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all this, because he will feel it. When he really knows a little, his curiosity will be piqued to know more. A child reasons by analogy at a very early period. It says gooder before it knows better, because the er denotes the comparative in most adjectives. It always adds ed to the preterperfect for the same reason; and always s to the plural. After two or three or four years spent in this way, nothing will be easier than the Latin. It will be pleasing for the boy to mark the instances, in which the grammars of the two languages agree, and in which they differ. Curiosity will be increased at every step ; and he will know the languages, as soon as he knows the meaning of the words.”
From Dr. Forster's correspondence with his son, the Rev. Edward Forster, of which only a small portion has been preserved, and for the loan of which I am indebted to the kindness of the son's widow, I shall extract such parts only, or chiefly, as relate to Dr. Parr, or to those literary or metaphysical speculations, in which the powerful and ardent and active mind of Dr. Forster loved to indulge. All the Letters are dated from Colchester, and they all manifest the tender anxiety of the father for the intellectual progress and the moral welfare of the son, who was at that time a student at Baliol-College, Oxford:-
“ May 20, 1785. I am afraid that something or other
would prevent the balloon-exhibition this week. Dr. Parr, however, is very kind in pressing you to stay with him till it does take place. My principal objection to so long an absence is, as you say, the neglect of your books. I am glad you have obviated this objection. I hope you will prevail upon yourself to read a little Virgil or Terence, or both, with Dr. Parr. I think you will do best in Virgil. But take care that you read properly as to quantity. You will see what an excellent man he is. Perhaps he will give you some instructions, that may be of use to you afterwards. Pray give my best compliments to him and Mrs. Parr.”
“ May 23. If you stay, I hope you will not pass a day without reading either Latin or Greek, or both. The more you do with Dr. Parr, so much the better will it be for you. Pray send me the title of Huntingford's book : I never saw it, but I will order it immediately. Dr. Parr is certainly right with respect to exercises, and we will go on in Willymot's Particles, when you return. Pick up all you can from Dr. Parr as to the method of learning the languages. He is a much better judge than I am. Give our best compliments to him and Mrs. Parr, and to the rest of our acquaintance at Norwich.”
“ Nov. 9, 1788. - I suppose the part of Plato's works, in which you are lectured, are the five Dialogues published by our cousin, the late Dr. Forster. I am glad you do not find the book over-hard. That and every other book will grow more and more easy,
take care to make yourself master of it as you go on.
The great difficulty of Plato, in these Dialogues especially, lies in the nice distinctions, which he makes, and in the very artificial manner, in which Socrates confutes his opponents. His doctrines, his philosophy, often want
explanation; and I shall be glad to hear that Mr. Matthew has a clear method of explaining things. I would have you by no means drop your Homer, nor neglect your French. Be not, however, so anxious to read much as to understand well what you read. You should not miss a single day without attempting to write a little Latin, till you have got something like a knack of doing it. Perhaps Charles Barker may assist you in this. I own to you that I never could write Latin with fluency and ease. By taking time, however, and pains, I managed pretty well, and generally gained credit by what I did. Your mathematical lecture, I suppose, is Euclid. Pray, take care to be master of every proposition as you go on, so as to have the whole chain of reasoning in your head. And in order to this, it will be often necessary for you to look back, and recall to your memory some of the former demonstrations. The whole theory of the properties of triangles depends, I think, upon the fourth proposition; that is, it depends upon supraposition: and you will remember that in all cases every new proposition, or rather every new demonstration, is nothing more than a new application of former demonstrations. I wish I was now and then at your elbow, to answer any questions you might have to ask. I would advise you to preserve all such Letters of mine, as relate to literary subjects. It may be of use to you to look at them more than once. 1 would also advise you to write your Letters with as much accuracy as you can, even when you write to me. I do not mean by this to find the least fault with those, which you have written to me: far otherwise, I like them very well. Nor do I mean that you should take any such pains in writing, as to make it a labour or a burthen. Write freely as your thoughts arise. But then I would have
you correct what
you have written, with some attention. I shall never dislike to see a Letter full of blottings-out and corrections."
“ Nov. 17. Your time seems indeed to be completely taken up. Yet I hope you will persevere. No knowledge, you well know, is to be acquired without constant attention and assiduity. I do not wonder that so much Greek is rather tiresome to you. But be assured, it will become less and less so. I am glad Plato is not above your strength. His Apologia Socratis is a masterly composition, and is, as I recollect, the least metaphysical of all his works. Most probably you will be lectured in no other book this term by your Tutor. It is now a good time for you to fix in your mind as clear a conception as possible of general and abstract ideas — those of quantity particularly. I scarce know what to advise you as to writing Latin. But you must see the necessity of being able to write it grammatically at least, if not elegantly. Your misfortune has been, never to have learnt any of the Latin classics by heart, and therefore have none of the Latin phraseology in your memory. Suppose, however, you were to begin with translating some of the Testament from English to Latin. By comparing your own with some other Latin translation, you will easily see where you are wrong. Translating your own themes will also be no bad exercise for you. You will find this more easy
your sentences are not too long, and do not run into each other. It would be also of use to you, were you to go over the syntax with some attention, and observe the rules, which Holmes has laid down for making Latin.” “Has Mr. Parsons yet spoken to you? Dr. Parr has written to him about you, and gives him a most excellent character. Parr
much to make him a visit in Warwickshire, when I go to Oxford. I have not promised him, nor shall I promise him; yet I wish to do it, if I can.”
“ Nov. 26. I wonder Parsons has not yet spoken to you, as Parr certainly mentioned you to him. I am glad you enter on Euclid with so much spirit. Be sure to understand him thoroughly as you go on, and you will find no difficulty as you go on. The leading and fundamental propositions you must be quite master of. The dependent demonstrations will then follow of course. The principle of supraposition, as I have mentioned before, is the first principle of the elements of geometry. Upon this principle alone can any one line be proved, originally proved, to be equal to any other line. The two lines must be proved to be coincident, and coincidence can only be proved by supraposition. I do not wonder that your young men in general make such wretched work of Euclid. So it was in my days. Not one in ten could demonstrate a single proposition. D'Alembert, as I collect, explains very clearly the principle of supraposition above-mentioned.
“ Since I had your last Letter, I have run over Plato's Atrodoyla, and I have read it with the more pleasure, as I could not help fancying that I was reading it with you. • Here,' said I to myself, · Edward will be puzzled, - here again he will go on well and easily. The latter part of this defence is finely worked up indeed, and is truly eloquent. When Socrates says that, instead of being punished, he ought to be maintained at the public charge, I always think of poor Rousseau, the modern Plato, as he is sometimes called. He was prosecuted for his Emile both at Paris and Geneva: the book was publicly burnt, I believe in both places. The Archbishop of