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Practices towards any Creatures whatsoever ; left their Hearts grow hard and unrelenting, and they learn in Time to practise these Cruelties on their own Kind, and to murder and torture their Fellow-Mortals; or at least to be indifferent to their Pain and Distress, so as to occasion it without Remorse.
They should never be suffered to game for Money, nor even for their own Toys or Play-things if they are costly and expensive: Many sore Inconveniencies in riper Years arise from such Indulgences. And indeed no Recreations should be accounted lawful, but those in which they can with Courage recommend themselves to God, and desire his Blessing upon them.
THOSE Children who are kept pretty close to Learning in a School, should be directed to pursue their Recreations, as much as may be, in the open Air; and to exercise their Limbs with Vigour and Activity, that their Growth and Health may not be impaired by Study, and too much Confinement to a Book. But in very foul Weather, or in long Winter Evenings (as I hinted before) they may be taught to seek fuch Diversions as may at once refresh and improve
their Minds. For want of this, in some Families the Games of Draughts and Chefs are practised, and some other little Sports upon a ChessBoard, without any Stakes or Aim at Gain,
beyond the mere Pleasure of Victory. In other Houses, Cards and Dice are introduced, for want of better Recreations. The former of these, (viz.) Draughts and Chess, are innocent enough, and may wear off a heavy Hour, when the Mind or Body are unfit for Business: The latter have had the general Censure of our wise and pious Fa. thers, and there have been most unhappy Effects attending them: And indeed these Games are feldon used without depositing too much Money as the Stake, and this tends to engage the Passions with greater Vehemence than the Nature of a Recreation can require, or should admit. But I leave it to those who are more skilful in casuistick Divinity to prove them absolutely unlawful in the very Nature of the Game.
However that be, I have often earnestly wished, that instead of all these Games there were some inore profitable Sports invented for a long Evening, for a dull Hour, or a rainy Season: And I am well assured, that if some ingenious Mind, which is well skilled in mathematical Learning and in Games, would but take Pains to contrive some such Diversions, there might be a much better Account given of the Hours of Leisure and Remission of Business by Persons of both Sexes, and of all Ages, than can be at present, for want of such useful and improving Recreations.
What if Cards and Dice should be proved to be never so lawful in themselves, yet there might be various Inventions, of much more Advantage to Knowledge and Virtue placed in the room of them. May not some little Tablets of Pasteboard be made in Imi. tation of Cards, which might teach the unlearned several Parts of Grammar, Philoso. phy, Geometry, Geography, Aftronomy, &c.
What if on one side of these Tablets or Charts a Town or City were named and described, and on the other Side the County, Province, Kingdom where that Town stands, with some geographical or historical Remark on it: And whosoever in Play draws the Chart with the Town on it, should be obliged to tell the Country where it stands, and the Remark made on it?
What if on one side were a geometrical Figure, and on the other the Demonstration of some Property belonging to it?
What if one side bore the Name or Fi. gure of any Piece of Money; and the other all the Multiples of it by the nine Digits, or as far as twelve? This would be useful for Children bred up to a Trade.
What if the Figure of some Plant, Animal; Engine, or any Thing else in the World of Nature or Art, were printed on one side; and on the other the Name of the Thing, which should be required to be spelled sight by young Scholars when they see the
Figure, in order to teach them the Art of
Or if on one Side were a Word in Eng-
Or if single Names of famous Men and Women were on one side ; and the Reverse contained the History, or some sort Account, of those Persons whose Names are so famous.
What if in a Sheet of Paper, or a twopenny Book, were written a hundred Proverbs, or wise Sayings collected out of Mo. raliss, ancient and modern, relating to all the Virtues and Vices; and a Collection of the most eminent Examples of these Vices and Virtues were superadded : And if one or more folid Bodies of Wood of sixteen, twenty, or thirty-two fat Sides were formed with the Name of one Virtue or Vice inscribed on each Side ; and by the trolling of this many-sided Toy, the uppermost Word or Name thould be an Indication what Proverb, or what Example to require ?
THERE have been, I confess, several Sorts of Cards invented with Proverbs, with various learned Figures, and mathematical
178 A Guard set on the Sports Sect. IX. Devices upon them : But, as far as I can learn, these have been but mere Pictures and Ornaments to the Hearts and Diamonds : These learned Devices and figures have had no Share in the Game: The Cards are used like common Cards still, without
Manner of Improvement of any of the Gamesters in these Sciences. But what I propose is a Contrivance to render these Words, or Figures, or Sentences the very Implements or Engines of the Sport itself, without so much as the Form of any Spade, or Club, or Heart, or Diamond drawn upon the Chart or Tablet.
SOME of these Exercises and Diversions, if happily contrived, may not only be fit to entertain Children in their younger Years, but
may usefully amuse them when they are grown up toward Manly Age.
For my Part, I own myself to be so much unskilled in the various Games used among us, that I am not fit to contrive, nor capable of inventing such useful Pastime. But I wilh some of the Sons of Ingenuity had Science and Virtue so much at Heart as to attempt such a Service to Mankind. And Parents should seek some Sort of delightful Employments or Recreations for the leisure Hours of their Sons and their Daughters when they are in the Stage of Youth, that they may be the more easily with-held from those Die