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as the female : that there is no instrument of raising man to contentment, peacefulness, sobriety, and all human responsibilities, as the educated female : and that there is no such created source of holy power in this world as may be found in the example of the educated female, bearing on her the noble distinctions of wife, mother, and Christian ! When the cottages of our land shall thus be blest, we may hope that the sullen tyrant of the family will be softened by love, and the vilest wanderer be reclaimed to the sweet bonds of household allegiance !
The Science of popular education has made great advances within a few short years. We are not sanguine that the classics and mathematics could be taught in any other way than they were acquired of old. But more intelligence might accompany and direct the lessons. The pupil might be more drawn out and be treated as a more reasoning learner. And this is done with the peasant child. His attention is awakened and his mind is interested. He is almost betrayed into knowledge. The truly illustrious discoverers, Bell and Lancaster, introduced the reciprocal and monitorial system, which is one process of intellectual elimination. He who sees in it a mechanical and automatic exhibition, has yet to understand human nature. It is mind exciting mind, and evolving mind. It is mind informing itself. Like some natural agent, it contains a twofold power, -as the expansion of heat or the electricity of light.
It cannot be denied, that the character of the schoolmaster is very low and unworthy in this country. We refuse not many high exceptions. From the respective normal establishments, men of qualified tastes and habits are beginning to diffuse themselves through society. But until of late, Who were the teachers of our youth? The learned, who had been trained to this duty ? The devoted, who felt their delight in this task ? The ranks were filled with the bankrupt, not only of fortune but as often of principle. The office was considered the last anchor-hold of every wreck. Schools must necessarily degenerate beneath such care. Learning could not be contemplated. Morality was scarcely breathed. A whining pity was heard to plead for the misfortunes of these instructors. Censure was deprecated. Enquiry was debarred. Neighbourhoods were canvassed to help them. Certificates were good-naturedly subscribed. And thus, race of pupils after race was surrendered to a wretched imbecility and drivelling. Such persons were a disgrace to their calling and a pest to their land. They corrupted and wasted youth. Often might it have been wished that the scholars had received the power which Camillus gave to the boys of the Falisci, when he commanded them to scourge the traitor-pædagogue, who would have betrayed them, back to his home.*
And in stating the kind of information required by the working classes, the most sacred regard must
* Livius, lib. 1. c.p. 27.
be manifested toward conscience. It must be allowed that men have spoken of the poor as materials to be worked up into any religious profession. And education has been made to act this tyrannic part. It has been refused to all who would not subscribe to particular formulary, or bow in particular rite. It has been bribe to the timid, it has been penalty upon the firm. Often it has been put beyond the attainment of many, if they would not forswear the faith of their fathers and renounce their own. Is there not danger of demanding this compromise in the very extension of education ? Distinct denominations of religionists are beginning to devise methods of meeting the wants of the people. The probability is, that numerous schools will shortly arise among us, more sectarian—the epithet is not employed invidiously—than have hitherto existed. Every place of worship may set up one as its proper appendage. These will be indebted to their own communities. A corresponding impress will be stamped upon each. This is natural and unavoidable. The place of worship and the school will have one doctrine. But general education is a good. Should you fetter its possession by any pledge of religious conformity ? Many may need that education, who are not of that religious. enrolment: it may be that they cannot elsewhere obtain it. Will you deny it them? Teach them, over whom you have just control or admitted influence, all you believe, even to its particle : but refuse not to teach them, whom you cannot thus sway
rightfully, as far as they will be taught, only because conscience declines the ulterior instruction.
Any education is nearly worthless that is not intelligent. The mind must be aroused to think for itself. Mental digestion alone produces mental life and health. Violent efforts of the memory often discourage even that lower faculty, without strengthening the judgment. Let children be taught the reasons of facts; and when this cannot be done, let them be shown how reasonable is the ground of conviction in their approved truth. Why is it ? how can it be? wherefore do you believe it? are questions which will draw up the soul from its depths and liberate it from its fetters. This is the true praxis of education. Self-knowledge, self-control, selfexamination, self-culture, will follow as effects. You have caused him who was created, a thinking being, to think. You have done reverence to the Father of spirits in the evocation of that spirit.
We feel that something is wanted to raise the national mind. It is oppressed by hebetude and phlegm. We desire to bring it to a greater force and quickness. It stands in need of activity, perception, vigour. It has been long overborne by tyranny and besotted by ignorance. It has been bought by gifts and suborned by bribes. There is a natural love of justice and tone of generosity in it. It strongly inclines to independence. But it has been worn down by neediness and beaten down by rigour. It comprehends all the elements of greatness. It resembles some noble falchion,
capable of keenest edge and brightest polish, uninjured in its temperament even now, but blunted, soiled, threatened to be corroded by its rust. It must be awakened to exertion and to greater confidence in itself. It must be drawn from the low amusements which have hitherto been its only recreation. It is ready for growth in knowledge. It invites, it even thirsts for, education. Stimulated by that discipline which we inculcate, it will rouse from sloth : possessing the motives for improvement, its inbom energy will vindicate itself. It will stand forth in its vivacity without lightness, in its strength without violence, in its stability without grossness, in its activity without lubricity, in its ascendancy without disdain.
It is almost unnecessary to say, that the instruction of the child is as nothing, save as you imbue him with the taste, and furnish him with the means, of selfeducation. “Every man,” says Gibbon, “who rises above the common level, has received two educations : the first from his teachers,—the second, more personal and important, from himself.” Once inspired to think, wisely and religiously, it is not very probable that he will relapse. Study will be his habit, and piety his inner life. Should he never rise in society, he has already gained an honoured and a holy position. He carries with him a blessed charm to lighten toil; to assuage affliction, to purify attachment, to conquer death. He has been trained in the way in which he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.