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Ornithological Society of London.
Grey, Sir George, Bart. M.P.
Gray, John Edward, Esq. F.R.S.
Hamilton, C. A. Esq.
Hamilton, H. G., Capt. R. N.
Hobhouse, Sir John, Bt. M. P.
Isherwood, R. Esq.
The Annual Subscription is
Mundy, F. C. Esq.
Swainson, W. Esq.
for Gentlemen, Two Guineas for Ladies, One Guinea. Gentlemen, Two Guineas for Ladies, One Guinea.
Wood, William Page, Esq.
Admission Fee for
ON ELEMENTARY EDUCATION E
BY JAMES SIMPSON, ADVOCATE.*
ELEMENTARY or primary education is that training of the faculties and communication of knowledge which ought to be imparted to every human being, from birth to the age of fourteen, without distinction of sex, rank, or condition in life. In no branch of human affairs have notions been more limited and erroneous than in this. The cause is, want of the requisite knowledge of the human constitution, bodily and mental, the improvement and right direction of which are, in its widest sense, sound education. Intellectual education solely, and that most defective in kind and degree, has hitherto engrossed the attention of the teacher of the young, while moral education is a novelty in society. Yet Locke and Milton, above a century and a half ago, conceived and expressed the opinion that moral training is paramount in importance, and ought to take the precedence of intellectual, which is chiefly useful as aiding the other more important branch in its grand object, the improvement and ultimate perfection of human happiness. Educationists are beginning to miss this vital branch of instruction : they find no institutions for it until infant schools were established. These have demonstrated its reality as a part of education, and, yet more-its practicability.
But the omission of moral education is only one symptom of that disease of ignorance on the great subject which afflicts society.
* Author of the "Philosophy of Education, with its application to a system of popular education as a natural system." Second Edition.
That ignorance itself must be removed. The human being, to be educated, must be understood in all the parts of his constitution, and his education-which is but another term for the improvement of that constitution-will follow in the necessary relation of cause and consequence. A correct physiology of body, and a true analysis of mind, must then be the very basis of a sound system of education. The first has been wellnigh attained, but the analyses of mind with which we have been presented by various and conflicting metaphysical systems are clearly inadequate to the desired end. These have all mistaken the modes in which the mind acts, for the faculties, the operations, and the powers of mind. Thus attention, perception, conception, consciousness, &c., were long taught as faculties, while they were terms for the mere working of faculties. To other and more fortunate philosophers it occurred to go in quest of powers to manifest attention, perception, conception, &c. They found these powers in the practical philosophy of every-day life— in the pages of the biographer, the novelist, the dramatist, and the poet; and observed that such writers owe their popularity to the just and true pictures of human nature which the adoption of these very impulses and faculties, as belonging to man, gave to their works, The same philosophers have connected these faculties with the physiology of the brain. Educationists, however, without inquiring into the truth of this alliance, have adopted the faculties themselves, and have thereby thrown a degree of light on the subject of education-have given it a system and a practical application, which have made it, compared with what it was, even in the best period of the older philosophy, another, a better, and a higher thing.
The teacher ought intimately to know and handle this new and powerful implement-this sound philosophy of human nature. He should never lose sight of the physical, animal, moral and intellectual nature of his pupil. He should have a competent knowledge of the structure and functions of the various parts of his body, so as to know how to train its powers and increase their vigour, as a condition of health and longevity. He should enumerate and know the uses of his animal tendencies, as well as their abuses— vice and crime. He should be familiar with the nature and func tions of his moral feelings, and have reliance on the influence of their right guidance to human happiness. Finally, he should know and distinguish all the intellectual powers, both for the acquisition and use of knowledge. The body is divided into parts or systems; namely, the system of the bones, the muscles, the blood-vessels,