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as sources, facilities or impediments to their varied enterprises. We are cautious not to diminish these advantages. The mind can only be gradually led from the contemplation of these material things to investigate the principles of the same in more abstract science. By acquaintance with the things, the query is raised how they came, and the mind slides rather imperceptibly into the investigation; and when curiosity is excited, the impulse is sufficiently strong without the addition of emulation. The elements of philosophy and geometry are in this manner understood, (not merely learned,) before a child can read.

Stranger. But have you any secret charm by which you are able to compel the observant attention of children so naturally inclined to versatility.

Lady. We have this charming requisition that they are not to be present at any discourse, entertainment, or exhibition, but such as they must observe and give some account of; and in all lecturing and catechetical instruction we are attentive to point any thing calculated to amuse or interest the young mind, that we may make use of all that buoyancy or vivacity of spirit so predominant in young animals; but which the course of chaining a child to a school bench must suppress by violence, or turn to vicious activity. If, for instance, the attention of a child be arrested by a curious mineral, flower, or insect, we would place a microscope before it, and display its parts, explain its properties, its mode of existence, arms of defence, and the several changes to which it may be subject, &c. pursuing the same course in making him acquainted with any of the lovely works of God, taking especial care to remember their loveliness. Parents seem to forget how greatly the feelings of children are influenced by the manner of treating a subject, or they would never threaten sending them to school as a punishment, or make them get a great lesson because they had been bad.

Stranger. Pray, Madam, can you teach astronomy by looking at the stars ?

Lady. Not alone by looking at the stars, for much of it is done by making rings, and drawing pictures on the floor. This applies to the geometrical or geographical part, and thus we explain or illustrate the mathematical terms belonging to the science. Children by early practice become very expert in drawing these diagrams, and take great pleasure in being able to assist any child younger than themselves. Perhaps you are

not apprized how very early children learn to take a sort of complacent pride in doing something useful. By keeping a child at these and such like amusements that are something more than innocent, we prevent his seeking entertainment in mean, low, mischievous pursuits, and cruel sports, to say nothing of the murder of his moral sense by finding pleasure in bloody acts of cruelty. Then, not having studied, at fixed periods, and stated tasks, any methodical science with a high sounding name, he is unconscious of having made any attainment of which he can be vain ; yet his actual knowledge may far exceed what would have been acquired by such study. To be sure these things are not done altogether without books; but books are introduced just as circumstances, and the inquiries of a child demand them, and those particular parts pointed out connected with the inquiry. The book is continued in use, or not, just as the child is found able or not to profit by it. Here you may see, only good passions are brought into exercise, and the three Gorgons-Vanity, Envy, and Cruelty are shut from this door of entrance into the young heart, and thus, I hope, are several of your wonders satisfied as how we become so learned without study, and how so accomplished without seeming vain. For you may perceive that acquiring the language of science no faster than its principles are unfolded, we are necessarily unable to prattle on a subject not nnderstood. It is superficial knowledge, without knowing it to be such, that excites vanity. But you understand that our attainments are not gained by going a few years or perhaps months to a boarding school to finish our education. We are taught all our lives, by every person with whom we converse, at our work, at our meals, at our amusements, in walking, riding, sailing; not, certainly, by set lecture, but it is a thing perfectly in course for each one freely to impart of his store, and any one expects his mistakes to be rectified by another better acquainted with a subject. We practice agreeably to the direction of the prophet for instructing in the divine law. Ye shall teach these things diligently to your children, when ye lie down and when ye rise up, when sitting in the house or walking by the way.' Your philosophers have suggested many useful hints for correcting and improving the mind, but do not commence sufficiently early; an erroneous bias is acquired before any attention is paid to the subject. Indeed your wise men seem quite inattentive to elementary instruction; whereas, with us it is considered of primary importance how the opening of intellect is conducted.

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If a child be properly taught how to instruct himself, at the age of twelve or fourteen, he will be able to do without a tutor. To hear a child recite lessons is a trifling part of the required instruction of early life; such lessons are at best soon forgotten; yet though forgotten, they would not be useless if the powers of mind had been brought into exercise in the acquisition; but where the memory has been merely stored with words, when they are lost, all is lost. Excellence of memory seems to consist in the power of forming with facility happy, durable associations; how necessary then that one be acquainted with a sufficient number of things themselves, or distinct simple ideas, before he can join words by association which shall be permanently advantageous! Not possessing these, prerequisite propositions must be confined in the mind by associations so preposterous that their retention, if practicable, would be productive of injury rather than benefit. These primary ideas appear to me to constitute those powers of recollection, which metaphysicians tell us are so valuable, and so distinct from what is vulgarly called a great memory.

Stranger. At least, Madam, your people must make great use of books in the various languages you speak.

Lady. We do,-yet perhaps less than you would imagine. It is for the acquisition of language that our children now attend school; yet that is not for direct instruction, but for conversation; our schools being so ordered that but one language is spoken or taught in one house. Of course a child while there speaks the same language he reads, and all his studies are pursued in the same. If studying French, he would go through a course of French history, biography, and conversations; manners, and customs of common life, and perhaps pursue chemistry in the same. By such course in a year or two he gets competent ideas of their language to judge of their modes of thinking, speaking and writing; or, in other words, some notion of the genius of the people. A child will obtain nearly as much durable information while studying a new language, as if the subjects were pursued in his mother tongue, since the time and repetition requisite for retaining the terms, fix also the ideas. What think you now, Señor, of our study and no study, or system and no system?

Stranger. I think, Madam, I would to God we had a similar method or no method, in my own country, for with us it is found to be an ever to be reiterated task to teach the young idea how to shoot; and when taught, it is an hundred chan

ces to one that this same young shoot never comes to maturity. But how is this every day mode to be introduced? In the early part of life they are universally, and it seems very properly entrusted to females, who are certainly not exactly prepared to afford instruction in season and out of season, even were they sensible of its utility; but though a large portion of our females have the advantage of what we count good schools, yet they are too little in the habit of observing the connexion of causes with effects, and of reflecting on the minute circumstances and influences that operate in directing the temper, mind, conduct, and character of a child; and can scarce conceive that the habits acquired in childhood can have any abiding influence over the character.

ART. VI.-The New Latin Reader, containing the Latin Text for the purpose of Recitation, accompanied with a Key, containing the Text, a literal and free Translation, arranged in such a manner as to point out the difference between the Latin and the English Idioms. For the use of Beginners in the Study of the Latin Language. By S. C. Walker, Philadelphia. Boston. Richardson & Lord. 1829. pp. 194.

THE long struggle, which the natural mode of teaching languages has had to maintain with the artificial or scholastic system, is one of the most curious facts in the history of education. Since the days of Locke and Ascham there have always been men of enlarged and philosophical as well as practical views, who have contended for the propriety of instructing children in Latin and Greek as well as in the foreign modern languages in a manner somewhat analogous to that in which they learn their vernacular tongue; and there has always been a host of instructers and others whose immediate interests or long cherished prejudices have rendered them decidedly hostile to every thing like innovation however agreeable it might be to the dictates of philosophy and common sense. That which reason and philosophy have long recommended in vain to this interested class of persons is now imperatively urged-in a manner forced upon them, by the influence of public opinion. The time, for devoting seven years of youth to the painful drudgery of grammar and lexicon, is now past. Men of liberal

views and well disciplined minds have taken up the business of instruction in obedience to the claims of society; the ancient doctrines concerning the study of languages have undergone a strict scrutiny and, as a natural consequence, are yielding to more enlightened ones; the amount of information requisite to a polite education has increased so considerably, that a method of learning languages more compendious than that hitherto practised, has become absolutely necessary; and we observe that the books required for the purpose appear, and the most approved seminaries instantly avail themselves of their assistance as a matter of course.

This state of things is the natural result of the recent excitement in the public mind on the subject of education, which has served to attract the attention of some of the most gifted minds in the community not only to its general importance but even to its minutest practical details. It is found that too much-a great deal too much of the precious time of the young has hitherto been devoted to the learning of Latin. On inquiring the reason of this waste of time, it is found to arise not from any intrinsic difficulty in the study, but from an unnatural and preposterous mode of instruction which requires the child to learn the philosophy of the language before he is possessed of its facts; and to commit to memory the whole theory and structure of a very artificially constructed language, before he can speak, write, or translate a sentence of that language.

We think it will be matter of astonishment to the generation which shall succeed us, that so absurd a system could have prevailed so long. It is indeed a curious and surprising fact, that instruction in a language which has ever been considered as forming the basis of a polite education, should have been among the latest to derive aid from the light which the inductive philosophy has long been shedding on every other branch of liberal information. We are happy to learn that the natural and philosophical mode of teaching language-the method which places the facts of language before the theory, in the order of instruction-the method recommended by Locke, and practised by Du Marsais-is rapidly making its way in this country under the auspices of such able instructers as Professor Bolmar and Mr Walker.

In a former number of this Journal, to which the reader is referred, we have given a cursory review of the history and

* American Journal of Education, No. 28, (for April, 1828,) p. 215. ReVOL.IV -NO. III.


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