« AnteriorContinua »
bimself one; when he comes to relish, and pride himself in, manly vices, and thinks it a shame to be any longer under the control and conduct of another ; what can be hoped from even the most careful and discreet governor, when neither he has power to compel, nor his pupil a disposition to be persuaded; but, on the contrary, has the advice of warm blood, and prevailing fashion, to hearken to the temptations of his companions, just as wise as himself, rather than to the persuasions of his tutor, who is now looked on as the enemy of his freedom ? And when is a man so like to miscarry, as when at the same time he is both raw and unruly? This is the season of all his life, that most requires the eye and authority of his parents and friends to govern it. The flexibleness of the former part of a man's age, not yet grown up to be headstrong, makes it more governable and safe; and, in the after-part, reason and foresight begin a little to take place, and mind a man of his safety and improvement. The time therefore I should think the fittest for a young gentleman to be sent abroad, would be, either when he is younger, under a tutor, whom he might be the better for; or when he is some years older, without a governor; when he is of age to govern himself
, and make observations of what he finds in other countries worthy his notice, and that might be of use to him after his return: and when, too, being thoroughly acquainted with the laws and fashions, the natural and moral advantages and defects of his own country, he has something to exchange with those abroad, from whose conversation he hoped to reap any knowledge.
207. The ordering of travel otherwise, is that, I imagine, which makes so many young gentlemen come back so little improved by it. And if they do bring home with them any knowledge of the places and people they have seen, it is often an admiration of the worst and vainest practices they met with abroad; retaining a relish and memory of those things, wherein their liberty took its first swing, rather than of what should make them better and wiser after their return. And indeed, how can it be otherwise, going abroad at the age they do, under the care of another, who is to provide their necessaries, and make their observations for them? Thus, under the shelter and pretense of a governor, thinking themselves excused from standing upon their own legs, or being accountable for their own conduct, they very seldom trouble themselves with inquiries, or making useful observations of their own. Their thoughts run after play and pleasure, wherein they take it as a lessening to be controlled; but seldom trouble themselves to examine the designs, observe the address, and consider the arts, tempers and inclinations of men they meet with; that so that they may know how to comport themselves towards them. Here he that travels with them, is to screen them, get them out, when they have run themselves into the briars; and in all their miscarriages be answerable for them.
208. I confess, the knowledge of men is so great a skill, that it is not to be expected a young man should presently be perfect in it. But yet his going abroad is to little purpose, if travel does not sometimes open his eyes, make him cautious and wary, and accustom him to look beyond the outside, and, under the inoffensive guard of a civil and obliging carriage, keep himself free and safe in his conversation with strangers, and all sorts of people, without forfeiting their good opinion. He that is sent out to travel at the age, and with the thoughts of a man designing to improve himself
, may get into the conversation and acquaintance of persons of condition where he comes; which, though a thing of most advantage to a gentleman that travels, yet I ask, among our young men that go abroad under tutors, what one is there of an hundred, that ever visits any person of quality ? much less makes an acquaintance with such, from whose conversation he may learn what is good breeding in that country, and what is worth observation in it; though from such persons it is, one may learn more in one day, than in a year's rambling from one inn to another. Nor indeed is it to be wondered; for men of worth and parts will not easily admit the familiarity of boys, who yet need the care of a tutor: though a young gentleman and stranger, appearing like a man, and showing a desire to inform him. self in the custome, manners, laws, and government of the country he is in, will find welcome assistance and entertainment amongst the best and most knowing persons every where, who will be ready to receive, encourage, and countenance any ingenious and inquisitive foreigner.
209. This, how true soever it be, will not, I fear, alter the custom which has cast the time of travel upon the worst part of a man's life; but for reasons not taken from their improvement. The young lad must not be ventured abroad at eight or ten, for fear of what may happen to the tender child, though he then runs ten times less risk than at sixteen or eighteen. Nor must be stay at homo till that dange:ous heady age be over, because he must be back again by oneand-twenty, to marry and propagate. The father can not stay any longer for the portion, nor the mother for a new set of babies to play with; and so my young master, whatever comes on it, must have a wife looked out for him, by that time he is of age; though it would be no prejudice to his strength, his parts, or his issue, if it were respited for some time, and he had leave to get, in years and knowledge, the start a little of his children, who are often found to tread too near upon the heels their fathers, to the no great satisfaction either of son or father. But the young gentleman being got within view of matrimony, it is time to leave him to his mistress.
CONCLUSION. 210. Though I have now come to a conclusion of what obvious remarks havo suggested to me concerning education, I would not have it thought that I look on it as a just treatise on this subject. There are a thousand other things that may need consideration; especially if one should take in the various tempers, different inclinations, and particular defaults, that are to be found in children; and prescribe proper remedies. The variety is so great, that it would require a volume; vor would that reach it. Each man's mind has some peculiarity, as well as his face, that distinguishes him from all others; and there are possibly scarce two children, who can be conducted by exactly the same method. Besides that, I think a prince, a nobleman, and an ordinary gentleman's son, should have different ways of breeding. But having had here only some general views in reference to the main end and aims in education, and those designed for a gentleman's son, whom being then very little, I considered only as white paper, or wax, to be molded and fashioned as one pleases; I have touched little more than those heads, which I judged necessary for the breeding of a young gentleman of his condition in general; and have now published these my occasional thoughts, with this hope, that, though this be far from being a complete treatise on this subject, or such as that every one may find what will just fit his child in it; yet it may give some small light to those, whose concern for their dear little ones makes them so irregularly bold, that they dare venture to consult their own reason in the education of their children, rather than wholly to rely upon old custom.
THOUGHTS ON EDUCATION.
SELECTED FROM PUBLICATIONS BY HERBERT SPENCER,
I. PHYSICAL EDUCATION.*
IMPORTANCE OF PHYSICAL TRAINING.
1. To conform the regimen of the nursery and the school to the established truths of modern science this is the desideratum. It is time that the benefits which our sheep and oxen have for years past derived from the investigations of the laboratory, should be participated in by our children. Without calling in question the great importance of horse-training and pig-feeding, we would sug. gest that, as the rearing of well-grown men and women is also of some moment, the conclusions indicated by theory, and indorsed by practice, ought to be acted on in the last casu as in the first. Probably not a few will be startled-perhaps offended—by this collocation of ideas. But it is a fact not to be disputed, and to which we had best reconcile ourselves, that man is subject to the same organic laws as inferior creatures. No anatomist, no physiologist, no chemist, will for a moment hesitate to assert, that the general principles which rule over the vital processes in animals equally rule over the vital processes in man. And a candid admission of this fact is not without its reward: namely, that the truths established by observation and experiment on brutes, become more or less available for human guidance. Rudimentary as is the Science of Life, it has already attained to certain fundamental principles underlying the development of all organisms, the human included. That which has now to be done, and that which we shall endeavor in some measure to do, is to show the bear. ing of these fundamental principles upon the physical training of childhood and youth.
FOOD. 2. That over-feeding and under-feeding are both bad, is a truism. Of the two, however, the last is the worst. As writes a high authority, “the effects of casual repletion are less prejudicial, and more easily corrected, than those of inanition.”+ Add to which, that where there has been no injudicious interference, repletion will seldom occur. Excess is the vice rather of adults than of the young, who are rarely either gourmands or epicures, unless through the fault of those who rear them."! This system of restriction which many parents think so necessary, is based upon very inadequat observation, and very erroneous reasoning. There is an over-legislation in the nursery, as well as an overlegislation in the state; and one of the most injurious forms of it is this limitation in the quantity of food.
From an article in the British Quarterly Review-republished as Chapter IV., in "Educa tion-Intellectual, Moral and Physical.” Appleton. 1861.
“ Cyclopedia of Practical Medicine," * Ib.