« AnteriorContinua »
beds in the dormitory, where the youngest children slept, answerable for any offense they neither dared to commit nor had any power to hinder.' The King's boys, or those intended for the sea, who studied navigation under William Wales, bad peculiarly hard lines of it; as, in order to inure them to the hardships of a sailor's life, Wales brought up his boys with Spartan severity, using the lash on every occasion, and dealing out his punishments with an unsparing hand. These chastisements were expected to be borne with patience, and the training, whatever might be its effects in after times, had the immediate result of rendering the youths hardy but brutal, and, as a consequence, mercilessly severe on their younger companions. They were the mortal terror of the young boys; but, at the same time, it must be confessed that they maintained the prowess of the school outside : the apprentices and butchers' boys of the neighborhood stood in considerable awe of their fighting powers. The formal punishment for runaways was, in the first instance, fetters. For a second offense the culprit was confined in a cell, large enough for him to lie at full length upon straw and a blanket, a glimmer of light being admitted through a small window. The confinement was solitary—the prisoner only seeing the porter who brought his bread and water, or the beadle who came twice a week to take him out for an airing and a whipping. A third attempt at flight was usually the last, because, the offender was, after certain formalities, expelled. The culprit, divested of the school uniform and clad in a penitential robe, was brought from his cell into the hall, where were assembled the whole of his school-fellows, the steward of the hospital, the beadle, who was the executioner, and, as befitting, was clad in state for the occasion; two of the governors were also present, to certify that the extreme rigor of the law was inflicted. The culprit being hoisted, was slowly flogged round the hall by the beadle, and then formally handed over to his friends, if he had any, or to his parish officer, who was stationed outside the gate.
In Scotland scholastic flagellation was carried to as great an extent as in England, only the instrument in use was more commonly 'the taws,' a long strap of tolerably stout leather, with the ends cut into stripes. The orders for the discipline of the school at the Kirk of Dundonald, in Ayreshire, for the year 1640, have been preserved, and they indicato the mapper in which flagellation was to be performed. After the regulations for prayers, &c., the master is enjoined to teach his scholars good manners, 'how to carry themselves fashionably and courteously towards all'-superiors, inferiors, or equals. Then he was to appoint a clandestine censor, who should secretly acquaint the master with every thing that concerned the scholars, and according to the quality of the faults, the master shall inflict punishment, striking some on the hand with a birk wand or pair of taws, others on the hips as their faults deserve, but none at any time or in any case on the head or cheeks.' The master is further coun. seled to repress insolence, and enforce duty ratlier by a grave and authoritative manner than by strokes, yet he is by no means to neglect the Rod when it is needful.
The Rod was not always in Scotland administered in this serious mood. In the High School of Edinburgh, one of the masters, named Nicol, would occasionally have a dozen of culprits to wbip at once, arranging them in a row for that purpose. When all was ready, he would send a polite message to his colleague, Mr. Cruickshank, 'to come and hear his organ.' Cruickshank having responded to his summons, Mr. Nicol would proceed to inflict a rapid cursory flagellation up and down the row, producing a variety of notes from the patients. Mr. Cruickshank was sure to take an early opportunity to return the compliment, by inviting his friend to assist at a similar operation.
The master of a grammar school in the central district of Scotland, some ninety years ago, was a vigorous upholder of flagellation. This worthy, named Hacket, practiced all the varieties of flagellation then in vogue. Heavy applications of the taws to the hands of the offenders were the mildest operations. Many times the culprit was stretched on the table, held down with one hand, and thrashed with the other. Sometimes the boy was made to stride between two boards, wbile the master applied the rod behind. The dull boys were birched for their own demerits, and the bright lads suffered for the deficiencies of their fellowg. Belonging to the former class was a boy, named Anderson, who had many a bitter taste of the birch to stimulate his faculties. His punishments were so many and unjust, that he conceived the most deadly sentiments of revenge against his master. He left the school, went to India, acquired a competency, and returned to spend his days in Scotland. During his long residence in India he never forgot his floggings at school, or his determination to be revenged on Hacket. On his arrival in Scotland he purchased a whip, traveled to the town where he had been educated, and having ordered dinner for two at an inn, sent a message to Hacket (who had retired from the profe3sion) inviting him to dine with an old pupil. Old Hacket accepted the invitation, dressed himself in his best, and went to the inn. He was ushered into the room, where he saw a gentleman, who, as soon as he entered, locked the door. Then, taking down the whip, he introduced bimself, and informed the astonished Hacket that he was now about to punish him for the many flagellations he had inflicted on him at school. So saying, he ordered him to strip and receive the punishment. Hacket's presence of mind did not desert him in such untoward circumstances. He acknowledged that perhaps he was a little too severe with his boys in old times, but if he was to be punished he would prefer having dinner first and the flogging afterwards. Anderson could not but assent to such a reasonable proposal, although inwardly resolving that the flogging should be none the lighter for the waiting. So they sat down to dinner, which proved excellent; and old Hacket's conversation was so fascinating and agreeable, that gradually Anderson found his purpose of revenge growing weaker. At last he gave up all thoughts of his whip and the intended flagellation. Hacket got home in perfect safety, for his host insisted upon escorting him to his own door.
Even at the present day the old-fashioned style of whipping boys and girls still prevails in some remote districts of Scotland; and forty years ago, 'houpsy doupsy' (being laid over the master's knee), as it was called, was practiced even in schools in Edinburgh. A present dignitary of the Scottish dissenting church, who, at the date indicated, was master of a small village school, regularly whipped his pupils, male and female, in the mode indicated, and he did so with the full knowledge of their parents. At one time he punished his scholars without removing their clothes, but finding that a lad had placed within his trousers a skin of soft leather with a view to lesson the pain of the 'skelping,' he ever after insisted upon laying on the taws after the orthodox mode. The boy who had so imposed upon his master was immediately saluted by his school-fellows with the nickname of leather doup,' which has stuck to him ever since.
An old-fashioned Scottish dominie used to punish the boys of his school by fastening the culprit upon a desk at the door, and his clothes being removed, it was the rule for every one of his school-fellows to give him a skelp with the
tawg.' Another Scottish schoolmaster had an odd way of chastising his pupils: he made them take down, or up, their clothes, and caused them to sit upon a large block of marble that had been brought to the parish in order to be hewn into a statue of some local magnate. In some of the schools in Edinburgh "horsing' was practiced-one boy being flogged on the back of another boy. In English schools 'horsing' was also prevalent.
The skins of eels, we are told, were in ancient times used in schools as whips to correct the pupils. In a fishing village near Edinburgh, the schoolmaster, forty years ago, used such skins with which to flog his pupils.
In a bill introduced in the House of Lords by the Marquis of Townsend, for the better protection of children, servants, and apprentices, it was provided that no schoolmaster, usher or tutor, having the charge of children under sixten years of age, should be allowed to inflict corporal punishment except by birch rod; and farther, that there should be no corporal punishment whatever for inattention or inaccuracy in their studies. The bill was withdrawn, in consequence of its being pointed out that 'the safe and efficient instrument of school discipline in Scotland, the taws, would be illegal, and since Scotch boys are not birched, no kind of corporal punishment would remain by which either scholastic or domestic discipline could be enforced.'
An eccentric Scottish nobleman who had, when a child, been frequently whipped at a dame's school which he attended, at a time when he had no expectation of being a man of title, insisted upon being flogged by his old schoolmistress, shortly after coming to his estate! For her ‘kindness' on this occasion, it is said, he gave the old dame a present of one hundred pounds.
The Scotch theory and practice of corporal punishment has passed into the literature of our language in consequence of Dr. Samuel Johnson having given an elaborate opinion in defense of a master of a public school at Campbell-town, who had been suspended from his office on a charge of having used immoderate and cruel correction. On this charge Dr. Johnson observed :—Correction in itself is not cruel; children, being not reasonable, can be governed only by fear. To impress this fear, is therefore one of the first duties of those who have the care of children. It is the duty of a parent, and has never been thought iuconsistent with parental tenderness. It is the duty of a master, who is in the highest exaltation when he is a loco parentis. Yet, as good things become evil by excess, correction, by being immoderate, may become cruel. But when is correction immoderate? When it is more frequent or more severe than is required ad monendum et docendum, for reformation and instruction. No severity is cruel which obstinacy makes necessary; for the greatest cruelty would be to desist, and leave the scholar too careless for instruction, and too much hardened for reproof. The degrees of obstinacy in young minds are very different; as different must be the degrees of persevering severity. A stubborn scholar must be corrected until he is subdued. The discipline of a school is military. There must either be unbounded license or absolute authority. The master who punThe Rod in English Literature. The Rod enjoys a bad pre-eminence among instruments of torture as the source and subject of poetic inspiration. Almost every English writer of note, who has treated of discipline, has introduced it 'to point a moral and adorn a tale;' and it is the special subject of many poems and a formidable number of epigrams. George Coleman the younger, taking for his motto a line from an old ballad,
The schoolmaster's joy is to flog, goes on to indite an elaborate defense of this symbol and instrument of authority under the title of the Rodiad. Far from participating in the 'sentimental twaddle' of schools without birch, and government by moral force, his hero exclaims:
I am a schoolmaster of the good old school,
As when a bold big boy for mercy screams. Francis Newbury, the friend of Dr. Johnson and Goldsmith, and the publisher of many books for children, is the author of a poem entitled The Terrors of the Rod. And terrible is the picture of a young girl, 'praying for forgiveness, 'and yet 'across a chair,' receiving the 'rod's reiterations' with the insulting deprecation :
These stripes I am sorry to impart,
But 'tis for your own good you smart.
Severe by rule, and not by nature mild,
But spoils the rod and never spares the child,
And soe with holy rule deems he is reconciled. Samuel Butler, who is the author of the line which expresses the 'wisdom of Solomon' in the concise formula,
Spare the rod and spoil the child, has also given the philosophy of the practice in the following words of Hudibras:
Whipping, that's virtue's governess,
And all the heroes of the gown.
Oh, ye! who teach the ingenious youth of nations,
Holland, France, England, Germany, and Spain,
It mends their morals, never mind the pain. And in this flippant way the most outrageous abuse of parental authority on the part of schoolmasters and school-mams' has been justified and en. couraged.
SCHOOL AND TEACHER IN ENGLISH LITERATURE.
ALEXANDER. POPE.-1688-1744. ALEXANDER POPE was born in Lombard street, London, May 22, 1688. Both his parents were respectably connected—the father was a linen merchant, who amassed, even under the disadvantages which then environed a Roman Catholic trader, a moderate fortune, and the mother was of an ancient family, “as well born,” said the son in his defiant letter to Lord Harvey, “ as well born and educated as that lady whom your lordship made choice of to be the mother of your own children”—and both assiduous and affectionate in their care and nurture of an only son born to a delicate and sickly frame. His education, partly owing to the disabilities and prejudices which were attached to a Catholic pupil in the public schools and universities of England at that time, was mainly domestic. He was for a while under the tuition of a priest, who taught him the rudiments of Latin and Greek together, and subsequently, between 10 and 12 years of age, at a celebrated Catholic seminary at Twyford, near Winchester, where he read Homer and Ovid, in translations. From the age of twelve to nineteen he educated himself mainly through books, and natural scenery-getting not much grammatical training of the language, but familiarizing himself with the best authors in Latin, Greek, French and Italian literature --Homer, Virgil, Tasso, and Racine, through the original, in some, and translations in others, and not at the same time keeping himself ignorant of English poets. With Dryden, and all the niceties of his versification he was early familiar, and when he was only twelve years old, he was taken to town by a friend, specially to be introduced to that great master of vigorous English style. We shall not attempt even a reference to his works in which the flexibility, terseness and cadence of the English language are so wonderfully exhibited, but only introduce a picture of the education of his day, which has been pronounced "not too severely true.”