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History of the United States, from their first settlement as Colonies, to the close of the War with Great Britain, in 1815. New-York, 1825. 12mo. pp. 336. The day, we believe, is past, when a teacher could, with any advantage to his own reputation, make Tytler's or any other general history, the first book in his pupil's historical studies. But a serious error of a similar kind is still tolerated: we mean that of making a general history of our own country, precede a particular account of any part of it. The order of nature, the order of the mind, is still inverted; our youth are taught first the history of the United States; and afterwards they pick up, if they think proper, a few disjointed facts in the history of their own particular state. By a most unaccountable perversion of reason, the study of the history of one's own state, is thought to be the proper employment of men only, and of none but such men as possess literature and leisure enough to become members of an historical society. That this is a sad mistake needs no proof. The point needs no reasoning to make it clear, that it is vastly more important to our youth, as rising members of states and towns, to know something of their own state or town, than of any other, or of all others put together. Besides, there can be no better preparation for a knowledge of the general history of our country, than that thorough acquaintance with the history of our native state, which would give form and distinctness to our ideas of historical facts. Let them show piety at home, was the direction given of old to the young. The spirit of this injunction we should like to see transferred to the cultivation of the principle of patriotism, and, to what with the young is almost the same thing, the study of history. No improvement, we conceive, could be more desirable in our common schools, than to have them furnished with an historical account of the state, and, perhaps, the city or town to which they belong. We know of no way in which the most eminent writers of any state, could be more worthily employed, than in furnishing our youth with a history of their native state. The minds of the young would thus be provided with a stock of important practical information, and with a record of facts, which might interweave itself with the texture of their earliest thoughts and feelings, and lead to a sound and deep-felt attachment to the scenes and the society of their native region. To the youth of the city of New-York, no history could be more instructive or more entertaining, no class-book could be more acceptable than a history of that city, adapted to the use of schools,
and combined with such interesting topographical sketches as might serve for rallying points to the historical narrative. Local feelings of an exclusive character are to be deprecated; but local feelings of the proper kind must, after all, be the germ of patriotism. The true patriotic spirit is but an expansion of the feelings, with which the virtuous ever regard the place of their birth and education. The work before us is liable to the objection which we have expressed at the beginning of this article. Being designed for school use, it has been limited to the common size of school-books. The history of the United States is a subject too extensive for such limits; and the consequence is, that when, by a judicious arrangement, the youth of New-York might have been furnished with a full history of their native state or city, they are presented with a mere outline of the history of the whole country. The chief objection, however, which we make to this work is its brevity. In other respects the book is well-arranged and wellwritten. Better that young persons should have the knowledge it contains, than none ; but better still that the labors of the writer should be employed on a satisfactory historical account of the state or of the city of New-York,—a work which would be highly useful, and, we think, no less acceptable. INTELLIGENCE. ACADEMY OF EDUCATION IN FRANCE. In France, the training of teachers has been considered as having so essential a connection with the progress of education as to have engaged a considerable number of the most enlightened and philanthropic gentlemen of the capital, to form a society for the express purpose of advancing the art of teaching. Its title is 'La Societe pour le perfectionnement des methodes d'enseigment.' At a general meeting of this society held the 5th of March, 1822, several discourses were made illustrating the objects of the association, and enforcing their importance. The following extract from one of these discourses, gives us an account of the origin of the society.
'Most of the founders of this society belong to another, which it would be unbecoming on this occasion to eulogise, since a great number amongst you are in its ranks. I shall only remark, that the 'Society for Elementary Instruction' has restored to France the method of tnutual instruction, which here took its rise, but which, abandoned and forgotten, has returned amongst us as a child which, having escaped from the paternal roof before its habits were formed, re-appears when least expected, full of vigor, and covered with glory. The method of mutual instruction, one of the happiest discoveries of modern times, will form a grand epoch in the history of civilisation. Simple and easy, because it is natural, economical of time and money, it has above all other advantages that of being eminently moral, and of inspiring, without any studied preparation, as without effort, ideas of order, subordination, and justice. The society formed at Paris, for the encouragement of tins beneficent method, wished to place itself in a capacity to judge of the efforts which are making in so many places for the improvement of education either by the application of mutual instruction, or by any other means.
'It has wished to keep a single eye to its proper object, the perfection and propagation of primary education; but many of its members have been unwilling to suffer so many honorable trials and experiments to pass fruitless away, they have had the ambition of giving to France an idea of what might be considered an Academy of Education: they have founded this society.
'Permit me, gentlemen, to remind you, that the society of elementary instruction, which has given birth to yours, was itself a colony of the useful "Society for the encouragement of national industry." It is thus that ideas of public good, link together, and fortify themselves by reciprocal alliances, and by the spirit of association; instruction and industry are inseparable sisters.
'It is delightful to see them engage in the same route, to obtain the same common end, the well-being of man, and the free developement of his true dignity and wisdom.*
'Your council has been for some time occupied in the project of a Model School, destined to bring into trial, and to offer the model of those methods, which the society shall have discovered to be of the greatest importance, and the most desirable application. In order to act with greater order and promptitude, it divided itself into committees of primary instruction, of the French, Latin, and Greek languages, of the living languages, of Geography and History ; of the mathematical, physical, and natural Sciences; of Drawing and Music; and of the general organisation and materiel of schools.
'Many resorts have been made, a great number of methods have passed under review, but obstacles have presented themselves to the general execution of the project which renders its postponement unavoidable." * The judicious author of this report, could scarcely have anticipated the admirable illustration which this sentiment has received in the extensive formation of mechanic institutions, in England, Scotland, and the United States, chiefly since the period in which it was presented. GENERAL KNOWLEDGE SOCIETT.
A provisional committee has been formed for establishing, in England, a society to be designated the 'Society for promoting General Knowledge ;' the object of which shall be the publication of approved works in the various branches of useful knowledge, especial regard being had to their religious and moral tendency. The price is to be so low as to bring them within the reach of the public in general. There is reason to believe that a similar institution will be formed at Paris. The works to be published by this society will include religious and moral, historical, scientific, and miscellaneous. Every thing exclusive, whether in religion or politics, it is stated, will be carefully sbunned. Cheap reprints of standard and unexceptionable works will form a prominent part of the society's labors. In some cases, however, new treatises will be required. It is intended that extensive and varied knowledge shall be made subservient to the interests of religion and virtue, and a powerful counteraction thus afforded to the pernicious publications at present in fearfolly wide circulation. The books of the Society, it is added, will be peculiarly adapted, both in matter and price, to mechanic's institutes, and it is hoped, will turn to good account the appetite for reading so widely diffused and so rapidly increasing. [Ch. Obs. Jlvg. 1825.
NEW PLAN OF INSTRUCTION. [The following statement relating to a plan of instruction for the poor, is from the Monthly Repository of August, 1825. The experiment here alluded to was made at Linfield, in the county of Sussex, England.]
'Some benevolent individuals, conceiving that the labor of children might be made to pay for their education, have united and built schoolrooms, at the above place, of sufficient capacity for 200 boys and 200 girls During one part of the day, (from nine to twelve) the children are to be taught reading, writing, and arithmetic. In the other part, (from two to five,) the boys will be instructed (in classes) in agricultural labor, when the weather permits, and in some of the most useful mechanical arts; while the girls will be employed in needlework, the duties of the household and dairy, making butter, knitting, strawplaiting, and, in short, every species of domestic industry that will contribute to make them valuable servants. At the commencement, the parents or friends of each child will pay threepence a week for its education; but the projectors of the undertaking are confident that experience will soon confirm their theory, that the produce of three hours' labor of each child per day, will pay the expenses of the establishment; in which case the weekly charge will altogether cease.— This is an undertaking worthy of the exertions of the greatest philosopher and of the most ardent philanthropist. To make the peasantry of our country virtuous, by affording them the means of an independent, economical education, to eradicate the root of evil, ignorance, is an attempt worthy of a Briton, and of a Briton, too, in the nineteenth century.'
* NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF THE UNITED STATES. [The following information on this subject will no doubt be interesting to our readers. It is truly gratifying to observe this topic so happily introduced to the attention of Congress.] Extract from the President's Message.
'Uroit this first occasion of addressing the Legislature of the Union, with which 1 have been honored, in presenting to their view the execution, so far as it has been effected, of the measures sanctioned by them, for promoting the internal improvement of our country, I cannot close the communication without recommending to their calm and persevering consideration the general principle in a more enlarged extent. The great object of the institution of civil government, is the improvement of the condition of those who are parties to the social compact. And no government, in whatever form constituted, can accomplish the lawful ends of its institution, but in proportion as it improves the condition of those over whom it is established. Roads and canals, by multiplying and facilitating the communications and intercourse between distant regions, and multitudes of men, are among the most important means of improvement. But moral, political, intellectual improvement, are duties assigned, by the Author of our existence, to social, no less than to individual man. For the fulfilment of these duties, governments are invested with power; and, to the attainment of the end, the progressive improvement of the condition of the governed, the exercise of delegated power, is a duty as sacred and indispensable, as the usurpation of power not granted is criminal and odious. Among the first, perhaps the very first instruments for the improvement of the condition of men, is knowledge; and to the acquisition of much of the knowledge adapted to the wants, the comforts, and enjoyments, of human life, public institutions and seminaries of learning are essential. So convinced of this was the first of my predecessors in this office, now first in the memory, as living, he was first in the hearts of our country, that, once and again, in his addresses to the congresses, with whom be co-operated in the public service, he earnestly recommended the establishment of seminaries of learning, to prepare for all the emergencies of peace and war—a national university, and a military academy. With respect to the latter, had he lived to the present day, in turning his eyes to the institution at West Point, he would have enjoyed the gratification of his most earnest wishes. But, in surveying the city which has been honored with his name,
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