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It is, however, true, that neither our minds nor our bodies can be educated without the concurrence of our will, and, consequently, not without accustoming this faculty to desire that which the others ought to do, and without labouring more or less to give it instruction. Our education, such as it is, by compelling us to perform a certain work, necessarily inculcates certain virtues. Every kind of labour requires us to have a certain command over ourselves; every kind of labour exercises our patience in a greater or less degree, and makes us acquire habils of activity, application, and a sort of regularity, &c. Besides, education cannot develope our sensitive and intellectual faculties, without at the same time acting indirectly upon our will; it cannot awaken good feelings in us without exciting us to do good; it induces us in some degree to practise it, simply because it makes us know what it is, and shows us the advantages we may derive from it.
We also admit that this education is not absolutely confined to telling us what we ought to do : we are stimulated also to put it in practice by a more or less judicious custom of praise or blame, reward or punishment. The single circumstance of the pupils in a school living together has, to a certain extent, the effect of reforming that which is violent or unjust in their wills, for each of the pupils is more or less restrained by the rest, and obliged to check his evil dispositions.
The result of education, then, is to render our habits more or less moral, though it does not directly keep that object in view. But what we condemn in it is precisely that it does not make the formation of our moral habits a special object, because it does not subject the will, as it does the understanding, to regular exercise, and does
not reduce virtue to a science, like knowledge; although it is very well known that if it is necessary to study a science, it is much more indispensable to serve an apprenticeship to virtue.
This absence in education of exercises suited to form our moral character has been growing more striking ever since those changes in our social life which have deprived the Church of much of its former influence in Europe. While men were entirely under the influence of the Church, we observe that exercises were enjoined which were analogous to what is, in our opinion, now required. To the observance of duties purely religious there were united certain usages, which might be considered as exercises suited to correct our evil inclinations, and make us acquire good habits. The exercise of prayer, the being obliged to retire and present ourselves frequently before God, good resolutions taken in the morning, self-examination in the evening, the confession of our faults to God or to our spiritual guide, whom we consulted on the mode of correcting our moral imperfections, -all these things had undoubtedly this object in view. We shall not enter into a particular examination of these practices; we simply state that they did exist, that their aim was to correct our inorals, and that, under this system, to know how to live was generally the object of a formal labour, and an express and positive study. But in proportion as this system decayed, the exercises we speak of were negleeted : by degrees the form alone was attended to, while the true sense was forgotten ; and what now remains of religious instruction is, in many schools, nothing more than a mere form, more fitted to demoralize the youthful mind than to inspire it with sentiments of religion and virtue,
Generally speaking, then, this religious discipline has been abandoned, but in giving it up it has not been replaced by a substitute ; and in the education of the present day, the only thing that strikes us relative to moral habits, is, as we have said before, the almost total absence of those exercises which are proper to form them. The only thing now thought important is to enlighten the understanding, and keep it constantly in exercise. It is from this that everything seems to be expected. We seem to think that the labour bestowed on the mind is sufficient to correct the faults of the character, and that the diffusion of knowledge must necessarily be accompanied by a reform in morals. These ideas are so thoroughly established, that the only thing, for example, that seems to be thought necessary to ameliorate the condition of the poorer classes of society is the diffusion of primary instruction. It is supposed that these classes will become more moral, simply because they possess the rudiments of knowledge, and that in fact the number of delinquents in a given population is always in proportion to the number of individuals who can neither read nor write. This re
ires a little examination.
On what basis is this opinion founded in France ? On the observation, that in those departments where instruction is most diffused, the fewest crimes are committed. But is this the case ? Let us look at the whole question. To come to a conclusion, it is necessary to determine exactly the distribution of instruction, and that of crimes, in the different parts of the kingdom, during a certain number of years. We have now a sure method of knowing the extent of the diffusion of instruction. Ever since the census taken in 1827, the Minister
of War subjects all the young men wlio are called to serve in the army to an examination, so that the number of those who can read and write is known at the moment their names are drawn. It is from the observations made on this subject during three years that a table of the comparative proportion of instruction in the different departments has been formed. This table deserves the greater confidence, because it includes, during the same space of time, men in all classes of society without distinction. What strikes us at first, when we cast our eye over the table, is the clear and luminous character almost universally extended over the thirty northern departments. In some of these departments, among a hundred young men, whose names are on the lists, they reckoned from seventy-one to seventy-four, or nearly three-fourths of them, who were able to read and write. It is not in the southern provinces, as it is asserted, that the greatest ignorance is found, but in the western and central provinces, in Berri, Limosin, and Bretagne. Among a hundred young men of the department of Finistèrre, there were only fifteen who knew how to read and write; in Morbihan, fourteen; in Cher, Haute Vienne, and Allier, thirteen ; while in Corrèze only twelve were found, or about one-eighth part.
In the island of Corsica, which was thought far behind the other departments in point of instruction, half the young persons, forty-nine in a hundred, can read and write. There are sixty departments which have not come up to this proportion.
Let us now look at this table in reference to crimes against persons and property. According to the Essay on the Moral Statistics of France, recently presented to
the Académie des Sciences, the maximum of crimes is committed in the island of Corsica, in the south-eastern provinces, and in Alsaee. Is it in these places that there is the most ignorance ? Our table of the proportion of instruction furnishes proof to the contrary. Again the minimum is found in the western and central provinces. Can it be said that it is here where most instruction is diffused ? It is, therefore, evident that the coincidence above-mentioned does not exist.
Unfortunately, then, this supposition is not true; but even, if it were, it does not seem to us to be referred to its proper causes, or at least to all of them. There are several good reasons why fewer crimes should be committed where there is a greater number of persons who can read and write. The fact of a population being more instructed, supposes it to be in more easy circumstances, less exposed to the temptations incident to want and misery, and to consist of a greater number of wellregulated families, among whom good examples are found. In order for this population to know how to read and write, it is necessary for it to have passed some time in schools, where it has been superintended, restrained, and obliged to conform to certain habits of order and discipline. The talent it has acquired allows it to read books from which some good stimulus may be obtained. It is not, therefore, surprising if it should be less disposed to evil, and should commit fewer crimes; but this result, when obtained, is not solely due to the little literary instruction which it has received. It is not a necessary consequence that there should be a union between the art of reading and the virtue of good behaviour, nor even generally between talent and virtue. In order to act right, it is certainly necessary to know