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veloped by our assiduity, passions eradicated by our counsel, and a multitude of men pouring abroad over society the lustre of a virtuous example, and becoming meet to be inheritors with the saints in light-and all in consequence of the direction which we have given to them in youth? I ask again, what profession has any higher rewards ?
Again, we at this day are in a manner the pioneers in this work in this country. Education, as a science, has scarcely yet been naturalized among us.
Radical improvement in the means of education is an idea that seems but just to have entered into men's minds. It becomes us to act worthily of our station. Let us by all the means in our power second the efforts and the wishes of the public. Let us see that the first steps in this course are taken wisely. This country ought to be the best educated on the face of the earth. By the blessing of heaven, we can do much towards the making of it so. God helping us, then, let us make our mark on the rising generation.
OF MORAL EDUCATION.
BY J. DE SAINTEVILLE.
[From the Quarterly Journal of Education, No. XI.]
[The Quarterly Journal of Education was first issued by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge in January, 1831. It was intended to afford a means of recording the “ great and interesting events of education, and for communicating the improvements which are made from time to time in the modes of acquiring knowledge." This has been attempted to be carried into effect by essays by various authors, and facts collected from various sources, foreign and domestic, on subjects connected with education in its widest sense, and by reviews of books treating on topics of instruction. The Society, however, guard themselves against being deemed answerable for every separate opinion. They say—“ It will of course be their duty not to sanction anything inconsistent with the general principles of the Society. If, therefore, the general effect of a paper be favourable to the objects of the Society, the committee will feel themselves at liberty to direct its publication : the details must be the author's alone, and the opinions expressed on each particular question must be considered as his, and not those of the committee.” Nine volumes of this work have now been published, containing a mass of valuable matter; the three following articles
have been selected from it, and we shall likewise draw upon its resources in several future instances.]
The condition of the human race may be considered with reference to three great divisions, which comprehend its whole existence: these are its physical, moral, and intellectual state. At no period in the known history of the world have we any records of the mass of a people possessing, in any degree adequate to procure happiness, a supply of their physical, moral, and intellectual wants. At present, the most numerous class of beings which compose the human race are a prey to many physical sufferings; and all classes of society in all countries, both high and low, are generally void, we will not say of moral notions, but of moral habits.
The mode of instruction followed in schools, which generally has for its sole object the cultivation of the intellectual powers, is essentially defective and incomplete. And yet we see in all countries honourable and generous men uniting to extend knowledge, instruction, and useful information throughout society; and in England we see enormous sums annually expended with the professed and, we may fairly admit, the real object of diminishing human suffering, and improving human character.
The intentions of these true friends of humanity are certainly beyond all praise, and words are wanting to express the thanks they deserve; but the best intentions may err, if not in the design, at least in the means of accomplishing it. Now, we think that the way for the public teacher to fully accomplish his noble endeavours, and one day reap the delightful fruit of his labours and his zeal, and indeed the way to make all instruction, both domestic and public, efficacious, is to let intellectual be preceded by moral education, or at least to combine them. We are, indeed, firmly persuaded that moral education is the basis, the foundation, and the test, not only of every systein of instruction, but of the whole social edifice.
It is then to moral education, so much neglected in these times, that we must direct the skill, the attention, and the capacity of every one who devotes himself to instruction.
Instruction by itself is an instrument of which either a good or bad use may be made. That which is learned in elementary schools, and which consists in knowing how to read, write, and cipher, cannot exercise much influence on morals. In fact, we should be puzzled to understand how it would be possible to give a man regular habits and just moral sentiments, by merely teaching him to perform certain operations almost mechanical, such as reading and writing are. We can much easier imagine that even a superior kind of instruction, when purely intellectual, is likely to cause a multitude of social wants to spring up, which, if they are not satisfied, often incite to crime: for instruction multiplies the social relations; it is the soul of commerce and of industry; it also creates among individuals a thousand opportunities of fraud or bad faith, which do not often exist among a rude or ignorant population. We will admit that the cultivation of the intellect alorie has some effect, in so far as it tends to make immediate impu yield to reason, and tends also to form some habits of order and industry. But it is at least insufficient.
In England*, in Francet, in Germany), in the United Statesg, where a few years ago the happy influence of knowledge upon moral improvement was so much extolled, it is already acknowledged that it is not enough to establish schools in order to stop the progress of demoralization, and that it is necessary to seek out speedily some remedy for the evils which disorder societyii.
* Minutes of Evidence taken by the Committee appointed by the House of Commons to inquire into the State of Mendicity and Vagrancy in the Metropolis and its Neighbourhood. Ordered to be printed 11th July, 1815–1816.
Mr. Hume's Speech in the House, Ist July, 1812.
Plan de l'Education pour les Enfans, par M. de Laborde.
d'Adultes, etc. par M. Basset. Journal de la Société de la Morale Chrétienne, No. 73. § Letters on the United States, by Cooper.
Il Two magistrates of the Cour Royale of Paris, who have recently made a tour through the United States of North America, where, in the course of two years, they have collected a considerable number of documents of the greatest interest relative to the application of the penitentiary system and to criminal statistics, report that, in the state of New York, five hundred thousand children are educated in the public schools out of a population of two millions, and more than two hundred and forty thousand pounds are annually expended for this purpose. It would appear that an enlightened population, which is not in want of any of the capital which agriculture, commerce, and manufacturing industry offer, ought to commit fewer crimes than a population ' which possesses the latter advantages, without having the same knowledge to turn them to a good account; yet we do not think that the diminution of crime in the north should be attributed solely to instruction. In Connecticut, where education is still more extended than in the state of New York, crimes are seen to multiply to a frightful extent, and if we cannot blame knowledge for this prodigious increase of crimes, we must at least conless that it has not yet the power to prevent them.