Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHRESTOMATHIC (a) INSTRUCTION TABLES. TABLE I. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 8 (Chrestomathia, Essays on Logic and Grammar, Tracts on Poor Laws, Tracts on Spanish Affairs)
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CHRESTOMATHIC (a) INSTRUCTION TABLES. TABLE I. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 8 (Chrestomathia, Essays on Logic and Grammar, Tracts on Poor Laws, Tracts on Spanish Affairs) 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). In 11 vols. Volume 8.
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CHRESTOMATHIC (a) INSTRUCTION TABLES. TABLE I.
Showing the several branches of INTELLECTUAL INSTRUCTION, included in the aggregate course, proposed to be carried on in the Chrestomathic school: together with the several STAGES, into which the course is proposed to be divided: accompanied with a brief view of the ADVANTAGES derivable from such Instruction: together with an intimation of the REASONS, by which the ORDER OF PRIORITY, herein observed, was suggested; and a List of BRANCHES OF INSTRUCTION OMITTED, with an indication of the Grounds of the omission.
N. B.—The hard words, viz. those derived from the Greek or Latin, are throughout explained. Through necessity alone are they here employed. Under almost every one of these names will be found included objects already familiar in every family; even to children who have but just learnt to read.
derivable from Learning, or Intellectual Instruction: viz.
I.From Learning as such;—in whatsoever particularshapeobtained.
1. Securing to the possessor a proportionable share of general respect.
2. Security against ennui, viz. the condition of him who, for want of something in prospect that would afford him pleasure, knows not what to do with himself a malady, to which, on retirement, men of business are particularly exposed. (1.)
3. Security against inordinate sensuality, and its mischievous consequences. (2.)
4. Security against idleness, and consequent mischievousness.(3.)
5. Security for admission into, and agreeable intercourse with, good company: i. e. company in, or from which, present and harmless pleasure, or future profit or security, or both, may be obtained.
II.From Learning, in this or that particularshape,and more especially from the proposed course ofIntellectual Instruction.
1. Multitude and extent of the branches of useful skill and knowledge: the possession of which is promised by this system, and at an early age. (4.)
2. Increased chance of lighting upon pursuits and employments most suitable to the powers and inclinations of the youthful mind, in every individual case. (5.)
3. General strength of mind derivable from that multitude and extent of the branches of knowledge included in this course of instruction. (6.)
4. Communication of mental strength considered in its application to the business chosen by each pupil, whatever that business may be. (7.)
5. Giving to the youthful mind habits of order applicable to the most familiar, as well as to the highest purposes: good order, the great source of internal tranquillity, and instrument of good management. See Stage V. (8.)
6. Possession of sources of comfort in various shapes, and security against discomfort in various shapes. See, in particular, Stages III. and IV.
7. Security of life, as well as health: that blessing, without which no such thing as comfort can have place. See Stage IV.
8. Security afforded against groundless terrors, mischievous impostures, and self-delusions. See Stages II. III. and IV. (9.)
9. Securing an unexampled choice of well-informed companions through life. (10.)
10. Affording to parents a more than ordinary relief from the labour, anxiety, and expense of time necessary to personal inspection. (11.)
11. Unexampled cheapness of the instruction, in proportion to its value. (12.)
12. Least generally useful branches last administered; and thence, in case of necessity, omissible with least loss. (13.)
13. Need and practice of corporeal punishment superseded: thence masters preserved from the guilt and reproach of cruelty and injustice. (14.)
14. Affording, to the first race of scholars, a mark of particular distinction and recommendation. (15.)
15. Enlargement given to each scholar’s field of occupation. (16.)
1. Supposed impracticability. Granting your endeavour to be good, the accomplishment of it will not be possible. (17.)
2. Disregard shown to classical learning, and other polite accomplishments. (18.)
3. Superficiality and confusedness of the conceptions thus obtainable. (19.)
4. Uppishness a probable result of the distinctions thus obtained. (20.)
of the proposed, to the existing great schools, universities, and other Didactic institutions. (21.)
Obstacles and Encouragements.(22.)
Adverse Prejudices obviated.
1. Novelty of the plan. (23.)
2. Abstruseness of the subjects. (24.)
General Concluding Observations.(25.)
GROUNDS OF PRIORITY;
Or circumstances, on which, as between one subject of intellectual instruction and another, the order of priority in which they are most advantageously taught, depends.
1. On the part of the mind, the relative degree of preparedness, with relation to the subject and mode of instruction in question.
2. The natural pleasantness(26.) of the subject.
3. The artificial pleasantness (27.) given to the subject, or mode of instruction.
Observations as to relative preparedness.
I.Circumstances on which suchpreparednessdepends.
1. Corporeal ideas find the mind earlier prepared for their reception than incorporeal ones. (28.)
2. Concrete, than abstract ones. (29.)
3. Ideas find the mind the earlier prepared for their reception, 1. the less they have in them of an incorporeal nature, 2. the less extensive, 3. numerous, 4. various, and 5. complex or complicated(30.) they are; and the less they include of what belongs to the relation between cause and effect.(31.)
II.Circumstances, on which suchpreparednessdoes not depend.
1. The name, more or less familiar or abstruse, of the art or science(32.) under which the particular subject or object in question has been ranked.
2. The antiquity(33.) of the art or science, i. e. the length of time since the study of it happened to come into use.
3. The number of the persons who, in the respective capacities of learners and teachers(34.) happen to be, at the time in question, occupied in the art or science.
N. B.—Before entrance, the degree of preparedness will, in the instance of each scholar, be ascertained by examination. After entrance, it may, in relation to an indefinite number of branches of instruction, and to an indefinite amount in each, happen to it to receive increase from sources external to the school. But of any such increase (the whole being casual) no account can, to any such purpose as that of modifying the course of the school instruction, be taken. The absence of all such increase is, therefore, the only supposition upon which any arrangement can be built.
INTRODUCTORY, Preparatory, or Elementary STAGE. (35.)
And see Stage I.
Stage III. (64.)
BRANCHES OF INSTRUCTION omitted; viz. on one or more of the ensuing GROUNDS; to wit,
I. School-Room insufficient. (93.)
II. Admission pregnant with exclusion. (94.)
III. Time of life too early. (95.)
IV. Utility not sufficiently general; viz. as being limited to particular ranks or professions. (96.)
☞ In the instance of each branch, indication is given of the ground or grounds of omission, by the numerals prefixed as above.
I. Gymnastic Exercises.(97.)
1. Dancing. i.
2. Riding (the Great Horse.) i. iii.
3. Fencing. i. iii. iv.
4. Military Exercise. (98.)i.
II. Fine Arts.
III. Applications of Mechanics and Chemistry.
IV. Belles Lettres.
V. Moral Arts and Sciences.
VI. All-directing Art and Science.
23. Logic (by some called Metaphysics.) iii.
N. B.—In regard to several of the branches in this list, the proposition by which the omission is prescribed, as likewise the Ground on which it is prescribed, may, in some way or other, be found susceptible of modification. But whatever may, in this or that instance, be thought of the filling up, the scheme of the outline may, it is hoped, be found to have its use.
☞ It is supposed that few, if any, existing branches of Art or Science can be found, which are not included in one or other of the Denominations inserted in this Table. In so far as this is the case, it may, in some measure, serve the purpose of an Encyclopædical sketch.
[(a.)] [Chrestomathic.] A word, formed from two Greek words, signifying conducive to useful learning. After it was framed, it was found employed in a book of the seventeenth century,* and would probably be to be found in other books.
[* ] An allusion, probably, to the Chrestomathia of Helladins published with notes by Meursius in 1686.—Ed.
[(1.)] For this sort of uneasy sensation, to which everywhere the human mind is exposed, the English language, in general, so much more copious than the French, affords no single worded appellative. The word ennui expresses the species of uneasiness; désœuvrement, another word for which the English language furnishes no equivalent, expresses the cause of the uneasiness. Ennui is the state of uneasiness, felt by him whose mind unoccupied, but without reproach, is on the look out for pleasure; pleasure in some one or more of all shapes; and beholds at the time no source which promises to afford it: désœuvrement is the state in which the mind, seeing before it nothing to be done, nothing in the shape of business or amusement which promises either security against pain or possession of pleasure, is left a prey to the sort of uneasiness just designated.
In the extent and variety of the ideas obtainable by instruction, are found security for that profit-yielding employment, commonly designated by the words livelihood and business; for the necessary security against the accidents of all sorts by which well-being may be impaired and being destroyed. For the designation of the means of securing being and well-being, the words—calling, vocation, and occupation, were commonly employed by our forefathers, meaning always, on these occasions, profit-yielding occupation, as the words—business, the means of livelihood, are employed by us their successors. The word avocation, a most incompetent and equivocal term, has of late years been vulgarly, and we may almost say commonly, obtruded upon the words calling, vocation, employment. A vocation is a calling; an avocation is a calling off Engaged in an avocation, a man is engaged in that, whereby being called off from everything, he is not left free to apply himself to anything.
In this same case, in which so efficient a security is afforded against pain in all its shapes, as well as against the extinction of all pleasures, may be seen an equally efficient and much more extensively necessary security against the pain of mental vacuity or ennui.
It is true, to a mind engaged in the toil of business, a state of repose is in the intervals of business a state of pleasure. For a time, yes; but, especially when the nature of the business includes not in it anything peculiarly toilsome, that time must be short, otherwise the pain of ennui soon succeeds to the pleasure of repose.
During the life of him who continues in business to the end of it, this pain seldom exceeds the measure of a slight uneasiness. But when remembering the anxieties, as well as toils, under which he had been labouring in the course of his business, the man of business seeks, in the absence of this source of toil and anxiety, a source of perpetual pleasure, he finds too often that the mere pleasure of repose is but a short-lived pleasure, and that its place is soon occupied by a pain of ennui which ends but with life.
To this pain of ennui, to which the man of industry is exposed only towards the end of his career, the man of hereditary opulence stands exposed throughout the whole course of it. It is the endemical disease that hovers over the couch of him whose mind, though encompassed with the elements of felicity in the richest profusion, allows them, by neglecting them, to play a comparatively passive part. From uneasiness of this sort, the mind of him who has cultivated no more than a single branch of art or science, possesses a rarely insufficient policy of insurance. How much more complete the security of him who possesses in his own mind a richly stocked and variegated garden of art and science!
Of the value of this kind of advantage, a more striking and instructive example is scarcely to be found than that which is afforded by the case of Mr Beardmore, as reported in the Obituary of the “Gentleman’s Magazine” for February 1814. “Died, Feb. 13, of a gradual decline, after having passed his grand climacteric with less visitation from indisposition of mind or body than happens to mankind in general, at his house in Owen’s Row, Islington; calm from philosophical considerations, and resigned upon truly Christian principles; beloved, esteemed, and regretted by all who knew his worth, John Beardmore, Esq., formerly of the great porter-brewing firm of Calvert and Co., in Redcross Street, London. A stronger evidence of the fallaciousness of human joys, and of the advantages resulting from honest employment, can scarcely be pointed out than the life, the illness, and the death of this good man exhibited. Mr Beardmore was born in dependent circumstances, and of humble parentage, in the country. His constitution, naturally sound, was hardened by exercise; his frame of body, naturally athletic, was braced by temperance; his mind, naturally capacious, owed little to regular education. The theatre of life was his school and university, and in it he passed through all his degrees with increasing honours. For many years after his residence in London, Mr Beardmore acted as a clerk in the brewery in which he finally became a distinguished partner. When it was deemed proper to transfer the concern from Redcross Street, and to consolidate it with that in Campion Lane, Upper Thames Street, Mr Beardmore withdrew himself entirely from business, and retired to one of the houses which his brother William had left him at Islington, by will at his decease, some years before. From inclination active, and from habit indefatigably industrious, he had hitherto commanded such an exuberant flow of good spirits as made him the object of general remark among friends, whom his kindness and vivacity delighted. Early rising contributed much to the support of this happy and equable temperament. He preserved a memory richly stored with pleasant anecdotes, sprightly remarks, and useful information on a great variety of topics, derived not from books, but from living studies. He had acquired also a lively, popular facility of singing easy songs, to which a tuneful voice gave tolerable execution. For dull sedentary investigations of abstract science; for plodding mechanical, uninterrupted pursuits of didactic instruction, classical learning, or moral and theological knowledge, the gay, the heartsome John Beardmore, felt no wish, and avowed no relish. He was, as he often proudly declared, a ‘true-born Englishman.’ Humane by natural feelings, and charitable by a sense of religious duty, he passed through a life of honourable toil in business with an easy mind, with a light heart, and with an unsullied reputation. From the fatal hour in which he quitted business, however, he grew insensibly more and more the victim of listlessness and ennui. With high animal spirits; with a mind still active, and a body still robust; with confirmed health, independent property, an amiable wife, a plentiful table, and a social neighbourhood, Mr Beardmore was no longer ‘at home’ in his own house. The mainspring of action was now stopped. In all his pleasures, in all his engagements, for the day, for the week, or for the month, he was conscious of a vacuum, that, alas! his want of intellectual resources rendered him utterly unable to supply; he experienced now, perhaps for the first time, that intolerable tædium vitæ, which, like hope deferred, ‘maketh the heart sick.’ The result is soon told. Long did he bear up against the clouds that obscured his little horizon of domestic repose; at times, indeed, transient flashes of cheerfulness still gleamed athwart the gathering gloom; but the intervals between these bright seasons grew longer, and even their short duration lessened. Want of customary application brought on relaxation of activity; want of exercise brought on langour of body and depression of spirits; a train of evils ensued, comprising loss of appetite, nervous affections, debility mental and corporeal, despondency, sleeplessness, decay of nature, difficulty of respiration, weariness, pain and death.”
Advantage Third Security against inordinate sensuality, and its mischievous consequences.
[(2.)] Against the pleasures of sense, over and above such objections as are in some cases drawn from the topic of religion, there are these grand heads of objection, that in the pursuit they are apt to lead into courses injurious to others, and, by the obstruction they occasion to necessary business, as well as by the loss of reputation, to a man’s self, and that, through satiety, the consequence of full indulgence in them, they are apt to end in ennui—a pain for which they have left no cure. Not in any degree to diminish, but to increase to the utmost, the sum of innoxious enjoyment, is the object of this system. But, to secure that increase, it is necessary to render men duly sensible of the value, and to engage them in the steady pursuit of those perennial springs of enjoyment which are the more productive the more copiously they are drawn upon, in preference to those which, in proportion as they are drawn upon to excess, yield in the shape of ennui, at the least, if not in still more afflicting shapes, pain and grief instead of the expected pleasure.
When it is by the apprehension of future evil that men are turned aside from the pursuit of present pleasure, the sacrifice, however prudent and even necessary, is still not the less a painful one. But, when it is by the expectation of still greater pleasure, whether near or more or less remote, that the diversion is occasioned, pain is not produced in any shape; the profit made is made without sacrifice, and the transition is only from a less to a greater pleasure. But, the greater the variety of the shapes in which pleasures of an intellectual nature are made to present themselves to view, and consequently the greater the degree of success and perfection with which the mind is prepared for the reception of intellectual pleasures, the greater the chance afforded of security from the pains by which sensual pleasures are encompassed, and the more advantageous the terms on which the purchase of that security is effected.
Advantage Fourth. Security against idleness and consequent mischievousness.
[(3.)] The connexion between mental vacuity and mischievousness is not as obvious as that between mental vacuity and sensuality; but it is not less natural and indisputable.
The notion which ascribes to inanimate nature the abhorrence of a vacuum, has been long spoken of as an ungrounded and whimsical conceit; had the notion been confined to human nature, it would not have been equally open to dispute.
A mind completely vacant, if any such there be, is a mind in which there exists neither pleasure nor pain, nor any expectation of either. But, scarcely has such a state of mind time to take place, when it is succeeded by ennui. Ennui, it has been shown, is a state of pain; and from pain in this shape, as from pain in every other shape, man seeks deliverance. That deliverance is attempted no otherwise than by the attempt to fill the vacuity with pleasures. The pleasures thereupon sought, consist in the gratification afforded to one or other of these appetites, namely, the self-regarding, the social, or the dissocial. To the self-regarding belong, as has been shown, sensuality. From gratification afforded to the social affection, not evil but good would be the result; but unfortunately, this result, in whatsoever degree beneficial, is of all of these the least natural. There remains only the dissocial class of affections. In human beings in general, and in human beings during the age of childhood in particular, what is called mischief, springs commonly either from curiosity, or love of sport; and in particular, that sort of sport, that pleasure of the imagination, of which in virtue of its novelty, whatever appears new, and affords in any shape, how indeterminate soever, the prospect of pleasure, is the natural source.
From this source it is, that mischief in the case of children, is most apt to spring. The other source is the dissocial affection, ill will or malevolence. Where love of sport is the source of action, the suffering which happens to be produced, is rather an accidental effect than a result aimed at; if it be among the results aimed at, the source of the action is not so much love of sport as malevolence.
What renders the love of sport dangerous, when not tempered or directed by that prudence or benevolence which is necessary to restrain it from seeking its gratification in actions productive of suffering, is that the love of sport exists at all times, and waits not for accident to call it forth; whereas, malevolence scarcely ever has place, unless excited by some particular incident having the effect of a provocation. A disposition to seek in the destruction of a house by fire, a gratification for revenge, is highly dangerous; but a disposition to seek in that same source, a gratification for the mere love of sport, unmixed with any portion of revenge or anger, is still more dangerous. From the former, no person has any thing to fear, excepting the comparatively small number of persons who have happened, by means of some special cause of displeasure, to have excited in the mind of the individual in question, the appetite of ill will; whereas, from the incendiary, who has been rendered such by the mere love of sport, every person has equally cause for fear who has property that stands equally exposed to destruction from fire.
If in any respect a disposition to sportive mischief is less formidable than a disposition to malicious mischief, it is because, in the first place, in the love of sport the passion is not near as strong as in the other case; and, secondly, because it is equally capable of finding gratification in results that are unattended with mischief; while the strength of malevolence is boundless, and nothing but the production of suffering can afford it gratification.
Thus it is, that weeds of all sorts, even the most poisonous, are the natural produce of the vacant mind. For the exclusion of these weeds, no species of husbandry is so effectual, as the filling the soil with flowers, such as the particular nature of the soil is best adapted to produce. What those flowers are can only be known from experiment; and the greater the variety that can be introduced, the greater the chance that the experiment will be attended with success.
Advantage Fifth: Security for admission into, and agreeable intercourse with, good company, i. e., company in or from which, present and harmless pleasure, or future profit or security, or both, may be obtained.
II.Advantages derivable from Learning in this or that particular shape, and more especially from the proposed Course ofIntellectual Instruction.
It may be of use to bring together, under one view, the advantageous results of which the proposed scheme of instruction seems to afford a promise; after that, an examination will be made of such objections as seem most likely to be opposed to it; answers will be subjoined, which will show that these objections are either inapplicable or inconclusive; and in addition, some circumstances will be stated serving to fortify the confidence with which the managers look forward to the accomplishment of the proposed objects, as well in regard to the efficiency of instruction as to the rate of progress.
Advantage First: Multitude and extent of the branches of useful skill and knowledge, the possession of which is promised by this system, and at an early age.
[(4.)] As to the multitude of the branches of useful instruction promised by this system, and the extent which they cover in the field of knowledge, these are points not exposed to doubt. Of this extent, the conception formed will be more and more correct and complete, the more closely the subject is examined. Whether with reference to the field of knowledge considered by itself, or with reference to whatsoever has hitherto been either executed or attempted at the most approved establishments, even in those in which the time allotted to instruction has no assigned limits, it will not be easy to find an example in which the quantity of useful knowledge, here proposed to be administered, has been equalled. Still less when consideration is had of the age, namely, fourteen years and no more, at which this mass of instruction is proposed to have been administered, and expected to have been administered with good fruit.
In relation to these points, whatsoever opposition the system may be destined to experience, will assuredly be built on very different grounds. The promise (it will be said) is too great to be accomplished; or supposing it accomplished, more evil will be produced in other shapes, than good in the shape of knowledge. Under the head of objections obviated, an answer will be given to both these surmises.
Advantage Second: Increased chance of lighting upon pursuits and employments most suitable to the powers and inclinations of the youthful mind in every individual case.
[(5.)] “Ah, what talents! Ah, what capabilities! Had but the opportunities and assistances necessary to the development of them, and turning them to account, fallen in his way.” Under the existing system, lamentations to this effect are perhaps not much less reasonable and well grounded than they are frequent. To obviate this cause of regret, nothing is more manifest than that this system will be contributory, by the whole amount of the difference in point of variety and extent of instruction, which the lot of the pupil will exhibit, compared with what would have been his lot, had his qualities been improved by no better culture than such as an ordinary school, conducted under the existing system, can afford, or, what is but too common, been suffered to remain in a state of utter neglect up to the age of about fourteen—the age at which apprenticeship usually commences, and at which the course of instruction here proposed will have been gone through.
Advantage Third: General strength of mind derivable from that multitude and extent of the branches of knowledge included in this course of instruction.
[(6.)] If the objects presented in this course of instruction to the youthful mind, had no connexion with each other, no such beneficial result as that which is here announced could be expected. But amongst those objects, natural principles of order have place, and to apply those principles to the best advantage, will be the constant aim of the whole system from the beginning to the end. Every part having a natural connexion with every other, and every favourable occasion being embraced for bringing that connexion into view, every object will, by virtue of the principle of association, as often as it is presented, contribute more or less to fix every other in the memory, and thus to render the conception entertained of it so much the clearer. At the first stage, sensation and memory being the only faculties called directly into exercise, the conception may be expected to be proportionally faint and indistinct. But at each succeeding stage, not only will sensation and memory be applied to the subject matter, but the judgment will be applied to the observation of the points of agreement and diversity. In the first stage, the object will be exhibited in an isolated and quiescent state. At the succeeding stages, the same objects will be exhibited as parts of a moving scene, acting one upon another.
Advantage Fourth: Communication of mental strength considered in its application to the business chosen by each pupil, whatever that business may be.
[(7.)] Strengthened to so many comparatively arduous purposes, the mind of the pupil cannot be otherwise than strengthened to the purpose of the comparatively easy occupation, be it what it may, to which it is to apply itself with a view to obtain a livelihood. Between two minds equal by nature, the strength at each period of their growth, will be in proportion to the variety and extent of the ideas with which they have been impressed; and in this circumstance, may be seen the only cause of whatsoever difference there is between the mind of a well educated youth under the existing systems of education, and the mind of the Esquimaux, or the New Zealand savage at the same age.
From the immaturity and weakness exhibited by the minds of most children, under the present mode of culture, it would be wholly unjust to infer, that the imperfections would be similar under a system of culture, raised to that degree of improvement of which the human mind is capable. At present, the term of childhood is protracted, and the growth of the mind is retarded to an inordinate degree, by the state of inanimation in which it is kept. To the body, exercise of some sort, however childish, is necessary; not merely with a view to present comfort and that sort of general felicity which is termed good spirits, but with a view to future health and vigour. On the contrary, to the mind, even from the earliest period at which ideas begin to be received from surrounding objects, it is neither necessary nor useful in any way, that either the conversation, or the objects which that conversation takes for its subjects, should be of the cast commonly called childish; because, under the present system, children can have access to nothing better. When due attention is paid to adapting to the state of the youthful mind the objects which, for the sake of instruction, are presented to it, the difference between play and study is but nominal. Every task may be converted into play, if the taskmaster be but properly acquainted with his business.
That the minds of children, down to so late a period, continue in the sort of childish state, which at present is so general, is but the natural and necessary consequence of the sort of occupation, or no occupation, which they are left to find out for themselves, or to which they are put, and of the conversation with which they are surrounded: occupation put into their hands with no higher view than that of keeping them for the moment from being mischievous or troublesome: conversation composed of the prattling of ignorant persons of both sexes in the condition of servants. In the existing state of things, this utter absence of improving intercourse, coupled frequently with the abundance of corruptive intercourse; this hapless condition, though in every instance a misfortune, is scarcely in any instance a fault. The time of both parents is engrossed by the necessary business of the family, added to that of the shop, the counting-house, or the profession. The children, meantime, are left almost entirely to themselves, and to one another, under the casual inspection of a female servant.
By the proposed plan of instruction, the young mind will, for the greater part of the day, be rescued out of such hands.
Children, in whose minds, and thence in whose conversation, from the earliest dawn of reason, nothing of what is commonly understood as childish has had place, and on whose countenances all the time scarcely a cloud has been visible; children not less replete with vigour and felicity than with useful knowledge have fallen under the observation of several of the proposed managers.
Advantage Fifth: Giving to the youthful mind habits of order applicable to the most familiar, as well as to the highest, purposes: good order, the great source of internal tranquillity and instrument of good management. (See Stage V.)
[(8.)] In as far as the names of species, the names of the genera in which they are comprised, and of the orders and classes (or by whatsoever sets of names rising one above another in the scale of comprehensiveness the several groups of objects have been designated) are brought under review, in conjunction with natural history, a lesson in one of the most useful branches of logic, viz., the art of classification will have been administered—administered insensibly and without parade, but not the less effectually—and this without any additional time or trouble on the part of either teacher or learner.
In this way, and by this means, a foundation will be laid, and even at this early age, the mind insensibly prepared for the reception of a science destined for a superior stage, as being of the number of those for the attainment of which the exercise of a faculty of a higher order, the judgment, is necessary, viz., chemistry—a science in which more use is made of arrangement, and in which more importance is attached to that operation, than in any other.
When once formed, the habit of and the disposition to order, to whatsoever subjects it may have been first applied, is so easily and readily transferred to any and to every other, that it ought not to be matter of surprise, should the assertion be advanced, that by the habit thus implanted at the very opening of life, a man will find himself so much the better during the whole course down to the very close of it; and that, by what is thus gained at the day-school, the state of the house and family, whatever it may come to be, and the state of the shop, the counting-house, and the profession, whatever they may come to be, will, to a greater or less degree, be sure of being rendered better than they would otherwise have been.
Advantage Sixth: Possession of sources of comfort in various shapes, and security against discomfort in various shapes. (See, in particular, Stages III. and IV.) Table I. (5.)
Advantage Seventh: Security of life, as well as health—that blessing, without which no such thing as comfort can have place. (See Stage IV.) Table I. (6.)
Advantage Eighth: Security afforded against groundless terrors, mischievous impostures, and self-delusions.
[(9.)] Numberless are the mischievous delusions to which a man is exposed by ignorance, against which knowledge presents the only preservative.
Of these delusions some operate to the prejudice of the person himself, others to the prejudice of persons in general, to an extent to which there are no limits but those by which this power of doing mischief is circumscribed.
Examples.—Delusion 1. Hopes of profit, in a mechanical establishment, from discovery of a practically applicable perpetual motion: Preservative—Acquaintance with the principles of mechanics. (See Stage II.)—Delusion 2. Hopes of profit, from discovery of what has been called the philosopher’s stone: and thereby that of the art of converting less rare and costly metals into gold: Preservative—Acquaintance with the mineralogical branch of chemistry: (See Stage II.)—Delusion 3. Hopes of extravagant profit, from manures, the composition of which is kept secret: Preservative—Acquaintance with the theory of vegetation. (See Stage III.)—Delusion 4. Hopes of profit to health, by the use of medicaments, or modes of medical treatment, to which no such virtue as is believed or pretended to be believed, is attached: as in the case of animal magnetism, tractorism, &c. &c., and of medicaments in vast variety, prepared without sufficient acquaintance with, or attention to, the branches of art and science subservient to Hygiantics: Preservative—Acquaintance with those several branches of art and science. (See Stage IV.)—Delusion 5. Hopes and fears, derived from a supposed connexion, between the distant celestial bodies on the one part, and the well or ill being, of particular individuals among mankind, on the other part: Preservative—Acquaintance with Uranology, more frequently termed Astronomy. (See Stage V.)—6. Fears, derived from the opinion of the existence—and occasional operation or appearance—of Ghosts, Vampires, Visible Devils, Witches, and unembodied beings, of various sorts, actuated by the desire, and endued with the power, of doing mischief to mankind: Preservative—On the one hand, acquaintance with Natural Philosophy in general (see Stages II. III. IV. V.,) i. e. with the means by which, and the manner in which, effects beneficial and pernicious to mankind are really produced: on the other hand, in the nature of humantestimony, in the imperfections of which, delusive notions sometimes find their channel, and sometimes have had their source: in that propensity to be deceived, which is in the inverse ratio of the progress of true knowledge, and in that propensity to deceive others, which is in the inverse ratio of the progress of true morality: of these propensities, it is by History and Biography that the exemplifications, and thence the proofs, are furnished. In so far as it is from Natural Philosophy, that the preservative is derived, it belongs beyond doubt to the Chrestomathic course: in so far as it is from the principles of Evidence, and thence from History and Biography, the investigation and application of the remedy will, probably, according to general opinion, be regarded as belonging to a maturer and self-instructing time of life. For, on this head, the correctness, of whatsoever notions may come to be entertained, will depend—not, as in the case of Natural Philosophy, in a principal measure on the senses and the memory, but in a much greater degree upon the judgment or judicial faculty; and that, too, acting in each instance under the necessity of including, in the grounds of its decisions, collections of particulars, ample in extent multitude and variety, taken conjunctly into consideration, after having been brought all together into comparison for the purpose.
In knowledge in general, and in knowledge belonging to the physical department in particular, will the vast mass of mischief, of which perverted religion is the source, find its preventive remedy. It is from physical science alone that a man is capable of deriving that mental strength and that well-grounded confidence which renders him proof against so many groundless terrors flowing from that prolific source, which, by enabling him to see how prone to error the mind is on this ground, and thence how free such error is from all moral blame, disposes him to that forbearance towards supposed error, which men are so ready to preach and so reluctant to practise.
Advantage Ninth: Securing an unexampled choice of well-informed companions through life.
[(10.)] Among unfurnished minds, from the excitements it affords to sensuality, idleness, and mischievousness, company, in proportion to its abundance, is the great source of danger: hence, in the like proportion, will be the great source of security. The greater the multitude and variety of the sources of entertainment opened to his view, the greater is a person’s chance of finding those which are suited to his taste; the greater the multitude of associates occupied along with him in seeking entertainment from each source, the stronger his assurance of meeting with that social co-operation from which labour receives so much relief, and pleasure so much increase.
At the end of a term of six or seven years, passed in company with so many hundred fellow-labourers and coadjutors, in occupations for which this scheme of instruction alone provides, nothing but that persevering course of bad behaviour, against which it affords a matchless security, can ever leave him at a loss for company, the agreeableness of which has been so amply provided for by the magnitude of the number open to his choice.
Advantage Tenth: Affording to parents a more than ordinary relief from the labour, anxiety, and expense of time necessary to personal inspection.
[(11.)] To the class of persons whose callings present an urgent demand for every moment of their time, during the hours of business, a temporary neglect of their children, if kept at home, is a misfortune, in a great degree, unavoidable. In this state of things an expedient, not unfrequently resorted to, is that of sending the children to some day-school, however incompetent to the purpose of instruction, more for the assurance of keeping them under inspection, and thence out of harm, than for the hope of enabling them to make any considerable acquisition of useful knowledge. To all persons thus circumstanced, the particular value of an institution in which so much positive good is superadded to this sort of negative accommodation, is too obvious to need any further mention.
Advantage Eleventh: Unexampled cheapness of the instruction in proportion to its value.
[(12.)] That in proportion to the quantity and value of the instruction thus proposed to be administered, the cheapness is altogether without example, is a position, the truth of which will not admit of a moment’s doubt. The price, say £6 per year for seven years, in all £42, for instruction in the list of branches proposed to be administered!
The cheapness of the price depends upon and is proportionate to, the quantity and variety of instruction administered in the given length of time. In this, if there be any thing to the proof of which words can be necessary, or so much as conducive, it is not to the fact or the degree of cheapness, supposing the service rendered, but to the possibility of its being rendered, and rendered in so short a space of time. Of the assumed possibility and probability, the expected causes are, therefore, the only objects which, on this occasion, can require to be brought to view.
These causes may be summed up under the following heads: 1. The use made of the Lancasterian method. 2. The largeness of the scale. 3. The care taken to adapt the species of instruction to the state of the pupil’s faculties in respect of maturity.
1. As to the Lancasterian method, the efficiency of it is already matter of experience; experience so well established, that it was the very certainty and invariableness of success, to the extent to which it has hitherto been applied, that suggested the extended application of it here proposed.
2. As to the proposed magnitude of the scale, this advantage, though in its nature distinct from the peculiar method of teaching in question, is however among the fruits of it. That method may be used upon the smallest scale with the advantage peculiar to it; but it is only by the combination of expedients included in this method, that so unexampled a magnitude could be given to the scale, that instruction could be administered to so prodigious a multitude of scholars by the same person at the same time.
It is by means of the peculiar method of teaching that the number of scholars capable of receiving instruction from the same person, at the same time, is made to receive such great increase. It is from the magnitude of the number of the persons receiving instruction, under the same system of superintendence, that the sum required of each is capable of being to such a degree reduced. Being taught at one and the same time, by one and the same person, at one and the same place, various sources of expense which, on the existing plans are necessarily multiplied, are by this plan reduced to one:—one building, one general superintendent, constantly on the spot; one apparatus for warming, the same for lighting; one set of implements employed as instruments of instruction.
Moreover, many helps to instruction are easy to be procured; many helps unattainable otherwise than by that ample contribution, the burthen of which is rendered light by the multitude of contributors.
Advantage Twelfth: Least generally useful branches last administered, and thence, in case of necessity, omissible with least loss.
[(13.)] Of this arrangement the great practical use is, that when either the quantity of money, or of time to be spared for the purpose of instruction, is limited, instruction to the greatest amount, in regard to value, may be administered and received for a given quantity of money and of time; or, what amounts to the same thing, instruction of the greatest value is given at the least expense of money and time.
The coincidence which it is supposed will be seen to have place, and which, if it does, will be acknowledged to be a fortunate one, is, that for the most part those branches which are the most useful will be found the easiest and the pleasantest. Thus—
1. In the last stage of all comes mathematical science by itself. Of this branch considered apart and contradistinguished from mechanics, the usefulness will be found less extensive in respect to the number of persons to whom it can be of any use, and to the common purposes of life, than any other of the branches of instruction comprehended in this course. It is accordingly referred to the last stage; and hence those parents, in whose estimation the value of the instruction thus obtainable, will not afford a sufficient compensation for the time and money that can be spared for it, may stop at this point of the course.
2. In the last stage but one comes Medical Science by itself: multitude taking place of unity no otherwise than by the division of the one great whole into its component parts.
In speaking of this branch of knowledge as of less utility than any of those which it is proposed should precede it, the opinion thus expressed is rather the opinion regarded as likely to be the prevalent one, than an opinion with which the authors of the plan are themselves impressed. To the claim it makes to precedence in competition with mathematical science, they can give their support with much less diffidence. Unless in the case of a person who, by profession, or in the gratification of a predominant taste, is devoted to the mathematics, they can affirm, without hesitation, not only that health and strength themselves are, in relation to being and well-being, of more value than abstract ideas of circles, triangles, squares, or even the highest exemplified or imaginable orders of curves, but even that the difference in respect of security that may reasonably be expected for those blessings, by means of the proffered instruction, in comparison with the degree of security of which a man, not designed for the medical profession, would otherwise be in possession, would, with a degree of persuasion proportioned to the intensity of the attention bestowed upon the comparison, be found to be possessed of the alleged superiority in point of substantial value.
This persuasion would still have place, even though the portion of time allotted to instruction in this branch of useful knowledge were accelerated; and in such sort accelerated that it should be administered antecedently to those portions of Natural History and Natural Philosophy which respectively contribute to form its basis. But, forasmuch as these introductory branches are included in the present plan, were that of medicine, stript of these supports, taught at an earlier stage, some of those other branches themselves, so constantly and indispensably useful, might to some individuals be lost. Hence, upon the whole it was thought best to postpone this branch of instruction to that stage at which it could be administered to most advantage.
3. In the third stage, and not before the above-mentioned two, come Architecture and Husbandry. Of these two branches of instruction, the utility is too obvious to be in danger of finding contradiction from any person. To the purpose of direct application to practice, the utility of them, in comparison with that of the branches which immediately precede them, is in point of extent, as measured by the relative number of persons likely to derive from them any material information, limited and narrow. Here, then, may be seen a stage at which a portion of the whole number of scholars might in case of pressure, either in respect of time or money, make a stand.
4. There remain for consideration the two first stages; and here it cannot but be confessed, and even professed, that the advantage stops. Unless it were for innoxious amusement, invigoration, and mental enlargement, without the second stage of instruction, whatsoever is contained in the first would, comparatively speaking at least, not to say absolutely, be of little value. It is chiefly for the sake of the second, and to serve for introduction to the second, and this at a time when the juvenile mind would not be ripe enough for the reception of the second, that the first stage is received into the course.
With regard to what is here said on the subject of eventual premature departure, the persuasion entertained by the authors of this plan, would be very much misconceived, if the supposition were, that in their opinion any thing less than irresistible necessity could serve as a sufficient warrant for any such relinquishment. By thus quitting the course at the commencement of a posterior stage, the loss which the scholar would sustain would be not only the whole of the instruction comprehended in that stage, but a portion more or less considerable of the mass of instruction comprehended in the several preceding stages. For, that nothing which has once been gained be lost, one of the fundamental maxims of this institution is, that whatsoever thread of instruction has once been begun upon, should be carried on to the very end. In a great measure, this, the chain whereby in the proposed course, the several branches of instruction are linked together, will suffice for the purpose of this unremitting continuance; and when this natural means fails, care is intended to be taken for supplying the deficiency by repetitions and re-exhibitions made for this express purpose.
Advantage Thirteenth: Need and practice of corporeal punishment superseded; thence masters preserved from the guilt and reproach of cruelty and injustice.
[(14.)] In regard to this advantage, the assurance of success stands on firmer ground than in the instance of any of the preceding advantages,—that of direct experience, as exhibited in the improved system of education under both its modifications, viz., in the one pursued by the Rev. Dr Bell, and in that pursued by Mr Lancaster. It belongs not, therefore, to the additional story here proposed to be erected on that fabric, in contradistinction to the original building; but to the whole structure together, in contradistinction to the unimproved methods followed in schools in general.
In no school conducted upon either of those plans, is any use made of corporeally afflictive punishment in any form, and in particular in that of flogging. In the Lancasterian mode, it cannot be said, that, on the occasion of punishment, the person remains in every instance, altogether unafflicted. But, in whatsoever shape punishment is applied to any part of the body, no bodily pain is produced; of the suffering, such as it is, the seat is not in the body but in the mind.
Under the Lancasterian mode, the severest punishment ever known to be inflicted is, if it can with any propriety be termed a corporeal punishment, at any rate of this mild and innoxious nature; and in Dr Bell’s, nothing, it should seem, that can in any way be termed corporeal punishment, has ever been in use.
On this occasion, a singular contrast presents itself to view. During their non-age, the children of the very lowest ranks in society, are in a way to be liberated, and in no inconsiderable number, have actually been liberated from a species of affliction and debasement to which the very highest remain subjected. Under the present plan, the exemption will, at any rate, be extended to the middle ranks; and the highest may have the benefit of it if they please. It is a question not unworthy the consideration of mothers, even in the highest rank, whether they will have their sons taught a smattering of Latin and Greek by tasks and flogging at Eton, Winchester, and the Royal School at Westminster, or in the way of pastime (without flogging) at the Chrestomathic School, within view of the august royal one.
In this aspect may be seen another advantage which, though to the proposed plan it belongs no otherwise than in its character of an extension given to the Bell and Lancaster plan, belongs to it not the less unquestionably, and that in contradistinction to the mode of instruction still pursued in the great and old established schools.
Under the system of flogging, coupled with the system of tasking, the flogging applied to the enforcement of the task-work, among the multitude of offences of which that system is constantly prolific, an incident which can never fail to happen now and then, under the most careful and irreproachable master, and is sure to happen every now and then under an ordinary master, is an act of punishment which, being by hastiness or wrong inference from the evidence really undue, is seen by the scholars to be so. As often as such an incident takes place, the imputation of injustice attaches itself to the character of the master, under whose order the punishment has been inflicted; and with a degree of strength proportionate to the severity of the infliction, the imputation of cruelty attaches itself to that of injustice.
Advantage Fourteenth: Affording to the first race of scholars a mark of particular distinction and recommendation.
[(15.)] What is common to all affords no distinction to any, and accordingly the more extensive the progress of this system of education, the less will be the advantage it is capable of affording in this particular shape. At the outset, however, and on the supposition that in other respects, the prospects held out by it are found to be realized, this advantage cannot but be a very substantial one. Every case in which, between a scholar of the Chrestomathic School, and a scholar of any ordinary school (not to mention a boy who has not been to any school,) a competition on any grounds has taken place, the advantage which will be possessed by the superiorly-instructed boy, is such, the estimation of which may be safely left to any one whose eyes have glanced over the preceding pages. This advantage, inseparably attached to the very nature of the case, may be considered as a premium, which in cases even of the most moderate degree of success the first comer will be sure to reap.
Advantage Fifteenth: Enlargement given to each scholar’s field of occupation.
[(16.)] The more things he is more or less acquainted with, the more things he is fit for, and the better chance he has acquired of meeting with some occupation, (pecuniary-profit-yielding or not,) according to his condition, which shall be at once within his power, and suited to his taste.
[(17.)]Answer. The experiment being yet to make, no answer can be deduced from experience, that is, from direct and identical experience. From analogy must be sought the only ground of assurance of which the nature of the case admits.
1. The first ground of assurance is this, viz., That the difficulties attendant on the reception of the mass of instruction in question, are not so great as it is natural that to a hasty glance they should appear to be.
One circumstance by which the difficulty will be apt to be painted in exaggerated colours is, the abstruseness of the names by which, in a number of instances, the branches of art and science are designated. This objection, having its root in prejudice, will be considered in the section allotted to the examination of opposing prejudices.
2. Another ground of assurance is constituted by the experienced strength of the newly devised instrument which will be employed, viz., the instrument composed of the helps to instruction, the assemblage of which constitutes the Lancasterian method. By this method, instruction has now, for several years, and with incontestable success, been administered in a like simultaneous manner, to a number of scholars as great as the number here proposed; indeed greater; forasmuch as, under the former plan, it being intended that of the whole number, a division should be made for some purposes, it will seldom happen that the instruction should be administered to the whole number at once.
To the branches of art and science here in question, the instrument in question was not applied on the occasion of the successful experiment; not to any of them, but, to a species of instruction which, in respect of real difficulty of reception (prejudice from novelty and unfamiliar names apart) will be found to exceed by far the species of instruction here administered at the earliest stage, by which the youthful mind will be so effectually prepared for the reception of ulterior instruction at the several ulterior stages.
Notwithstanding the earliness of the age at which this instruction is proposed to be concluded, it may be affirmed with confidence that, of all the branches of instruction here proposed to be administered, there is not one the reception of which will, at the age at which it is proposed to be administered, be attended with a degree of difficulty as great as that which attends the reception of the art of reading and writing, at the age at which they are commonly taught according to the established practice.
Of all the branches of instruction, with the exception, perhaps, of mathematics, which under the proposed system is put off to the last stage, that which is composed of the rules of grammar, especially as applied to a dead language, will be generally acknowledged to be the most crabbed and repulsive; and in that respect opposed by the heaviest load of difficulty. Fortunately, the applicability of this system, with the most complete success, to the most difficult purpose, is already put out of doubt by experience. This is proved indisputably by the testimony of a witness, whose evidence on this subject, it is presumed, every one will admit to be decisive. See Letter of Mr James Gray, Master of the High School of Edinburgh. Appendix, No. III.
Objection Second: Disregard shown to classical learning, and other polite accomplishments.
[(18.)] Under the present system, no sooner are the first difficulties surmounted that stand in the way of the art of reading, the art of writing a legible hand, and the art of vulgar arithmetic, as comprised in a few of the first rules, than the scholar is more or less instructed in the rudiments of the Latin tongue. To this accomplishment, a preference is thus given as compared with all ulterior accomplishments. Under the proposed system of instruction, ornamental and respectable as it is, and necessary as it is to raise the scholar above the imputation of vulgar ignorance, it is in a manner put aside, and placed in the back-ground.
Answer: The disregard, if any, is only comparative, not positive. Considerable will be the disappointment of the contrivers of this plan, if at the end of the proposed six or seven years’ course of instruction, conducted upon the principles here explained, the proficiency of the scholar in Latin and Greek, or at least in one of these languages, will not be found to outstrip, instead of falling short of the ordinary rate.
In as far as this expectation seems to be verified by experience, this objection falls to the ground.
But even supposing, that instead of being but comparative, which is as much as to say not real and effective, it were absolute, the objection would not, they confess, appear in their eyes a substantial one. By the middle rank of life, for the use of which the proposed system of instruction is designed, useful and not merely ornamental instruction is required. Except in as far as ornamental is considered as a species of useful, or a well-grounded acquaintance with his own language is regarded as useful, to one in a situation above that of a man whose subsistence does not depend on severe toil or manual labour, no degree of acquaintance with any of the dead languages can surely be placed to the account of use;—it cannot, unless in the case where it has been but the ladder by which the scholar has been conducted to a much higher degree of proficiency, have contributed in any considerable degree to the furnishing him with the means of securing a more comfortable subsistence, or have furnished him with the means of innoxious and inexpensive entertainment during his vacant hours; whereas the proposed system promises in an inexhaustible variety of ways, to be subservient to both those incontestably useful purposes.
For the purpose of any one of the learned professions, Law, Physic, or Divinity, no doubt but that an acquaintance with the dead languages, meaning the two classical ones of Latin and Greek, may well be considered a matter even of necessity, much more of simple use. But for any youth destined to the exercise of any one of those elevated professions, this system of education is not designed; and in the instance of any person so destined, should the parents condescend to give acceptance to the sort of instruction here proffered, what remains of the quantity of time at present allotted to a course of preparation for these professions, will afford ample room for additional instruction in those relatively necessary shapes.
Though with a view to the bar or the pulpit, not to speak of the bed of sickness, the possession of a considerable acquaintance with the dead languages may, in a general view, be considered as necessary, this necessity, especially if comparison be had with the system of instruction here proposed, will hardly be regarded as having place, with relation to a yet more exalted theatre, the House of Commons. Take two men, one of them capable of rendering into English without premeditation (not perhaps that any such person ever had existence,) any sentence whatsoever, in every one of the Greek and Latin classics extant, but unacquainted with any of the branches of art and science beyond common arithmetic included in this system,—the other acquainted with every one of them, in the degree in which an average scholar may be generally expected to be acquainted with them, but unable to render into English any such sentence, which of these two men, on the occasion of the ordinary details of parliamentary business, will be likely to find himself most at home? Without much danger of contradiction, the answer may surely be, he who has passed through the proposed course of practically useful instruction. The classical scholar may be better qualified for decorating his speech with rhetorical flowers; but the chrestomathic scholar, after a familiar and thorough acquaintance has been contracted with things, with things of all sorts, will be, in a much more useful and efficient way, qualified for the general course of parliamentary business.
As to the classical authors, Greek and Roman, to any such purpose as the present, the question is not what they knew, but what, by the study of them, is at this time of day to be learnt from them, more than is to be learnt without reading them. Such is the question, and the answer is—not anything. Among the branches of art and science included in the present system of instruction, many there are of which they had not so much as a suspicion of their existence. With no one of them had they any degree of acquaintance approaching to that which is to be obtained from modern and English authors; and if on the part of any of them, any superior degree of acquaintance really had place, still no need is there of any acquaintance with the originals; forasmuch as there is not one of them of which a translation into English is not to be found. Not even for the purpose of history, were that comprised within the present scheme, would any acquaintance with these authors in the original be of any substantial use; for of the historians, at any rate, there is not one of which translations into English are not to be found. For the purpose of poetry and oratory—yes, let it be allowed; though the most illustrious of our poets, as well as some of our most impressive and efficient speakers, are known to have been destitute of all classical learning, except through the medium of translation, and that before any translations that are now read had come into existence.
Objection Third: Superficiality and confusedness of the conceptions thus obtainable.
[(19.)] A smattering of many things—a thorough or useful acquaintance with nothing, such will some regard as the species and degree of instruction afforded, on whom an unfavourable impression may have been made, by the very variety of the instruction here proposed to be communicated.
Answer: That in the case of no individual the result may prove to be of this undesirable kind, is too much to be asserted. But to any practical purpose, to any such purpose as that of determining the choice of parents, as between the proposed system of instruction, and such others as would be within their reach, the question is not, whether instances may not occur in which the result would be thus unfavourable, but whether, under the proposed institution, the inconvenience in question seems likely to be greater in degree, and of more frequent occurrence, than in such institution as would otherwise be the object of their choice.
In relation to this head, what is manifest is that, as antecedently to actual experience, even on the supposition of subsequent success, nothing of the nature of demonstration can be delivered, so neither antecedently to experience, ought anything of that nature to be demanded.
That under the customary system of instruction such should not unfrequently be the effect, is no more than may be reasonably expected. Why?
1. Because in preference, if not to the exclusion of things, the subjects of instruction are words, mere words.
2. Because in as far as things are among the subjects of instruction, many are talked of, few, if any, are exhibited and brought under the cognizance of sense.
3. Because no use is made of those leading principles of order, of which, under the system here proposed, so much advantage is taken: the calling first into exercise the faculties which are the first to ripen; the proceeding from the most simple subjects to the more complex,—that is, to the more and more complex, in which the more simple are respectively included; and thence the frequent re-exhibition of the same subjects; while the points of view in which they are thus represented on the different occasions are changed.
The bringing so many, and most of them such widely extending masses of instruction, within so comparatively small a compass in point of time, will be apt to be productive of a sort of doubt and jealousy which is too natural and too plausible, and, in a certain point of view, too well grounded to be suffered to pass altogether without notice. Such a variety and multitude of things crowded together,—and to attempt to force all these things at once into the minds of such young children! One thing must drive out another, instead of their being all of them learnt, at least to any useful purpose; and what at length may stick, will be no better than a confused hodge-potch, composed of odds and ends.
The smaller a man’s acquaintance is with the several subjects of instruction comprehended in the proposed plan, the more formidable will the sum-total of them be apt to appear; and thence the stronger the impression which any obstacle of this tendency will be apt to make on his mind: and the misfortune is, that the number of persons whose state of mind will thus render them unfavourable to the plan is likely to be very great,—much greater than could be wished.
In proportion, however, as attention is given to experience, to established and incontrovertible matters of fact, this prejudice must diminish. Of the branches of instruction which present the most formidable aspect, viz. of the branches of Natural History and Natural Philosophy, with their respective hard names, there is not one to which a space of time will not be allotted, several times greater than the greatest that has been respectively allotted to the same branch of instruction, in the most particular courses, that are as yet known to have been anywhere delivered. In this instance the age of the learner will indeed be less mature than in any of those instances. But for the operation of this cause of inferiority, the allowance made will be ample. Nor ought it ever to be forgotten, however apt it may be to be forgotten, that the branches of knowledge which, by reason of the unfamiliarity of their names, present this formidable aspect, are in almost every instance less difficult to learn, than those dry and speculative grammatical rules, with their applications, and the tasks belonging to them, and the obligation that arises out of them, of penning discourses in prose and verse, in a dead language; those tasks which, because it has been the custom so to do, are without a thought about the difficulty, universally under the established system, put into the hands of children at ages less mature than the earliest of those at which, under this new system, it is proposed to apply to their youthful minds instruction in various forms, selected on account of their simplicity, and of the promise they afford of converting the sort of employment which hitherto has been the source of immediate and almost universal pain, into a source of immediate and absolutely universal pleasure.
Not less erroneous than disheartening would the inference be, if, from the observation of the smallness of the progress hitherto made in the old established branches of instruction, according to the old established methods, in the old established schools, any such inference were deduced, as that the nature of the case admitted not of any considerably more correct and complete body of instruction, or any considerably greater rate of progress. To the degree of inefficiency and slowness which, by original weakness, the result of the immaturity and barbarism of the age,—by original weakness, followed by habitual and day-by-day more firmly rooted prejudice,—is capable of being established, there are absolutely no limits. At Christ’s Hospital, for example, to two or three years consumed in learning the rudiments of Latin grammar, succeed two or three years which are employed in forgetting those rudiments; while, in addition to the art of writing, the rudiments of arithmetic are endeavoured to be learnt. After the course thus completed of learning and forgetting, if a select few are applied to drawing, or reapplied to grammar, and to Latin and Greek taught by means of it; it were strange indeed, if in such a multitude, a small number were not actually found who wrote well, another small number who drew well, and another who, with or without the benefit of being sent to the university, to enjoy the provision attached to the school foundation, acquire in a greater or less degree that sort of acquaintance with the Greek and Latin classics which denominates a man a good scholar.
But from the examples of inefficiency and tardiness, were they even more egregious and numerous than they are, the inference would be not less unreasonable than discouraging if it were concluded that efficiency and despatch are impossible. It would be as if, from the abundance of snails and sloths, it were concluded that no such animal as a race-horse could have existence.
Among the great variety of subjects of instruction, comprised in the proposed system, doubtless the Lancaster exercise, and the mode of employing the pupils as teachers, are not applied to every one with equal advantage. But the conductors of the proposed system are aware of these difficulties, and alive to every practical expedient, for removing whatsoever disadvantages, as well as for making the most of whatsoever advantages the nature of each particular case may be found to afford.
Nor on this occasion should the advantage afforded by the proportioning earliness to facility, by teaching those things first which, in their own nature, are the easiest to learn, be ever out of sight. On the plan begun under an entirely different state of society, and continued by custom, the course of study being predetermined, and without regard to the state of the mental faculties, forced, or endeavoured to be forced, into the mind by terror and compulsion at its tenderest age; on this plan, measure is taken of the state of the faculties at the several different ages, and in each instance the species of instruction is fitted to it.
Objection Fourth: Uppishness a probable result of the distinctions thus obtained.
[(20.)] Against an accusation in itself so unsubstantial, it is no easy matter to make a substantial defence. The first thing to be done is to ascertain the meaning of the charge; and there is the difficulty. Let us hazard a conjecture. It is from the superior classes alone that such a charge can come. Coming from such a quarter, can anything but this be the meaning of it;—the superiority which in so many respects we possess over those whom we behold below us will be insufficient, and even the continuance of it will be precarious, if in respect of useful knowledge, in the several shapes in question, those who are now our inferiors should become our equals,—much more, should they become our superiors; for, continuing to receive at their hands that respect and obsequiousness which we possess at present, the wealth of such of us as have wealth, the power of such of us as have power, the dignity of such of us as have dignity, will no longer be sufficient.
On the subject of any such result, should it really be apprehended and regarded in the character of a grievance, two observations present themselves.
1. Supposing the apprehended result realized, the mischief of it does not seem very serious or explicit. Of the substantial causes of superiority, viz., opulence, power, and dignity, it does not well appear how their existence is threatened by it. Of one cause, or supposed cause, viz., the superiority in respect of useful knowledge, the amount will indeed be lessened, but by this, security will not in any shape be shaken or diminished. And if this be true, security remaining undisturbed, the gainers being so many more than the losers, while the loss is but comparative and not positive, how any balance should exist on the side of mischief seems not easy to determine. Nor at the expense of the higher classes will any such diminution of superiority in the single point in question—any such diminution of superiority in respect of useful knowledge—have place, any further than it is their own pleasure that it should have place. To add to whatsoever proficiency their now inferiors possess in respect of useful instruction, a superiority in all those branches of ornamental instruction, of which the exclusive possession will continue their own, will always depend upon themselves. To the supposed inferiors, no branches of useful instruction will be laid open, which will not be equally open to the supposed superiors. If under the impulse of emulation, or any other spring of action, they are driven to keep pace in improvement with those apprehended rivals, so much the better for themselves: if by indolence they are kept where they are, they have themselves to thank for it.
But whether in this supposed small and imponderable diminution of effective superiority, there would be more of good than of evil, seems hardly worth inquiry—the result itself not carrying on the face of it any such complexion as that of probability. Of the matter of wealth in all its shapes, the value will remain unchanged. The power which he who has most of it, possesses, not only over things, but over such persons as have less of it, will remain just what it is at present. The need which he who has less of it finds of securing all his share of it, will continue undiminished. The quantity of food which a man requires for his stomach, the quantity of clothes he needs for his back, will not be lessened by any quantity of useful knowledge with which he may have furnished his head. The mutual propensity which the good things of this world, in their several shapes of wealth, power, and dignity, have to attract each other, united in the same recipient, will not receive any sensible disturbance from the action of an agent comparatively so weak.
The shopkeeper will not have then less need than at present to sell his wares; the artisan and the husbandman to obtain employment; the scourer to wash her room; the fisherman to catch his fish.
From any such increase in the quantity of useful knowledge possessed by the middle classes, the only manifestly natural and probable results are, improvement in respect of health, domestic economy and personal comfort; a more extensive disposition than at present to look for amusement and recreation in art, science, or literature, in preference to sensuality and indolence. In all these ways will the condition of the middle classes be made better; and it appears not how, in any of them, the condition of their superiors should be made worse.
Look to experience: as far as any evidence is to be derived from that source, the evidence afforded is not in favour of the result here apprehended. Taking England for the place in question, two other countries present themselves as subjects of comparison, viz., Scotland and Germany.
In Scotland the first rudiments of useful knowledge, viz., reading, writing, and the arithmetic of accounts, are universal; in England, comparatively speaking, they are still but rare. Inferiors; are they in general less respectful in Scotland than in England? No; but, if there be any difference, rather more so.
This, it may be observed, is not precisely the species of instruction here in question. Well, then, let us turn to Germany, viz., particularly, if not exclusively, the Protestant part of it. There, in much greater amount than in England, is the higher species of instruction here in question abundant. Numerous, indeed, in those countries, in comparison of England, are the men of cultivated minds, the men of letters and science, such as they are; and there, in conjunction with literature, poverty, and its scarcely separable companion, sensuality, are nowhere to be found. From the extension thus given to mental culture, what man among them, howsoever clothed with opulence, and power, and dignity, has ever found or fancied matter of complaint; what pride, however pampered by all or any of these elements, has ever, from any such quarter, felt a wound?
But, notwithstanding all which has now been said of so superior a school of learning, the effect, it may still be urged, will be to fill the pupils with self-sufficiency, vanity, and pride, and to cause them to look down with disdain upon those employments to which they would otherwise have applied themselves without reluctance—employments upon which their chance for subsistence will depend.
Thus, whether the plan fail or succeed, objections, as is always the case with new undertakings, lie in store for it.
As to self-sufficiency, vanity, and pride, to which many other words of a similar stamp might be added, they are a set of sentimental words, the effect of which is to set afloat in the mind so many vague and indeterminate generalities; ideas which, to the eye of every one who takes the trouble of endeavouring to find for them a determinate shape, vanish and leave nothing behind them but the shapes of the letters and the sounds that we associated with them. On the part of the individuals in question, self-sufficiency, vanity, and pride, all these weaknesses, supposing them to have place, will find in the minds of those with whom they have to do,—with whom circumstances lead them to hold intercourse,—principles of resistance in the shape of self regarding affection and defensive pride, in which each transgression against the laws of social intercourse will find an eventual punishment; and in the apprehension of it, a check.
As to disdain for the means of livelihood on which they will be dependent for subsistence, the objection wears a face somewhat more determinate; but which, on examination, will be found not less hollow. Whatever sentiment of disdain any such individual may feel, neither the need he has, nor the need he feels, can by it receive any diminution. If, of these acquisitions, the effect be to open to him, and to place him in, a situation better in respect of subsistence than any into which he would otherwise have found his way, so far it is advantageous to him—clearly and determinately advantageous. If the effect be to leave him exactly in the same rank in which he would have found himself otherwise, he is thus far, though no gainer, no loser. But of all the conditions of life in which it is possible for him to find himself, there is not one in which, in various ways, he will not be the better, comparatively at least, if not absolutely, for the course of instruction and discipline he will have gone through. In his career through the proposed course of instruction, as has been fully shown already, he will have opened to himself sources in abundance of amusement, reputable as well as innoxious. If, in any degree, the instruction thus gamed will operate as a cause of repulsion between himself and those who have not been partakers of it, it will operate as a cause of attraction between himself and those who so early with him have been partakers of it; and compared with the principle of repulsion, the principle of attraction operating in a more concentrated state, will operate with greater force. In the case of the great established schools, the agreeable and useful effect of early associations thus contracted, is universally notorious: in the instance of the proposed new sort of school, the more extraordinary, new, and distinguished the nature of it, the stronger the principle of association, together with the comforts and advantages derived from it, will be; and the individuals sharing in these benefits will be still more numerous than in any of those other instances.
As the system operates, the relative and comparative distinctions, advantageous upon the whole, or disadvantageous upon the whole, whichsoever they may be, will wear away; but the absolute one, strength given to the intellectual faculties and the whole character, will remain for ever.
As to the relative and comparative distinction, in as far as it is of an advantageous nature, the advantage it presents will be greatest and most conspicuous in the case of those whose parents and guardians are the first to put them in possession of it; and thus in this lottery, if it be to be accounted a lottery, the highest prizes will be for the first adventurers.
[(21.)] Of the branches of instruction comprehended in this plan, some of them may be observed to have been included in the system of instruction administered in the dignified institution distinguished by the appellation of Royal. Chemistry and Physiology, a branch subservient to medicine, may serve as examples. In these branches, from that elevated seat, instruction was administered, not only to the maturest, but to some even of the most richly furnished, as well as dignified and exalted minds. But from their acknowledged aptitude, with reference to these superior and extraordinary minds, it would be an inference equally groundless and pernicious, that they are unfit, or in any degree the less fit, for ordinary minds; for minds of all sorts in the middle class, or even in some degree the inferior classes which this plan has in view. One thing it will not be easy to controvert, that, whatsoever degree of usefulness may belong to that institution, an indefinitely greater degree of usefulness must belong to the one here proposed: There, it was all amusement and decoration; here, to amusement, will be added solid and substantial use; there, it was confined to adults; here, it will be imparted, and indeed confined, to children, who, by it, will be raised to the level of men; there, it was, and is, confined to a few—even of the ruling and influential few; here, it will be communicated to a large, and, it is hoped, to a continually increasing portion of the subject many,—of those whose title to regard is founded on the most substantial and incontestable of all foundations, that of numbers,—and, in whose instance, the beneficial effect of useful instruction will be seen to rise in proportion to their present need of it.
In adverting to that dignified institution, nothing can be further from the minds of the persons thus speaking, than the design to lessen the respect so justly due to its originators and supporters. Their sincere wish is for its increase; and in some degree this desirable result is already afforded; since, by the encouragement it has given, in the way of fashion, as well as by the proof it has furnished in the way of experience, it has contributed to the formation of another institution which, in whatever other respect, and in whatever other degree inferior, promises to be so much its superior in point of extent; that is, in respect of the number of persons to whom the benefit, the blessing it may surely be called, will be imparted.
Relation of this plan to that of the Great Schools and Universities.
On an occasion such as the present, it is impossible to be wholly unobservant, nor necessary to be altogether silent, on the subject of so many schools of royal and otherwise dignified foundation; topped by the two, or if Ireland be considered, by the three Universities of this land—not to speak of those of Scotland, which to those by whom ecclesiastical discipline is considered as the strongest bond of union, and diversity, on that same ground as a proper cause of separation, are proportionally regarded on the footing of foreign ones. Compare, on the one hand, the copiousness of the branches of instruction uniformly proposed to be administered; on the other, the smallness of the number customarily administered to one and the same person: on the one part, the preferable regard; on the other, the comparative disregard for immediate and extensive use: on the one part, the shortness; on the other, the comparative length of the time employed in administering such instruction: on the part of the unendowed proposed institution, the relative smallness; on the part of the antique and richly endowed institution, the largeness of the sums expended in the endeavours to produce the intended effects.
[(22.)] So numerous and multifarious are the springs of action by which the members of every national community are drawn towards and repelled from each other, that scarcely in any instance can a plan of extensive utility be brought forward, much less a plan so full of promise as that which is here proposed, without appearing to be, and indeed without being, in its tendency, in some way or other, adverse to the interests of a considerable number of persons.
A plan which promises a mass of instruction, so much exceeding in quantity and value anything which has ever yet been exemplified, and that not only to the superior, by which is always meant the more opulent classes, but to the middle or less wealthy classes: not only to those whose means of living are derived from property already accumulated, but to those whose means are derived from industry perpetually employed, can scarcely fail to be an object of jealousy and envy to a multitude of persons exceeding that of those to whom it is a source of delight, and an object of hope.
To no person by whom any considerable value is set upon his own intellectual acquirements, can a continually increasing influx of young men, all of them in possession of acquirements in the same class superior to his own, be reasonably expected to be a spectacle of inward satisfaction. The greater the superiority thus manifested, and consequently the greater his relative inferiority, the more intense is the feeling of dissatisfaction that will naturally be produced. Envy and jealousy being passions by which the persons that harbour them are rendered the objects of aversion and contempt, are passions, the concealment of which is sought with proportionable solicitude. The person in whose breast these passions are concealed, will endeavour by all possible means to prevent this plan from taking effect. The apprehension, the cause of his secret suffering is, that by this school a superior degree of instruction will be obtained. But it is not by the expression of such an opinion, but by the expression of the very opposite opinion, that anything can be done by him towards the accomplishment of his purpose. The opinion which it will be his endeavour to propagate, will, therefore, be that no such superiority will, by means of the plan in question, be attained; and the stronger the persuasion with which he looks for the success of the plan, the greater the pains he will take to render other persons assured of its eventual miscarriage.
By the disguise with which it will be necessary for him to endeavour to conceal the nature of the motives by which he is actuated, and, if it were possible, the object which he has in view, the intensity of his aversion from its being in any degree repressed, will be perpetually increased.
Impracticability, uselessness, mischievousness, by the imputation of one or more of these qualities, will his attack upon it be conducted. By the two first, his endeavour will be to bring down upon it the contempt; by the other, the hatred, of the public: and the more completely he is convinced that no one of these qualities do, in any degree, appertain to it, the more strenuous will be his endeavour to produce in all other breasts the assurance that those qualities, each in the most perfect degree, do appertain to it.
Every one who has anything good to propose, always finds such men as these in his way.
The uncovering of what may be termed the nakedness of the human mind, is a most unpleasant task; but on no occasion can it be said to be an unnecessary one.
If by covering, with a veil of silence, all this body of hostility, it were in the nature of the case that the fire of it should be extinguished, or so much as slackened, silence would be no less consistent with prudence than favourable to ease and indolence. But by no such means can the passions of jealousy and envy be appeased; they admit not of any compromise; by being unmasked, and that ever so completely, they cannot be rendered more savage than they would be were the mask to remain untouched: masked they will do their utmost; unmasked they can do no more.
By the exposure thus made, it would not, therefore, be true to say that the chance of success has, in any degree, been lessened. On the contrary, since by no means is it in the nature of the case that hostility on this ground should be converted into amity, or even into indifference, the only course that presented any chance of guarding the proposed institution from its attacks, was to lay the plan as well as the cause of hostility to it open to public view.
Under all this load of discouragement, there is one source of encouragement which, when duly considered, will have, it is hoped, the effect of taking off almost completely the pressure of it. The funds necessary for the commencement of the undertaking are already provided. The persons, and the only remaining persons, whose concurrence is requisite for the commencement, are the parents or other guardians of such children whose domestic circumstances and local situation concur in putting it in their power to avail themselves of the proffered service. If by them, and with reference to their own situation respectively, it be regarded as affording a sufficient promise of proving at once practicable and useful, and if useful, useful in a greater degree than any other place of education within their reach, it is not by any insinuation which it is in the power of envy or jealousy to throw out, that they will be diverted from that course which, on this supposition, will to their eyes be a source of delight, as well as a matter of duty. By no insinuation, by no declamations or protestations, will any such persons be persuaded that, by being so much more fully replenished and furnished with useful knowledge than other children—by being so much more fully supplied with that intellectual aliment of which the tendency to moderate and calm all dissocial and otherwise unruly passion is so powerful and so incontestible, there will be any the smallest danger of their being encumbered with any such turbulent and mischievous dispositions, the existence of which is thus pre-supposed.
To them it will not appear matter of certainty, that in a school in which neither irreligion, nor heterodoxy, nor schism, nor whatever be meant by heterodoxy or schism, will be taught, all or any of those abominations will be learnt. In their eyes any such suspicion will not appear better grounded than, to those systems of thinking which it professes to protect, it is injurious; as if the only chance of men’s adherence to the most important and useful truths were an unassuageable fear and horror of all intellectual light—a voluntary, determined, and determinately perpetual blindness.
But these dissocial passions, this jealousy, this wretched envy, the prevalence of which has just been stated, (by the objection,) being to such a degree extensive, by the mere circumstance of his being a parent or guardian, will a man be exempted from their influence?
The answer is No. But whatsoever other persons may, to a parent’s eye, be objects of jealousy and envy, his own child, and especially his own child at any such tender age, is not of the number. To a parent, how lowly soever his own lot in life, in general, the all but universal wish is to see that of his child raised as high as possible. In the promotion of this wish, two principles, two most powerful and constantly operating principles concur, viz., instinctive tenderness, and the reflection, that what exaltation soever it may happen to this object of his affection to receive at his hands, is his work, and a manifestation of his own power. In whatever line of life it happens to the parent to find himself placed, in that same line it is his most natural and most frequent wish, should any adequately favourable opening present itself, to see his child raised as much above himself as possible. Of the apothecary, the ambition is to see his child a physician of the highest eminence; of the attorney, to behold in his son a Lord Chancellor; of the parish clergyman, to behold in his an archbishop. The Lord Chancellor More, making his reverence and begging a blessing, as, in the great hall of Westminster, he was passing by his father, then sitting as a puisne judge in the Common Pleas: the puisne judge, and not the Lord High Chancellor, is the great object of envy to a paternal breast.
Adverse Prejudices obviated: Having thus presented, under one view, the advantages to be expected from the proposed course of instruction, it may be of use to consider the adverse prejudices likely to be opposed to it. These prejudices may be comprised under two heads, viz., 1. Novelty of the plan; 2. Abstruseness of the subjects.
[(23.)] In respect of selection and order of priority, the assortment of subjects proposed to be taught will at first sight be seen to be in a very high degree different from everything which custom has hitherto brought to view.
This difference is most explicitly acknowledged. It presents an unquestionable demand for satisfactory reasons; but the reasons by which it was suggested are at hand; and to these reasons the appellation of satisfactory ones, will not, it is hoped, be refused.
In the order here stated, as being recommended by custom, it will be seen, that originally it was equally well recommended by reason; but that by a change of circumstances the recommendation which it originally received from reason, has been cancelled; that custom, blind custom, is the only base on which it stands at present; the indication of reason stands opposed to it.
Order of invention, order of utility, and order in respect of facility: between these three principles of arrangement there is no small difference. That it is by the joint consideration of the order of utility, and the order of facility, that the order of instruction ought to be determined, is sufficiently apparent. But if so, the order of invention, were it not for the custom of which it has become productive, would be a matter of accident, scarcely possessing, unless on the score of curiosity, any claim to regard.
Yet so it is, that by the order of invention, the order of instruction has, in a main degree, been determined. Nor in the coincidence is there anything that need surprise us. By the order of invention, men’s thoughts were determined to run on in that track. And failing determinate and sufficient reason to the contrary, the track in which men’s thoughts have begun to run, is the track in which it is desirable and useful that they should continue.
To the proposed plan of instruction, the quality of usefulness possessed by it, in a pre-eminent and incontrovertible degree, is without hesitation attributed, inasmuch as, of all the several branches comprehended in it, there is not one that may not be found to be continually applicable to all the several purposes of common life; and that not only of the more or less elevated, but of the very humblest spheres. True it is, that when these several branches come to be mentioned by their names, these names being, in most instances, the designation of branches of instruction hitherto but little cultivated, the names, and consequently the things themselves will, to the generality of readers, be apt to be regarded as remote from common use. But when by an example or two, the practically useful application of these seemingly abstruse and hitherto formidable sciences is brought to view, and when the cause why the number of persons acquainted with them is as yet so small, is seen to be not in any deficiency in the article of practical usefulness, but in the recency of the discoveries by which they have been brought to their present state of comparative perfection, and in the accidental circumstances which occasioned a preference to be given to other less useful studies, the conception of their inutility will scarcely be long in giving way to the clearest and firmest persuasion of their pre-eminent and universal use.
[(24.)] If they are abstruse, it is because they are uncommon; if they are as yet uncommon, it is because it is only of late years that their general usefulness has received such increase, as to form a body of instruction capable of being announced in the character of a thing universally useful to the universality of learners.
Chemistry and mechanics, for example, are formidable names. But when once that which cannot be denied has been understood, viz., that it is from chemistry alone that a man can learn how to apply fuel to the best advantage, or how to guard himself most effectually against destruction by fire or poison; and that from mechanics alone, he can learn how to apply his labour to the best advantage, with or without the assistance of machines and other instruments; when once these things have with any tolerable degree of attention been considered, whatsoever disgust or distaste, whatsoever awe or jealousy may have been excited by their as yet unfamiliar names, may surely not unreasonably be expected to give way, not only to complacency, but to desire.
Accordingly, whatsoever practical and familiar utility is seen to belong to these several branches of scientific instruction, will be carefully looked out for, and completely and diligently held up to view; and placed in the most amusing, as well as clear and instructive, light; the design of this institution being, not to raise up a few scholastic pedants, but to breed up, in every walk of life, a numerous and continually increasing succession of intelligent and useful, and, as far as the condition of human beings in this life admits, contented and happy men; not to pamper pride, but to assist and cherish personal freedom, and general benevolence.
Let us not suffer ourselves to be either horrified or disgusted by a few words, which because less familiar than those which we are most accustomed to, are called hard names—names, without which the several branches of knowledge, which are not only among the most useful, but to a greater or less extent even the most generally familiar, could neither be distinguished from each other, nor so much as expressed. Let us not conclude, that because, without teaching, they are not, to any extent, generally understood by grown men, therefore, by teaching, they are not capable of being made to be understood by children.
In the sort of view, which in this first stage of instruction it is proposed to give of the several sciences comprised in it, let us but consider what there is in them respectively, that so much as to a child of eight years old, can prove difficult or formidable.
1. Botany, for example, what is it? An acquaintance more or less correct and extensive with the external appearances of the different sets of plants. Not only a working gardener, but every common labourer in husbandry, every green-grocer, every herb-woman, is, to a certain degree, and in the same way, a Botanist.
2. Zoology. Being of Greek extraction, and not in very common use, the name is a hard name. But, in the same mode as here proposed, not only every labourer in husbandry, but every man, without exception, is, in respect of such animals as have fallen in his way, a Zoologist. Every man, woman, and child, to whom there has been given the amusement of seeing a collection of birds and beasts, has received a lesson in Zoology—a lesson of the sort here proposed.
3. Mineralogy. To a certain extent, every labourer’s man employed in the working of a mine, is a Mineralogist. So is every labourer in husbandry, by whom sand, gravel, loam, marl, or chalk, are dug, or lime burnt. The acquaintance which the labourer in mines has with Mineralogy, is confined to the production of his own mine. The acquaintance which, in the proposed school, a scholar, at the first stage, will have with the same science, will be less particular, though more extensive; indeed, as extensive as it can be made.
4. Astronomy. So large and so far distant from us are the subjects of this science, that the very name of it is enough to strike us with awe. But the first astronomers, it is well known, were shepherds in the regions of the East; the clearness of the sky afforded them this relief from the pain of mental vacancy. Beyond those shepherds, the young scholars will not have to go, except in as far as it may be carried by the addition of representations to realities.
5. Geography. Of this branch of science the name is not quite so formidable as the names just passed under review. In this country few even of the labouring classes but have seen globes, and in general have heard the use of them; none who can read but have seen the use of maps. Yet, of these five branches of science, geography, even at this its earliest stage, is the most abstruse. Why? Because, except to the extent of the prospect which a man carries with him, representations are here substituted for, not added to, realities. As to the solution of geographical problems, these belong not to this proposed first stage of instruction, but to the second; in which geography is considered as belonging to Natural Philosophy, and as such coming under the cognizance of judgment, as well as of sense and memory.
General Concluding Observations.
[(25.)] On the one hand, the quantity of instruction raised to its maximum; on the other hand, the quantity of punishment and reward employed in the production of that effect, sunk to its minimum; in a word, profit maximized, expense minimized: such, in the instance of the inferior order of schools established in pursuance of the system invented by Dr Bell, (inferior in respect of quantity and variety of instruction, but not in respect of importance,) has been the promise made: such, as far as evidence extends, whether of the direct cast or of the circumstantial, as deducible from the working of the system, is the promise that has everywhere been fulfilled.
Such, in the instance of the superior order of schools, of which a commencement is here proposed to be made, may, with not less confidence, be, it is hoped, expected.
Thus, not only will the reign of juvenile terror be everywhere at an end, but those occupations which, till so lately, have in all schools, to almost all scholars, been a mere burthen, will be converted into pastime; and those hours which, to us and our forefathers, were hours partly of irksome labour, partly of joyless and listless idleness, will to our progeny be hours of sport and gaiety. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy: such is the concession made, the plea pleaded, by the homely proverb, in favour of unprofitable pastime. That by all play and no work, Jack would ever be made a learned boy, is a result, to the truth of which neither proverb nor prophecy had ever dared to look. But, by Dr Bell, that fiction of the golden age, which the boldest of prophets would never have dared to prophesy, has actually been accomplished.
If by Jenner human life have been rendered longer, by Bell it has been rendered, in a still greater degree, happier: pain being banished and pleasure substituted, and that during the period when the little bosom is most sensible to both.
Compared with all other new institutions, the proposed Chrestomathic School will have this singularity in its favour, viz., that not only will its practicability have been proved, but even its success assured before it has been tried. In the application which the principles of it have already so abundantly received, all difficulties have already been overcome. As far as concerns the scholars, if the field of instruction will in this new case receive increase, yet, it may be safely and confidently asserted, that the thorniest of all fields, are those in which the success of this new species of culture has received such ample and uncontested proof; and that the new and higher portions of ground now prepared to be enclosed, and put into the corresponding course of cultivation, are, with little or no exception, not only less beset with thorns, but most abundantly adorned with flowers—flowers altogether without parallel in those lower regions. Exists there so much as a single ground for believing, or so much as supposing, that in the instance of any one of the branches of art and science proposed to be superadded, success will be less certain, or less universal, than in those cases in which the completeness and universality of that success has so long been placed out of doubt. If there be, it lies upon him in whose bosom any such doubt or suspicion has arisen, to settle with himself, and produce the grounds of it.
[(26.)] [Natural Pleasantness.] At the dawn of reason more especially, an object is the more pleasant, the more exclusively it presents itself to the senses, especially to the senses of sight and hearing; and, accordingly, the less forcibly it applies itself to the understanding, calling for the exercise of the judgment, on an extensive scale. Hence the various sensible forms, presented by nature and art, particularly by nature, are objects which, at this early period, present in general a stronger interest than is presented by transactions, such as are produced by the mutual intercourse amongst persons of mature age: objects of natural, or as it is called physical, than is presented by objects of moral, including political, knowledge. Birds and Beasts (subjects of Zoology) are, by themselves or their images, plane or solid, among the most pleasant and interesting objects that can be presented to the observation of children at their earliest ages.
[(27.)] [Artificial Pleasantness.] Under the new mode of instruction, a sort of pleasantness, not the less real for being artificial, i. e. for being the product of reflection and ingenuity, is imparted to all subjects: not excepted the most abstruse ones. But, this being the same on all occasions, and to whatsoever subjects applied, the natural degree of pleasantness or unpleasantness will remain to each unaltered.
[(28.)] [Corporeal—Incorporeal.] Corporeal, or bodily: viz. natural substances, such as stones, plants, and animals: artificial substances, such as buildings, furniture, clothing, tools, articles of food and drink; and the materials, wrought or unwrought, of which, and the tools and other instruments with which they are respectively composed:—Incorporeal; such as, interest of money lent, rents issuing out of land, and other similar subjects of property; political offices, conditions in life, resulting from genealogical relations; such as those between husband and wife, father and child, guardian and ward, master and servant.
[(29.)] [Concrete.] From a Latin word, which signifies grown up along with; viz. along with the subject which is in question, whatever it be: it is used in contradistinction to the word abstract, derived from a Latin word which signifies drawn off from: viz. from the subject in question, as above. An orange, for example, has a certain figure, whereby, in connexion with a certain colour, it stands distinguished from all other fruits, as well as from all objects of all sorts. Take into consideration this or that individual orange, the ideas presented by the figure and colour, whereby it stands distinguished not only from other fruits, but even from other oranges—from other fruits of the same kind—are concrete ideas: for, they grew up, as it were, together in the mind, out of the individual object, by which they are excited and produced: they are amongst the elements, out of which the aggregate conception, afforded and presentible to us by that individual object, is formed. The orange being no longer in sight,—now, of the figure and colour observed in that individual orange, consider such parts or appearances as are to be found in all other oranges, as well as in that one. The idea thus formed is an abstract idea: it being a portion drawn off, as it were, from the aggregate idea obtained, as above, from the individual object. Being abstracted and slipt off from the individual stock, and thereupon planted in the mind, it has there taken root, and acquired a separate and independent existence. Without thinking any more of that individual orange in particular, or of oranges in general, or of so much as of fruits in general, take now into consideration figure at large, and colour at large: Here, at one jump, the mind has arrived at an idea, not only abstract, but vastly more abstract than in the case last mentioned. Instead of figure and colour, let us now say sensible qualities. Under this appellation are included not only figure and colour, but smell, taste, and many others: it is therefore abstract in a still higher degree.
[(30.)] [Complex or complicated.] Understand, with the exception of that species of complexity or complicatedness, which has place in the case of concrete, as contradistinguished from abstract ideas. Whence (it may be said) comes this exception? Answer: from hence; viz. that though, in other cases, the more complex the idea is, the greater the labour of mind or force of attention is, which is necessary to the obtaining the conception in a clear and correct state, that is not the case here. No portion of matter ever presents itself to sense, without presenting, at one and the same time, a multitude of simple ideas, of all which taken together, the concrete one, in a state more or less correct and complete, is composed. At the same time, though naturally all these ideas present themselves together, the mind has it in its power to detach, as above, any one or more of them from the rest, and either keep it in view in this detached state, or make it up into a compound with other simple ideas, detached in like manner from other sources. But, for the making of this separation—this abstraction, as it is called—more trouble, a stronger force of attention, is necessary, than for the taking them up, in a promiscuous bundle, as it were; in the bundle in which they have been tied together by the hand of Nature: that is, than for the consideration of the object in its concrete state.
[(31.)] [Cause and Effect.] On all these accounts, but especially the last, the juvenile mind will be earlier prepared for the reception of instruction, with reference to Natural History (Stage I.,) than to Natural Philosophy (Stages II. III. IV. V.): and, as between these,—forasmuch as, in each of these stages, the subjects included in it add more or less, if not to the extent, to the number and variety of those included in the preceding stage or stages,—it will be better prepared for the branches contained in Stage II. alone, than for those contained in that and Stage III. together; and so on as to the rest.
[(32.)] [Name of the Art or Science.] A cloud of perplexity, raised by indistinct and erroneous conceptions—a cloud of perplexity, and consequent difficulty of expression—seems to have been, at all times, hanging over the import of the terms art and science. A few lines, it is hoped, will not be found altogether misemployed in the endeavour to dispel it.
The common supposition seems to be, that, in the whole field of thought and action, a determinate number of existing compartments are assignable, marked out all round, and distinguished from one another, by so many sets of natural and determinate boundary lines: compartments, whereof some are filled, each of them by an art, without any mixture of science; others, by a science without any mixture of art: others, again, so constituted that, as it has not ever happened to them hitherto, so neither can it ever happen to them in future, to contain in them any thing either of art or science. On some such supposition accordingly, appear to be grounded questions such as the following:—how many arts are there? how many sciences? such a thing (naming it,) is it an art, or is it a science?—i. e. such a word (mentioning it,) is it the name of an art, or is it the name of a science?
This supposition will, it is believed, be found in every part erroneous. As between art and science, in the whole field of thought and action, no one spot will be found belonging to either, to the exclusion of the other. In whatsoever spot a portion of either is found, a portion of the other may be seen likewise. Whatsoever spot is occupied by either, is occupied by both: it is occupied by them in joint-tenancy. Whatsoever spot is thus occupied, is so much taken out of the waste: but neither is there any determinate part of the whole waste, that is not liable to be thus occupied.
Practice, in proportion as attention and exertion are regarded as necessary to due performance, is termed art: knowledge, in proportion as attention and exertion are regarded as necessary to attainment, is termed science.
In the Latin language, both are with great advantage comprehended under one common appellation, viz. disciplinæ, from disco, to learn: disciplinæ, with which our English word discipline agrees in sound as well as in derivation; but, by the narrower import which has been attached to it, may probably be regarded as having been rendered unfit for this use.
In the very nature of the case, they will be found so combined as to be inseparable. Man cannot do anything well, but in proportion as he knows how to do it: he cannot, in consequence of attention and exertion, know anything but in proportion as he has practised the art of learning it. Correspondent therefore to every art, there is at least one branch of science: correspondent to every branch of science, there is at least one branch of art. No determinate line of distinction between art on the one hand, and science on the other: no determinate line of distinction between art and science on the one hand, and unartificial practice and unscientific knowledge on the other. In proportion as that which is seen to be done is more conspicuous than that which is seen or supposed to be known, that which has place is apt to be considered as the work of art: in proportion as that which is seen or supposed to be known, is more conspicuous than anything else that is seen to be done, that which has place is apt to be set down to the account of science. Day by day, acting in conjunction, art and science are gaining upon the above-mentioned waste—the field of unartificial practice, and unscientific knowledge.
Witness Electricity, Galvanism, (see Stage II.) Geognosy or Geology, Aerostation, (see Stage III.) Botanical and Zoological Palæology (knowledge regarding the remains of plants and animals deposited, according to appearance, at remote times in the bowels of the earth,) a branch of science appertaining in common to Botany and Zoology (see Stage I.) on the one hand, and Geognosy (see Stage III.) on the other. Under an old name, even Chemistry (see Stage II.) includes an immense mass of art and science, all new within these few years. Of late years, Nephelognosy (if by this appellation may be designated the long chain of partial observations, which have recently taken the clouds for their subject) has become a candidate for existence. So, in the department of morals and politics, Statistics: a newly cultivated branch of Geography, having for its subject the quantities and qualities of the matter of population, of the matter of wealth, and of the matter of political strength—existing or supposed to exist, on the territory, or in the political state to which it applies.
While new branches of art and science have thus been starting up, and putting themselves upon the list, others have dropped out of it: the case being, that, either on the one hand something, which had been supposed to be done, has been found not to have been done, nor to be, for anything that appears, capable of being done; or, on the other hand, that something which had been supposed to be capable of being known, has been found, according to all appearance, destitute of existence, and on that account not capable of being known.
Witness Alchemy, or the art of transmuting other metals into gold: with or without the art of composing a medicine, fit for the cure of all sorts of disorders whatsoever: those of the most opposite nature not excepted. 2. Astrology, or the art of discovering future events, affecting the prosperity of individual inhabitants of the earth, by looking at the stars. 3. Necromancy, the art of discovering future events by conversing with the dead: to which may be added a cluster of other arts or sciences, all ending in mancy, and having for their objects the deriving knowledge concerning future events, from so many different sources, from no one of which is any such knowledge to be obtained.
As between art and science, in so far as they are distinguishable, art is that one of the two that seems entitled to the first mention, as being first and most independent—in value, and thence in dignity, in so far as dignity consists in use: for, of science, the value consists in its subserviency to art; of speculation, the value consists in its subserviency to practice. Of the two, art, when it is not itself the end, stands nearest to the end: with reference to this end, whatsoever of science stands connected with it, is but as a means. But if, independently of all connexion which it has with art, science pleases, then, in so far as it pleases, it is of use: for use itself has neither value nor meaning, but in virtue of, and in proportion to, whatsoever relation it has to pain or pleasure.*
[* ] Persons to whom the account thus given of art fails of being satisfactory, may find a very different account of it in James Harris’s 8vo volume, intitled “Three Treatics:” one of which is, the whole of it, expended upon a definition of this word: without any mention (as far as memory serves) of the word science.
[(33.)] [Antiquity.] Between the degree of natural preparedness, on the part of the mind, for the reception of a branch of instruction, be it what it may, and the antiquity of it, as measured by the length of time that has elapsed, since instruction in it happened first to be administered—no immediate and necessary connexion can be shown to have place. In time indeed, but not by time are things done. Experience, observation, experiment; in these three words may be seen the sources of all our knowledge. Of these, experience is without effect, any farther than as it has had observation for its accompaniment; and, in the very idea of experiment, that of observation is included. Upon observation therefore it is—upon observation, that is upon attention applied to the subject with effect—that everything depends. Numerous and various are the natural objects, which, when once, by minds matured for the purpose, they have been observed and thereupon denominated, find the infant mind in a state of the most perfect preparedness for their reception; but which never happened to be taken for the subjects of observation, nor therefore of denomination, till within these few years.
To the infant mind, few objects can be more interesting—none are there, of which the external characters are more readily apprehensible—than those which belong to the field of animated nature. But, for the most part, what acquaintance we have with the objects which belong to this part of the field of thought and action, is of very modern date.
[(34.)] [Number of teachers and learners.] A circumstance on which the antiquity of a subject of knowledge has no influence is, as above, the natural preparedness of the juvenile mind for the reception of it. But a circumstance, on which that antiquity has great influence is—the number of the persons who, at the time in question, are engaged in the teaching of it, and thence the number of those who are engaged in the learning of it: desire to learn on the one part, and desire to teach on the other, being two circumstances which, with relation to one another, are both cause and effect. Cases to a comparatively small extent excepted, (for example, that which has place where the advantage derivable from teaching is made the subject of a monopoly,) whatsoever be the real and intrinsic value of a branch of learning, those who have learnt it, and those who are teaching it, have, each of them, an interest in magnifying it, and causing it to be cultivated to the greatest extent possible: learners, as well as teachers, lest their labour should be thought to have been bestowed in vain; teachers, that the number of their customers may be as great as possible. Among the known subjects of intellectual labour, not many, it is believed, can be pointed out that have less in them of intrinsic use, especially since the stock of translations has been completed, than the dead languages. Yet, of these, there are incomparably a greater number of teachers, and thence of learners, than of all other branches of learning put together, the very elementary ones, viz., reading, writing, and arithmetic, alone excepted. Why? Because the study of those keys to knowledge has continued to be cultivated from the time when, the above-mentioned elementary branches excepted, there was very little known that was worth learning, still less for which teachers could be found.
[(35.)] [Introductory Stage.] The branches of instruction, thus referred to an introductory stage, are the same as those which are comprehended in the course of instruction carried on in that new method, which, though applicable with equal advantage to the situation of the highest, has not as yet been applied to any other than that of the lowest, ranks in life.
In this introductory stage, to a degree more or less considerable, the matter of instruction cannot fail of coinciding with, and thus anticipating, the matter here allotted, for the first and earliest, of the five stages peculiar to the hereby proposed school. Words, for example, it cannot but have to operate upon: and—the words, of which, in the first of these principal and peculiar stages, the matter of instruction is composed, being such as are adapted to the very earliest age—of this sort, with at least as much propriety as of any other sort, may be the words employed in the introductory stage already in use. Again: Writing is among the Exercises, allotted to the first Chrestomathic Stage. But writing is itself but a mode of drawing; nor that the easiest mode. Geometry will, among its figures, present some still more simple, than some of the letters, of which written discourse is composed.
[(36.)] [Mineralogy.] From two words, one of which, derived from the Latin, signifies belonging to mines (mines being the places from which the most interesting among the subjects of this branch of science, are extracted,) and a Greek word, which signifies an account, or giving an account of. In this first stage, the subject, in so far as teachable by exhibition of figure, colour, and other sensible qualities, will be taught, without reference made, as in Chemistry and Geognosy, to causes and effects more or less remote.
[(37.)] [Botany.] From a Greek word, which signifies a plant or vegetable:—to be taught, as above, without reference to the relation of cause and effect, except in so far as indication of the manner of propagation comes to be made.
[(38.)] [Zoology.] From two Greek words, one of which signifies an animal, the other an account, as above:—to be taught as above.
Under Mineralogy will be presented to view those bodies and portions of matter, in which no sort of life is found: under Botany, those which have vegetable life, i. e. birth and growth, as well as death, but, as far as appears, without feeling: under Zoology, those which have animal life, i. e. not only, as plants, birth, growth, and death, but feeling, as far as appears, with more or less of thought. On these subjects, the Exercises, prescribed and performed, will, as far as circumstances admit, be accompanied with the exhibition of specimens; specimens, dead and even living: as well as draughts or models of specimens. See Table II. Col. 1-3.
[(39.)] [Geography.] From two Greek words; one of which signifies the earth, the other delineation or description: the familiar or purely geographical branch, viz., that, for the teaching of which, maps, with the requisite verbal explanations, are sufficient: dismissing to Stage V. 4. the scientific: viz., that by which are exhibited the facts and appearances, resulting from the connexion which the earth has with the sun, the moon, and other parts of the universe visible to our eyes.
[(40.)] [Geometry.] From two Greek words; one of which, as above, signifies the earth, the other measurement. From this derivation it appears, that, among the Greeks, the first application which this branch of art and science received was, that of being employed in measuring, for the purpose of ascertaining ownership, portions of the earth’s surface: such as Fields, Gardens, and the sites of Houses. But it is now applied to portions of apparently void space, as well as to bodies of all sorts and sizes, imaginary as well as real, in so far as considered with a view to nothing but their figure.
From this stage, the demonstrations—as requiring too many objects, and those not in themselves interesting, to be held at the same time in the memory, and too strong a hold to be taken of them by the attention, for the purpose of forming a ground for the judgment—will be dismissed to Stage V. and last. So likewise even the enunciative parts of the propositions: except perhaps in the instance of a few of the most simple and easily conceived. Remain the definitions; for the illustration of which, the most familiar specimens, such as rules, pencils, slates, marbles, balls, tops, &c. will be employed. As to the demonstrations, from the proposed postponement, no real inconvenience can, it is presumed, result. On no other subject, with so little danger of error as on that of geometry, can propositions be delivered to be taken upon trust. Be the art or science what it may, incompetence, as to the reception of some particulars belonging to it, affords no reason for withholding from the juvenile mind any other particulars, to the reception of which it is competent.
[(41.)] [Historical Chronology.] Historical, from a Greek word, which signifies originally knowledge at large; but which, in the use commonly made of it, is at present confined to knowledge, or supposed knowledge, relative to past events: principally to such as are of a political nature; such as wars, conquests, changes of government, &c. Chronology, from two Greek words, one of which signifies time, the other an account, as above. Historical Chronology: i. e. History in so far as exhibited by Chronology, considered in no other than the familiar point of view: consisting of indications given, of the principal events, known or supposed to have happened to mankind, mentioned, in the briefest manner, with reference to the portions of time, in which they are respectively supposed to have taken place: the mention so made not being accompanied by any of those statements or observations, relative to their supposed causes or effects, or relative to the characters of the respective actors, whereof the matter of what is generally meant by the word History, is composed. History, thus as it were clothed, will be reserved, partly for a higher stage in this same school, partly for a maturer time of life. For another branch of Chronology, which stands higher, and belongs to Natural Philosophy, see Stage V. 5.
By the difference between to-day, yesterday, and the day before, application being made of the numeration table, a child, at its very exit from infancy, will have been found prepared for Historical Chronology, as above described: the import, attached to the words designative of the several events, becoming by degrees more and more clear, correct, and complete, as the course of instruction advances.
Exercises in Historical Chronology will be afforded by Tables, Charts, and Memoriter verses; and, in return to correspondent questions, Answers written and repeated in prose.
[(42.)] [Biographical Chronology.] Biographical, from two Greek words, one of which signifies life, the other a delineation or description, as above. In this instance, as in that of Historical Chronology, the miscellaneous matter will for some time be dismissed, as above. Exercises, much the same.
[(43.)] [Appropriate Drawing.] Appropriate, viz. correspondent: on the one hand, to the state of the bodily faculties, and the degree of proficiency thence attained; on the other hand, to the particular nature of the branch of art and science to which, in the character of an organic test of intellection (See Tab. II. Col. 1, 4, 9.) application is made of this art.
As to earliness—the first rude essays in drawing cannot take place too soon. Writing is but a particular branch or application of it. Not to speak of mineralogy, with the right lined angles exhibited by its crystals,—and even Botany and Zoology, as exhibited by some of their outlines,—Geometry affords forms still more easily traceable upon sand or slate, than those which are produced by writing, under the name of letters and words.
Of the term appropriate drawing, the import will consequently be shifting at every successive stage: the figures delineated being, throughout, such as appertain to the branches of learning included in the stage in question, as well as the preceding ones.
By the several Branches of Natural History learning, comprised in this Stage, is furnished the matter, upon which the juvenile mind will have to operate, in the course of the several succeeding stages. The more familiarly it has become acquainted with them, when presented in this most simple point of view, the less the difficulty it will experience, in its endeavours to comprehend the propositions, of which they will be taken for the subjects, in the course of the succeeding stages.
By the hands of Chemistry, the inward constitution and composition—the latent properties—of all those several natural modifications of matter, will, principally by means of mixture and different doses of combined and uncombined caloric (different degrees of heat and cold,) be laid open and brought to view.
[(44.)] [Mechanics in the limited sense of the word.] Mechanics from a Greek word, which signifies a machine, an engine, a contrivance. In the limited sense of the word; viz. in the sense in which it is employed for the designation of the several distinguishable classes of configurations, contrived principally for the purpose of gaining force at the expense of despatch, or despatch at the expense of force. These are, 1. the lever: 2. the wheel, turning upon a fixed axis: 3. the pulley, or shifting wheel: 4. the inclined plane: 5. the screw: 6. the wedge: to which hath of late years been added, 7. the funicular machine; and are now designated by the common appellation of the mechanical powers. This limited sense is the only original one: the only one attached to the word, in the language from which it is derived.
Within the last two hundred years, the species of force, to a compromise, as it were, amongst which all distinguishable bodies or masses of matter appear to be indebted, for the quantity of matter, the form, and the texture which they respectively possess, have been brought to light. These are, 1. Attraction of gravity, a tendency possessed, not only by all the matter of which our earth, but by all the matter of which any part of the visible universe is composed. 2. Attraction of cohesion, the perceptible operation of which is confined within distances too small to be distinguished by human sense. 3. Elasticity: i. e. a principle of repulsion corresponding to, and antagonizing with, the attraction of cohesion: 4. Attraction and repulsion, having place in the case of Magnetism. 5. Attraction and repulsion, having place in the case of Electricity. 6. Attraction and repulsion having place in the case of Galvanism. 7. Attraction, termed elective, belonging to the province of chemistry, and, from the French, commonly, though rather unhappily, expressed by the term chemical affinity. N. B. in regard to these three or four last species, it seems not at present, altogether determined, how far they coincide, and how far, if at all, they stand distinguished from each other.
To the head of Mechanics, taken at large (including or not including Mechanics, taken in the limited acceptation of the word, as above) seems now to be generally referred what appertains to the three first of the above seven general principles, together with whatsoever changes or arrangements are regarded as capable of being brought about, or secured, in any mass or masses of matter, without any such change in the arrangement of their undistinguishably minute constituent elements, and thence in some of their external characters, as those which it belongs to the Chemist, as such, to produce or bring to view. In regard to Magnetism and Electricity, in so far as the motions, which have place on the occasions on which those words are employed, are seen to extend to measurable distances, they seem to be considered as belonging to the head of Mechanics: in so far as the distance in question is so minute as to be incapable of measurement, they seem to be considered as belonging to the head of Chemistry.
By all the several instruments above spoken of under the head of mechanical powers, motion is transferred and modified; by none of them produced:—in all of them motion finds a channel; in none of them a source. What then are the several sources from which, for any purpose, and in particular for purposes of practical utility, it is producible, and accordingly produced? More shortly, what are the several sources of motion, and what the corresponding prime movers, or primum mobiles? Of a search, made in the latest and most approved institutional works on Natural Philosophy, the result has been—that of no such topic is any the slightest mention to be found: and thus a gap, the existence of which had long been matter of observation, and never without astonishment—a gap in the very heart of the science—was found to remain still unfilled up.
That, in the Chrestomathic School, a demand so urgent may not be altogether unprovided with an answer, a slight sketch on this subject has been attempted, and is inserted in the Appendix:—in the hope, and under the assurance, that, being thus started, the subject will not remain long without being more effectually pursued by more competent hands.
[(45.)] [Hydrostatics.] From two Greek words: one of which signifies water; the other, taking a station, position, or level.
To this head belong such of the mechanical properties of the portions of matter of which our earth is composed, as are the result of the propensity which, in conformity to the all-pervading principle of gravitation, the component particles of water, and all other bodies, in so far as they are in a state of fluidity, have to range themselves in such a manner as to form a surface, which to our eye appears flat, but which is in fact a curve, having its central point in this our planet.
On this property depend the means employed for ascertaining the specific gravity of different bodies: i. e. the different weights respectively possessed by the same bulk of each; and in particular the weights, and thence the values, of spirituous and other costly liquors: so likewise, in a considerable degree, the effects of pump-work; of mill-work, more particularly in the case of water-mills; and the efficiency of such solid constructions as are employed in resisting the pressure of the water: for example, navigable vessels, wharfs, docks, &c.
[(46.)] [Hydraulics.] From two Greek words: one of which, as above, signifies water; the other, a pipe or tube.
To this head belong the mechanical properties of liquids, as above,—in so far as, being bounded by and confined in solid channels of a determinate form, the force with which, and the direction in which, when put in motion, they act, and the effects of which, on that occasion, they become productive, are influenced by the internal form or configuration, of those same channels. It is therefore nothing but a particular branch or modification of Hydrostaties. To this belongs, for example, pump-work, as above, and in general the art of conveying water and other liquids, upon a large scale, to places in which they are wanted.
[(47.)] [Mechanical Pneumatics.] Pneumatics, from a Greek word, which means air. Coincident with, or at least included in, the import of this term, is that of the recently employed term, Aërostatics.
To this head belong those mechanical properties, as they are termed, which, in whatsoever different degrees, are possessed in common by all such portions of matter as, at the time in question, are in the aërial or gaseous state: and in particular their weight (the result of the attraction of gravity,) their elasticity (the result of the principle of intestine repulsion,) and that pressure on all sides which is the result of the sort of compromise that has place amongst those antagonizing forces.
To the head of Chemical Pneumatics, as below, belong those properties by which the several species of bodies, when in the gaseous state, are distinguished from each other.
On the above mechanical properties depend, for example, in a greater or less degree, the art of mill-work, in so far as concerns wind-mills; the art of constructing and navigating navigable vessels, in so far as sails are employed, and in virtue of the tendency which the same body, viz. water, has to pass from the liquid into the gaseous state, and back again, according to the quantity of heat combined or mixed with it, the construction of Steam-Engines.
[(48.)] [Acoustics.] From a Greek word, which signifies to hear. To this head belongs the property which, by its motion, air has, of producing in the correspondent organs of man and other animals, the perception of sound, in the infinitely diversified modifications of which it is susceptible. On the science thus denominated depend, for example, in a degree more or less considerable, the art by which relief is afforded in case of deafness; and the art by which words and other audible signs are employed in the communication of ideas, whether near at hand or at a distance.
[(49.)] [Optics.] From a Greek word, which signifies to see.
To this head belongs the property which light has, of producing in the correspondent organs of man and other animals, the perception of sight or vision: and thereby rendering in some sort present to them bodies, which, so far as depends upon all other senses, are separated from them by vast, untraversable, and even unmeasurable distances.
On this depends, for example, the art of employing with effect glasses and other bodies, so prepared as, in some cases, to transmit the light, in others, to reflect it; and by the one means or the other (besides increasing, for the purpose of chemical operations, the quantity of light, and along with it of heat, brought to bear upon a given point,) to delight the organs of vision by a variety of images, not otherwise perceptible; to afford relief to those same organs under various imperfections to which they are subject; to enable them to obtain perception of objects too small to be perceived otherwise, and of others (such as several of the heavenly bodies,) which, notwithstanding their vast bulk, are too distant to be by any other means effectually perceived or observed; and, by observations taken of them, to ascertain, upon occasion, with relation to the general surface of the earth, by the help of calculation, the momentary position of a navigable vessel, and thus afford guidance to it in its course.
[(50.)] [Chemistry.] From an Arabic word, which may be said to be of the same signification, allowance made for the minuteness of the stock of knowledge, possessed in relation to the subject, at the time when the word first came into use, in comparison with the vastness of the stock possessed at present.
To the head of Chemistry seem to be generally referred, those properties, which are either discovered in bodies, or given to them, by means of mixture (i. e. actual contact, produced as between bodies in a fluid state on the one hand, and bodies, either in a fluid or in a solid state, on the other,) or by the application of extraordinary degrees of temperature, (i. e. of heat or cold, or both;) on which occasions the original bodies are, commonly, in appearance destroyed; and, in the room of them, new ones, in appearance and properties more or less dissimilar, produced.
[(52.)] [Vegetable Chemistry.]
[(53.)] [Animal Chemistry.] i. e. Chemistry considered in its application to those three different classes of bodies. Applied to mineral bodies, it is capable of producing not only the effect of composition, as well as that of decomposition, but, in many instances, that of recomposition: i. e. by putting together bodies, such as they are in their natural state, it produces new ones;—bodies possessed of properties never before made manifest. By decomposing, i. e. resolving into their respective constituent elements, bodies such as they are in their natural state, it thus also produces new ones; and moreover, after thus resolving a body into its constituent elements, it, in many instances, is able to put them together again, in such a manner as to reproduce the very body so decomposed: a body composed of the same elements, and not, in respect of any of its properties, distinguishable from it. Applied to vegetable or animal bodies, its powers are confined to decomposition: neither to composition nor recomposition do they extend. Of these organized bodies, the formation is a process by much too secret and refined, to be copied by human art.
In the course of the instruction given in Chemistry, as it comes to be applied respectively to the subjects of the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms, occasion will occur for recalling, enlivening, extending, and fixing in the memory, the information received in relation to them, in Stage I.
[(54.)] [Meteorology.] From two Greek words, the first of which signifies aloft or elevated. No sooner does a substance break free from any of those bonds, by which, while remaining in a state of solidity or liquidity, it has been confined to a determinate part of the earth’s surface, than it enters into the province of Meteorology, and there continues, until, by any of those revolutions of which the atmosphere* is the constant theatre, it is again brought into immediate contact with, and made to form a portion of, some one or more of those solid or liquid masses. Thus, after having been raised, by solution in the incumbent air, and then again precipitated, water, on its descent towards the dense part of the earth’s surface, becomes, according to circumstances, mist, rain, hail, or snow;—remaining all the while, and until it has reached that dense part, amongst the subjects of meteorology. So likewise the electric fluid, when, by the magnitude of its quantity, it gives birth to those appearances, which, under the denominations of thunder and lightning, are sometimes so fatal, and, to many a timorous mind, at all times so tremendous.
[* ] The atmosphere, i. e. the miscellaneous mass of matter in a gaseous state, with which those parts of the earth’s surface, which are in a solid or liquid state, are constantly encompassed.
[(55.)] [Magnetism.] From a Greek word, which signifies a loadstone: this naturally compounded species of mineral, having iron for its principal element, being the only body, in which the peculiar relation, in the way of attraction and repulsion, to other bodies of the same sort, or to iron, was for a long time observed:—though latterly, by human art, means have been found, for establishing the same sort of relation between one piece of iron, prepared in a particular manner, and another; and still more recently, between magnets or magnetized iron, on the one part, and, on the other, a newly discovered species of metal, called nickel, the like relation has been observed.
A piece of iron, when brought to a proper form, and, after having, for the purpose, been magnetized, as above, left free to turn itself upon a centre, points towards a star which serves for giving name to the north, and thence to the other divisions of the universe, and to the corresponding points of the mariner’s compass: by which means, without view of sun, moon, or star, the situation of the spot, at which the observation is made, with relation to every part of the universe, is at all times ascertainable. And thus it is, that, for showing to him the direction in which he is moving, the magnetic needle is become an instrument, as necessary as it is simple, in the hands of the navigator.
[(56.)] [Electricity.] From a Greek word, which signifies amber. By mere rubbing, certain kinds of bodies had, at different times, been found capable of being rendered productive of extraordinary appearances, and extraordinary changes, in other bodies: attracting them, repelling them, producing light, producing heat, and so forth. Of the sorts of bodies, by means of which these appearances are producible, amber having been the first, in which the power of producing them was observed, hence the whole system of those effects came to be designated by the name of electricity; as if one should say, amber-work.
By degrees, it having been observed that the property of producing those effects, is a property, which, under certain circumstances, is manifested by all matter, it was at length discovered, (viz. by Benjamin Franklin,) that, among them are those, to which, when manifested upon the largest scale, the names thunder and lightning are applied.
Accordingly, to this head belong, at present, the means employed for securing person and property, from the destruction of which those changes in the atmosphere are liable to become the source.
In some diseases, electricity has been applied, not altogether without success, in the character of a remedy.
[(57.)] [Galvanism.] From Galvani, an Italian, by whom, not long before the close of the last century, effects, in many respects coinciding with, though in some respects different from, those produced by electricity, were found producible, without the help of friction or intercourse with the clouds, by a mere arrangement, made to take place between certain bodies in a solid, and certain others in a fluid state.
Magnetism, Electricity, Galvanism—in the hands of the chemist, the powers designated by those several names, more particularly Electricity and Galvanism, have become so many very efficient and active instruments: by Electricity, but still more particularly by Galvanism, bodies, which till then had been regarded as simple, having, principally under the management of Sir Humphrey Dary, been decomposed, and new ones, possessed of very extraordinary properties, brought, as it were, into existence.
By Magnetism, by Electricity, and in some degree by Galvanism, effects have thus been produced on other bodies, without any remarkable change in the constitution of the bodies employed as instruments in the production of those effects: and in this way it is, that these districts of the field of science appertain, in some respects, to the province of Mechanics. But, by the use and application made of them, particularly of Electricity, and most particularly of Galvanism, not only new properties have been observed, but prodigious changes have been made, in the constitution of most sorts of bodies: and in this way it is that they appertain to the province of Chemistry.
[(58.)] [Balistics.] From a Greek word, which signifies to cast: called also the theory of projectiles, from a Latin word of the same signification. The mass projected is either in a solid or in a liquid state: in so far as it is in a solid state, the art of Gunnery is included in it: an art, which, in so far as concerns the motion produced, belongs, since the invention of gunpowder, to Chemistry; and in so far as concerns the giving direction to that motion, to Mechanics. In so far as the mass projected is in a liquid state, the art is that of making Jets d’eau, i. e. playing fountains: a branch which, by its perfect innocence and comparative insignificance, forms a striking contrast with the other.
In detail, neither can Gunnery, any more than Fortification, or Navigation, present any sufficient title to admittance into the Chrestomathic school: but, in so far as they are, all of them, comprehended in Natural Philosophy, it would be leaving an incongruous gap, not to give some general intimation of the general principles on which they respectively depend.
[(59.)] [Geography continued.] In the first Stage, the instruction relating to Geography will have been confined to mere Topography:—the knowledge of the divisions and remarkable spots, partly natural, partly factitious, observable on the earth’s surface: beginning, of course, with the country in which the instruction is administered. At this next, and other succeeding stages, the same ground will be retrodden: and in it, as relative capacity advances, information will be afforded, of that sort, which, in books of Geography, used to be comprehended under that name, but of late years has been referred to a separate name, viz. Statistics: such as that which concerns population; the manner and proportions in which the matter of wealth, the matter of power, and the matter of dignity, are distributed; quantity and quality of military force, &c. &c.
[(60.)] [Geometry continued.] See Stage I.
[(61.)] [Historical Chronology continued.] In the same manner as Geography, presented at first in the state of a naked field, receives by degrees its proper clothing, so will Historical Chronology. In the one case, as in the other, the signs will come to be repeated: and, at each repetition, an additional quantity of information will be superadded.
To the account of the great military wars and other political events, composed of battles, sieges, unions and dismemberments, acquisitions and losses of territory, changes in dynasties, and in so far as in the Stage and at the age in question, they can be made intelligible, in forms of government—to this will by degrees be added, the sort of information, designated by the term Archæology, i. e. account of antiquities: an account of the state of persons and things, in anterior, i. e. former and earlier, so preposterously termed ancient, times; including information respecting lodging, diet, clothing, military equipment, pastimes,—powers and functions—belonging to offices, civil, political, and religious, &c.
[(62.)] [Appropriate Drawing.] In the Chrestomathic school, the great use of drawing is, the giving assistance to, and serving as a test, and thence as a cause of, proficiency in the branches of art and science to which it is applicable. On this score, in so far as it is appropriate, it will adapt itself to those several subjects, in proportion as they are presented. But this direction receives a necessary modification, from the state of the bodily organs in question in respect of maturity.
[(63.)] [Grammatical Exercises.] See Table II. The objects aimed at in and by these exercises will be—
1. To render the scholar acquainted with the structure of language in general, and that of his own language in particular; and thereby, to qualify him for speaking and writing, on all subjects and occasions, with clearness, correctness, and due effect—in his own language.
2. By familiarizing him with the greater part, in number and importance, of those terms belonging to foreign languages, from which those belonging to his own are derived, and in which the origin of their import, and the families of words with which they are connected, are to be found—to divest them of that repulsive and disheartening quality, of which so impressive an idea is conveyed, by the appellation of hard words.
3. To render the approach, to the several branches of art and science, as smooth and easy as possible, by rendering that part of the language which is peculiar to them, and which is mostly derived from foreign, and in particular from the dead languages, as familiar as any other part.
4. To lay a substantial and extensive foundation, for a more particular acquaintance, to the purpose of reading, with or without that of conversation, with the several foreign languages, dead and living, comprehended in the scheme, or such of them as, at a maturer age, shall be regarded as promising to be conducive to the scholar’s advancement in life, or agreeable to his taste.
As to the subjects of these exercises, in addition to the rules of Grammar, they may consist of select portions of History and Biography, taken from the most approved works composed in the several languages.
In any language other than his own, composition—except in so far as Translation (see Tab. II. Exercises) or Note taking (see Stage V. 13.) may be considered as coming under this head—is proposed not to be comprehended in this course, but to be reserved to some other seat of instruction, or for self-instruction at a maturer age.
[(64.)] [Stage III.] At this Stage, the general information, obtained in the two preceding stages, is still repeated; and the application made of it to the exigencies and gratifications of common life, rendered more and more particular and determinate, and brought still nearer to actual and common use.
[(65.)] [Mining.] Under Mineral Chemistry, have been brought to view, the different sorts of simple substances obtained by means of this art, together with the new substances, obtained by putting them together, and combining them, in groups and proportions, different from those in which they are found combined by the hands of Nature. Under the present head, a general view (and a very general one will suffice) will be to be given, of the manner in which this art is practised. In its quality of an art, operating upon materials, rendered more or less known by precedent science, it matches in some sort with Architecture and Husbandry, to which it supplies a considerable part of the materials, which they respectively employ.
[(66.)] [Geognosy.] From two Greek words, one of which signifies the earth; the other, knowledge or understanding. By this name is designated what we have as yet been able to learn, concerning the manner in which the matters composing the substance of the earth, including so much of what is underneath the surface as hath been rendered accessible to us, are distributed. By Geography, the earth is viewed in one direction; by Geognosy in another direction: by Geography, it is considered with a view to one set of purposes: by Geognosy, with a view to another set of purposes. Geognosy is among the new fruits of Chemistry. To the general gratification afforded to speculative curiosity, Geognosy adds the practical advantage, of affording indications—presumptive and experiment-saving indications—of the presence or absence of the valuable substances, for the extraction of which the art of mining is employed.
By the remains which it brings to light of the dead subjects, of the vegetable and animal kingdoms—some of them known, others not known, at present in a living state—Geognosy includes Archæology, as applied to the structure of this our Globe.—(See Stage II. 17.)
[(67.)] [Land-surveying.] In an application made of it at Stage II. to Mechanics, Geometry found one of its practical uses: in its application to Land-surveying, it will find another. In addition to the more elementary part, Trigonometry (from two Greek words, one of which signifies a three cornered figure, the other measuring) is a branch of the speculative science called Geometry, which on this occasion will be brought into practical use. But in this instance too, as well as in that of Mechanics, the simply enunciative parts of the propositions will serve by themselves; still leaving to a more advanced stage such instruction, and such exercises, as take for their subject the demonstrative parts.
[(68.)] [Architecture.] From two Greek words, one of which signifies chief or principal; the other, Handicraft work.
For its products, and in that view its subjects, Architecture in general has constructions in general. Constructions may be distinguished into principal constructions, i. e. constructions of independent use, and constructions for the purpose of communication. Principal constructions are mostly receptacles. According to the nature of the bases on which the receptacles rest or move, they are distinguished into terrestrial, aquatic, and aërial: fixed buildings, navigable vessels, and air balloons.
Of communication, the principal instruments are, 1. Roads. 2. Canals, including tunnels and drains. 3. Quays, including Wharfs and Jetties. 4. Bridges.
Substituted to the present costly and comparatively useless stock of a toy-shop, architectural models of buildings and furniture, might, if made to take to pieces and put together again, be to this purpose productive of real and lasting use.
[(69.)] [Husbandry, including Theory of Vegetation and Gardening.] On this occasion, application will come to be made of the instruction obtained in relation to the mineral as well as the vegetable system, in Stage I.; and in relation to Vegetable Chemistry, in Stage II. So of the instruction obtained in relation to Architecture, in so far as concerns barns, drains, and other constructions; and in relation to Husbandry itself, in so far as concerns implements—employed, or with advantage employable, in Husbandry. How to convey and commit to the earth to the best advantage the seeds and other germs of its products,—as well as how to collect and convey to the store or the market the products themselves when ripe, or otherwise ready for use;—so likewise how to collect, convey, and commit to the earth the manure employed in their production—will be learnt principally from Mechanics: how to preserve them against corruption and combustion,—as well as how to choose, prepare, and keep the manure—from Chemistry. So in Gardening, how to employ artificial heat and shelter in the improvement or preservation of those choicer vegetables which are the subject of that art. Cattle, not to speak of Bees, are all of them among the fruits, some of them among the instruments, of Husbandry. For what concerns the care of their health, reference will be to be made to Stage IV. Among the inferior animals, Husbandry has a multitude of enemies. For the most effectual modes of destroying them, reference will be to be made to Stage IV. But to this purpose it may be necessary to obtain more or less knowledge in relation to them: and for this knowledge the foundation will at least have been laid in Stage I.
[(70.)] [Physical Economics.] Physical, from a Greek word which signifies Natural, in contradistinction to moral:—Economics, from two Greek words: one of which signifies a house; the other, management. Of Mechanics and Chemistry,—partly in an immediate way, partly through the medium of Architecture and Husbandry,—of Mechanics as well as Chemistry, but principally of Chemistry,—application will here be made to all the various physical concerns of a family: care of health excepted, for which see Stage IV.
From Chemistry, more particularly, will be deduced and administered an all-comprehensive stock of practically useful information. Maximization of bodily comfort in all its shapes—minimization of bodily discomfort in all its shapes—minimization of the labour and expense applied to both these intimately connected purposes—these will the art in question have for its ends in view. [For maximization and minimization see Table II. Principles.] Articles of household furniture, apparel, food, drink, and fuel, these it will have among its principal subject matters: warming, cooling, moistening, washing, drying, ventilating, lighting, clothing, cooking, preserving, repairing, restoring—these it will have among its principal operations: air, heat, cold, light—substances, some in a solid, some in a liquid, some even in a gaseous form,—substances, indefinitely diversified in form and texture,—substances, from all three kingdoms, mineral, animal, and vegetable,—some natural, some factitious—some simple, some compounded,—these it will have for its materials and instruments.
[(71.)] [Hygiastics or Hygiantics.] From a Greek word, which signifies appertaining to health:—the branches of art and science which appertain to health; i. e. to the preservation as well as restoration of it.—Medicine, Physic—the words most commonly employed on this occasion—are inadequate and delusive. Under the name of Medicines or Physic, drugs are conceived as being to be conveyed into the stomach; and, to the choosing and preparing of these drugs, the idea of this most extensive and diversified cluster of arts and sciences is thus confined.
Of all the bodies, which it can be the object of this or any other course of instruction, to render the scholar more or less acquainted with,—there is not one, the state and condition of which can be of near so much importance to him as that of his own. At this time of life, few, it is true, in comparison, are the instances, in which the body is in any way constantly out of order: not a few, in which it scarce ever is. Partly to this cause it seems to be owing, that, in the education of youth, so important a branch of instruction has experienced so general a neglect. Several others however have likewise been contributing their share towards the production of this effect. At the time or times, in which the plan of School education (not to speak of University education) received its form, Chemistry—one of the necessary bases of Hygiantics—had no existence: and of the nine other arts and sciences, which, as below, may be stated as being subservient to it, several were nearly in the same case. In those days, the art not having any clear foundations, there was scarcely anything which—especially to a mind of the age of a school-boy’s—was capable of being taught.
Very different is the case at present. When, by instruction in the several branches herein enumerated, a clear foundation has been laid—as in a moderate space of time it may now be laid—a few rules may, at a still more moderate expense of time and words, be taught and learnt to great advantage. How to guard against disease and death, considered as liable to be produced, by suddenness or excess of heat, cold, or moisture, by want of respirable air, by excess in diet or bodily labour, how to apply to one’s self, or to obtain from friendly ignorance, the speediest as well as most effectual relief—in the case of those accidents, in which the most common disorders take their rise: a burn, a scald, a flesh wound, lameness produced by corns; indigestion in its various symptoms, pains of the rheumatic kind in the head tooth or ear, what is called a cold, in the several shapes in which that malady is most apt to make its appearance; how to operate towards the recovery of persons apparently drowned: in serious cases in general, what to do in the meantime, until professional assistance can be obtained; and when obtained, how to form some judgment as to its competency. To females, partly on account of the infirmities peculiar to that sex, partly on account of the almost exclusive share which they possess in the management of children of both sexes for several years after birth; this branch of knowledge is, in a more peculiar degree, important. In point of fact, all Mothers, all Nurses, are Physicians. Partly by remedies altogether unapt, partly by ill applied ones, partly by ill grounded and false theories—in uninstructed families, especially in those in which the expense of professional advice is an object of alarm, it may almost be a question—whether more mischief is not done by medicine, than sustained for want of it. Children, in particular, are not unfrequently enslaved and tormented by unnecessary precautions and groudless fears. Great would be the value of sound hygiantic instruction, were it only in the character of a preservative against the certain mischief to the purse, and not improbable mischief to the constitution, by quack medicines; medicines of unknown composition, presented by those to whom the patient, and with him the particular nature of his case, is unknown. Various are the impositions of which the human body is liable to be made the subject: by a moderate quantity of hygiantic instruction, such as the course in question could not fail to afford, the mind is rendered proof against them all. It would have its use, were it only to enable a patient to make, to his professional adviser, a correct, complete, and conclusive report of his own case.
[(72.)] [Physiology.] From two Greek words, one of which signifies nature or natural state; the other, an account; an account of the several component parts of the body, as well those which are naturally in a liquid, as those which are in a solid state.
[(73.)] [Anatomy.] From a Greek word, which signifies dissection, cutting up. The parts of the body, to which it can apply, are of course no other than those which it finds in a solid state.
[(74.)] [Pathology.] From two Greek words, the first of which signifies sensation: an account of the sensations which the human frame is liable to experience, more particularly the painful or uneasy ones.
[(75.)] [Nosology.] From two Greek words, the first of which signifies a malady, disease, or disorder: an account of the several maladies, diseases, or disorders, which the human frame is liable to experience.
[(76.)] [Diætetics.] From a Greek word which signifies habitual mode of life, more particularly in respect of food and drink; whence the English word diet:—the knowledge of what appertains to diet;—of the influence which, as well in other respects as in respect of nourishment, substances, commonly taken into the stomach, have on the state of the animal frame.
[(77.)] [Materia Medica.] Two Latin words, which signify the matter of which medicines (substances applied to the stomach or other parts of the body, for the cure or prevention of disorders) are composed.
[(78.)] [Prophylactics.] From a Greek word, which signifies measures of precaution.
[(79.)] [Therapeutics.] From a Greek word, which signifies to cure or endeavour to cure, a disorder.
[(80.)] [Surgery, or Mechanical Therapeutics.] Surgery, from two Greek words: one of which signifies a hand, the other operation. Mechanical Therapeutics it may be called, because in so far as, in the endeavour to cure or relieve a disorder, the hand of an operator is considered as being employed,—the means employed belong to the mechanical, in contradistinction to the chemical, walk in the field of art and science.
[(81.)] [Zoohygiantics or Zohygiantics.] From two Greek words: one of which, as above, signifies an animal; the other, as above, pertaining to the care of health:—the arts of preserving and restoring health, considered as applied to the inferior animals; viz. to such of them in the health of which man is, on any account, wont to take an interest. Branches of art and science—viz. branches condivident or subservient—hygiantics thus applied, has, of course, the same, in quality and number, as when applied to the human species, as above.
Applied to the inferior animals, Anatomy is in use to be styled Comparative Anatomy. With equal propriety the term comparative might, it is evident, be applied to the eight other branches above enumerated.
For answering (which it does, however, but in part,) the purpose of the above word Zohygiantics, the only word as yet in use is—the Veterinary Art: whence the Veterinary Surgeon takes his name. Veterinary is from a Latin word, which signifies to carry. Of all the inferior animals, in the health of which it may happen to man to take an interest, the only ones to which this appellative applies are, therefore, the very few which come under the denomination of beasts of burthen. By its literal analogy to the word veteran, derived from the Latin word which signifies old, it has moreover the inconvenience, of presenting some such idea as that of the Old Man’s or Old Woman’s art, more readily than the branch of art which it is employed to designate.
[(82.)] [Phthisozoics.] From two Greek words: one of which signifies to destroy; the other, an animal, as above:—the art of destroying such of the inferior animals as, in the character of natural enemies, threaten destruction or damage,—to himself, or to such animals from which in the character of natural servants or allies, it is in man’s power to extract useful service,—is an art, not much less necessary, than that of preserving and restoring to health, those his natural friends.
Animals which, either immediately or mediately, as above, are regarded as noxious to man, are commonly included under the general appellation of vermin. The Complete Vermin-Killer is the title of an old established book.
[(83.)] [Mathematics.] From a Greek word, which signifies learning in general; so inapposite and uncharacteristic, is the only word, as yet employed for giving expression to this branch of art and science.
[(85.)] [Arithmetic.] See Stage I.
[(86.)] [Algebra.] From an Arabic word, the signification of which seems not to be exactly known.
By Geometry, quantity is considered with relation to form, shape—or, as on this occasion it is more common to say, to figure;—by Arithmetic and Algebra, without relation to figure. In so far as figure is out of the question, number is the only form, in which quantity is susceptible of diversification. In so far as the number in question is represented by the appropriate characters, called cyphers, but more commonly figures,* the amount of it is thus, in a direct way, made known; and Arithmetic is the name employed in speaking of it: in so far as it is no otherwise expressed, than by means of some relation, more or less complicated and disguised, which it bears to some known number or numbers, Algebra is the name employed in speaking of it. For giving expression to such numbers as are yet unknown—(all numbers in so far as they are respectively expressed by one simple line of the appropriate characters being known)—instead of figures, other signs (such as certain letters belonging to the Alphabet, and commonly taken from the close of it) are employed. This is for shortness: thus, instead of saying (i. e. writing) first unknown number, the Algebraist says x; instead of second unknown number, y; and so, for a third z. And from time to time, for further abbreviation, other letters again, taken from the commencement, or some other anterior portion of the Alphabet, are commonly employed. For addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, equality, and certain other terms of arithmetic, the shorter signs (+ — × ÷ =, &c.) being also employed, Algebra is thus, in respect of the signs employed in it, a species of short-hand:—of short-hand, applied to the particular subject of quantity, considered without reference to quality.
Can it be then (it will naturally be asked) such wonders as have been performed by Algebra—can it be, that it is by mere abbreviation—by nothing but a particular species of short-hand—that they have been performed? by the mere use of a set of signs or characters—by which the ideas in question are expressed in a less quantity of space and time, than would have been necessary, to the giving expression to them by the signs or characters, of which ordinary written language is composed, and by which those sounds are designated, of which the ordinary spoken language is composed?—Newton, Leibnitz, Euler, La Place, La Grange, &c. &c.—on this magnificent portion of the field of science, have they been nothing more than so many expert short-hand writers?
Answer.—Assuredly, the system of abbreviated forms of expression is one thing—the purpose to which these modes of expression are employed is another and perfectly distinguishable thing. The purpose, to which, in the instance in question, this species of short-hand is applied, comes, in every instance, within the description given above, viz. by means of their relation to certain quantities that are known, the making known a certain quantity or certain quantities, which, in all other respects, are as yet unknown.
But, for making out this relation, some contrivance in every instance—and, in some instances, abundance of very subtle contrivance—over and above the use of short-hand is, or at any rate originally was, necessary: and from the short-hand itself, the system, composed of these contrivances, is in itself no less distinct, than any one of the species of discourse (a speech, for instance, or the evidence of a witness,) which short-hand, commonly so called, is employed in giving expression to, is distinct from the short-hand—the mode of writing—itself.
In that No. of the Appendix, in which an exposition is given, of some ulterior principles of instruction, by means of which the characteristic principles of the new system may (it is supposed) be applied to Mathematics—and that with as much facility and advantage, as any with which they are or can be applied to, Reading, Arithmetic, or Grammar—this subject will be resumed.* In the meantime two observations may have their use.
1. The first is, that, though the Algebraic contrivances—the contrivances by which the algebraic short-hand is to the purpose in question made use of, are perfectly distinct from the short-hand itself; yet so prodigious is the facility which, when the short-hand has once been learnt, is afforded by it, that what seems probable is—that, had it not been for the short-hand, a very small part of those algebraic contrivances, which at present are in use, would at this time, if ever, have been discovered. Compared with the words, by which the same ideas are expressed in ordinary language, the Roman numerals are a species of short-hand: compared with these Roman numerals, the Arabian numerals, now mostly substituted to them, are a highly-improved species of short-hand—a species by which alone, independently of the Algebraic short-hand, much greater progress would probably have been made in Mathematics, than, in the same quantity of time, would have been made with no other instrument of abbreviation than that which is composed of the Roman numerals.
2. The other observation is, that, whether without the short-hand, the contrivances would or would not have as yet been hit upon; yet, now that they have been hit upon, being, as above, in the nature of the case, so perfectly distinct from the short-hand, there is nothing to prevent their being expressed without it—expressed by the words of which ordinary language is composed—no more than there is, to prevent from being written down in words at length, and so printed, a mass of evidence, which at a trial has been taken down in short-hand; and which, but for the short-hand, could not have been taken down, unless a greater length of time had been allowed for the delivering of the evidence.
Hence comes the practical conclusion, viz. that, for the convenience of learners, it would probably be of no small use, if, in ordinary language—language clear from those characters and formularies, so appalling to every as yet uninitiated, (and more particularly to the uninitiated juvenile eye)—explanations were given of the several contrivances in question; or if, in this way, the explanation of the whole system, pursued to the length to which it has already been carried, would occupy too much space—at any rate, of such points, as, by the joint considerations of facility and utility—facility in acquisition, and utility in application—should be found recommended for preference.
[* ] The use thus made of the word figure, in two senses thus different, and yet not so different as not to be liable to be confounded, is an unfortunate circumstance; but such is the state of the language.
[* ] See Appendix, No. VIII.
[(87.)] [Uranological Geography.] Uranological from Uranology, which is from two Greek words: one of which signifies the heavens; the other, as above, an account:—an account of the heavenly bodies—more commonly termed astronomy:—Astronomy, from two Greek words: one of which signifies a star or planet; the other, arrangement, or to arrange. But in this field, the space, in which the bodies are considered as being in a state of motion, or in a state of rest, requires to be considered; as well as the bodies, which are considered as moving or resting in that space: and as for the bodies, it is not by him who is called an astronomer, that the arrangement made of them has been made. (See Stage I., and see the next article.)
[(88.)] [Uranological Chronology.] See Stage I. When that fixation of quantities, which is not performable but by mathematical investigation, is discarded or postponed, a very small quantity of time will suffice, for conveying a general, yet sufficiently instructive intimation, of what is ascertainable, in relation to such parts of the contents of the universe, as are in any way open to our observation. But if this quantity, small as it is, be grudged, it is only in virtue of its application to Geography and Chronology, that Uranology can present any very decided claim to admission into the Chrestomathic course. In Stage I. Geography and Chronology were considered in the most simple and obvious point of view; and accordingly, without reference to those relations between the Earth and the other celestial bodies (principally our Sun and Moon,) on which the facts belonging to these branches of science are so essentially dependent. In regard to Uranological Geography and Uranological Chronology—the practical uses, to which these two branches of Uranology are applied, being different—distinct names are accordingly required, for giving expression to them; but, considered as subjects of instruction, the consideration of them is inseparable. To Uranological Geography more particularly, belongs the division made of space, on the Earth’s surface; viz. the division into climates, and degrees of latitude and longitude: and the influence exercised by the Moon on the tides; i. e. on the motions of such parts of the earth’s surface as are in a liquid state; perhaps also in the winds, i. e. on the motions of such parts as are in a gaseous state. To Uranological Chronology more particularly, belong the divisions made of time: viz. the natural divisions into periods, cycles, solar years, months, lunar years, and days; together with the ulterior factitious and arbitrary, but not the less necessary, divisions into hours, minutes, and seconds.
Place and time being considered together, and with reference to each other, the heavenly bodies, employed as they are in the measurement of both these quantities, serve for the indication and guidance of the course of a ship at sea: and thus they are, as it were, taken up, and, in conjunction with the magnetic needle, employed as instruments, in the hands of the Navigator. On this occasion, by means of our organs of sight, light becomes a sort of instrument of communication, and thence of measurement, between this our planet and other component parts of the material universe, and, not only between those comparatively near orbs, on which the motions of our own have a perceptible dependence, and correspondent reciprocal influence; but between our own and others, such as the Moons, (called Satellites of Jupiter,) the star called the Polar Star, and the other stars, which, for the purpose of distinguishing them from Planets, are called Fixed Stars—the motions of which have for their place, a field, separated from that of our own planet, by distances, more and more extensive, till at last they stretch to such a pitch, as to bid defiance to all calculation:—the motions;—for it appears not that even the Stars called fixt, are exempt from that law of universal gravitation, of which perpetual as well as universal motion is the necessary consequence.
The short time necessary to a general acquaintance with Uranology, would not be altogether uselessly employed—would not be unchrestomathically employed—had it no other use than that of preserving the mind against the alarming and predatory delusions, set to work by the species of impostor called an Astrologer.*
[* ] Under the title of Sibley’s Astrology, a work has been seen, containing no fewer than four thick 4to volumes, of very recent date. A work of such expense could never have been published, but under the assurance of a considerable number of purchasers, all of whom must necessarily have been found in the most opulent and extensively educated classes.
[(89.)] [Technology.] From two Greek words: the first of which signifies an art. In the list of separately administered branches of instruction, this article may serve to close the last Stage. On this occasion, as far as time will admit, a connected view is proposed to be given, of the operations by which arts and manufactures are carried on. The more general information, obtained, in Stages II. and III., in relation to Mechanics, and Chemistry, and some of their dependencies, will thus be extended farther on in the region of particulars. On this occasion will be to be shown and exemplified, the advantages, of which, in respect of despatch and perfection, the principle of the division of labour is productive.
Here will be shown how, by the help of this most efficient principle, as art and science are continually making advances at the expense of ordinary practice and ordinary knowledge, so manufacture (if by this term may be distinctively designated art, carried on with the help of the division of labour, and thence upon a large scale) is continually extending its conquests, in the field of simple handicraft art—art carried on without the benefit of that newly found assistance.
To reduce the apparent infinitude of the subject within a comprehensible compass, it will be necessary, under the direction of the Logician, to apply the Tactics (the art of arrangement) of the Naturalist to the contents of the field of the Technologist; to bring together and class, the several sorts of tools and other implements—and that, in such a manner as to show how they agree with, and differ from, each other. In its character of a school of Technology, the Chrestomathic School, though not a place, would thus be a source, of general communication—a channel, through which the several sorts of artists might receive, from one another, instruction in relation to points of practice, at present peculiar to each. The Carpenter, the Joiner, the Cabinet-maker, the Turner in wood, the Ship-builder, &c.; the Whitesmith, the Blacksmith, the Metal-founder, the Printer, the Engraver, the Mathematical Instrument Maker, &c.; the Tailor, the Shoe-maker, the Collar-maker, the Saddler, &c.; the Distiller, the Brewer, the Sugar-baker, the Bread-baker, &c. Of all these several artists, the respective tools and other implements—together with the operations performed by means of them—will thus be to be confronted together; and a comparative and comprehensive view will thus be to be given of their points of resemblance and difference.
Not to speak of the mutual information, capable of being by this means derived from one another by the artists themselves, to the scholars the effect will be that enlivening consciousness of mental vigour, and independent power, which is the fruit of learning in general, reaped from the soil of a highly cultivated mind. As, in virtue of the Grammatical Exercises, in the Language in which the instruction is delivered, there will be no hard names; so, in virtue of the Exercises, of which the field of art-and-science learning, including this appendage to it, is the subject—in the whole field of useful instruction,—there will be no dark spots.
So far as concerns the middling classes, the more extensive the view, thus obtained by the scholar, of the field of Technology, the more usefully, and to the bent, natural or adventitious, of his taste and inclination, the more favourably, (consideration had at the same time of his family circumstances and connexions,) will he thus find the field of his livelihood enlarged.
[(90.)] [Book-keeping at Large.] The commercial process or operation, on the subject of which, under the name of Book-keeping, works in such multitude have been published, is but a branch, a particular application, of an art, of the most extensive range, and proportionable importance: viz. the art of Book-keeping at large; the art of Registration, of Recordation; the art of securing and perpetuating Evidence. See Table II. Principles, Class III.
Correct, complete, clear, concise, easy to consult; in case of error, so framed as not to cover it, but to afford indication of it: appropriate, i. e. adapted to the particular practical purpose it has in view; the purpose, for the sake of which the labour thus bestowed is expended,—in these epithets may be seen the qualities desirable in a system of this kind. The new system of instruction, at any rate the original inventor’s edition of it, presents to view a perfect specimen of the practice of this art, as applied to those inferior branches of instruction, which it has already taken in hand. In the Chrestomathic School, the principle thereby indicated will of course be pursued; but, proportioned to the superior extent of the field assumed by it, will necessarily be the extent and variety of the application made of it. In the practice of this most universally useful art, all those Scholars, who, from the lowest up to the highest Stages, in the character of Teachers, Private Tutors, or Monitors, bear any part in the management of the school, will gradually be initiated, and insensibly perfected: and, in proportion as any Scholar appears qualified to take any such part in it, it will be the duty and care of the Master, to put the means of so doing into his hands.
As, by the undermentioned Abbé Gaultier, the principles of the art of Abridgment-making, and thence of Note-taking, have been exhibited in a general point of view; so, between this time and the time at which the Chrestomathic population has reached its last and highest stage, no doubt but that some apt person will be found to perform the correspondent good office, in favour of the art of Registration, or Book-keeping at large.
[(91.)] [Commercial Book-keeping.] Commonly called, without addition, Book-keeping. As well in the form of money as in that of money’s worth, the Chrestomathic School will, at all times, have its receipts, its expenditure, and its stock in hand. In its system of Book-keeping at large, it will, therefore, in so far, comprise and possess, a system of Commercial Book-keeping. But, to the Scholars, when they go abroad in the world, it will not suffice that they are initiated in the particular system of Book-keeping in use in that establishment: to such of them, at least, as hereafter betake themselves to any commercial occupation, it will be matter of advantage, not to say of necessity, to be no less perfectly acquainted with whatsoever system is in use in other establishments, and especially in those of which commercial profit is the object or end in view. The Italian method, or method of Double Entry, is the name given to that system of Book-keeping which is commonly employed in establishments of superior importance. Unfortunately, old-established as it is, the obscurity of this method is still more conspicuous than its utility; and, in consequence, generation, instead of correction, of Error, is but too frequent a result. This obscurity has, for its sole cause, the fictitiousness, and thence the inexpressiveness, or rather the misexpressiveness, of the language. The fiction has place in two principal instances: 1. in the employing the word designative of debt, in cases in which no such transaction really has had place; 2. in the ascribing to objects incapable of contracting this or any other obligation—such as the several articles of which the mass of commercial stock is composed—the capacity and act of contracting that same legal obligation. 3. Moreover, in direct opposition to an incontestable principle of evidence, the original Record-book, the basis of all the other books, is branded with a note of worthlessness, under the name of the Waste-book. Meantime, for the several events and states of things, to which these fictitious denominations are allotted, it cannot be but that other denominations, clear of Fiction, and, in a direct way and to the apprehension of mankind in general, expressive of the objects requiring to be designated—are to be found; and, by any such universally apt expressions, so many expositions and explanations will be given of the correspondent fictitious and unapt ones. In this design, a little work on this universally useful branch of Logic, was long ago planned, and is at present in preparation.*
[* ] Some farther remarks on this subject will be found in vol. v. p. 383, et seq.
[(92.)] [Note-taking:] i. e. taking Notes or Memorandums of the purport of any discourse, whether delivered from book or without book; for example, as here, for the purpose of instruction: and in the case of exhibitions, with or without memorandums taken, of the appearances presented by the objects exhibited. The time during which these notes are taking, being no other than the time during which the discourse is delivering, and the object exhibiting, including any such pauses as may happen to take place; the consequence is, that, with relation to the original from whence they are taken, any such notes can scarcely have place in any other form than that of an abridgment; and that an abridgment made extempore, upon the spur of the occasion, with very little time employable in the process of consideration. On this occasion, use will naturally be made of a masterly little work on this subject, published in English, by the Abbé Gaultier.
[(93.)] [School-room insufficient:] viz. space in the school itself. In most instances, Dancing, Riding, Fencing, for example, the objection is obviously an insuperable one. In that of the Military Exercise, so would it be so far as concerns the particular portion of covered space in question; but, suppose a proper spot obtainable in the near neighbourhood, this objection, at any rate, vanishes.
[(94.)] [Admission pregnant with exclusion:] i. e. the branch of instruction in question, such, that by admission given to it, exclusion would unavoidably be put upon others; viz. upon some one, or more, or all of them, Thus, if instruction in Music were admitted, the noise would be such, that, while it was going on, the requisite degree of attention could not be paid to any other. So, if instruction in relation to controverted points of Divinity, were admitted, whatsoever were the tenets taught, a parent to whose notions those tenets were, to a certain degree, repugnant, would not send his child to a school, which numbered among its objects and its promises, the impregnating with those tenets the minds of its scholars.
The considerations by which, in the proposed course of instruction, nothing that regards Religion is intended to be comprised, are extremely simple; and it is hoped will receive the approbation of all parties.
Any one of these considerations might have sufficed to justify it; and all of them, it is believed, will be found to have place.
1. Necessity of the course thus taken.
For the purpose of this first experiment, on which so much depends, it has been, and is, the anxious desire of the managers, to have the greatest number of children possible to try it upon, and that in the course of the whole length of time during which a continuance of the necessary exertion on the part of all the several numbers could reasonably be expected. The cheapness of the terms on which scholars can, in the Bell and Lancasterian systems, receive instruction; the cheapness of the terms, and, consequently, the number of the persons to whom the proposed benefit can be imparted, depends on the number capable of being instructed under one system of management, and one Head-master. In regard to the proposed mass of instruction, it has been matter of consideration to the managers, not only to what ages it was capable of being applied, but, moreover, at how small a rate of expense; and, consequently, to how large a proportion of the whole population it was capable of being administered. To this end it was, that the extent to be endeavoured to be given to the numbers proposed to be provided for in the first instance, was that which has been regarded, as the greatest for which in such a case, the inspecting eye of one and the same general master, could be made to suffice. To have put an exclusion upon any description of children, whose parents are able and willing to send them to the proposed Chrestomathic School, on the ground of Religion, would have deprived the managers of an indefinitely extensive number of children, on whom to try their first experiment; a number on which their wishes had fixed with a much stronger degree of intensity than their expectations.
2. Needlessness of the opposite course.
When, under the auspices of the National Society for the Instruction of Children in the inferior and most necessary branches of learning, a determination was taken to comprise, in the plan of their schools, the Christian Religion in general, and the Church of England form of it in particular, it could not but have been under the apprehension—nor that apprehension by any means an ill-grounded one—that to no inconsiderable proportion of the number of children so taught, if in those schools, religion, in that established form, were not to be taught, the consequence would be that neither in that form, nor in any other, religion would have been taught to them, or learnt by them at all.
But in the present case, that is in the case of the class of persons in whom, in addition to the desire of having instruction administered to their children on so extensive a field, shall be added a degree of pecuniary sufficiency adequate to the quantum of school-money, (the four guineas, or the two guineas, proposed to be required,) no such apprehensions could assuredly have place. By the omission in question, at any rate, no reasonable ground seems to present itself for apprehending that the number of scholars, sent to the proposed school, will in any degree be lessened.
By the very supposition, it could not in the case of those parents, if any such there be, to whom, in the character of a subject of instruction, religion is a matter of indifference. But in the case of those to whom it is not a matter of indifference, what objection can it form to the proposed plan,—that out of the twenty hours, six are employed in subjects other than that of religion, so long as there remains the number of eighteen hours, during any part of which, by themselves, or by their own chosen substitutes, religion, in whatsoever form is most comformable to their respective consciences, may be administered.
On this subject, a consideration highly material, and which cannot too carefully be kept in mind, is, that the proposed school is not a boarding-school,—it is a mere day-school, and nothing more. Were it a boarding-school, except during the comparatively short portions of time occupied by vacations, the scholars would stand precluded from receiving instruction on this head from any other source; and subject only to that exception, the effect of any arrangement by which the subject of Religion was excluded from the list of subjects taught in the school, would be to exclude it altogether, down to the time of his departure, from the scholar’s mind.
The Music Master, the Dancing Master, the Writing Master, the Lecturer on Natural Philosophy, the Lecturer on Chemistry, the French Master, the Italian Master, no one of all these different sorts of instructors ever includes, or is expected to include Religion in his course. If, in the instruction administered by the schoolmaster by whom the dead languages, or one of them, are taught, Religion is now comprised, it is either because the school kept is a boarding-school, as in the case of the great public schools, having a set of boarding-schools attached to them; or because it has happened to the schoolmaster to belong to that particular profession from which such instruction cannot but be expected; or from some other such irrelevant and accidental cause.
3. Innoxiousness of the omission.
Notwithstanding all that has been said on this subject, one ground of possible apprehension, and hence of objection, remains, it must be acknowledged as vet unanswered. Good, says the father or the guardian: true it is during three-fourths of the child’s time, (eighteen hours out of every twenty-four,) you leave me at liberty to administer to him on this most important of all subjects, instruction in what shape soever I think best; so far all is well: but of the remaining fourth part, (the space of six hours,) during which you are in possession of him, the whole time is to be employed in instruction, and the few casual moments during which alone my unavoidable avocations will admit of my administering instruction or causing it to be administered, to him, what will they avail, if so it should be that of those six hours, any part should, under your management, be employed in the administering of instruction repugnant to Religion in general, or to that form of it which, in my eyes, is the best, not to say the only good one.
In answer to an observation, of the reasonableness of which they are fully sensible, the reply of the managers, which the writer of these pages is authorised to make, will, it is hoped, be seen to be as full, and felt to be as satisfactory, as it is short. Under their management, no instruction that is repugnant or disrespectful to Religion in general, to the Christian Religion in particular, or to any one form of it, shall ever be administered.
Parents and guardians, the persons to whom this answer is immediately addressed, are not, it is true, as the proposed managers cannot fail to perceive, the persons on whom the success of the plan depends in the first instance, and to whom, in consequence, this proposal is most immediately addressed. But, for the most part, the answer, be it what it may, which is of a nature calculated to afford satisfaction to those, whose interest in the matter is so much greater than any that can be possessed by any one else, will, it is hoped, be in general found no less satisfactory to those whose interest is of inferior magnitude; and, in particular, to all such persons as on other grounds would feel disposed to contribute their assistance.
“Nay, but,” says somebody, “it is not in the remissness of parents and guardians,—I am sorry to say the too general remissness of parents and guardians,—it is not in their indifference to this most important of all subjects,—it is not in the indifference of other people that I can find any sufficient warrant for the like indifference on my part. On the contrary, the more extensive, not to say general, this indifference, the more strongly is it incumbent on me, and on all others who join with me in worshipping God in that perfect form in which I worship, to do what depends on us towards making up for that deficiency. If, then, to the instruction which you administer on other subjects, you will add instruction on this, which is of more importance than all the others put together, and that in the particular form which, for no other reason than because it is the best, I hold to be the best, there is so much of my money for you; otherwise none.”
In a discourse to some such effect as the above, there is nothing but what every person, engaging in an undertaking such as that in question, ought to be fully prepared to expect. In the eyes of a class of persons, nor that an inconsiderable one, which always has existed, nor will ever cease to exist, Religion, not only in the Church of England form, but in every form, is seen hanging on a thread—a thread which, by the blast of this or that speech, or by the flutter of this or that pamphlet, is in continual danger of being cut, while, without the support of their arm, the power of the Almighty is in continual danger of being overborne, his intentions defeated, his promises violated. To those to whom the promises of their God afford not any sufficient assurance, it were not to be expected that any firmer assurance should be afforded by any human promises.
In answer to such apprehensions, in as far as they may be capable of receiving one, no better remedy presents itself than would be afforded by that great institution, the National Institution, by which so much, and so much good, has already been accomplished. If, in aid of the first great cause, second causes must still be looked to, there may be seen a second cause of the most potent character, and to the contemplation of which the anxious persons in question cannot, consistently or naturally, be averse; a second cause of which, to the very purpose of calming these very anxieties, the power has so recently and so efficiently been applied.
As to the present humble attempt, why not then let it take its course? Why not even contribute to enable it to take its chance? If in other respects being useful, it be in respect of Religion, innocuous, it may claim, at any rate, the same sort and degree of indulgence, and even countenance, as that which has been recently bestowed upon a superior mode of raising mushrooms; and if, contrary to the solemn and thus publicly announced and disseminated engagement,—if the proposed managers prove prejudicial to the best interests of mankind on the subject of Religion, there stands that society to which, neither consistently with situation can the will, nor consistently with experience the power, be wanting—the power to reduce to thin air all danger from such a source.
In their hands are all the springs of human action, all the sources of reward or punishment. Let them but speak the word, and an hypsopromathic national school will raise itself aloft, and the Chrestomathic, should it even, by the humble endeavours of the proposed managers, have been completely filled, will find itself much more speedily emptied. In the very nature of the case, the little finger of the National Society will, at all times, be heavier than the arm of the Chrestomathic; and on the side on which the superiority of the weight of metal is so vast and so undisputable, could any possibility of failure be conceived how prodigious must be either, on the one hand, the indefensibleness of the cause, or, on the other hand, on the part of all but the supposed vanquished, the perversity of mankind!
With or without sharing in such apprehensions, real or pretended, as the above, there will be found another class of persons, and that a very numerous one, who, in the success of such an institution, cannot but view an injury, more or less serious, to their own particular interests. For on the part, of every person whose well-being, in any shape or degree, depends upon the continuance of any inferior mode of instruction (not to speak of governmental, legislative, administrative, judicative opposition,) opposition to every endeavour to substitute to it a superior one, ought, on every occasion, to be expected as a matter of course. As a particular interest, standing upon the face of it, in opposition to a more extensive interest, would not, to those who are actuated by it, present any very promising chance of being adopted by any persons who, without being themselves in the particular interest, should feel themselves standing in the general one, some other consideration than the really actuating one will, therefore, in this case, be looked out for; and when will any one be found so plausible or so likely to be impressive, as the apprehension just above mentioned?
It is not for ourselves, it is not for any such ever miserable sinners, and ever unprofitable servants, that we are and ought to be afraid. God and his cause—it is for that that we are afraid. Tie up tight, then, your purse-strings, and lest, by false, however fair, pretences, you should ever, for any such dangerous purposes, be tempted to untie them, against all such pretences keep your eyes steadily averted, and your ears as inexorably closed.
Deficiency of means is commonly one of the last causes which a man is disposed seriously to oppose to a demand which, in other respects, would not be unwelcome. In this, as in any other case, a more honourable excuse cannot be found than that which is presented by conscience; and where the will, though real, is not accompanied with the means, to subject the plea to a rigorous scrutiny would be adding hardship to hardship, without use. If, therefore, in the above suggestion, any unwilling refuser should find an excuse in serviceable condition, ready made to his hands, the labour expended in the putting it in order will not be without its use.
[(95.)] [Time of life too early.] Supposing that, in the instance of the branch of instruction in question, this objection could not, if considered as applied to the time of admission, be other than a peremptory one, it would not follow but that, before the close of the aggregate course, it may have altogether ceased.
[(96.)] [Utility not sufficiently general.] In the character of a ground of, omission, this objection can scarcely be admitted to hold good, except in so far as admission would have for its effect the putting an exclusion, either altogether or in part, upon some other branch, of which the utility is more extensive; for, at any rate, the Advantages, attached in common to all learning (as per Col. I.,) would be among the fruits of it.
[(97.)] [Gymnastic Exercises.] Gymnastic, from a Greek word, which signifies naked. In the warmer climates of Greece, exercises, requiring bodily exertion, used to be performed in a state more nearly approaching to nakedness than that in which they are commonly performed, in times and places in which, as with us, there is less heat and more delicacy.
[(98.)] [Military Exercise.] See (93.) Schoolroom insufficient, and (99.) Art of War.