Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

same ending stands in each case ; why therefore, give separate names ? The distinct use is conveyed, not by the noun, as in Latin, but by the preposition, and it speaks its own meaning. It may be well to say that in the sentence the master teaches the boy,' boy is the object, and therefore in the objective sense or case ; and that in the sentence the boy plagues the master,' boy is used in the case which governs the verb; but when we get to the use of the possessives, the little preposition of conveys the meaning; and indicates the place of the noun that follows far more intelligibly than any technical name for the noun so used.

Mr. Parminter perplexes grammar even more than his modern competitors in that art. We delight in Cobbett's English Grammar, and prefer it to everything that has been written since. There is very little normalism in the English language, and the attempt to reduce it to stricter rules is necessarily a failure. Mr. Parminter is, however, at fault in higher matters ; he mistakes even the meaning of common idioms. Here is one out of many instances : “The genitive is sometimes used with a dative signification.” [It is never so used.] “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom : The meaning of this sentence is, “The fear entertained for or towards the Lord,'” &c. Not so : the meaning is, the fear of something appertaining to the Lord,-his anger, his judgment, his omniscience, &c. Similarly, "The love of money,' which he also cites, is another misuse of the word of,' which, instead of being adopted as a classical use of the genitive, should have been denounced as a misuse of it. Neither is of wool' used for from wool,'—the genitive for the ablative. They have distinct meanings, however confused in common parlance. The acorn is from the oak,' 'the acorn is of the oak’ will sufficiently reveal the distinction. In p. 196, Mr. Parminter finds this out, and to the same instance (cloth is made from wool) he appends the converse-gen., 'of' wool. Here the cloth remaining wool, it is made of wool, and is not ‘from 'wool.

This is not a commendable book, and we are overdone with grammars already.

Fraser's Magazine, Nos. CCCXIII. and CCCXIV., January and

February, 1856. J. W. Parker, London. Though not exactly an educational work, we must make a divergence in favour of this the prince of Magazines. It has begun the new year with the best numbers yet published. “Friends in Council ” improve on acquaintance, and most racy and redolent are the saws and sayings of our old and familiar friends, Ellesmere, Milverton, and Midhurst. Foreign travel has sharpened their faculties, and given increased zest to their wit and wisdom : though occasionally the two former preach a little too oracularly, and make us fancy that Midhurst, Blanche, and Fixer, would be better company. “Prescott's Philip the Second," and “ Professor Owen,” and “ The Science of Life,” are each excellent in their very distinct walks. “The Last August in the Baltic” must, we think, be from the pen of our reverend friend of the “ Pet.” None but that nautical divine could so inimitably transport us into the very midst of our noble fleet, or so graphically portray its alentour. The worst article by far is that on Macaulay. It is dull, prosy, and remarkably ill written ; though very fair in its view of the volumes it criticizes.

The view taken in the paper on Scottish University Reform is sound and sensible. It is a practical article, full of valuable suggestions and wholesome sense, likely to be of great use in the settlement of the question it discusses so ably and temperately. But, for the light reader,and where is the ascetic mortal who is not, at some odd or end of the week, a light reader -commend us to “ Kate Coventry.” There is a genuine heartiness about that plucky girl, which makes her lively autobiography as endearing as it is original. We prophesy that it will, if continued, be a most deservedly popular novel : our only fear is, that it will expire within the limits of the general run of magazine tales.

“ Bain” and “ Scotch Preaching ” are good papers. That on “ Orthography” is pedantic and outré.

Evening Recreations; or, Samples from the Lecture-room. Edited by

the Rev. J. Hampden Gurney, M.A., Rector of St. Mary's, Marylebone. London : Longmans.

“Lecturing,” says Mr. Gurney in his lively preface, “is the fashion of the day.” No doubt of it, and one of its instructors also : so Mr. Alford, Mr. Birrell, Mr. Rose, Mr. Buxton, Mr. Rickards, and some more amiable and able men, have contributed to further Mr. Gurney's wish, and have lectured for him at his Mechanics’ Institute on modern poets, House of Commons, St. Petersburg, Thomas More, old Bunyan, &c. &c. ; and very good and readable these lectures are, forming a capital volume to read to our families; and they may well serve those schoolmasters who love their pupils, by serving them for lectures too, assembling them in these winter evenings for this pleasant and useful purpose.

Hints and Helps for Teachers in using the third new Class-book.

Pp. 195. London : Sunday-school Union.

This little book usefully enlarges on the most important parts of the Testament, and is at once explanatory and suggestive, containing some admirable skeleton lessons, which we strongly recommend teachers of all classes to read and impart.

An Address delivered at the Annual Soirée of the Huddersfield Institute,

December 13th, 1855. By Richard Dawes, M.A., Dean of Hereford, Pp. 148. London: Groombridge and Sons.

This address, though discursively written, contains a fund of good sense, and many practical remarks of great value.

The Dean strongly advocates the development of the educational agencies which mechanics' institutions possess. “They have fallen far short,” he says, “ of what was expected from them by their original founders or promoters." As regards instructive classes, referring to the society he is addressing as the text of his remarks, the Dean sketches the desiderata of such institutes (and we reserve further extracts for future numbers) in this wise :

6 Your botanical class, which meets in the summer months, forms both a pleasing and an instructive part of your educational scheme ;* in this, conversational lectures will arise on the habits of plants—how they take up their food—the effect of climate upon them-of atmospheric changes

-of the solvent power of water, and how entirely the vegetable world is dependent upon this—and on other points of interest which the pursuit would suggest ; and although such topics may appear trifling to some, they make youth observant and reflective.

“ Lectures on natural philosophy and the physical sciences will soon follow what you are doing; and which I see the directors regret are not yet established. In an institution like yours, such lectures, not only of a general kind, but class lectures for individual instruction, and followed by examinations, ought to be given. For instance, on the doctrine of heat, its effects on matter-on good and bad conductors, showing how this applies to clothing and houses on elementary chemistry—on the mechanical and chemical properties of water, of the atmosphere, &c.

“We have had a short series of six lectures this autumn, on these subjects, in Hereford, which have been attended with great success, the number increasing from about 40, at first, to 160 ; and if we can obtain such a result in a small agricultural town like Hereford, not at all alive to what is going on in the world, what might not be expected in a town like yours ?”+

The following account of Miss Nightingale will be read with interest :

“ She was always anxious to do good to those around her; and being desirous of improving her village schools, she set to work to see how she could best qualify herself for it. She came and lived a fortnight with the schoolmistress of my village, attended every day as a teacher in the school, lived with the schoolmistress, taught in the classes, and played with the children. Do you not think this is beginning at the beginning, and the right way of setting about things ? She made it a condition that the schoolmistress should not alter her mode of living while she was with her, and refused to come to the parsonage, because she said she really wished to understand the life of a schoolmistress. What she and the other nobleminded ladies associated with her have done at Scutari and Balaclava you all know. Miss Nightingale is also doing everything in her power to promote instructive and amusing lectures during the winter months at Balaclava, where she now is; and we must all feel how much her example and that of her associates have done in pointing out a new sphere of usefulness to the ladies of this country, which must have a beneficial effect on female education among all classes."

The Dean speaks of Mr. Norris's prize scheme with great commendation, and also of the Civil Service Examinations, as “one of the most important changes in our social machinery which has taken place for a long time.”

Of libraries for working men, Dean Dawes says :

**Three Lectures on the Symmetry of Vegetation,' by Dr. Lindley, and delivered to the students at Marlborough House, will be found very useful and instructive in this class, particularly to those who draw. It is published by Messrs. Chapman and Hall, Piccadilly, price one shilling.”.

p"These lectures were given by Mr. With, tre Master of the Blue Coat School, and the fees for attendance, with a seventh on the Microscope, amounted to £14. 10s."

“ I will now say a few words on libraries, which are a very important part of these institutions ; but in many of them books have been injudiciously chosen. A great part are frequently the outcasts of other libraries ; they are entirely deficient in modern books of a standard class, and in that kind of literature which is wanted in order to make them useful.”

As respeets the Act enabling towns to furnish such libraries from local rates, the Dean hopes that

“Even in some rural districts, where the Act applies, it may at no distant period be brought into operation. A good example of a combination of parishes for this purpose, well worked out, would be of the greatest service. In our small rural towns and parishes, however, we shall still labour under difficulties, and I fear we are but ill prepared to make use of libraries, even if we had them. This question, however, of supplying our rural districts and towns has been taken up most ably by Lord Stanley, as you may have seen in the public papers. He has shown, as regards libraries, that we are far below almost every nation in Europe. We have only one-eighth of the accommodation of Saxony in this respect, one-sixth that of Bavaria, and two-fifths that of France ; and although we have between eight hundred and nine hundred mechanics' institutes having libraries, yet these, with few exceptions, are little more than nominal.”

Honourable mention is made of employers like Messrs. Spottiswoode, the Prices, and Messrs. Ransom of Ipswich, who largely minister to the education and intelligence of their workmen.

Lectures such as these invite us to occasional pauses in the practical work they aid, in order to contemplate the tendency of present efforts and the direction of future energies.

The great necessity of our times is avowedly that of raising the standard of popular intelligence, not temporarily, but permanently—not for an expiring generation, but for all time. Our educational efforts, if we do not intend to waste, or at least to apply them improvidently, must be directed less to the supply of the gross and inveterate defects of those who have grown old in ignorance, than to the moulding of the young, who may be easily educated, and to whom it is not difficult to impart new tastes and intelligences which will bear fruit an hundredfold. Hence, the superior usefulness and paramount duty of improving school instruction, over the lesser duty of plying the older generation of men with less fruitful influences which uneasily tend to enlarge their minds, and obtain the tardy admission of light and its concomitant love of learning. Though we ought not to be deterred by the obvious difficulty and barren results of such attempts from making the experiment; yet, at the same time, it is well to bear in mind the obvious fact, that the great bulk of our ammunition and effort must be reserved for that younger class, upon whom these agencies will tell with incomparably more effect than on any other.

We find a negation of all this laid down in the most oracular tone by the “Morning Post,”* in which a reviewer of Dean Dawes's lecture holds, that the means of education will be of little avail, unless we can

* On February 4th, 1856, p. 6.

first.“reform the habits and tastes of the people, which make them careless whether their children be educated or not.”

In the first place, this is not so. The English poor are now very generally aware of the advantages of education ; and very many more are deterred from making the sacrifice necessary for it by a conviction of the inferiority of the article supplied, than are deterred by any indifference to its uses when really good. The truth of this rests not on a mere ipse dixit ; it is proved by the success of every good school in the kingdom. We do not know of one which is an exception to this rule : Make your school good, and it will always be filled.

“ The present habits of thought” of the parent class of labourers need changing very much, no doubt; but very little as regards that particular habit of thought in the working poor, which consists in the belief that education is one of the most effectual ways of getting on in the world. They do not view the matter through the spectacles of the “Morning Post,” or derive their impressions from “the glass of fashion and the mould of form;" they are not polite reasoners, or moved, it is true, by a refined appreciation of the belles lettres. Their “habits of thought” fall short even of yellow-plush accomplishments. And it is exceedingly doubtful whether Hodge Stiles will ever rise even to the tastes and sentiments of the servants' hall ; but he has a rough and ready made way of his own of arriving, notwithstanding, at a pretty correot Motion of the worldly interest of his children, and how they can better themselves in life. The “Morning Post” opines that this cannot be turned to the account of education, unless the parents are first purged of the grossièretés which grieve and shock our polite contemporary ; but, to borrow, his own classical phraseology,—“With deference to his superior judgment, we think he somewhat miscalculates in this.” The excise and post office. appointments offered by the Treasury are probably not, as the “ Post”:-) thinks, sufficient to move the peasant schoolwards in any very considerable degree (though they are steps on the right road) : but are these the only avocations, with their sparse emoluments, which lie open even to the partially educated, and are closed against the ignorant ? Skilled labour, however purely manual it may be, is daily rising, not only in intellectual appreciation, but in money value. The poor labourer sees and feels this for his sons. Self-interest and parental affection enable even his slow vision and stolid perception to pierce through the film which surrounds him into a brighter destiny and a more fruitful sphere for those he loves; and whose well-doing he has as much at heart as if he were the author of " Ten Thousand a Year," or the Corypheus of the “ Morning Post” itself. The result is, that he takes the parson's good advice, and stinting himself of an extra half-pint, or it may be his “missus” of her accustomed Easter bonnet, sends Dick to the villageschool ; foregoing the honorarium which might be otherwise had and obtained from the useful but not intellectual employment of Dick in bird-keeping. But is there a village-school? And, oh !—more important question still—is the learning to be had there worth the cost ? Trust Hodge Stiles again for coming at the truth of that : slowly and by rule of thumb he does it, it is true ; but they who sell their labour are generally fair judges of the labour they pay for ; and the dullard and sloth who has ensconced himself in the village-school, is generally detected, and held at his proper estimate by peasants whose “habits and

« AnteriorContinuar »