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noticeable structures in the township. Around it is an ample area, well shaded in summer, shielded in winter, where children and youth may engage in those social and natural gymnastic exercises by which the body becomes a suitable vehicle for a well-developed and powerful soul. Entering its doors, you find in its apartments for the youngest children no elevated seats of torture, where the pedal extremities hang unsupported like broken wings, and where spinal diseases are generated, but seats adjusted to the nature of the human form divine. What physiological wisdom, what parental kindness, what sagacious provision for human welfare, what patriotic regard for the strength and perpetuity of a nation, are presented in the size and form of the seat for the infant to sit
upon at school! An imperfect one is an infallible betrayer of intellectual or moral barbarity.
The walls, too, I notice, in this school, are not blank, but the nature of the provision made on them for the exercise and for the instruction of the pupils, and for exerting an unconscious influence upon the temper, the present well-being, and the minds and hearts, of the people, shows the present character of the community: Are they clothed with works of art? Do we see around us apparatus for illustrating the laws of God in material motion and life? Does a copy of the Holy Scriptures rest on the desk of the teacher, and does it give evident signs of use ? Go through all the rooms of the building, and note the classification of the pupils, the books which they read and study, the language which they employ to the teachers and to each other, the apparatus of thought which they use, and you cannot fail to feel that more perhaps than in the court-room, more than in the legislative hall, more than in the camp or in the ship of war, you can see the intellectual and moral character of the nation embodied in the school.
The three great sources of positive power in this nation are the school, the Church, and leading individual minds. These are all blended together more or less, but each has an independent stand-place and power. These and society reciprocally affect each other, just as the steam-engine and the heavy load behind affect each other. If the steam-engine cease to exert any new power, it will yet move for a time by the very conservatism or previously acquired momentum of the load, and the two always regulate each other; so schools may be supported and run by society for a time after they are dead, but sooner or later this conservation of force by the very
friction of life will be worn out. The school is one of the vitalities, through which positive force, for good or evil, is poured into the nation.
The obvious and most direct advantages of the school have been dwelt upon too often to need examination; but there are other avenues through which its influences are exerted, and remoter manifestations of its power, which it may be well for us to consider.
God's works show the infinity of this perfection in the simplicity of their structure and the diversity of their benevolent products. The sun, for instance, was for thousands of years admired, and by some even worshipped, as the source of illumination and warmth, and these were all of its known blessings : but science teaches us that it can paint the portrait, or preserve at will any picture that we desire to make permanent; yes, that it is the source of all our material motion and life. It heaves the ocean, and lifts the cloud, and gathers the rivulets into the broad and flowing stream ; it stretches out the slender rootlet, and quivers in the leaves, and smiles in the flower; it moves the ponderous machine and the wings of the insect. Does it not heighten our admiration of the sun, does it not deepen our adoration of its Author, to perceive how numerous and complicated are its effects? But the same principle is illustrated in every other work of God. Each one is in all, and all is in each one.
The man who looks only at the direct advantages of our schools, at those arguments only which are always urged before the people when you would persuade them to consent to a tax for a better schoolhouse or teacher, or before legislatures when you would enlarge the school fund, oftentimes feels that Can you
schools do not make an adequate return for all the expenditure of money and toil. One of our most popular newspapers not long since had a labored editorial, which was quoted all over our country, describing the worthlessness of the education obtained in our common schools. Its course of argument was an ad hominem appeal, well calculated to deceive the unthinking. How much of all that you learned in school do you now remember? You who are in the prime of life, and have not been so situated as to review your childhood studies, try it. name and describe all the rivers that
could once ? Can you tell all the capitals of all the States, their latitudes and longitudes, and population? Can you recite all the rules in grammar, and all the exceptions? Can you rattle off those history lessons as you could once ? Please to give us the names of all the sovereigns of Great Britain. Let us hear all those tables of weights and measures that you could when a child repeat, without the variation of an inch or a scruple. Would you dare to measure out a prescription now in an apothecary's shop, with life or death in the mixture, according to your recollection of the table, that you could once repeat with parrot-like accuracy? Are you not compelled to say in rather a humiliating sense, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things”?
Now, I know not how it may be with other men; but as for myself, several times I have forgotten nearly all of such things that I ever knew. I could not possibly work out of my mind alone one-tenth part of what I learned as a school-boy and in college. I am inclined to think that this is the most common experience. I have taught book-keeping by single and double entry in my youth, but I should not be competent now without special study to keep properly the books of a retail trader. I would not depend upon my memory of the tables of measures in solving any practical problem in which my interests were concerned. I would consult the book.
We are not all constituted alike. always remember all the detail that they ever learn, but as a compensation must be deficient in other powers of thought.
Nen omnes omnin possumus. When a professor of mnemotechny approached Themistocles, with the promise of teaching him how to remember everything he ever knew, he wisely exclaimed, “Who will teach us the art of forgetful
The most of us do not need instruction in this art; and yet, in our finiteness, it is a valuable possession.
Grant, then, the premise of the editor, that the greater part of what our children learn in schools seems to be forgotten, what follows? That our schools are useless? That the labor thus expended is thrown