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fino the taste, without any danger of be- this country, in the establishment of parcoming more unhappy in their situation ish schools, I wish to see the salaries or discontented with it. Nor do I think augmented in some proportion to the there is any danger of their becoming present expense of living, and the earnless useful. There are some hours every ings of people of similar rank, endowday that the most constant labourer is ments, and usefulness in society; and I neither at work nor asleep. These hours hope that the liberality of the present are either appropriated to amusement or age will be no longer disgraced by reto sloth. If a taste for employing these fusing, to so useful a class of men, such enhours in reading were cultivated, I do not couragement as may make parish schools suppose that the return to labour would worth the attention of men fitted for the be more difficult. Every one will allow, important duties of that office. In filling that the attachment to idle amusements, up the vacancies, I would have more ator even to sloth, has as powerful a ten- tention paid to the candidate's capacity dency to abstract men from their proper of reading the English language with business, as the attachment to books ; grace and propriety; to his understandwhile the one dissipates the mind, and ing thoroughly, and having a high relish the other tends to increase its powers of for the beauties of English authors, both self-government. To those who are in poetry and prose; to that good sense afraid that the improvement of the minds and knowledge of human nature which of the common people might be danger- would enable him to acquire some influous to the state, or the established orderence on the minds and affections of his of society, I would remark, that turbu- scholars; to the general worth of his lence and commotion are certainly very character, and the love of his king and inimical to the feelings of a refined mind. his country, than to his proficiency in the Let the matter be brought to the test of knowledge of Latin and Greek. I would experience and observation. Of what then have a sort of high English class esdescription of people are mobs and insur- tablished, not only for the purpose of rections composed? Are they not univer- teaching the pupils to read in that gracesally owing to the want of enlargement ful and agreeable manner that might make and improvement of mind among the com- them fond of reading, but to make them mon people? Nay, let any one recollect understand what they read, and discover the characters of those who formed the the beauties of the author, in composition calmer and more deliberate associations, and sentiment. I would have established which lately gave so much alarm to the in every parish, a small circulating libragovernment of this country. I suppose ry, consisting of the books which the few of the common people who were to young people had read extracts from in the be found in such societies, had the educa- collections they had read at school, and tion and turn of mind I have been en any other books well calculated to refine deavouring to recommend. Allow me to the mind, improve the moral feelings, resuggest one reason for endeavouring to commend the practice of virtue, and comenlighten the minds of the common peo-municate such knowledge as might be ple. Their morals have hitherto been useful and suitable to the labouring classguarded by a sort of dim religious awe, es of men. I would have the schoolmaswhich from a variety of causes, seems ter act as librarian, and in recommending wearing off. I think the alteration in books to his young friends, formerly his this respect considerable, in the short pe- pupils, and letting in the light of them riod of my observation. I have already upon their young minds, he should have given my opinion of the effects of refine- the assistance of the minister. If once ment of mind on morals and virtue. such education were become general, the Whenever vulgar minds begin to shake low delights of the public house, and off the dogmas of the religion in which other scenes of riot and depravity, would they have been educated, the progress is be contemned and neglected; while indusquick and immediate to downright infi-try, order, cleanliness, and every virtue delity; and nothing but refinement of which taste and independence of mind mind can enable them to distinguish be- could recommend, would prevail and tween the pure essence of religion, and flourish. Thus possessed of a virtuous the gross systems which men have been and enlightened populace, with high deperpetually connecting it with. In addi- light I should consider my native countion to what has already been done for try as at the head of all the nations of the the education of the common people of earth, ancient or modern.
Thus, Sir, have I executed my threat I think there is next to a certainty that to the fullest extent, in regard to the in five or six years I shall be in a hopeful length of my letter. If I had not pre- way of attaining a situation which I think sumed on doing it more to my liking, I as eligible for happiness as any one I should not have undertaken it; but I know; for I have always been of opinion, have not time to attempt it anew; nor, that if a man bred to the habits of a farmif I would, am I certain that I should suc- ing life, who possesses a farm of good ceed any better. I have learned to have soil, on such terms as enables him easily less confidence in my capacity of writing to pay all demands, is not happy, he ougbt on such subjects.
to look somewhere else than to his situa.
tion for the causes of his uneasiness. I am much obliged by your kind inquiries about my situation and prospects. I I beg you will present my most respectam much pleased with the soil of this ful compliments to Mrs. Currie, and refarm, and with the terms on which I pos- member me to Mr. and Mrs. Roscoe, and sess it. I receive great encouragement Mr. Roscoe, junior, whose kind attenlikewise in building, enclosing, and other tions to me, when in Liverpool, I shal conveniences, from my landlord, Mr. G. never forget. S. Monteith, whose general character and conduct, as a landlord and country I
dear Sir, gentleman, I am highly pleased with. But the land is in such a state as to
Your most obedient, and require a considerable immediate outlay of money in the purchase of manure, the
Much obliged, humble Servant, grubbing of brush-wood, removing of stones, &c. which twelve years' struggle
GILBERT BURNS. with a farm of a cold, ungrateful soil has but ill prepared me for. If I can get To JAMES CURRIE, -M. D. F. R. S. these things done, however, to my mind,