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picion. Our meaning is, that there is nothing in the constitution, or in the manner of conducting the annual meetings calculated to prevent it. We have discharged an important, and in some respects an unpleasant duty. We had long noticed things in the arrangements of the American Education Society which seemed strange and novel ; but so full was our persuasion of the importance of the sacred cause, in which it was laboring, that we did not dare permit ourselves to think there was any error.
A closer examination of the constitution and rules, has convinced us that so imminent are the dangers connected with the operations of that Society, it would be treason to the cause of piety, any longer to be silent. We have not designedly distorted a single feature of the great Society whose claims to universal patronage we have canvassed. And we most devoutly pray God, that none of the evils anticipated may ever bappen, that the exertions of the Society, in a cause so noble and sacred may be a rich and lasting blessing to the Church and to the world.
Plans for the Government and Liberal Instruction of
Boys in large numbers ; as practised at Hazelwood School. Second edition. London, 1827.
THEORIES of Education are of all theories the most useless ; nay, sometimes positively pernicious. The general principles of the science, if science it may be called, are, in fact, the principles of the science of the human mind, with which, not only every pedagogue, (whether schoolmaster, tutor, or professor,) but every man whose business brings him into collision with his fellow minds should be well acquainted.
Notwithstanding all the plans, and systems, and discoveries in this department, which have been ushered into the world, within the last fifty years, with so much pomp and assurance, we are still of opinion that much fewer substantial improvements have been made than is generally supposed. The solid glories of the more antiquated, “monastic," and labor-imposing methods, under which the gigantic minds of the last century were formed, are not entirely eclipsed by the more modern, “ cheerful," " practical,” and labor-saving methods which would clamourously oust their predecessors from their long undisputed possessions.
We are thus sceptical, because we are tolerably well acquainted with the difficulties of education. These difficulties, which we cannot now stop to enumerate, spring from the character of the pupil, from the parent or guardian, from the
public sentiment, and especially from the character and qualifications of the teachers and governors.
In regard to the pupils, no two can be found to whom precisely the same system is adapted. Every parent knows this even in a small family. If fifty, eighty, one hundred, or two hundred pupils are congregated together, the difficulties of successful government are greatly increased, and, we might add, in a geometrical, rather than in an arithmetical ratio.
In regard to parents, every one who begins to look around him for a suitable school for his boys, has his own crude views of education, to which no school in existence is sufficiently conformed. One school is too near, another is too remote; one is too rigid, another is too lax; one teaches every thing, another teaches nothing; one is too cheap, another is too dear; one is too republican, another is too aristocratical; one has too many pupils, another has too few; one is too formal and ostentatious, another is too simple and unassuming. There are some parents whose expectations in regard to their children, never will be realized, because it is impossible, in the nature of things, that they ever should be. The teacher has a hard task of it, if he attempts to please all; a painful one, if he succeeds in pleasing a few ; and a most servile one, if he is able, by means which a man of sterling dignity and independence would scorn to use, to call forth the praises of the majority.
Public sentiment, in our land at least, sways the sceptre. It is not only difficult, but, in many cases, impossible for a teacher to array himself against this hydra. Or, if he has the hardihood to attempt it, he retires from the contest with a good conscience and a prospect of starvation.
The excitement on the subject of education, which per. vades, at present, the civilized world, will, if it receive a right direction, undoubtedly exert a favourable influence upon the public sentiment. Already the standard of intel
lectual culture has been elevated; the bearing of education upon individual and national prosperity has been better appreciated; the employment of a teacher of youth is assuming the rank which it deserves ; a higher degree of moral as well as intellectual worth is beginning to be expected in those who occupy stations of such influence; and the press teems with essays, which are leading to the adoption of important plans, and the modification of existing systems, to meet the additional demands of the present age.
On this score, the difficulties which the instructer has to encounter are immensely serviceable to the community, because they render it necessary for him to strain every nerve in forming and sustaining his intellectual character. But in some particulars the public sentiment is exerting a somewhat deleterious influence. We have no doubt that this influence will be temporary, because it is in the nature of most abuses to work out their own remedy. We allude, among other things, to the fashion, which seems to us to be in a good degree countenanced by the public sentiment, of placing, with all due parade, our public or private schools, upon the shoulders of some sixty or eighty sturdy sons of literature, who condescend to carry and recommend the bantling as a child of extraordinary promise.
In regard to the character and qualifications of an instructer, we hope to be able to say something below; and will only add, that we are deliberately of opinion, that not one in a hundred is “cut out" for a teacher of youth, and not one in a thousand, for a good disciplinarian.
The number of schools for the education of boys, in this country and in Europe, so far from affording any ground for discouragement to the teacher, who may wish to try his fortune in this way, may be hailed as an auspicious omen. It indicates a general degree of interest in the subject, an excitement, a public feeling and countenance. That the supply of pupils is likely to fail, at least on this side of the At
lantic, where every circumstance encourages population, will certainly not be pretended by our wisest political economists. We allude to this, for the consolation of well-meaning pedagogues, who are fearful that before the year 1840, there will be more schools than pupils.
Besides, we are inclined to believe, and experience is daily confirming us in this belief, that there may be more than one method of educating boys-even those of the same standing and prospects in life. All may be substantially right, or embrace enough of good to stamp the character of excellence and usefulness upon them ; while the particular means employed to attain this end, may differ widely from each other, and would seem to promise very different, and even opposite results. It would not be safe to conclude, that of so many apparently conflicting systems, a few only can be valuable, while the far greater number are specious and hollow. Many of these institutions adapt themselves to a particular description of pupils, and aim to supply some acknowledged deficiency; or, as in our own case, are designed to meet some peculiar demand, growing out of the singular and interesting attitude of the Republic.
The various modes of education, which justly claim our regard on account of their amount of solid usefulness, and their long continued success, are not like straight paths, of which one alone can ever reach an object from a given point. They are bye-paths, remote at times from each other, and leading through plains, or forests, or flowery fields; over the noisy brook or the silent river ; by the mountain side, or through lofty passes ; but all arriving at the wished for land. One traveller, it is true, may reach this spot, torn by the brambles, bespattered with mud, and emaciated with toil ; and another may arrive there as clean and fresh, and nice, as if he had just emerged “from my Lady's band box.” Still they are there, liberally educated. The only difference, (no small matter we confess,) will be, that one is cal.