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to our affections that which an enlightened understanding approves.
Thus the art of the practical moralist, or preceptor, has not only the effect of creating an order of means indispensable to the freedom of all the rest, but gives us the most important of all instruction. Whilst the other kinds bring our physical organs to perfection, cultivate our imagination and affections, and enlighten our understanding, this teaches us to submit the faculties which move us to those which ought to direct us, and to make a judicious and moderate use of both. In this manner it preserves them all, and renders the various pleasures which they procure for us more lively and permanent; and this constitutes happiness, the thing which all desire and few attain.
By MR. BARWELL.
(From the Quarterly Journal of Education, No. 14.) EARLY education comprises the elements of the future happiness or misery, virtue or vice, greatness or goodness, of the individual ; a truth perhaps hardly sufficiently considered, otherwise education would be less frequently entrusted to the weak, the ignorant, or the injudicious. The stability of a building depends upon the firmness of its foundation ; the virtue of man upon the excellence of his early education. It is ue, that the grandeur, beauty, or utility of the finished structure may alone be observable; but the judgment and skill of the architect must have been equally exercised in the foundation upon which the edifice is raised. Whether we believe children to be born with evil dispositions, or whether we consider all their ideas and dispositions to be acquired notions --education must equally correct the one, or form the other,
The phrase "elementary education ” would seem, in its ordinary acceptation, merely to apply to instruction in reading and spelling; but the child who is unmanageable in the nursery will be unmanageable in the school-room, and activity of intellect will be fostered or deadened, according to the nature of the early discipline, before the child has learned to speak. It is impossible to separate moral from intellectual education; intellectual cannot be efficiently conducted independent of moral education, and we maintain the converse to be equally true. That development of the faculties, which
is necessary to the acquisition and application of knowledge, is equally essential to the acquisition of morality ---reason and observation are as important in the one as in the other: thus the two branches, although apparently distinct, grow from the same stem. He who cannot reason, and whose perceptions are dull and torpid, will be no more moral than he who only possesses a well-stored memory will be a really wise man. It follows, then, that the faculties which er able us to act from virtuous motives, and the faculties which are employed in the acquisition of knowledge, are originally the same; and a well-regulated education will begin by practically cultivating those faculties, since from them are to spring all moral as well as all intellectual results.
Early education is almost universally in the hands of females, according to a wise provision of nature ; their habits and characters being peculiarly adapted to the purpose. Women are naturally devoted to the minor operations of life; they can dwell with interest and patience upon the trifles that make up the lives of children, and it is upon the direction of these seeming trifles that future greatness (and this term also includes goodness) will depend. The present artificial system of female education very much unfits women for the task which nature has so clearly assigned to them ; gentleness, placid firmness, evenness of temper, watchfulness, tenderness, and that quiet discretion, which is usually called good sense, are the characteristics of an unspoiled woman; and surely these are the qualifications which are best adapted to check the peevish and violent, to encourage the idle or timid, and, above all, to give an example of what is virtuous and rational to those little
beings whose future happiness depends so much on a mother's care and discretion.
The first six years in the lives of children demand as much or more watchfulness on the part of their guardians than any other period of their youth; yet it is generally believed, that if they be carefully fed, clothed, washed, and taught to read, or rather made to stammer over a book, the duties towards them are perfectly fulfilled ; if they should have become wilful and unmanageable, (and this is a general case,) they are sent to school to be corrected, because little master or miss cannot longer be controlled at home. At school, as elsewhere, the influence of a bad example is as powerful as that of a good one, and unless unremitting vigilance be exercised, the innocent minded will be corrupted by their associates. Fear of personal chastisement, or severe punishment, produces habits of deceit, and those are the happiest and the most honoured who are most successful in deceiving their instructors. What will be their struggles, when, at a riper age, they perceive and would correct their errors! How much more severe are the pangs they will then suffer, than the rational privations and restraints of childhood would have inflicted! And how many are there who never arrive at a sense of their moral degradation! Let it also be remembered, that the evil goes on increasing; for persons so educated, and so dead to moral virtue, will assuredly“ visit the sins of the fathers upon the children.”
Parents, and mothers most especially, must learn that their parental duties have not ceased when the personal comforts of their children are provided for; that it is on their example, their attention, their firmness, that much of the moral worth of their offspring depends,
Whatever be their situation in society, all, or nearly all, have the means of inculcating and enforcing the early and habitual practice of virtue. The nursery, the school-room, and the world, are alike the scenes of evil passions, restrained or encouraged, corrected or triumphant; but in the first there is a presiding power, which will retain or lose its influence in the subsequent scenes of life, according as it is well or ill employed in the first and opening stage: a power which will be silently, but deeply acknowledged, reverenced, and remembered, in after years, when its worth can be
appreciated, and its effects manifested--this power is possessed by every sensible, judicious, and wisely affectionate mother; and let her deem it as one of her highest privileges, that to her is confided the happiness of implanting those seeds of virtue and morality, upon the culture and growth of which will depend the future welfare of her children.
It is impossible to lay down systems of education, which shall embrace all particulars; a general system may be recommended, subject to the modifications which the various characters of children demand. But as no precise and universal rules can be given, it is the more important that early education should be confided to judicious persons, whose conduct is regulated by the motives which they wish to inculcate, and whose judgment is clear, firm, and mature.
The first manifestations of the dawnings of reason are shown before the power of speech is attained; children signify by imperfect sounds what they desire to obtain, and become violent when their wishes are not complied with. It is the mother's part to watch the moment when she can make the little tyrant comprehend that