Imágenes de página

comprehend; nor can we understand the connexion of the several parts of the two paragraphs in which this matter is discussed. The following by itself is intelligible—To say that corporal punishment is an appeal to personal fear, is a mere abuse of terms. In this sense all bodily pain or inconvenience is an appeal to personal fear; and a man should be ashamed to take any pains to avoid the tooth-ache or the gout. Pain is an evil; and the fear of pain, like all other natural feelings, is of a mixed character, sometimes useful and becoming, sometimes wrong and mischievous. And this— It is very true that the fear of punishment generally (for surely it makes no difference whether it be the fear of the personal pain of flogging, or of the personal inconvenience of what have been proposed as its substitutes, confinement and a reduced allowance of food) is not the highest motive of action, and therefore the course actually followed in education is most agreeable to nature and reason, that the fear of punishment should be appealed to less and less as the moral principle becomes stronger with advancing age.'

First we are told, that to call corporal punishment' an • appeal to fear' is an abuse of terms ; then we are told that in this sense—that is, if corporal punishment is an appeal to fear-the tooth-ache or the gout is also an appeal to fear. Such puerile attempts to obscure the real question hardly need exposure. The assertion would be true, if a schoolmaster could at his pleasure inflict a fit of tooth-ache, and many boys may congratulate themselves that he cannot, for assuredly tooth-aches would be more common than they are.

An appeal to fear' may be a good or a bad motive, as our correspondent states. When corporal punishment is called

an' appeal to fear' (a mode of expression which we by no means justify), it is implied, we presume, that the wrong motive is presented, the fear of the rod, instead of other motives which it is presumed would better produce the desired effect,

We are further told that it makes no difference whether a boy receives a blow from his master as a punishment for some offence, or some other kind of punishment such as is there mentioned. But here again we have the matter put into utter confusion, for it is the kind of punishment which is the very thing in question. We all admit that punishment of some kind is necessary for boys who do wrong, as well as for men ; and there is ņo great difficulty in seeing in what the differences of punishment consist, which we think unnecessary to explain at length, as anybody can find it out for himself by the following hints. The disapprobation of the master, the temporary loss of his usual kind regard, is a punishment different from confinement; and confinement is different from a blow on the hand with a cane; and a blow on the hand with a cane is different from a blow on the bare breech with a rod; and a blow on the bare breech with a rod is different from thumb-screws or any instruments of torture; and so on.

Finally, the fear of punishment should be appealed to less and less as the moral principle becomes stronger with advancing age.' Fear of punishment should be appealed toʻ—is not this an abuse of terms ? We were told so just now. But this is a trifle. We are here told impliedly that we must begin our education with one of the lower motives, which we now learn is the true character of the appeal to corporal punishment,' an opinion in which we entirely agree; and we must appeal to it less and less as the boy grows older, because as he grows older his moral principle becomes stronger-becomes stronger by his education being first subjected to that influence which is called one of the lower motives of action. We do not profess to understand how the moral principle becomes stronger under this arrangement. Nor are we quite sure that we understand what is here meant by the moral principle. -As boys grow older their passions become stronger, and unless the power of selfcontrol grows stronger at an equal rate, the whole boy is less adapted for right conduct than he was at an earlier age.


know more as to what is best to be done, but he is subjected to more influences which tend to draw him from the right course.

The power of conducting himself properly under these circumstances may be called the moral principle, and we presume this is what is intended. But this power does not come from increasing years, for with increasing years, when there is no right discipline, the moral principle, as thus understood, becomes weaker and weaker, as we all know. And this we believe to be the state of the case in many schools, not merely those called public schools. The passions increase with increasing years, but the power of self-control does not increase in the same rate, because there is no discipline specially directed to this object, as Locke suggests there should be.*

* A few alterations have been made in this article, and a few parts added, since it was printed in the Journal of Education.




Delivered before the American Institute of Instruction,

August, 1831.

It has been the practice of most teachers to call in the aid of emulation to stimulate their pupils in the prosecution of their studies. By several writers, however, it has been maintained, that this is not a good or a safe principle of action. And many teachers, who resort to it, acknowledge its tendency to be dangerous, but justify themselves on the ground of necessity. They suppose it to be impossible to find other motives sufficiently powerful to produce the desired effect. The attention of my respected audience is now invited to a few remarks on

“the means which may be employed to stimulate the student without the aid of emulation."* If

* It will be seen that the shape of the subject assigned by the directors of the institute precluded the writer from entering into a consideration of the lawfulness or unlawfulness of emulation as a principle of action. In the discussion which followed the delivery of the lecture, however, he was led to regret that he had not at least attempted a definition of emulation, and made a few plain distinctions in order to guard, if possible, against that confusion of terms and ideas too, by which the discussion was embarrassed. Indeed, without a clear idea of what emulation is, it would not appear but that the lecturer, in attempting to enumerate the best means of stimulating a student without the aid of emulation, had inadvertently recommended some methods which have a direct tendency to excite those feelings in which emulation consists. Is

such means can be pointed out a favour will be conferred on those who regard emulation as an unlawful or an unsafe principle of action ; while even they who have no scruples on that point may find the influence of other motives a desirable auxiliary in the work of education. The importance of the subject assigned me on this occasion is readily perceived, when we consider how general is the practice of resorting to the aid of emulation, in families, in common schools, and in literary institutions of a higher order; how powerful this principle is in its operation; and how great and lasting an influence it frequently has in the formation of human character. To do full justice to our subject would re

emulation, then, as has been sometimes insinuated, a desire of advancement in knowledge and virtue ? a desire of continued and indefinite progress in literature and science, and in the culture of the intellectual faculties ? If so, the lecturer has entirely mistaken his subject, and bas relied for success in stimulating a student, chiefly on that very principle which he professed to avoid. But he understood emulation, and he still believes it is generally understood, to be quite a different thing. Emulation, as he understood the term, is a love of superiority, a spirit of competition or rivalry, a desire to outdo others. It is altogether a comparative thing, and derives its whole gratification from a comparison of one's self with another, or some others, who are regarded as inferior, or as having been left behind in the race. It is a selfish principle, and utterly inconsistent with disinterested benevolence. One who is actuated by better motives might say to his fellow,“ I have a desire to press forward in the path of improvement and usefulness; I am determined to use every effort for the purpose. I should rejoice to see you do the same. Come, then, and go with me. We may each be a help to the other. It will give me pleasure to aid your progress by every means in my power. But if you remit your efforts, I must condemn your negligence. If you fail for the want of opportunity or ability, I shall lament your misfortune. Surely I cannot wish to see you linger behind. I should be base, indeed, to derive pleasure from seeing another destitute of a good which I myself enjoy." (For a more extended discussion of this subject, see the chapter on

Emulation and Ambition” in “ Elements of Moral Philosophy,” by the writer of the Lecture.) VOL. I.

2 h


« AnteriorContinuar »