« AnteriorContinuar »
when the powers of the mind are unstrung, and we are physically unable to apply ourselves to real study. We would, therefore, urge their cultivation with the greatest care ; but let them assume only their, proper place. Let them be as the flowers we gather on the way, but never the aim of our journey through life. Let them be added to, not, however, superseding, the cultivation of our hearts and minds. “Life is real ! Life is earnest !” says the great American poet : would that we all felt more deeply the truth of his words, and that,
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
Finds us farther than to-day.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ENGLISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATION.
SIR,-Mentally or physically, no end can be accomplished without the exercise of natural means; yet it is remarkable, that in all our educational institutions, and more particularly at the Universities, this axiom is unrecognized, and to this may be justly attributed the lamentable shortcomings and practical deficiencies of the people of this country, more especially among the higher classes. The following remarks are submitted, to call attention to, and point out the remedy for, so defective a state of things.
God has given to man five senses, through which access is obtained to his understanding. Why two out of those five senses (the two most sensitive) should, in our educational systems, be left untutored, to their own natural instincts, no reason can be fairly assigned. The eye and the hand are as ready instruments in acquiring knowledge, and of combined usefulness, as the ear or the tongue, and very many precious faculties are entirely dependent upon their right exercise, whilst their neglected culture and undirected influence is the greatest barrier to advancement and civilization it is possible to conceive. Optically, the eye sees nothing which the mind does not look for ; therefore it must require tuition, as much as the ear to listen, or the tongue to talk. England excepted, no other nation, ancient or modern, have omitted in a very prominent manner to realize this. fact, and to make the language of form an essential part of mental development.
With no desire to undervalue reading or writing, it must not be forgotten that the ear and tongue are at best but conventional appliances of limited powers and signification : speech has been bitterly defined “as. the art of hiding thought," and how often names are but the husk to cover ignorance, is well known. The evil of this generation is talk instead of action : books cannot impart everything, as is now attempted; there is a vigilance of observation and an accuracy of distinction which neither rules nor precepts teach, words being incapable of conveying any definite idea of things, no matter in whatever language,-Greek, Latin, German,
French, or English; much less can structure, proportion, and character, with those exceptional varieties of circumstances so entirely depending on obversation, and wherein partial inference is vague and barren without the co-operation of the whole senses. Of things, the slightest sketch will at a glance convey a more accurate and concise idea than a volume read, the drawing being, as Coleridge aptly defined it, “a something between a thing and a thought.” Drawing, in fact, is the natural mode and means of communicating substantive impressions with clearness and perspicuity : its study inducing, by observation, intelligent, instructive, and active comparison, with investigation, independent of its ingenious operations and happy associations ; the manipulative part requiring no rare aptitude (as is erroneously conceived by the unpracticed), being simply an imitative art, and not necessarily involving picture-making, which is the separate business of an artist.
The recommendation of the Lords of the Committee of Council on Education is a move in the right direction, by proposing to render the study of Drawing an essential part of instruction for all branches of the community ; but this good counsel will prove entirely abortive, unless literature and the art work together at the Universities. A precedent must be set at Oxford and Cambridge, by founding drawing-schools therein, and appointing good, able masters—men who can draw and teach too, having at command fine models and examples for instruction ; one hour's practical exercise in the art of Drawing being of more value to the pupil than all the eloquence that can be put together, with titled professors to receive stipends for doing nothing but talk, or lending the useless incumbrance of names. It will be a bright day for England when she earnestly begins to remedy the shortcomings of her Universities, and when education shall resume its meaning and purpose,—not a game at blind-man's-buff, but a training of the good powers of soul and body.
July 11th, 1856.
PERSEVERANCE.—Men of genius without endurance cannot succeed. Men who start in one kind of business may find it impossible to continue therein all their days. Ill health may demand a change. New and wider fields of enterprise and success may be opened to them ; new elements of character may be developed. Men may have a positive distaste for some pursuits, and success may demand a change. None of these cases fall within the general rule. Men may have rare talents, but if they “are everything by turns, and nothing long,” they must not expect to prosper. No form of business is free from' vexations : each man knows the spot on which his own harness chafes ; but he cannot know how much his neighbour suffers. It is said that a Yankee can splice a rope many different ways; an English sailor knows but one method, but in that method he does his work well. Life is not long enough to allow any one to be really master of but one pursuit. --Michigan Journal of Education.
A SKETCH OF THE REFORMATORY CONFERENCE :
AT BRISTOL. SEVERAL of the best friends and promoters of the reformation of D young offenders met at Bristol on the 20th of August, and held conference there for three days, on divers matters appertaining to the movement. It was the best Conference we have seen. Defects, indeed, there were ; but there was a larger proportion of useful matter, and working, thoughtful men and women brought together, and practical points were more sensibly and usefully canvassed than we are accustomed to at these meetings. Lord Stanley was President. No young nobleman has achieved a better reputation in a shorter time : yet his attention cannot have been long directed to this subject; and he has had still less practical experience in the working of Reformatory Schools. It is very English to maintain this deference to clever lords, without any reference to their peculiar qualifications for the philanthropies they are thus selected to lead. Lord Stanley's opening address was long and good, and he went through all the reasons in favour of the Reformatory movement with much ability; and there were passages in it eloquently written. On contested points he expressed himself warily, and with an evident caution not to commit himself to any extreme views. In the outset of the cause, or even four or five years ago, such an address would have been desirable and requisite : now it had the lesser merit and usefulness of expressing in forcible terms what we all feel and appreciate. Lord Stanley's demeanour as President gave much satisfaction. At the concluding meeting he gave a long résumé of his opening paper, together with some account of what had been done in the Sections. i
The same evening a very clear and interesting account was read by Mr. Bengough, which had been written by Miss Carpenter, of the Reformatories in and near Bristol. This was followed by a very long paper from Lord Brougham, on the inefficiency of merely penal discipline for children; a subject on which no one entertains any doubt whatever. The Dean of Bristol read it, and went boldly through it all ; nothing daunted at the concluding anathemas hurled at our professional theologians.
The next day good papers were read. Mr. Wheatley descanted on punishments and rewards at the Reformatories, followed by a lively discussion, in which Mr. Sidney Turner electrified the ladies by denouncing all rewards, puddings in particular. This punishment question, and how far there should be previous punishment for the crime committed, and if so, whether in the reformatory or the gaol, was the subject of much discussion in a remarkably thoughtful and ably written paper by Sir Stafford Northcote, who advocated by unanswerable arguments the infliction of punishment for the offence against society. He wished it to be in the gaol. This called forth a very few remarks in favour of inflicting it in the reformatory from Lord Robert Cecil, whose speech at the evening meeting on Thursday was full of quiet wisdom, though nowise popular with the more tenderhearted philanthropists. Miss Carpenter, in her otherwise excellent paper on “ The Female Reformatories and the relation of the State to them,” remarked, that so exploded was the notion that Reformatories would incite crime, that it was needless to answer it. Lord R. Cecil again stated that such a fear was anything but chimerical, as the experience of France had testified. We regard the statistics of committals as no proof of this. When the committing magistrates know that there are Reformatories, they naturally, as in France, increase the number of committals on that account; so that committals are really no indices of crimes : and it is notorious that nothing can be more divers in English counties than the vigilance of detection or the proportion which punishments bear to offences. But there can be no doubt that many a destitute child would commit crime to go to a Reformatory, if he only knew its comforts, and was deterred by no preliminary punishment. Many such instances have already occurred, and if that be so now, when the chance is slight of going to a Reformatory, greatly will they increase when Reformatories shall have so far multiplied that such chance is converted into almost a certainty.
It is quite true that liberty is dear to the child ; but hunger, thirst, and cold render food and shelter and warmth dearer still. Besides, though there are very judicious walls and locked doors in some town Reformatories, which certainly are not inviting, it is not so in the country ones, and whence a good deal of running away is already effected. There must be preliminary punishment as a preventive to this very probable abuse, or a great benefit may be turned into a great evil; and the apprehension of this is deterring Lord Hatherton and very many other benevolent men from joining our ranks. Therefore we think it highly desirable that there should be no more attempts made to dissociate punishment from crime. Mr. Wheatley, who is a most kind and philanthropic man, wished nothing so rash as this abolition of proper correction ; and we rejoiced to find that there was a very general disapproval of such a notion at Bristol. Nor could it well be otherwise with Christians. The moral sense of society requires that there should be a public mark of vice, and that offences should be punished as a public attestation of the detestation in which society holds them, as well as in order that their repetition should be prevented. But what says Scripture ? “If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments ; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless, my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.” Again,“ Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous ; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
The teaching of these passages is too obvious to be mistaken. It is vain to resist their teaching by imputations of vindictiveness. Framed according to the principles, and forming part and parcel, of a Gospel of divine justice and infinite love, its benignity is attested by its origin.
The fourteen days to which the law confines the punishment of the juvenile offender is by no means the best correction which the case admits of. It would be far better so to arrange the Reformatories that certain wards, fitted up with separate cells, should be appropriated for the reception of the young offenders, who might then be committed even before trial to the Reformatory, and so avoid what Lord Stanley so strongly impressed on the first meeting as the indelible brand of the gaol. We attach still greater weight to the effect on the child's own mind. Whatever society may think of him hereafter, he will have lost much of his own self-respect. The brand will, in his mind, be on his brow for all the world to see ; and it will be a by-word of reproach, a lasting stigma, according to his belief. The moral sanction is impaired; he has lost the higher status of the non-imprisoned man. There is one item in each man's claim to social respect which he cannot forfeit, for it is already gone. The moral evil of this may be sometimes exaggerated, but it has a certain reality and weight entitling such considerations to regard. There are no practical difficulties in coupling the penal and reformatory processes in the same building, whilst keeping them perfectly distinct. Sir Stafford Northcote forgot, in arguing against it because the same superintendent would administer both disciplines, that there would of necessity be two superintendents, charged with different functions, and possessing very different qualifications, and that one would have no concern with the province of the other. The same chaplain would, however, superintend both departments, and have the great advantage of studying the child's character from the beginning, and both under the penal ordeal and the reformatory process. We have here merely glanced at these salient advantages. There are, however, many others which we trust will be speedily developed in a separate treatise, for the subject has had scarcely any discussion at Bristol* It appears to us a plan freer than any other from objections, and will, perhaps, sooner or later, be adopted.
There were excellent papers by Miss Carpenter on the relation of the State to the Schools, and another, equally good and full of wise suggestions, from the Rev. Sydney Turner, on the means of providing for those who leave the Reformatories. The Report read at the General Meeting omitted any mention of the liberal grants of the Committee of Council,--a strange omission, well supplied by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, and next day by Miss Carpenter, who spoke in high terms of the new Minute (inserted in our last Journal) of June 2nd.
The discussions were greatly cramped by the long orations of one or two speakers. Indeed, we heard it remarked that very nearly half the whole time allotted to meetings and sections had been engrossed by three individuals, no one of whom had had any practical experience in the management of Reformatories ; inasmuch as they who had had such experience were, almost without an exception, present ; several having come from the most distant parts of the kingdom. This should not have been; and precautions against its recurrence ought to be taken next time. The evil is great, for men not practically experienced in the work almost necessarily dwell on general principles, or merely controversial points. Now, on general principles no doubt exists, and controversy is not the most useful mode of expending the time of the Conference.
Perhaps the most interesting and instructive day was Friday. It was devoted to visits to the Reformatories. Miss Carpenter's excellent establishment for girls at the Red Lodge in Bristol was twice visited by
* See Collection of Papers, &c., on Reformatories ; sold by Routledge & Co. Price Is 60.