Imágenes de página

pain you to hear and me to describe. I will only say, by way of specification, that, among other diseases of which this is the fruitful germ, I have known three instances of perpetual headache, at last bringing on insanity and terminating in death,' The immediate cause of the disease was the compression of the heart and great blood vessels, and the consequent accumulation of blood in the head.

As young ladies are disposed to this practice, probably by fancies communicated by their companions, those who have charge of them should not only prohibit these applications--they should, for themselves, observe whether anything is wrong; and after the young

ladies have reached the age when dress is considered a primary object, they should resolutely oppose every encroachment on the rights of the vital organs, beyond what is required by a decent attention to the prejudices of the day.

If I might call your attention to other topics of interest connected with this subject, I should advert to the constant use of cold-bathing, especially the shower-bath, as very conducive to invigoration of the body and to lessening the susceptibility to the injurious effects of cold on the surface of the skin. I would speak of the advantages of regular friction over the whole surface, and especially the chest and the neck, those parts which are constantly to be exposed to the air. The judicious use of the voice by reading aloud, I should highly commend. It invigorates the lungs, and gives action to the whole digestive apparatus; but I should not speak so favourably of singing—a delightful accomplishment, indeed, but only to be pursued by those whose chests are ample, and pulmonary organs vigorous. These subjects I can

barely allude to, without entering into the details of their particular application, having extended these remarks much beyond my original design.

Let me conclude by entreating your attention to a revision of the existing plans of education, in what relates to the preservation of health. Too much of the time of the better educated part of young persons, is, in my humble opinion, devoted to literary pursuits and sedentary occupations; and too little to the acquisition of the corporeal powers indispensable to make the former practically useful. If the present system does not undergo some change, I much apprehend we shall see a degenerate and sinking race, such as came to exist among the higher classes in France, before the revolution, and such as now deforms a large part of the noblest families in Spain ;* but if the spirit of improvement, so happily awakened, continue, as I trust it will, to animate those concerned in the formation of the young members of society, we shall soon be able, I doubt not, to exhibit an active, beautiful, and wise generation, of which the age may be proud.

* I am informed, by a lady who passed a long time at the Spanish court, in a distinguished situation, that the Grandees have deteriorated by their habits of living, and the restriction of intermarriages to their own rank, to a race of dwarfs, and, though fine persons are sometimes seen among them, they, when assembled at court, appear to be a group of manikins.




(From the Quarterly Journal of Education, No. XIX.)

The question of discipline, or the management and government of boys in schools, is now beginning to receive that attention in England to which its importance entitles it. But, like many questions of a political and moral nature, it is generally encumbered with considerations foreign to the matter; the consequence of which is, that there is far from being that uniformity of opinion which would probably result from the question being clearly stated and fairly argued. Among our older writers, both Ascham and Locke have touched on this head. In Ascham's “Schoolmaster” it forms only a subordinate part of his subject, and is not treated with sufficient method: still his remarks taken singly are good. Locke, in his “Essay on Education," had mainly in view private and domestic education: but the excellence of his remarks on this division of the subject makes us regret that so just a thinker did not handle the whole matter of education, both private and public. It is true that many of his remarks, particularly those on beating boys, apply generally, and may help any dispassionate

* This paper was written in consequence of the opinions ex. pressed in a letter addressed to the Editor of the Journal of Education.--This Letter, signed “A Wykhamist,” is printed in the Journal of Education, No. XVIII.

inquirer in forming his judgment on this part of the question.

The practice of English schools in the government of boys, and particularly the practice of some of our public schools, has ten been condemned in the Journal of Education; sometimes only incidentally, on other occasions in a more direct way. Such observations, it may be presumed, are not agreeable to those engaged in the direction of such schools ; for though many masters may admit, to a certain extent, the truth of what is said, none like to have the establishments with which they are connected held up to public reprobation. There seems, however, to be no way of effecting a reform in such establishments, but by convincing people that they require amendment. No great improvement can be expected from those who have the management of these places of education, unless they see the necessity of making it; and the necessity for such change must have its origin in a conviction, generally diffused among parents, of the importance of a school-reform. This Journal has attempted to show that our schools require great modifications in order to become good places of education; and that our endowed schools particularly require to be remodelled, and to be placed under the superintendence of the State. In treating subjects of this kind, opinions must be founded on a collection and comparison of facts, some of which, supposed to be best suited to the purpose, are stated as the grounds of coming to certain conclusions. There may be error in stating such facts, and, no doubt, mistakes are sometimes made: but no statements as to schools have been made in this Journal without previous inquiry; very few facts here stated have been called in question, and none have been

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

proved to be erroneous without being afterwards corrected. If any person, whose name is a sufficient guarantee that he deserves credit, will point out any misstatements in the Journal of Education, as to any place of education, his observations shall be inserted, and he shall have our thanks for his pains. As to the nature of the instruction and the discipline in schools, either public or private, those are better, because more impartial, judges who are not engaged in the direction of such schools than those who are-provided they have had sufficient opportunities of knowing what schools are, and provided they have duly reflected on all the parts of this extensive and complicated subject.

After these preliminary remarks, it may be expected that the Editor of the Journal of Education should give his reasons for having sanctioned both attacks on the established modes of education, and on the discipline of the public schools of this country. As the opinions which he holds on the matter of education are nearly altogether inconsistent with those of “A Wykhamist,” it will be better to enter on the general subject without taking the paragraphs of the Letter in regular order and commenting on them. It is only necessary to premise that the following observations refer almost entirely to large boarding-schools; whether they be endowed schools, or speculations of private indivis duals, is immaterial for our present purpose.

The term Education, which is generally used in the limited sense of instruction in certain branches of know, ledge, comprehends, as we use it, all the means for forming the entire character of a man. In ordinary language, and in common practice, it is indeed restricted very nearly to the teaching of two or three languages,



« AnteriorContinuar »