys, with the engravings and the explanation, executed.
Others may proceed upon that foundation, or, without waiting for me, they may devise a plan for themselves upon the hints I have here thrown out. "I am, Sir, with all good wishes,
obedient servant, THOMAS BEDDOES.