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of such general facts, they become the objects of another and a higher species of classification, and are themselves included in laws which, as they dispose of groups, not individuals, have a far superior degree of generality, till at length, by continuing the process, we arrive at arioms of the highest degree of generality of which science is capable. This process is what we mean by induction; and from what has been said, it appears that induction may be carried on in two different ways,either by the simple juxtaposition and comparison of ascertained classes, and marking their agreements and disagreements, or by considering the individuals of a class, and casting about, as it were, to find in what particular they all agree, besides that which serves as their principle of classification.”

If we had proposed that the pupil should learn this, as an answer to a question in a catechism, our absurdity, though considerable, would not be unparalleled, since, to compare great things with small, this would not be more unintelligible to a child, than the last of our quotations in p. 225: it is evident, however, that we have imagined no such thing. But if, on the other hand, the words were first properly explained, not out of a dictionary, but by actual example and illustration; if, again, to the instances given by the author others were added in considerable quantities, and such might be obtained, in any number, from among those objects with which the pupils are most familiar; if it were not regarded as material, whether so important a method were made the subject of one or of twenty lessons,—what is there in the development of this principle of which a clear conception could not be formed, or a good foundation of it laid, at almost any age? And, if such be the case, why

should sense be excluded because the language is difficult, when that difficulty may be removed ; while nonsense, in language equally hard, is circulated and learned by rote without any attempt whatever to make it more easy? Undoubtedly the method of removing all objections would be to write a Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy which should be to the child what the one before us is to the man; but who is there to perform this task? It would require knowledge, and power of illustration, no ways inferior to that of the distinguished author of the " Discourse," combined with great experience in instruction. Nevertheless, that a work should exist, from which by any means so desirable an end may be gained as that which is proposed, is matter of congratulation for all who value knowledge as a source of civilization and happiness.

Although our remarks have been wholly confined to the study of natural philosophy, the same would apply, in some degree, to that of natural history. The present neglect of both will furnish a curious story for aftertimes. It will be on record, that among the first commercial people in the world, who depended for their political existence on trade and manufactures, there was not, generally speaking, in the education of their youth, one atom of information on the products of the earth, whether animal, vegetable, or mineral, nor any account of the principles, whether of mechanics or of chemistry, which, when applied to these products, constituted the distinction of their country. And this, when the studies so abandoned were allowed by all to be worthy of pursuit, simply as an exercise of the reason, and without any reference to their application. This story will one day excite some wonder, which will be removed when it is added, that the tone of school education was given by certain endowed establishments, which, resting their existence upon the fame acquired when Latin and Greek were reputed the only useful branches of instruction, used their influence to exclude all others, long after the rational part of mankind had pronounced that more was necessary. Thus much we can assert without laying claim to the title of prophets; but it may be, and we would put it to those who direct the public schools whether it is not worth taking it into consideration, that their historian shall have to finish by saying, that while previously acquired reputation was supporting them in their quiescent obstruction of all improvement, a gradual change took place in the public mind on the subject of education, which they, occupied as they were in constructing elegant Greek and Latin verses, were among the last to perceive, that when, at a late period, they became willing to alter their system for the better, the time had past, and the recollections of former obstinacy rendered their demonstrations of improvement of no effect; that they sunk in estimation from that time, and finally became an object of interest to the antiquary only, for the remains of Gothic archilecture which they left behind.

235

ON NATURAL HISTORY AS A BRANCH OF

COMMON EDUCATION.
BY CLEMENT DURGIN.

(From the American Discourses.)

The object of this lecture is to invite your attention to the subject of Natural History, and to urge its claims to be introduced as a branch of common education. In discharging my duty on this occasion, it will not be ex• pected that I should treat the subject as if it were new to the members of this Institute. It gives me pleasure to believe that I am addressing those who duly appreciate the importance of this study, and who are disposed to give an indulgent consideration to the expediency of adding it to the branches already taught in common schools. Whatever shall dignify the profession of a teacher by the importance of his instruction, or promote his usefulness by enabling him to extend his labours to those subjects which are calculated to give him an honourable rank in society, I feel assured will meet with your respectful attention.

In stating some of the reasons why natural History should receive the particular attention of schools, and in sketching a few of the outlines of the study, and the advantages to be derived from it, I shall omit those minute details, upon which, more particularly, depend its charm and intrinsic value.

Free schools are among the most valuable of civil institutions, and should be ever under the watchful eye and guardian care of every friend of virtue and civil liberty; and so far as this association can extend its influence or lend its aid, it ought to see that the republic of letters receive no harm. It is certainly a noble purpose of this Institute to discover and apply the best methods of teaching the various branches of education; and I speak with due deference when I say a higher motive does not exist; the attention of man cannot be awakened to a more important object than that of making himself and others happier, by understanding and teaching the principles of truth and duty. What then is the education which we should promote? lu its most extensive acceptation, it comprehends whatever may have any good influence in developing the mind, by giving direction to thought or bias to motives of action. To lead infancy in the path of duty, to give direction to an immortal spirit, and teach it to aspire by well-doing to the rewards of virtue, is the first step of instruction. To youth, education imparts that knowledge whose ways are usefulness and honour, and by due restraint and subordination, makes individual to intwine with public good in a just observance of laws comprehending the path of duty. To manhood, “it leads him to reflect on the ties that unite him with friends, with kindred, and with the great family of mankind, and makes his bosom glow with social tenderness; it confirms the emotions of sympathy into habitual benevolence, imparts to him the elating delight of rejoicing with those who rejoice, and if his means are not always adequate to the suggestions of his charity, soothes him at least with the melancholy pleasure of weeping with those who weep?" To age it gives consolation, by

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