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Johnson advised Mr. Boswell not to refine in the education of his children. "Life will not bear refinement; you must do as other people do. Above all accustom your children constantly to tell the truth; if a thing happened at one window, and they, when relating it, say that it happened at another, do not let il pass, but instantly check them; you do not know where deviation from truth will end." BOSWELL. “It may come to the door: and when once an account is at all varied in one circumstance, it may by degrees be varied so as to be totally different from what really happened." A lady in the company, whose fancy was impatient of the rein, fidgeted at this, and ventured to say, “Nay, this is too much. If Mr. Johnson should forbid me to drink tea I would comply, as I should feel the restraint only twice a day; but little variations in narrative must happen a thousand times a day, if one is not perpetually watching. JOHNSON. “Well, Madam, and you ought to be perpetually watching. It is more from carelessness about truth than from intentional lying that there is so much falsehood in the world."
Talking of instruction, "People have now-a-days got a strange opinion that every thing should be taught by lectures. Now I can not see that lectures can do so much good as reading the books from which the lectures are taken. I know nothing that can be best taught by lectures, except where experiments are to be shown. You may teach chemistry by lectures; you might teach making of shoes by lectures!"
"Education in England has been in danger of being hurt by two of its greatest men, Milton and Locke. Milton's plan is impracticable, and I suppose has never been tried; Locke's I fancy, has been tried often enough, but is very imperfect; it gives too much on one side, and too little on the other: it gives too little to literature."
CORPORAL PUNISHNENT BY THE SCHOOLMASTER. The master of a public school at Campbell-town, in Scotland, had been suspended from his office, on a charge against him of having used immoderate and cruel correction. Mr. Boswell was engaged to plead the cause of the master, and consulted Dr. Johnson on the subject, who made the following observations: "The charge is, that he has used immoderate and cruel correction. 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 inconsistent with parental tenderness. It is the duty of a master, who is in the highest exaltation when he is 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. Locke, in his treatise of Education, mentions a mother with applause, who whipped an infant eight times before she had subdued it; for had she stopped at the seventh act of correction, her daughter, says he, would have been ruined. 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 till he is subdued. The discipline of a school is military. There must either be unbounded licence or absolute authority. The master who pun. ishes, not only consults the future happiness of him who is the immediate subject of correction, but he propagates obedience through the whole school, and establishes regularity by exemplary justice. The victorious obstinacy of a single boy would make his future endeavors of reformation or instruction totally ineffectual: obstinacy therefore must never be victorious. Yet it is well known, that there sometimes occurs a sullen and hardy resolution, that laughs at all common punishment, and bids defiance to all common degrees of pain. Correction must be proportioned to occasions. The flexible will be reformed by gentle discipline, and the refractory must be subdued by harsher methods. The degrees of scholastic, as of military punishment, no stated rules can ascertain. It must be enforced till it overpowers temptation; till stubbornness becomes flexible, and perverseness regular. Custom and reason have, indeed, set some bounds to scholastic penalties: the schoolmaster inflicts no capital punishments, nor enforces his edicts by either death or mutilation. The civil law has wisely determined, that a master who strikes at a scholar's eye shall be considered as criminal. But punishments, however severe, that produce no lasting evil, may be just and reasonable, because they may be necessary. Such have been the punishments used by the schoolmaster accused. No scholar has gone from him either blind or lame, or with any of his limbs or powers injured or impaired. They were irregular, and he punished them; they were obstinate, and he enforced his punishment. But, however provoked, he never exceeded the limits of moderation, for he inflicted nothing beyond present pain; and how much of that was required, no man is so little able to determine as those who have determined against him—the parents of the offenders. It has been said, that he used unprecedented and improper instruments of correction. Of this accusation the meaning is not very easy to be found. No instrument of correction is more proper than another, but as it is better adapted to produce present pain without lasting mischief. Whatever were his instruments, no lasting mischief has ensued; and therefore, however unusual, in hands so cautious they were proper. It has been objected, that he admits the charge of cruelty, by producing no evidence to confute. Let it be considered, that his scholars are either dispersed at large in the world or continue to inhabit the place in which they were bred. Those who are dispersed can not be found; those who remain are the sons of his persecutors, and are not likely to support a man to whom their fathers are enemies. If it be supposed that the enmity of their fathers proves the justice of the charge, it must be considered how often experience shows us, that men who are angry on one ground will accuse on another; with how little kindness in a town of low trade, a man who lives by learning is regarded; and how im. plicitly, where the inhabitants are not very rich, a rich man is hearkened to and followed. In a place like Campbell-town, it is easy for one of the principal inhabitants to make a party. It is easy for that party to heat themselves with imaginary grievances. It is easy for them to oppress a man poorer than themselves; and natural to assert the dignity of riches, by persisting in oppression."
Upon the same subject, Mr. Boswell also observed, "It is a very delicate matter to interfere between a master and his scholars; nor do I see how you can fix the degree of severity that a master may use." JOHNSON. “Why, sir, till you can fix the degree of obstinacy and negligence of the scholars, you can not fix the degree of severity of the master. Severity must be continued until obstinacy be subdued and negligence be cured."
SAMUEL PARR, D.D.—1747–1825. DR. SAMUEL Park was born at Harrow-on-the Hill in 1737, spent two years in Emanuel College, Cambridge, and served as usher in Harrow School from 1767 to 1772, and afterwards as principal of a classical school at Colchester, and Norwich. His erudition was vast, and in spite of its frequently injudicious and inelegant ostentation, was pronounced by Macaulay “to be precious, massive, and splendid.” We give below brief passages from a Discourse on Education, preached in behalf of the Charity Schools of Norwich, December 25, 1770, to mark the transition in the aims of English Educators from the old doctrine of parochial, charitable, and endowed schools, to the broader practice of public instruction, supported by government appropriations, and property taxation.
EDUCATION IN RESPECT TO PENAL LEGISLATION. The great and fundamental principle upon which the whole system of penal laws has been erected is, that they are meant not so much to punish as to deter; not merely to lop off the offender, but chiefly to prevent his offenses from becoming contagious; not to gratify the malice of individuals, but to se. cure the public good. Now for purposes of prevention nearly similar, we defend the cause of early and religious education. It aims, indeed, at ends far more numerous than laws can attain, and it pursues them by methods more generally applicable, and more agreeable to our humanity when they are applied.
In promoting the happiness of our species, much is, in Christian countries, effected by the authority of legal restraint, and much by public instruction from the pulpit. But education in the large and proper sense,* in which I have endeavored to enforce it, may boast even of superior usefulness.
It comes home directly “to the bosom and business of” young persons-it rectifies every principle, and controls every action—it prevents their attention from being relaxed by amusement, dissipated by levity, or overwhelmed by vice-it preserves them from falling & prey to the wicked examples of the world when they are in company, and from becoming slaves to their own turbulent appetites when they are in solitude. It is not occasional or desultory in its operation-on the contrary, it heaps “line upon line, and precept upon precept,”-it binds the commands of religion, for “a sign upon the hands of young men, and frontlets between their eyes,"—it is calculated to purify their desires, and to regulate their conduct, when they “sit in the house, and when they walk in the way;" when they "lie down in peace to take their rest," and when they “rise up” to' "go forth to their labor." Now, in tracing the progress of society, whether it be collected from the records of Revelation or the deductions of Philosophy, from oral tradition or from historical evidence, we find that men first assembled in small companies, which are generally to be looked upon rather as tribes under a chieftain than as nations under a king.
* By education, I all along mean not merely the act of inculcnting moral precepts and religions doctrine, but a series of discipline applied to the hearts and lives of young persons. I contend, however, that good instruction is instrumental in forming good habits.
The arts of policy were then confined to a narrow compass; the remains of private life were closely interwoven with those of public; and the education of children was subjected not only to the discretionary authority of parents, but to the immediate and frequent interpositions of lawgivers.
A custom which began among tribes continued afterwards in small States; and hence we find that by the laws of Sparta, the magistrates often laid down rules for training up children. But in larger kingdoms as in that of Persia, the system of instruction which fell under the notice of government, chiefly affected those who were born from noble parents, and intended for elevated stations. In states more civilized than Sparta, and more popular than Persia, the magistrates rather encouraged than directed education; and here we see it flourish with the greatest variety, and in the highest perfection. The man of fortune among the Athenians refined his manners by literal studios, enlarged his understanding in the schools of philosophy, and braced the powers of his body by the rough exercises of the gymnasia. But the lower citizens were content to acquire the art of reading, and hence among a people so fastidious and so high spirited as the Athenians were, "to be ignorant of letters," became a proverbial and poignant term of contempt. In our own country, the various plans of instruction are well adapted to the various classes of the community. Our public forms of education supply much of what was done in the larger states of antiquity, and by the methods taken for training up the children of the poor, we secure many of the benefits that were aimed at in the smaller. Accommodating thus our measures to the different exigencies of different times and places, we are at liberty to employ many expedients, which, in the distant and general view of a legislator, would be imperfectly provided for; and we avoid many inconveniences by which education would certainly be cramped, in consequence of rules indiscriminately prescribed and compul. .sorily enforced.
INDUSTRIAL ELEMENT IN SCHOOLS FOR THE POOR. A moderate proportion of work, at the discretion of a committee for that purpose, is to be allotted, and their earnings during that time are to be regularly accounted for, and in case any child should, by greater industry, earn beyond that proportion, it becomes the property of that child, and is to be set apart for his use. It will produce rewards for the diligent; it will furnish materials of employment for the idle; it will enable you to instruct more boys than hitherto have been instructed, in reading and writing; it takes nothing from those who now read and write. We beget in these children more regular habits of industry, and we convey to them a more exact knowledge of the little arts in which they are employed, than desultory and solitary labor can bestow. We do not impose upon them such severe toils as will entirely disable the diligent from contributing at home to the support of their parents. We give them instruction, which is in some measure connected with the more laborious employments to which they will be hereafter summoned ; and we provide, too, means of subsistence for seasons when the poor may derive many comforts yet unforeseen from the task you assign them. Those comforts may be found in change of place, in old age, or in an unprosperous state of trade,
BETTER EDUCATION OF GIRLS. Women are no longer considered as being, what the great God of heaven and earth never intended they should be, an useless incumbrance, or a glittering, but empty ornament. They are found to be capable both of contributing
367 to our conveniences, and of refining our pleasures. Their weakness is therefore protected, their fine sensibilities become the object of a regard that is founded on principle as well as on affection, and their talents are called forth into public notice. Hence the excellence which some of them have displayed, in the elegant accomplishments of painting, and music, and poetry; in the nice discriminations of biography; in the broader researches of history; in moral compositions, where the subject is not obscured by the arts of a quaint and spurious philosophy, but illuminated by the graces of an unaffected and natural eloquence; where, through the labyrinths in which are to be found the most hidden and complex principles of thought and action, we are conducted by the delicate and faithful clue of manners; and where, instead of being harassed by subtleties which beguile and weary the understanding, we are led, by a sort of magical attraction, through a long and varied train of sentiments, which charm and improve the heart. Hence the employment assigned to others in many different branches of manual labor. The employments which you have prescribed may be stretched almost through the whole circle of female duty and female economy, by those who are to pursue them. They contain whatever can be useful to them, whether as mistresses of little families which are their own, or as servants in the families of their superiors. They are calculated to cherish that prudence which is necessary in every station, and that cleanliness which is peculiarly ornamental to the female sex. They tend to produce such habits of industry as are connected with the immediate business of these little ones, and such, too, as they can with ease and with advantage carry into the very few domestic employments which are not directly included within our plan.
ADVANTAGES OF ENGLISH UNIVERSITIES.*
- This, I am aware, is not precisely the fittest opportunity for me to enter into a formal defense of them (the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford), or to expatiate upon their peculiar and indisputable advantages, upon those powerful correctives of singularity and frowardness which are found in the attrition of mind against mind on a spot where different classes live together under a system of general discipline, -upon the force of established rules in producing early habits of regularity and decorum,-upon the strong though easy yoke that is thrown over the impetuosity of youth,- upon the salutary influence among well impressed and well disposed young men, of that underta (youthful comradeship) which is so beautifully described, and so frequently extolled by the writers of antiquity,-upon the propensity of the heart unassailed by care, and untainted by selfishness, to form the best friendships from the best motives, -upon the generous sense of shame that must prevail among enlightened equals, observing the conduct of equals, and cultivating honor, not as a showy and artificial fashion, but as a natural sentiment, and even an indispensable duty,-upon the goodly effects that are wrought on the temper as well as taste, by the daily and hourly view of edifices, agreeable from convenience, or striking from magnificence, or venerable from antiquity,-upon the desire which pictures, statues, inscriptions, public harangues, and other local circumstances, may excite in men of vivid conceptions and glowing ambition, not merely to admire but to perpetuate and to share in the celebrity of places adorned through many successive ages by many bright luminaries of the schools, the pulpit, the bar, and the senate,-upon the tendency of well regulated amusements, and well directed studies, to plant within our bosoms those attachments to the seat of our education, which may afterwards expand into the love of our country,-upon the facility of access to well stored libraries,-upon the efficacy
* Note to the Spital Serinon, preached April 15, 1800.