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GENERAL DISPENSARY FOR CHILDREN.
At the Annual Meeting of this Institution, the following Report was read to the subscribers by the Honorary Secretary:-"The recurrence of the Anniversary of this Institution demands from the Committee a report of what has been achieved during the past year, and entitles them to renew, on its behalf, their appeal to the sympathies of their townsmen. The Committee have expended the funds at their disposal, with the utmost regard to the interests of the charity; and their resources, though small, have secured medical relief, within the last twelve months, to 1,050 patients, whilst the number admitted since the opening of the Institution, in the year 1829, has been nearly 7,000."
NATIONAL BENEVOLENT INSTITUTION.
The Annual Meeting of this excellent Society for the relief of distressed and aged persons in the middle ranks of life, was held at St. George's Chapel, in the Guildhall, Bristol. The Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor was called to the chair.
The Rev. G. N. Barrow said he hoped this excellent charity would continue to grow in public favour until it should reach that height of prosperity which the importance of its objects deserved.
A vote of thanks to the chairman was proposed, and carried by acclamation. The Mayor expressed his grateful acknowledgments of the high compliment that had been paid him; and a collection terminated the proceedings.
DRAM-DRINKING IN FRANCE.
A curious fact is stated in the report accompanying the return of the amount in the savings' bank of Amiens, viz., that during the year 1834 the sum expended in the different cabarets and wine houses in that city amounted to 1,051,685 francs 74 cents (£42,067 sterling), of which 744,100 francs 40 cents (£29,765) was spent in brandy. The number of goes (petit verres) taken during the year was 15,874,493, making the daily amount 43,493.
A subscription has been opened in the metropolis for the purpose of promoting the immediate formation of schools and the building of chapels in the West Indies, for the use of the emancipated negroes in the English colonies. Towards this highly-important object, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge has made a grant of 10,000l., and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and for the Conversion of Negroes 5,000l. each, the Standing Committee of the West India planters have subscribed 1,000l., and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York, and the Bishops of London, Durham, and Barbadoes, the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, the Earl of Aberdeen, Joshua Watson, Esq., and W. E. Gladstone, M.P., 1007. each.
EDUCATION OF THE POOR.
The importance of educating the children of the poor is now generally admitted, and we rejoice in the success of those philanthropic institutions, which, by the praiseworthy exertions of their supporters, have been instrumental in promoting morality and religion among the labouring classes of the community.
EMMANUEL FELLENBERG, AND THE HOFWYL
THE name of Emmanuel Fellenberg has been associated with that of Pestalozzi in a recent number of our work. We now wish to call the attention of the public to an establishment of much celebrity at Hofwyl, in Switzerland, with which the name of Fellenberg is identified : perhaps no institution has attracted more attention abroad than that to which we allude, arising, probably, not only from the excellence of the system it carries out, but also from the principles which it espouses. We need not remind our readers that these are in a considerable de
gree similar to those of Pestalozzi. These principles, and the great and leading objects of Education, are best given in the words of Fellenberg himself:
My efforts in the cause of education were excited by the palpable defects which presented themselves wherever I had an opportunity of examining its state, even among the most refined nations. The science, as well as the art of education, seemed to me very far in arrear of every other branch of modern civilization. I reflected deeply, and for a length of time, on the wants of the present age in this respect. Observation and personal experience as a member of such bodies had convinced me thirty years since, that nothing adequate to the necessities of mankind could be hoped for through the medium of commissions or associations established by public authority; and I at length resolved to point out, by means of an extensive series of experiments on my own estate, and on an independent basis, what education ought to accomplish for the human race. Hence arose the institutions at Hofwyl, such as you saw them.
"We commence our task with the conviction, that the destination of every child is indicated by Divine Providence in the natural turn of his mind, and that no educator should allow himself to misapprehend or pervert, according to his own contracted ideas, that which the Creator has ordered in infinite wisdom. Society has provided with great care for the safety of the temporal inheritance of our youth, which consists in visible and tangible property. But, on the other hand, that far more precious and imperishable endowment which every child receives at the hands of his Creator—that individual capital which consists in the sum of his intellectual and moral faculties, and on which depends not only the acquisition and proper use of wealth, but the elevation of man above all dependence on earthly possessions, is generally consigned to the absolute and often blind disposal of the parental or public guardians of youth, without rendering them in the slightest degree responsible for their conduct. By this neglect of duty on the part of society, both the temporal and eternal welfare of innumerable children, and of society in general, are most seriously and unwarrantably hazarded. In this dreadful guilt I would have no share. On the contrary, the object which I have most at heart, is to point out, by means of the facts to be observed at Hofwyl, and in the institutions which VOL. I.-May, 1835.
may arise from it hereafter, what society should do in order to fulfil those duties which Christianity imposes upon it in reference to every child that is born within its limits. Jesus Christ himself said, 'Suffer little children, and forbid them not to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.'
"The most important means of securing a happy result in every species of education and instruction, is to preserve, as much as possible, the child-like innocence of the pupil, and that cheerfulness which is its inseparable companion. He should be brought up to desire, in the sincerity and joy of his heart, the welfare of his fellow-creatures, and to feel the warmest interest in their happiness. On this sentiment depends not only his most valuable enjoyments, but also his resemblance to the Deity, and his noblest distinction from the brute creation; and education like this is the only sure mode of preparing him to comprehend Christianity thoroughly, and embrace it cordially.
"In order to accomplish these objects, he who educates must be like the Saviour, the child's best friend, and not his tyrant; he must never forget that the powers of man are indeed excited to action from without, but that the personal activity of the individual operating upon himself, and upon the materials which are furnished him for the exercise of his faculties, is the only means for their complete development and cultivation. The more animated and earnest these endeavours, the more satisfactory will be the result; and the interest which enlivens the pupil in his employment will also increase his cheerfulness and happiness. The objects of education will thus be more fully attained in proportion as he is interested in a well-arranged course of studies -cheered by his progress in them, and encouraged to further exertions. In fact, the great art in education consists in knowing how to occupy every moment of life in well-directed and useful activity of the youthful powers, so that nothing evil shall find room to develope itself.
"It is also of great importance that the child should never be employed with exercises or objects which are above his comprehension; the development of character which should take place at this age must otherwise suffer. It is not reasonable to desire to bring down to the level of a child's capacity what presupposes the intelligence of manhood. It is folly to attempt to make an immature mind pursue the train of thought of the greatest men, as is often done in classical and scientific schools. The infantile conceptions of great objects which are thus produced are in effect an obstacle to its improvement, and the important lessons to be learned from antiquity are thus debarred all access to the comprehension of the cultivated youth, and to the feelings of the mature man. These and similar mistakes we carefully endeavour to avoid. "On the reception of a new pupil, our first object is to obtain an accurate knowledge of his individual character, with all its resources and defects, in order to aid in its further development according to the apparent intention of the Creator. To this end, the individual, independent activity of the pupil is of much greater importance than the ordinary, busy officiousness of many who assume the office of educators and teachers; they too often render the child a mere magazine of knowledge, collected by means purely mechanical, which furnishes him with neither direction nor aid in the business of life. The more ill-digested knowledge a man thus collects, the more oppressive will be the burden to its possessor, and the more painful his helplessness. Instead of pursuing this course, we endeavour, by bestowing the utmost care upon the cultivation of the conscience, the understanding, and the judgment, to light up a torch in the mind of every pupil, which shall enable him to observe his own character, and shall set in the clearest light all the exterior objects which claim his attention.
"A great variety of exercises of the body and the senses are employed to prepare these instruments of the human soul for the fulfilment of their destination. It is by means of such exercises that every man should acquire a
knowledge of his physical strength, and attain confidence with regard to those efforts of which he is capable, instead of that fool-hardiness which endangers the existence of many who have not learned to estimate their own powers correctly.
"All the various relations of space should be presented to the eye, to be observed and combined in the manner best adapted to form the coup d'ail. Instruction in design renders us important service in this respect. Every one should thus attain the power of reproducing the forms he has observed, and of delineating them with facility, and should learn to discover the beauty of forms, and to distinguish them from their contrasts. It is only when the talent is remarkable, that the attempt should be made to render the pupil
“The cultivation of the ear by means of vocal and instrumental music is not less important to complete the development of the human being. The organs of speech, the memory, the understanding, and the taste, should be formed in the same manner by instruction, and a great variety of exercises in languages, vocal music, and declamation. The same means should also be employed to cultivate and confirm devotional feelings. In the study of natural history, the power of observation is developed in reference to natural objects. In the history of mankind the same faculty is employed upon the phenomena of human nature and human relations, and the moral taste is cultivated. At the same time the faculty of conceiving with correctness, and of employing and combining with readiness the materials collected by the mind, and especially the reasoning faculty, should be brought into exercise by the means of forms and numbers exhibited in their multiplied and varied relations. "The social life of our pupils contributes materially to the formation of their moral character. The principles developed in their experience of practical life among themselves, which gradually extends with their age and the progress of their minds, serves as the basis of this branch of education. It presents the examples and occasions necessary for exhibiting the great principles of morals. According to the example of Divine Providence, we watch over this little world in which our pupils live and act, with an ever-vigilant, but often invisible care, and constantly endeavour to render it more pure and noble.
"At the same time that the various improvements of science and of art are applied to the benefit of our pupils, their sound religious education should be kept continually in view in every branch of study. This is also the object of a distinct series of lessons which generally continue through the whole course of instruction, and whose influence is aided by the requisite exercises of devotion.
"By the combination of means I have described, we succeed in directing our pupils to the best method of pursuing their studies independently: we occupy their attention, according to their individual necessities and capacity, with philology, the ancient and modern languages, the mathematics, and their various modes of application, and a course of historical studies, comprising geography, statistics, and political economy.
"It is the object of our most earnest efforts to enlarge and ennoble the ideas of our pupils in regard to human nature in general, as well as to their own conduct in particular, by enriching their circle of experience from the records of history. They should, by these means, attain a thorough acquaintance with every variety of human existence, and with all the consequences of wisdom and folly, of virtue and vice. They should discover themselves, their families, their countrymen, and their country, in the page of history; and we should endeavour to render them so familiar with every possible lot in life, before their own is fixed, that the most unexpected events shall not take them by surprise, or produce embarrassment. They should there observe the rocks
on which human happiness is in danger of being wrecked, and learn how to avoid them, before they are hurried away by the whirlpool of passion. We should draw from history a panoramic view of human nature in its present and best forms, and in the various paths of life which are accessible to uswe should form for ourselves an ideal model of the highest excellence; one so adapted to our circumstances and individual character, that we may adhere to it through life, and cheerfully struggle to realize it—nay, that we may be ready to live and to die for its attainment. History should, finally, present to us the course of Divine Providence, in directing the destinies of individuals, and of the human race in general. It should produce an elevation and energy in our religious character, which should continue through our lives. This object is best attained, by presenting, as early as possible, to the view of the child, the great books of God; viz., that of Nature, and that of Providence, as exhibited in real life-in history, and in the Holy Scriptures: but they should be presented in a manner adapted to form his religious feelings in such a manner, that the traces of the infinite wisdom and goodness of the Creator and Preserver of the universe may never escape his observation. Such an examination of those laboratories of the creation which are accessible to us, and of the productions of the infinite skill of the Most High, is the best means of preserving us from that pride which might be excited by an imperfect acquaintance with human science and art. Where is the man who, after a religious examination of the works of God, whether in nature, or in the sphere of moral and intellectual life, could neglect to do homage, in humility and prayer, to their great Author? Who would not attempt the fulfilment of the great ends of his being? In this manner we establish our institutions upon the basis of genuine Christianity-we proceed, in the commencement of our labours, upon the essential principles and conditions of the Gospel. Every sound system of education must rest on the instructions of Jesus Christ. In these instructions is given the substance of its theory-the best practical example for the educator is to be found in the Saviour of men; and in the result, we should aim at no other object than the realization of the kingdom of God, to which he has directed mankind. "These are the words of de Fellenberg." "*
Such are the amiable views of a man who, in spite of his Patrician birth, feels it a higher dignity to call around him the poor, the depraved, and the ignorant, for the purpose of making them love each other, and of being useful to each other; to honour God by conceiving great notions concerning him, and to show their love to him by their love of man. The unchristian idea, that, to do this was unworthy a great man, or that it was inexpedient, and which at that time was as prevalent in Switzerland, as it now is in England, was thus, in a great measure, dispossessed and driven from its strong hold: and to bring together rich and poor, for the purposes of instruction, was only an extension of the same nobleness of mind which prompted this friend to his species in this great undertaking. To this object he has devoted both his life and means.
"The principle, that gradual progress is the only sure progress, which Fellenberg applies to the education of children, he considers essential in forming an Institution for Education: indeed, it cannot otherwise be fully carried into execution by the pupils themselves. If a large number of individuals are collected together at once, under new circumstances and re
*We particularly recommend to the public notice the little book written by M. Duppa, entitled "Education in England; what it is, and what it ought to be,"-from which this letter of M. de Fellenberg is extracted.