« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
conspiracies to commit crimes beforehand and to protect each other from punishment afterward. But honest farmers, faithful mechanics, upright merchants, the high-toned professional man, — these have no occasion for plots and perjuries; for they have no offences to hide and no punishments to fear. The first aspect of the case, then, seems to show the paternity of this false sentiment among students. It was borrowed from rogues and knaves and peculators and scoundrels generally, and not from men of honor, rectitude and purity.
When incendiaries, or burglars, or the meaner gangs of pickpockets are abroad, is not he by whose vigilance and skill the perpetrators can be arrested and their depredations stopped, considered a public bencfactor? And if we had been the victim of arson, housebreaking, or pocket-picking, what should we think of a witness who, on being summoned into court, should refuse to give the testimony that would convict the offender? Could we think anything better of such a dumb witness than that he was an accomplice and sympathized with the villany? To meet such cases, all our courts are invested with power to deal with such contumacious witnesses in a summary manner. Refusing to testify, they are adjudged guilty of one of the grossest offences a man can commit, and they are forthwith imprisoned, even without trial by jury. And no community could subsist for a month if everybody, at his own pleasure, could refuse to give evidence in court. It is equally certain that no college could subsist, as a place for the growth of morality, and not for its extirpation, if its students should act, or were allowed to act, on the principle of giving or witholding testimony at their own option. The same principle, therefore, which justifies courts in cutting off recusant witnesses from society, would seem to justify a College Faculty in cutting off recusant students from a college.
Courts, also, are armed with power to punish perjury, and the law justly regards this offense as one of the greatest that can be committed. Following close after the offense of perjury in the courts, is the offense of prevarication or falsehood in shielding a fellow-student or accomplice from the consequences of his misconduct. For, as the moral growth keeps pace with the natural, there is infinite danger that the youth who tells falsehoods will grow
into the man who commits perjuries. So a student who means to conceal the offense of a fellow-student or to divert investigation from the right track, though he may not tell an absolute lie, yet is in a lying state of mind, than which many a sudden, unpremedidated lie, struck out by the force of a vehement temptation, is far less 'injurious to character. A lying state of mind in youth has its natural termination in the falsehoods and perjuries of manhood.
When students enter college, they not only continue their civil relations as men, to the officers of the college, but they come under new and special obligations to them. Teachers take on much of the parental relation toward students, and students much of the filial relation towards teachers. A student, then, is bound to assist and defend a teacher as a parent, and a teacher is bound to assist and defend a student as a child.
Now, suppose a student should see an incendiary, with torch in hand, ready to set fire to the dwelling in which I and my family are lying in unconscious slumber, ought he not, as a man, to say nothing of his duty as a student, to give an alarm that we may arouse and escape? I think I might put this question to anybody but the incendiary himself, and expect an affirmative answer. But if vices and crimes should become the regular programme, the practical order of exercises in a college, as they would to a great extent do, if the vicious and profligate could secure impunity, through the falsehoods or voluntary dumbness of fellow-students; then, surely, all that is most valuable and precious in a college would be destroyed in the most deplorable way; and, for one, I would a hundred times rather have an incendiary set fire to my house, while I was asleep, than to bear the shame of the downfall of an institution under my charge, through the misconduct of its attendants. And in the eyes of all right-minded men, it is a far lighter offense to destroy a mere physical dwelling of wood or stone than to destroy that moral fabric, which is implied by the very name of an Educational Institution.
The student who would inform me, if he saw a cut-purse purloining the money from my pocket, is bound by reasons still more cogent, to inform me, if he sees any culprit or felon destroying that capital, that stock in trade, which consists in the fair name or reputation of the College over which I preside.
And what is the true relation which the protecting student holds to the protected offender. Is it that of a real friend, or that of the worst enemy? An offender, tempted onward by the hope of impunity, is almost certain to repeat his offense. If repeated, it becomes habitual, and will be repeated not only with aggravation in character, but with rapidity of iteration; unless, indeed, it be abandoned for other offenses of a higher type. A college life filled with the meanness of clandestine arts; first spotted, and then made black all over with omissions and commissions, spent in shameful escapes from duty, and in enterprises of positive wrong not less shameful, is not likely to culminate in a replenished, dignified, and honorable manhood. Look for such wayward students, after twenty years, and you would not go to the high places of society to find them, but to the gaming house or prison, or some place of infamous resort; or, if reformation has intervened, and an honorable life falsifies the auguries of a dishonorable youth, no where will you hear the voice of repentance and sorrow, more sad, or more sincere, than from the lips of the moral wanderer himself. Now let me ask, what kind of a friend is he to another, who, when he sees him just entering on the high road to destruction, instead of summoning natural or official guardians to save him, refuses to give the alarm, and thus clears away all the obstacles, and supplies all the facilities for his speedy passage to ruin ?
If one student sees another just stepping into deceitful waters, where he will probably be drowned ; or, proceeding along a pathway, which has a pit-fall in its track, or a precipice at its end, is it not the impulse of friend
ship to shout his danger in his ear? Or, if I am nearer than he, or can for any reason more probably rescue the imperilled from his danger, ought he not to shout to me? But a student entering the outer verge of the whirlpool of temptation, whose narrowing circle and accelerating current will soon engulf him in the vortex of sin, is in direr peril than any danger of drowning, of pit-fall, or of precipice; because the spiritual life is more precious than the bodily. It is a small thing to die, but a great one to be depraved. If a student will allow me to co-operate with him to save a fellow-student from death, why not from calamities which are worse than death? He who saves one's character is a greater benefactor than he who saves his life. Who then is the true friend, he who supplies the immunity which a bad student desires, or the saving warning or coercion which he needs ?
But young men are afraid of being ridiculed, if they espouse the side of progress, and good order as one of the essentials to progress. But which is the greater evil, the ridicule of the wicked, or the condemnation of the wise ?
"Ask you why Wharton broke thro' every rule?
But the student says, suppose I had been the wrong doer, and my character and fortunes were in the hands of a fellow student, I should not like to have him make report, or give evidence against me, and I must do as I would be done by. How short-sighted and one-sided is this view! Suppose you had been made, or were about to be made the innocent victim of wrongdoing, would you not then wish to have the past injustice redressed, or the future injustice averted? Toward whom, then, should your golden rule be practised,- toward the offender, or toward the party offended? Where a wrong is done, every body is injured,—the immediate object of the wrong, directly; every body else, indirectly,-for every wrong invades the rights and the sense of safety which every individual, community or body politic, has a right to enjoy. Therefore, doing as we would be done by, to the offender, in such a case, is doing as we would not be done by to every body else. Nay, if we look beyond the present deed, and the present hour, the kindest office we can perform for the offender, himself, is to expose, and thereby arrest him. With such arrest, there is great chance that he will be saved; without it there is little.
Does any one still insist upon certain supposed evils incident to the practice of students giving information of each others' misconduct? I reply, that the practice itself would save nine-tenths of the occasions for informing, and thus, the evils alleged to belong to the practice would be almost wholly suppressed by it.
But again ; look at the parties that constitute a College. A Faculty is selected from the community at large, for their supposed competency for teaching and training youth. Youth are committed to their care, to be taught and trained. The two parties are now together, face to face :—the
one ready and anxious to impart and to mould; the other in a receptive and growing condition. A case of offense, a case of moral delinquency-no matter what-occurs. It is the very point, the very juncture, where the wisdom, the experience, the parental regard of the one, should be brought, with all its healing influences, to bear upon the indiscretion, the rashness, or the wantonness of the other. The parties were brought into proximity for this identical purpose. Here is the casus fæderis. Why does not one of them supply the affectionate counsel, the preventive admonition, the heart-emanating and heart-penetrating reproof; perhaps even the salutary fear, which the other so much needs; - needs now, needs to-day, needs at this very moment;-needs as much as the fainting man needs a cordial, or a suffocating man air, or a drowning man a life-preserver? Why is not the anodyne, or the restorative, or the support given? Skillful physician and desperate patient are close together. Why, then, at this most critical juncture, does not the living rescue the dying? Because a “friend," a pretended
FRIEND,” holds it as a point of honor, that when his friend is sick, sick with a soul disease, now curable, but in danger of soon becoming incurable, he ought to cover up his malady, and keep the ethical healer blind and far away!
Such is the whole philosophy of that miserable and wicked doctrine, that it is a Point of Honor not to "report,"—though from the most humane and Christian motives,—the misconduct of a fellow-student, to the Faculty that has legitimate jurisdiction over the case, and is bound by every obligation, of affection, of honor, and of religion, to exercise that jurisdiction, with a single eye to the good of the offender and of the community over which they preside.
THE DISTANCE OF THE SUN FROM THE Earth INCREASING.—The German journals have given some tables which proves that the distance between the earth and the sun is increasing annually, and argue from it that the increasing humidity of our summers and the loss of fertility by the earth, are to be attributed solely to this circumstance.
No credit has heretofore been given to tradition of ancient Egyptians and Chinese, according to which these people formerly said the sun's disc was almost four times as large as we now see it, for they estimated the apparent diameter of the sun as double of what it is seen in our day.
If, however, we pay attention to the continued dimunition of the apparent diameter of the sun, according to the best observations of several centuries, we must suppose that the ancients were not mistaken in the estimates they have transmitted to us.
In the course of six thousand years from the present time, they assume that the distance will be so great that only an eighth part of the warmth we now enjoy from the sun will be communicated to the earth, and it will then be covered with eternal ice in the same manner as we now see the plains of the north where the elephant formerly lived, and have neither spring nor autumn.-N. Y. Teacher.
From the Massachusetts Teacher.
THE STUDY OF READING LESSONS.
Turs habit of careful study should, if possible, be formed in childhood or early youth, and to the teacher is entrusted, in a great degree, the responsibility of its formation. May it not be done in a way most pleasant to ourselves and to our pupils, and without interfering with the discharge of other duties? Experience convinces me that it is possible; and at the request of a friend, who has approved my plan and rejoiced in its success, I write a brief account of it, with the hope that it may prove of some benefit to others.
Before adopting it, I had often observed with regret, that the reading lessons were regarded by my pupils with little interest. They would come with bright, animated faces to their recitations in history, geography, grammar, and arithmetic; but the appearance of the reading book was the signal for languor and restlessness. Especially was this the case when the lesson assigned had been read more than once. The charm of novelty was gone, and none other remained. They were often eager to leave it for one with which they were less familiar, while yet unable even to read the former with correct expression. For a long time I was greatly troubled by their indifference, and endeavored, in various ways, to give interest to the lesson; gradually I was led to adopt the mode of procedure which I will presently describe.
The reading-book used by the more advanced of my pupils—girls from twelve to fifteen years of age-contains many excellent selections; and from among these I chose a number which I deemed worthy of careful study. I examined each one, and ascertained how much labor it would require to be able to give a grammatical analysis of the sentences, and express their meaning in other words; to explain the historical allusions; and to describe the people, places, and productions of foreign lands, when these were mentioned in the passages studied. Sometimes a single paragraph of a sketch or essay, or two or three stanzas of a poem, would require all the time we could devote to the exercise in one day; sometimes we could easily and profitably take more; but always I endeavored to assign as nearly as possible that which would demand industry and effort, yet could be prepared without difficulty.
It was pleasant to see the eagerness with which they searched encyclopædias, gazetteers, and dictionaries; to answer their intelligent, thoughtful questions; and to give a clue to guide them out of their perplexities. The class which has recently left the school under my care, for one of a higher grade, entered with peculiar interest and delight into this kind of study; and to illustrate my plan more fully, I will, with your permission, bring them before you.
Imagine then a class of sixteen or eighteen girls, ready to begin their