Imatges de pàgina

ROBERT SOUTH, D.D.--1627–1689. In 1678, Dr. South prepared a sermon to be preached at a convention of such as had been bred at Westminster School, and which, without being preached, was published in a volume of sermons with a special dedication to the head-master, Dr. Robert Friend, “as a mark of his sacred gratitude to the sound training of that Royal Foundation—that seminary of learning, loyalty, and religion.” The whole aim of the discourse is to illustrate and enforce the doctrine, that the virtuous education of youth is the surest if not the only way to a happy and honorable old age-meaning by education, “the training up of a child in the way he should go-the inculcation of sound knowledge, and the habit of walking in the right path.” The duty of this training devolves on 1, Parents ; 2, Schoolmasters; and 3, the Clergy.

DUTY OF PARENTS Jewish fathers professedly take upon themselves the guilt of all their childrens' sins till they come to be thirteen years old, and the faith of the family is diligently taught when they sit in the house, and walk by the way, when they lie down, and when they rise up, and thus work into the thread of their daily existence the precepts of their ancestral faith.

DUTY OF SCHOOLMASTERS I know not how it comes to pass that this honorable employment of training up of youth should find so little respect (as experience shows it does), from too many in the world. For there is no profession which has or can have a greater influence upon the public. Schoolmasters have a negative upon the peace and welfare of the kingdom. They are indeed the great depositories and keepers of the peace of it; as having the growing hopes and fears of the nation in their hands. The subjects generally are and will be such as they brand them. So that I look upon an able, well-principled schoolmaster as one of the most meritorious subjects in any power's dominions that can be; and every such school under such a master, as a seminary of loyalty, and a mining of allegiance. Nay, I take schoolmasters to have a more powerful influence upon the spirits of men than preachers themselves. It being seldom found, that tho pulpit mends what the school has marred: and impressions on young and tender minds are the most certain for good or evil.

(1.) Let the educators of youth remember that excellent and never-to-be-forgotten advice, " that boys will be men;" and that the memory of all base usage will sink so deep into, and grow up so inseparably with them, that it will not be so much as in their own power ever to forget it. For though indeed schoolmasters are a sort of kings, yet they can not always pass such acts of oblivion as shall operate upon their scholars, or perhaps, in all things, indemnify themselves.

(2.) Where they find a youth of spirit, let them endeavor to govern that spirit without extinguishing it; to bend it, without breaking it; for when it comes once to be extinguished, and broken, and lost, it is not in the power or

art of man to recover it; and then (believe it) no knowledge of nouns and pronouns, syntaxes and prosodia, can ever compensate or make amends for such a loss. The French, they say, are exceedingly happy at this, who will instruct a youth of spirit to a decent boldness, tempered with a due modesty; which two qualities in conjunction do, above all others, fit a man both for business and address. But for want of this art, some schools have ruined more good wits than they have improved ; and even those which they have sent away with some tolerable improvement, like men escaped from a shipwreck, carry off only the remainder of those natural advantages which in much greater plenty they had brought with them.

(3.) Let not the chąstisement of the body be managed so as to make a wound which shall rankle and fester in the very soul. That is, let not children, whom nature itself would bear up by an innate, generous principle of emulation, be exposed, cowed, and depressed with scoffs, contumelies (founded perhaps upon the master's own guilt) to the scorn and contempt of their equals and emulators. For this is, instead of rods, to chastise them with scorpions; and is the most direct way to stupefy and besot, and make them utterly regardless of themselves and of all that is praiseworthy; besides that, it will be sure to leave in their minds such inward regrets as are never to be qualified or worn off. It is very indecent for a master to jest or play with his scholars; but not only indecent, but very dangerous too, in such a way to play upon them.

(4.) And lastly, let it appear in all acts of penal animadversion, that the person is loved while his fault is punished; nay, that one is punished only out of love to the other; and (believe it) there is hardly any one so much a child, but has sagacity enough to perceive this. Let po melancholy fumes and spites and secret animosities pass for discipline. Let the master be as angry for the boy's fault as reason will allow him; but let not the boy be in fault, only because the master has a mind to be angry. In a word, let not the master have the spleen, and the scholars be troubled with it. But above all, let not the sins, or faults, or wants of the parents be punished upon the children; for that is a prerogative which God has reserved to himself.

These things I thought fit to remark about the education and educators of youth in general, not that I have any thoughts or desires of invading their province; but possibly a stander-by may sometimes look as far into the game as he who plays it; and with no less judgment, because with much less concern.

DUTY OF THE CLERGY. The third and last sort of persons concerned in the great charge of instructing youth are the clergy. For as parents deliver their children to the schoolmaster, so the schoolmaster delivers them to the minister. And for my own part, I never thought a pulpit, a cushion, and an hour-glass such necessary means of salvation, but that much of the time and labor which is spent about them, might be much more profitably bestowed in catechising youth from the desk; preaching being a kind of spiritual diet, upon which people are always feeding, but never full; and many poor souls, God knows, are too like Phs. raoh's lean kine, much the leaner for their full feed.

[The author of this discourse was a deadly foe to "the Rebellion," its actors and abettors, and the application of his sound principle, is to the utter extirpation of the deed, as well as the peril of that great political and religious movement. He thinks the rebellion could not have happened if parents, teachers, and clergy had done their duty to the youth of the realm.)

SIR RICHARD STEELE.-1675-1728. , RICHARD STEELE was born in Dublin, in 1675, his father an Englishman, being secretary to the first Duke of Orinond, and his mother an Irish woman. On the death of his father he was placed by the Duke, who was one of the governors, in the Charter House School, London, where he remained till he was 17, and where he made the acquaintance of Joseph Addison, which ripened into a friendship that survived all the jealousies and disturbances of similar pursuits in literature and politics. They were comrades in the University (Oxford), which Steele left without a degree, for a sol-. dier's career, which, after attaining the rank of Captain, he abandoned for the precarious support of letters and politics..

Through the influence of Addison with the Government, he obtained the appointment of Gazetteer, and in 1709, (April 12) under the name of Isaac Bickerstaff, he began the Tatler, which was discontinued in January 1711; and in March of the same year he commenced with Addison the publication of the Spectator ; and in March, 1713, issued the first number of the Guardian-works which have passed into the family reading, wherever the English language is spoken. His ready and versatile pen contributed largely to the interests of those essays. He was elected to Parliament in 1715, and was knighted by the King, for his vigorous defense of the House of Hanover. He was married in 1707, and his correspondence with his wife exhibits his character as most amiable, as well as eccentric. He died Sept. 1, 1729.

FLOGGING IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. I must confess I have very often, with much sorrow, bewailed the misfor. tune of the children of Great Britain, when I consider the ignorance and undiscerning or the generality of schoolmasters. The boasted liberty we talk of is but a mean reward for the long servitude, the many heartaches and terrors, to which our childhood is exposed in going through a Grammar School. Many of these stupid tyrants exercise their cruelty without any manner of distinction of the capacities of children, or the intention of parents in their behalf. There are many excellent tempers which are worthy to be nourished and cultivated with all possible diligence and care, that were never designed to be acquainted with Aristotle, Tully, or Virgil; and there are as many who have capacities for understanding every word those great persons have writ, and yet were not born to have any relish of their writings.

For want of this common and obvious discerning in those who have the care of youth, we have so many hundred unaccountable creatures every age whipped up into great scholars, that are forever near a right understanding, and will never arrive at it. These are the scandal of letters, and these are generally the men who are to teach others. The sense of shame and honor is

enougli sto keep the world itself in order without corporal punishment, much more to train the minds of uncorrupted and innocent children. It happens, I doubt not, more than once in a year, that a lad is chastised for a blockhead, when it is good apprehension that makes him incapable of knowing what his teacher means. A brisk imagination very often may suggest an error, which a lad could not bave fallen into, if he had been as heavy in conjecturing as his master in explaining. But there is no mercy even towards a wrong interpretation of his meaning: the sufferings of the scholar's body are to rectify the mistakes of his mind.

I am confident that no boy, who will not be allured to letters without blows, will ever be brought to any thing with them. A great or good mind must necessarily be the worse for such indignities, and it is a sad change to . lose of its virtue for the improvement of its knowledge. No one who has gone through what they call a great school, but must remember to have seen chil. dren of excellent and ingenuous natures, as has afterward appeared in their manhood—I say no man who has passed through this way of education but must have seen an ingenuous creature, expiring with shame, with pale looks, beseeching sorrow, and silent tears, throw up its honest eyes, and kneel on its tender knees to an inexorable blockhead to be forgiven the false quantity of a word in making a Latin verse. The child is punished, and the next day he commits a like crime, and so a third with the same consequence. I would fain ask any reasonable man whether this lad, in the simplicity of his native innocence, full of shame, and capable of any impression from that grace of soul, was not fitter for any purpose in this life, than after that spark of virtue is extinguished in him, though he is able to write twenty verses in an evening? ...

It is wholly to this dreadful practice that we may attribute a certain hardi- ness and ferocity which some men, though liberally educated, carry about them

in all their behavior. To be bred like a gentleman, and punished like a malefactor, must, as we see it does, produce that illiberal sauciness which we see sometimes in men of letters. ...

It is, methinks, a very melancholy consideration, that a little negligence can spoil us, but great industry is necessary to improve us; the most excellent natures are soon depreciated, but evil tempers are long before they are exalted into good habits. To help this by punishments, is the same thing as killing a man to cure him of a distemper. When he comes to suffer punishment in that one circumstance, he is brought below the existence of a rational creature, and is in the state of a brute that moves only by the admonition of stripes. But since this custom of educating by the lash is suffered by the gentry of Great Britain, I would prevail only that honest, beavy lads may be dismissed from slavery sooner than they are at present, and not whipped on to their fourteenth or fifteenth year, whether they expect any progress from them or not. Let the child's capacity be forth with examined, and he sent to some mechanic way of life, without respect to his birth, if nature designed him for nothing higher: let him go before he has innocently suffered and is debased into a dereliction of mind, for being what it is no guilt to be-a plain man. I would not here be supposed to have said, that our learned men of either robe, who have been whipped at school, are not still men of noble and liberal minds; but I am sure they would have been much more so than they are, bad they never suffered that infamy.-Spectator, No. 20.




As few subjects are more interesting to society, so few have been more frequently written upon, than the education of youth. Yet is it not a little surprising, that it should have been treated almost by all in a declamatory manner? They have insisted largely on the advantages that result from it, both to the individual and to society, and have expatiated in the praise of what no one has ever been so hardy as to call in question.

Instead of giving us fine but empty harangues upon this subject, instead of indulging each his particular and whimsical system, it had been much better if the writers on this subject had treated it in a more scientific manner, repressed all the sallies of imagination, and given us the result of their observations with didactic simplicity. Upon this subject the smallest errors are of the most dangerous consequence; and the author should venture the imputation of stupidity upon a topic, where his slightest deviations may tend to injure the rising gen. eration.

I shall, therefore, throw out a few thoughts upon this subject, which have not been attended to by others, and shall dismiss all attempts to please, while I study only instruction.

The manner in which our youth of London are at present educated is, some in free schools in the city, but the far greater number in boarding schools about town. The parent justly consults the health of his child, and finds that an education in the country tends to promote this much more than a continuance in the town. Thus far they are right: if there were a possibility of having even our free schools kept a little out of town, it would certainly conduce to the health and vigor of perhaps the mind as well as of the body. It may be thought whimsical, but it is truth,-I have found by experience, that they who have spent all their lives in cities, contract not only an effeminacy of habit, but even of thinking.

But when I have said, that the boarding schools are preferable to free schools, as being in the country, this is certainly the only advantage I can allow them; otherwise it is impossible to conceive the ignorance of those who take upon them the important trust of education. Is any man unfit for any of the professions? he finds his last resource in setting up school. Do any become bankrupts in trade ? they still set up a boarding school, and drive a trade this way,

* This Essy was originally published in the Bee, No. VI, Nov. 101h, 1759. It was after. wards introduced by the author into a volume of Essays with the following observation : "This Treatise was published before Rousseau's "Emilius:" if there be a similitude in any instance, it is hoped that the author of the present essay will not be termed a plagiarist." In this reprivt we follow Bohn's Edition of the Works of Oliver Goldsmith." 4 vols. Lon. don. 1854.

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