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Messrs. SHELDON, of West Newton, a member of Dr. Lewis' class, and BULKLEY, of Brooklyn, spoke briefly in favor of the system, and the resolution was adopted.
DR. Lewis then spoke of some of the peculiarities of his system. It consists of two hundred and twenty-five exercises. Many of them are particularly adapted to children. Above all other exercises for children, running is the best. This will tend to give a large heart and lungs. His own family practiced running every morning. The bag exercise he considered admirably adapted to little folks. Shouting is good to improve the lungs. Dr. Lewis stated, at the close of his remarks, that if any person, in want of further information on the subject of his system, would address him at the Bank of the Republic, Boston, he would gladly respond.
The general subject of Calisthenics and Gymnastics was then taken up for consideration.
MR. MORTON, of Plymouth, suggested the necessity of caution in gymnastic exercises, especially for young persons and those of feeble constitutions. He thought they should be directed by a medical man.
DR. WELLINGTON, of Boston, said he understood the system of Dr. Ling, of Sweden, to differ from that of Dr. Lewis in making use of slow movements rather than rapid ones, to develop strength. The active, rapid motions, in which so much emulation is excited, tend to excite the brain too much. He would prefer slow, steady movements, decidedly. Nothing could be better, however, for persons who wish to get out of a state of ennui, than these rapid, exhilirating movements.
DR. GREGORY, of Boston, thought these exercises should be directed by a person well acquainted with anatomical and medical science. There is need of caution, especially among the girls.
MR. GREENLEAF thought the exercises should be varied according to the age of the pupils. In his long experience as a teacher, he had had young ladies from five to forty-two years of age, and he generally found that those who exercised most were the best scholars. When he had a difficult problem to solve he always preceded his effort by taking vigorous exercise. It is difficult to keep little children still. He had received a great many marks of affection from his early teachers, because it was so difficult for him to keep still. He would let them go out doors and run. He believed Dr. Lewis was doing a good work for the Commonwealth.
DR. LEWIS responded to the remarks of Dr. Wellington, fully agreeing that slow exercise is best for certain persons, and even passive exercise is best for some, in which another person is the agent, who simply rubs the skin or moves the muscles gently. But when people are well, rapid movements are infinitely preferable to slow ones.
Prof. E. L. YOUMANS, of New York, was then introduced as the Lecturer, whose subject was “ The Masquerade of the Elements.”
Several notices and invitations to visit Institutions in Boston were then read, and the invitations were accepted with thanks.
The Institute met at three and a half o'clock.
PROF. JAMES B. ANGELL, of Brown University, was introduced as the Lecturer, who spoke on “ Some of the Relations of Education to Labor.”
After a recess of five minutes, the Institute took up for discussion the question, “ Has purely intellectual culture a tendency to promote good morals ? "
The discussion was commenced by the Hon. GEORGE S. BOUTWELL, who spoke as follows :
For the purposes of this inquiry, I define good morals to be those practices, manners, and conduct, as social. beings, that conform to the law of right, and hence to the Divine law, in our relations with each other; and I limit the inquiry to those truths that may be found by the human mind, and without the aid of inspiration.
It may be proper to observe in the beginning, that the question itself assumes a distinction which does not exist. The division of the human faculties into intellectual and moral is an arbitrary one, established by writers on mental philosophy, but the line neither has been, nor can be, fixed. The intellectual cannot be eliminated from the moral faculties, nor can we conceive of the existence of moral powers without first assuming the presence of intellect. The street maxim, that “ One is not to blame for what he does not know,” is as divine in its idea as the declaration, “To whom much is given, of him shall much be required;" and both assume the existence of the intellect as the foundation, and its quality and development as the measure of moral responsibility. This statement will be supported by the most careful investigations into the nature of the human mind.
The intellect may be defined as that quality, or faculty, or power, by which we perceive mentally, — the physical organs being the servants of the mind, — whatever may be within the range of human observation. Whatever we see in the domain of nature, or animal life, exists; and the act of seeing, and the reflection that that which we see does exist, are purely intellectual operations ; but another reflection is sure to follow, which is intellectual in itself, but
moral in its results. We first see ; then by reflecting on what we see, or have seen, we conclude that things which are seen exist; and then next that what exists, exists of right. We have now entered the domain of morals, but still the operations employed are purely intellectual.
The law of the rightfulness of existence is in the fact of existence itself; yet the perception of the fact and of the law is an intellectual operation of the mind solely. So, too, the obligations which the presence of the law enforces upon us, are mentally discovered; but the obligations themselves are moral in the influence which they exert upon the conduct. Hence all moral truths are intellectually discerned.
The right of that to exist which does exist is the basis of a moral law which requires us to regard the right of existence as inherent in all that exists, but the law itself is nothing to us until we have intellectually seen that which exists; until we have intellectually deduced from existence the right to exist; and until we have also intellectually deduced from that right the moral rule which requires us to respect the right of existence in all that does exist. The moral rule which has thus been intellectually discerned, inhibits the sacrifice of life.
It would, in its logic, and without the aid of further intellectual investigations, apply to vegetable and merely animal, as well as to human life. But further intellectual investigations show that the destruction of life is the necessary condition of existence. Then we distinguish intellectually between the right to life in the vegetable, the animal, and the man, and the moral rule first discovered is materially and wisely modified. Thus, by the operations of the intellect we deduce the great primal law of social life, announced, though it has been and is, by special Divine declaration, “ Thou shalt not commit mur
der.” Corresponding intellectual investigations will lead to the discovery and demonstration of other moral truths and rules.
Practically, then, we cannot separate the intellectual from the moral; yet we may conceive the moral to be a judicial, intellectual power in man which constrains and restrains him in his actions. It is enthroned in and over the intellect as the opposite of those insensate fires of the blood, desire and passion, and is, or ought to be, to them a higher law. Hence it must follow that the culture of the intellect has a tendency to promote good morals.
Practically, the error among teachers is, that they often neglect to aid the pupils in those reflections of a moral nature, which are logically consequent upon the teachings previously given, and hence the student is left without the aids which ought to have been furnished. But it is also true that he is better prepared for further investigations, and more likely to enter upon them than he would have been, had his intellect been altogether neglected.
The lives of eminent men in ante-Christian ages, and in non-Christian countries, wonderfully demonstrate the value of purely intellectual culture in the ascertainment of moral truths, and even, sometimes, in the expression of thoughts of adoration and worship. The religion of the remote East teaches the disciple to feel for others as he feels for himself. Homer taught the doctrine that “ What to the poor we give to Jove is lent." And in this connection I venture to repeat the lines from Euripides, read by President Felton last evening. And this I do for the purpose of showing by example how the intellect, through observation and reflection, has logically deduced not moral truth and duties alone, which relate to ourselves as social beings, but the higher duties of adoration and worship.