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the same page. At the top of this new backside of a leaf I set down the number of the page I filled last. By these numbers, which refer to one another, the first whereof is at the bottom of one page, and the second is at the beginning of another, one joins matter that is separated, as if there was nothing between them. For by this reciprocal reference of numbers, one may turn, as one leaf, all those that are between the two, even as if they were pasted together,
Every time I put a number at the bottom of a page, I put it also into the index; but when I put only a V, I make no addition in the index; the reason whereof is plain
If the head is a monosyllable, and begins with a vowel, that vowel is at the same time, both the first letter of the word and the characteristic vowel.
You may see by what I have said, that one is to be. gin to write each class of words on the backside of a page. It may happen, upon that account, that the backside of all the pages may be full, and yet there may remain several pages on the right hand, which are empty. Now, if you have a mind to fill your book, you may assign these right sides, which are wholly blank, to new classes.
If any one imagines that these hundred classes are not sufficient to comprehend all sorts of subjects, without confusion, he may follow the same method, and yet augment the number to five hundred, in adding a vowel. But, having experienced both the one and the other method, I prefer the first; and usage will convince those who shall try it, how well it will serve the
purpose aimed at; especially if one has a book for each science, upon which one makes collections, or at least two, for the two heads, to which one may refer all our knowledge, viz. moral philosophy and natural.
You may add a third, which may be called a knowledge of signs, which relates to the use of words, and is of much more extent than mere criticism. To take notice of a place in an author, from whom I quotę something, I make use of this method: before I write any thing, I put the name of the author in my common-place-book, and under that name the title of the treatise, the size of the volume, the time and place of its edition, and (what ought never to be omitted) the number of pages that the whole book contains.
This number of pages serves me for the future to mark the particular treatise of this author, and the edition I make use of. I have no need to mark the place, otherwise than in setting down the number of the page
from whence I have drawn what I have write ten, just above the number of pages contained in the whole volume that is to say, the number of the page where I take my matter, is just above the number of pages of the whole volume. By this means I not only save myself the trouble of writing the title, &c. but am able, by the rule of three, to find out the same passage in any other edition, by looking for the num. ber of its pages. You will not indeed always light on the very page you want, because of the breaches that are made in different editions of books, and that are not always equal in proportion; but you are never very far from the place you want; and it is better
to be able to find a passage in turning over a few pages, than to be obliged to turn over a whole book to find it, as it happens when the book has no index, or when the index is not exact.
Instruction. Although the preceding explanation may be sufficiently explicit for most of my readers, I deem it proper to recapitulate some of the more important parts, in order to place the subject within the reach of juvenile capacities.
The learner who desires to profit by this plan, should proceed according to the following directions:
· 1. Provide a blank-book of convenient form and dimensions, with the annexed index table at the beginning of it: And as the table is divided into one hundred sections, I would recommend a book of at least two hundred pages, which will allow to each class of words two pages facing each other. The form of book which I have found most convenient for short-hand is that of the common receipt-book, opening at one end.
When any thing is written in the book, to which a future reference may be desirable, determine upon some word which will best indicate the subject, and place that word in the margin of the book, against the head of the matter recorded.
2. Suppose the marginal word to be Geology-here the first letter is G, and the first vowel after the first letter is e: then open the index table, and in the space Ge enter the number of the page in which the matter in question is to be found recorded, or such other re
ference in relation to it as you may think proper to minute, whether the idea be original or borrowed; if bor. rowed, mention from what source—if from an author, what particular work, edition, volume, page, section, &c. &c. Geology being the first subject, we will suppose it placed on page 2, which page, and the one that follows or faces it, should then be left for such words as begin in the same manner, viz. geography, geometry, &c.
3. Suppose Biography to be the next subject-turn to the index table, and if nothing has been entered in the section Bi, open to the first clean page that is an even number--which we will presume to be page 4 and write the word Biography at the head of the left hand margin, and the subject matter in the body of the page against and below-at the same time enter in the section Bi the number of the page; after which, pages 4 and 5 will be devoted to such words as begin in & similar manner-viz. bigotry, bigamy, &c.
Should any particular class of words require more than the two pages at first assigned them, place at the foot of the last page, and also at the head of the next page, if not otherwise occupied, the letter V, for verte, or turn, and proceed with the class. But if the next page be already appropriated, then turn to the first even page that is not occupied, and place at the head the letter V and the number of the page from which you have turned; and at the same time place the letter V and the number of the new page not only at the foot of the finished page, but also in the index table, and proceed as before directed.
This plan is such, that an index table of two pages, forms a key to 100 characteristic classes of words, each class again embracing perhaps 100 different subjects making in all 10,000: And yet so perfectly simple and easy is the scheme, that a common schoolboy may readily turn to any subject.
Nor is the utility of this plan confined to men of learning—the man of business may make it useful.
Suppose it be desirable to the farmer, mechanic, or merchant, to know at some future day, the precise time and circumstances attending a particular past transaction, or the day, place, duties, &c. of something yet future-in what secretary, counting-house desk, escrutoir, port-folio, drawer, pigeon-hole, or other depository may be found this, that, or the other document, memorandum, &c., or what individuals were at some past time acquainted with transactions involving the dearest interests of property, character, or life, but whcee names have perhaps escaped the memory forever. In all these cases, if a daily place-book be kept, the idi. vidual is perfectly at ease, knowing that, upon two small pages, he has a key to every important fact in the history of his life, business, reading, &c.
The advantages here presented to the rising gene. ration, are so obvious, that any further commendatory remarks from me, would not only be a work of supererogation, but would argue a want of confidence in the merits of the plan, and a wanton waste of words and time. I therefore submit it, animated with the warmest hopes of its extensive usefulness-particu. larly to the many hundreds who constitute my present class.