Obrázky na stránke

see their lise in relation to society and the duties of her station. Without that, study will seem to her an abstract, fruitless, and painful toil. Of what use is it, they will say to themselves, to learn all these things which people do not talk about in conversation, and which have no relation to what we are obliged to do? It is necessary, therefore, to give them a reason for what we teach them. It is to enable you, you will say to them, to do well what you will have to do some day; it is to form your judgment; it is to accustom you to reason correctly about all the affairs of life. We should always show them a substantial and agreeable end which will sustain them in their labor, and never pretend to bring them into subjection by a base and absolute authority.

16. Note a great fault in the prevailing education: we put all the pleasure on one side, and all the irksomeness on the other; all the irksomeness in study, and all the pleasure in amusement. What can a child do but bear this rule impatiently, and ardently run after games?

Let us endeavor then to change this order: let us render study agreeable, let us conceal it under the appearance of liberty and pleasure; let us allow children sometimes to interrupt their studies with little flights of amusement; they have need of these distractions in order to rest their minds.

17. Let us come now to the things in which a woman ought to be instructed. What are her employments ? She is charged with the education of her children; with the boys up to a certain age, with the girls till they are married or enter a convent; with the management of servants, with their manners and duties; with the details of expense, with the means of doing everything economically and honorably; and ordinarily even with directing the estate and receiving its revenues.

The learning of women, as that of men, ought to be re

stricted to knowledge relating to their duties; the difference of their employments should make that of their studies. It is necessary therefore to limit the instruction of women to the things we have just mentioned. But an acquisitive woman will find that this is giving very narrow bounds to her desire for knowledge; she is mistaken; it is because she does not know the importance and the extent of the things in which I propose to have her instructed.

18. Though the difficulty of finding governesses is great, we must confess that there is another still greater; it is that of the irregularity of parents: all the rest is useless, unless they are willing to coöperate themselves in the work. The foundation of all is that they give their children only correct maxims and edifying examples. It is what one can hope for only in a very small number of families. In most homes we see only confusion, change, a crowd of wrong-headed servants, and disagreement of master and mistress. What a frightful school for children! Often a mother who passes her life at cards, at the theater, and in unbecoming conversation, complains in a grave tone that she can not find a governess capable of educating her daughters. But what can the best education do with girls in view of such a mother?

[blocks in formation]

Charles Rollin was a distinguished historian and educator. He is known in America chiefly through his “ Ancient History,” which a few decades ago was widely disseminated among our people. Though exhibiting a wide acquaintance with ancient writers, who are freely quoted, this work has been superseded in recent years by more critical histories.

Rollin was born in Paris, January 30, 1661. He was the son of a poor cutler, who intended to train up his son to the same trade; but happily the boy's talents were discovered by a Benedictine friar, who had him sent to the Collége du Plessis. He made rapid progress in his studies, especially in rhetoric and literature. Later he studied theology at the Sorbonne, the most celebrated of the Roman Catholic seminaries of France.

In 1688 he became professor of eloquence in the College of France. He encouraged the study of the French language and literature, and revived an interest in the ancient tongues, particularly in Greek. In 1694 he was appointed rector of the University of Paris, and signalized his brief tenure of two years by the introduction of salutary reforms. A few years later he was placed at the head of the College of Beauvais, where his great reputation soon filled the deserted halls with students. But his life, notwithstanding his eminence and piety, was not suffered to run smoothly. His adherence to Jansenism brought upon him the persecution of the Jesuits, and in 1712 he was forced to resign his office.

In 1720 he was called from his modest and busy retirement to assume again the management of the University as rector. Six years later he published his famous “Treatise on Studies,” or, as the title of the book reads, “ The Method of Teaching and Studying the Belles-Lettres." Apart from his own varied experience, Rollin drew his materials largely from Plato, Aristotle, and especially from Quintilian and Seneca ; but he profited also from the pedagogical labors of his contemporaries. Fénelon in particular is frequently quoted. The four volumes of the “ Treatise on Studies

" discusses in successive books the education of young children, the learning of languages, poetry, rhetoric, eloquence, history, and philosophy. It is the most comprehensive work on pedagogy that was written in the eighteenth century. Its great value was soon recognized, and translations of it were made into several foreign languages, including the English.

The following extract, with some unimportant omissions, constitutes Part First of Book VI., which is devoted to a discussion of "the government of classes and colleges.' Part Second of this book is devoted to "particular duties relating to the education of youth,” such as the diet of students, their studies, college discipline, religion, etc. The extract is remarkable for the emphasis it places on the moral and religious side of education, while its lofty aims and noble spirit are worthy of the high commendation the “ Treatise on Studies ” has received.



The education of youth has been always considered by the great philosophers and the most famous lawgivers as the most certain source of the tranquillity and happiness both

of private families and of states and empires. For what else, in short, is a republic or kingdom, but a large body, whose health and strength depend upon those of private families, which are the members and parts of it, and none of which can fail in the discharge of their function, but the whole body must be sensible of it? Now what is it but good education which enables all the citizens and great men, and princes above the rest, to perform their different functions in a deserving manner? Is it not evident that youth are as the nursery of the state? That it is renewed and perpetuated by them? That from among them all the fathers of families, all magistrates and ministers, in a word, all persons placed in authority and power are taken? And is it not certain that the good education of those who are one day to fill those places, will have an influence over the whole body of the state, and become, in a manner, the spirit and general character of the whole nation?

ARTICLE I.-What End We Should Propose to Ourselves

in Education.

If we consult our reason ever so little, it is easy to discern that the end which masters should have in view is not barely to teach their scholars Greek and Latin, to teach them to make exercises and verses, to charge their memory with facts and historical dates, to draw up syllogisms in form, or to trace lines and figures upon paper. These branches of learning I own are useful and valuable, but as means and not as the end; when they conduct us to other things, and not when we stop at them; when they serve us as preparation and instruments for better knowledge, without which the rest would be useless. Youth would have cause to complain, if they were condemned to spend eight or ten of the best years of their life in learning, at a great expense and with


« PredošláPokračovať »