Later in his "advise" Sir William Petty says that just as it would be more profitable for boys to spend ten or twelve years in the study of things and his proposed "Book of Trades," which he describes, than in a "rabble of words," so it would be easier and pleasanter for them as well as more in accord with their natural "propensions." For children "delight in drums, pipes, fiddles, guns made of elder-sticks and bellows noses, piped keys, etc. and in painting flags and ensigns with elder berries and corn poppy, making ships with paper, and setting even nut-shells a swimming, handling the tools of workmen as soon as they turn their backs, and trying to work themselves, fishing, fowling, hunting, setting springes and traps for birds, and other animals, making pictures, in their writing books, making tops, gigs, and whiligigs, quilting balls, practicing divers jugling tricks with cards, etc., and million more besides."
He gives a similar list of activities that are interesting to girls and then adds; "By all which it is most evident, that children do most naturally delight in things, and are most capable of learning them, having quick sense to receive them and unpreoccupied memories to retain them. As for other things whereunto they are now-a-days set, they are altogether unfit, for want of judgement, which is but weak in them, and also for want of will, which is sufficiently seen both by what we have said before, the the difficulty in keeping them at school, and the punishment they will endure rather than be altogether debarred from the pleasure which they take in things.
Monday, May 04, 2009
Sir william Petty
This is from Bennett's History of Manual and Industrial Education: