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self command may be taught an infant ere it is three months old. It is capable of receiving instruction from the time at which it can perceive that it is a different thing to obey and not to obey.' It is true, that little progress can be made in learning to read, till the organs of speech and of sight have been farther exercised. But be it recollected, that the child has, while in its mother's arms, ACQUIRED A LANGUAGE. It has already learned the meaning of thousands of words ! If, then, in two or three months, it exercises restraint, and in a year or two achieves so marvellous an acquisition, should we doubt its capacity for moral discipline, and intellectual instruction?”—P. 10.
“'T'he period of infancy is, in short, the most favourable for the formation of HABITS ; for the formation of the habit of resistance to temptations, which is strengthened by every successive act of resistance, and the habit of performing right actions, which grows the earlier by every repetition of the practice. Such habits may be acquired without the actual inculcation of precept, as a language may be spoken accurately without a knowledge of its grammatical construction, and as a song may be sung without a knowledge of musical notation. It is the object of the infant school to form such habits; and, that no time may be lost at a period of such susceptibility, it commences instruction as soon as the child walks and speaks.”-P. 12.
Holding, as I do, the opinion that the principal aim of the system ought to be to take care of the personal safety of the child, and to seize the incidents that arise during its play for instilling moral sentiments, and teaching practical morality, I deem a school-room necessary only as a place of shelter and protection. If I saw all the children of a village pursuing their sports on the common, or in the green lane, or gathering king. cups in the yellow mead,' and some staid, sober, kindly-dispositioned person near them, not interrupting, but not unobservant of their amusement, and ready at all times to curb the tyrannical, to protect the weak, and to speak an affectionate admonition to all, as circumstances gave him the opportunity; and, if I saw him collecting them occasionally to join in such exercises as he might find best calculated to excite emulation, and to teach them with as little as possible of the show of teaching, that scene would seem to me the model of an infant school. Such a model would exhibit rather an extension than a diminution of the parental care; for the more the superintendence of the teacher can be made to represent the watchful and affectionate superintendence of the parent, the more perfect the system; and the parent, we know, can teach most effectively where the greatest number of objects present themselves to suggest INCIDENTAL TEACHING, and where there is a sufficient number of children to allow of the full play of the imitative and emulative faculties. Order and discipline are indeed essential parts of the system of infant school tuition, as they must be of every effective system of education ; but it is not that order that represses the sports of the child, nor that discipline which binds it to tasks beyond its years. Nor is a protracted confinement within walls other than an accidental part of the system, arising out of the changes of temperature in our variable climate, and the prevalence of cold and wet weather. I should be sorry, indeed, to see a child snatched from a piece of daisy-covered turf, or a bank of wild thyme, to be chained to the form of a joyless school, and hurried away to a close room, there to be held in thraldom by an austere, birch-flourishing pedagogue. The infant school system, as I understand it, and as I trust it is understood by the most influential of its supporters, does not step in to interrupt those sports in which the child experiences so much delight. It does not tear the happy being, rejoicing in the novelty of its young perceptions, from the fair works of creation, but it follows it into the scene of its enjoyments, and points from nature up to nature's God.”—P. 14.
“Considering a school-room but as a very insufficient substitute for the ample range which nature intended for childhood, the aim ought to be to make it airy and cheerful ;-airy for the sake of health, and cheerful because the promotion of cheerfulness and good humour is one of the main points of the system; as there can be no effective teaching .when a child is under the influence of slavish fear. I trust the time will never come when the desire to teach merely elementary knowledge, and to make a parade of early acquirement, will crowd a mass of wretched little beings into small and ill ventilated apartments. Anxious as I am for the spread of early tuition—always be it understood defining that tuition to be, principally, the regulation of the affections, and the practical inculcation of virtuous principles : anxious as I am that not a day should be lost in the attempt to arrest the fearful progress of moral evil, I should be well content to wait for years, rather than_see the adoption of the system under such a grievous error. To have the sound mind, we must have the sound body: and what miserable tenements for mind should we have if the rising population were confined in their childhood to the pestiferous air of a close school-room, to be transplanted thence into the dangerous chill of a weaver's cellar, or the heated atmosphere of a cotton factory ! Can there be
a doubt that the infant school system, leaving its moral effects entirely out of view, deserves adoption, were it only for the sake of thus promoting the health and securing the personal safety, of the rising generation ?-P. 18.
After comparing “ the moral atmosphere within and without the school,” and proving, beyond a doubt, that the system “offers advantages which ought to recommend it to immediate adoption,” Mr. Prentice goes on to say of it, “ It purposes not to teach those acquirements of which a boast may be made, nor to load the infant mind with knowledge which it cannot use; but, like an affectionate and pious mother, and an enlightened and reflecting father, to promote the enjoyments of the child, to check the first rising of evil dispositions, &c.”
“The infant school is, in short, a large family under the representative of such parents, and in it is taught all that such parents would teach-not for display-not in order to make a boast of early acquirements and precocious talents, but in the discharge of an important duty; while, in the discharge of that duty-in the conveying of those practical lessons which are to influence conduct through time, and the effects of which are to be experienced in eternity, it purposes to add to, rather than to diminish, the lively pleasures of infancy, by a delighted exercise of the opening faculties.”—P. 25.
Such are the sentiments of a most intelligent and benevolent mind, on a system which Mr. Donbavand regards with“ perfect horror !” If he tell me, these are not exactly the sort of schools to which he objects, my answer is, they are what he has been pleased to call “ Brougham's grannie schools,”-neither more nor less; with any imputed ignorance of which on his part he is excessively idignant. Out of this cleft stick I leave him to wriggle as best he may.
Mr. D. is surprized I should regard his allusion to the broken leg otherwise than as a joke. I never did regard it but as a joke, ani a very lame one too. The
adds little to his credit; but as I am willing to lift a lame dog over a stile, I will e'en inflict it again on the reader, that he may judge between us whether I said a word more of it than it deserved.
“ Children in the country should be suffered to roam about to gain bodily strength, during the first dozen years of their lives, tumbling through brake and fen,' and now and then nicely cracking a limb, by way of learning how to avoid such mishaps at a period of life when they will have no time to lose.-Brit. F. M., No. 38, p. 415.
NEW SERIES, vol. I, NO. I.
If the first dozen years of their lives are to be passed in this manner, what chance will the labouring classes ever have of acquiring even a smattering of education. After, and very often long before, this period, they are obliged to devote their whole time and attention to manual labour, in order to procure a livelihood.
I agree with your correspondent in thinking that the discussion of this question is not wholly irrelevant to the pages even of an agricultural work; if it is, let him bear in mind that he, and not I, provoked it.
SAML. TAYLOR. STOKE FERRY, Norfolk,
February 11, 1837.
EXTRACTS FROM THE DIARY OF A LATE EMINENT AGRICULTURIST.
(Continued from page 327, Vol. x.)
The following is an account of converting another field of old pasture into arable, and relaying it down again into grass. A somewhat different process was observed in this case, owing to the field being rather inferior in quality to that already spoken of. The sward was broken up early in December, prepared, and sowed with oats in March, as has already been detailed. Except that some few of the oat plants suffered from wireworm, the crop was, upon the whole, abundant, and the quality fine. Soon as the oats were cut and carried, the stubble was fallowed up as the commencement of a preparation for turnips, and precaution taken, and labour bestowed, to free the soil from grass roots, previous to laying on a coat of dress and lime, and drilling the seed in the month of the succeeding June. The turnips were also an abundant crop; and were eaten off by sheep, by the beginning of the following April. The ground was immediately got in order for drilled barley, and, when covered in, sowed with clover. After the clover was cut and carried, and the second crop closely eaten down with sheep, the plough was set to work, and wheat was immediately sown. After the wheat, the field was again got ready, and cropped with turnips; and, following these, barley and the seeds, to form the permanent pasture.
In every well-proportioned farm one-third should be meadow and pasture. Of the meadow ground a certain portion should be mowed in rotation, in order that the portion intended to be mowed should receive a coat of dung, during the month of December preceding. The dress, when carted on, should be regularly spread, that the grass may be equally nourished by the application.
Early in the spring the meadow is bush-harrowed, all stones carefully picked off, and then it must be rolled. No stock is put on from the time the dress is spread till the hay is carried. Time of cutting takes place according to the forwardness of the season ; but usually between the 10th and 20th of June. The process of hay-making has often been described, and when done according to some settled system, the work is expedited, the best qualities of the crop preserved, and ricked without risk of over-heating. The operations are as follow :
On the first day, all the grass cut before nine o'clock in the morning is tedded out, and
care is taken to shake it evenly over all the surface ; in the course of the forenoon, it is turned once or twice over. In the afternoon it is raked into single wind-rows; that is, each raker makes a row about two or three feet apart; and the last operation of this day, is, to put these wind-rows into what are called grass-cocks.
On the second day, the first business is tedding out what was left untedded on the first day, together with that mowed before nine o'clock of this day. Next, the grass-cocks are shaken out into staddle-rows, four or five yards wide, and the intervals between raked clean. The staddles are turned once twice in the forenoon, and the grass which was tedded in the morning, turned once or twice. In the afternoon, the staddles are raked into double wind-rows, and the grass that was tedded in the morning into single wind-rows. The last business is to put the double rows into larger cocks, and the single ones into grass-cocks.
On the third day, the business is proceeded with in the same order as before stated, as to tedding, turning, wind--rowing, grass-cocking, double-rowing, &c.; and, if there has been a continuance of fine weather, the large cocks, after being shook out and well sunned, will be in a fit state to carry to commence the rick, in the afternoon of the third day.
On every succeeding day, the same routine of operation is continued until the whole crop is secured in ricks. Showers of rain can only derange the process; but one special precaution is, to see that no portion of the crop be left uncocked dur