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“ If,” says Don José, "the most enlightened and civilized nations have thought it necessary, in reforming their systems of education, to establish institutions devoted expressly to the instruction of teachers in the theory and practice of their profession, how is it possible to doubt their advantages in our young country, where the system itself is to be created. Under our circumstances, it is of more than ordinary importance, that the master should be capable of doing full justice to the plan, by his mode of putting it in operation. In general, the best methods are of little value, unless enforced by competent instructers. It is, therefore, of the highest moment, that candidates for the place of teacher, in the primary schools, should be required to exhibit a certificate that they have studied in the normal school of their district. The object of these schools is not merely or principally to familiarize the student with the mechanical parts of his profession, (though this is not to be neglected,) but to give him exact notions of the true theory of education, and the best means of operating on the minds and hearts of his pupils. In such an institution, the new plans, that are suggested by the friends of education throughout the world, should be studied, and, if practicable, brought to the test of experiment; for the theory of education is a separate branch of science, as distinct from all others, as medicine, or natural history, and as strictly experimental in its character."

In addition to the system of primary and normal schools, which forms the basis of the plan for the improvement of education, proposed by Don Domingo, he suggests some other means for promoting the same object,-particularly the publication, by the school committees, of one or more journals, devoted expressly to the subject of education, and of useful and entertaining works, in cheap forms. He also enlarges, at some length, on the great expediency of establishing an Institute upon the plan recommended by Don José de la Luz, in the report before us.

“ Should the government not be disposed to establish at present a complete system of instruction in the higher branches of learning, it would still be advisable to form a college, where the mathematical and physical sciences, and the living languages, should be taught with more thoroughness, than they are, or can be, in any of the present institutions. This idea would be completely realized, by adopting the plan originally suggested by the late Intendant, Conde de Villa-Nueva, who proposed to transfer the nautical school from Regla to the Havana, and by appropriating to it certain buildings and funds, that are now disposable, to give it a larger extension, and a more general character. The advan12

VOL. 1.-NO. 2.

tages that would result from such an establishment, are explained by Don José de la Luz, with his usual ability and eloquence.

“The establishment of institutions devoted to the higher branches of learning, far from interfering with the progress of elementary education, as some suppose, contributes, more than any thing else, to promote it. Where there are no persons who feel an interest in the sciences, there are none who give any attention to popular education. Where, on the contrary, men of science and letters abound, the common schools generally flourish. The experience of the world shows the correctness of these remarks, and we find them particularly confirmed, by the example of our North American neighbours, who have carried the system of popular education farther than any other nation, and who are also among the most active in the application of elementary learning to the higher branches of science, and to practical business. But, without going out of our Island,—to whom are we indebted for the efforts that gave the first impulse to the establishment of schools at the Havana ? Certainly not to unlettered cultivators from the country, but to the most accomplished and enlightened inhabitants of the capital,—men who are habitually devoted to literary and scientific pursuits. The same may be said of the establishment of the Patriotic Society, and of the recent improvements in the school system. Nothing, in short, can be clearer, than that scientific institutions, of a high order,-in addition to the other advantages resulting from them,-are the true and only possible foundation for a permanent and successful system of popular instruction."

We would gladly make more extensive extracts from these very interesting reports, but have already reached our appropriate limits. We would remark, in conclusion, that the state of primary education in Cuba, however positively unsatisfactory, is, on the whole, highly creditable to the character of the inhabitants. It is apparent, from these reports, ihat the portion of the population who are in easy circumstances, -especially in the capital,-feel a real interest in the cause of education, and pay liberally for the instruction of their children; that many citizens, of superior ability and information, perhaps as many in proportion as are found in other communities, of higher pretensions have been laboring for years with assiduity to improve the existing establishments; and that, where circumstances were at all favorable, as in the principal cities, and particularly the Havana, their efforts have been followed by excellent results. If the rural districts, throughout the island, are still almost entirely destitute of the means of primary education, it is owing, evidently, to their political situation, rather than to the neglect or indifference of the people. The extreme poverty and wretchedness of the inhabitants are the reasons assigned, in most of the reports, for the want of schools in the country villages, and they are, of course, sufficient. Parents, who cannot afford to supply their children with decent clothing, cannot be expected to establish schools; and where,-as is the case in Cuba, little or no aid is afforded by the government, there can be no such thing as a general diffusion of the means of primary education. A thorough reform of the political institutions of the island, which should have the effect of improving the fortunes and raising the character of the mass of the inhabitants, would be the only effectual remedy for the evil.

In the capital, and, to a certain extent, in the other principal cities, there is not only,--as has been already observed,

a real and most laudable zeal in the cause of education, but, we incline to think, a higher proficiency in learning and the arts, than is generally supposed abroad. If the taste of the more refined and civilized classes is turned

much in the direction of public amusements,--the drama, the opera, and the ballet, rather than to studies of a high and serious kind, this is also to be attributed to the political situation of the island, rather than to any disinclination or inaptitude in the people to such pursuits. Where religion and government are prohibited subjects, men and women of taste and leisure will employ their minds upon the different styles of music, or the rival performers at the play-house and the opera. Some years before the French revolution, the principal topic of controversy in the fashionable circles of Paris, was the question of the respective merits of Glück and Piccini, or, more generally, of the Italian and German schools of musical composition. In like manner we found, on a late visit to the Havana, nearly as much conversation, and discussion in the newspapers, about the comparative excellence of two opera singers from Europe,--the Borghese and the Ober,—as was going on at the same time in our own country, upon the conflicting pretensions of Gen. Harrison and Mr. Van Buren to the presidentship. It did not appear, however, that more serious subjects, so far as the discussion of them was permitted by the government, were wholly neglected. On taking our departure from Boston, we had left the literary world very much engaged in debating points

very

at issue between the sensual and transcendental schools of philosophy, and hardly expected to hear any thing more upon the subject until our return. It was with no little surprise that, on reaching the Havana, we found the public mind busily occupied with the same controversy, which had even penetrated into the daily papers. Column after column of the Diario, the respectable daily of the Havana, and of the Noticioso, its rival claimant for popular favor, were filled to overflowing with the effusions of the respective champions in this argument. Don José de la Luz upheld the honor of Locke, while Don Felix Varela, who is alluded to by Don Domingo del Monte, in an extract given above, as the reformer of philosophy for the Havana, sustained, with equal zeal and perseverance, the pretensions of Cousin. So far as we were able to judge, the dispute was managed with as much ability and eloquence, as is habitually shown at Boston by the Ripleys, the Nortons, the Brownsons, and the Walkers. The papers of Don José have since been collected into a volume, which we have before us, and may, perhaps, on some future occasion, make the subject of a few remarks. We had the pleasure of listening to one of the lectures of this accomplished and profound scholar, upon

the philosophy of Cousin, in which he treated the famous apostle of eclecticism with very little ceremony. That distinguished person might, perhaps, console himself with the reflection, that, whether right or wrong, it is, at least, some proof of intellectual power, to be able, by mere metaphysical discussion, to shake the scientific world, from Berlin to the Havana, and, at the same time, raise himself to the house of peers and the head of a department of the government, in such a country as France. The interest felt in the metaphysical sciences, at the Havana, has not, however, interrupted the culture of the physical. The same indefatigable scholar, to whom we have just alluded as lecturing on Cousin, and whose range of learning is nearly universal, was, at the same time, delivering regular courses of lectures on the principal branches of natural philosophy, and was looked to as the future director of the institute, if that establishment should ever go into operation. Don Ramon de la Sagra,another inhabitant of Cuba, well known in this country by his statistical account of the island, and by his Five Months in the United States,-a book, by the bye, which

ought to be translated,—is now publishing, at Paris, a work on the natural history of Cuba, in all its departments, which is one of the most complete and splendid productions of its class that has ever issued from the press. We may add, that the efforts of those who devote themselves chiefly to the culture of letters and science, have been encouraged in Cuba by the enlightened patronage of the most distinguished among the titled and wealthy proprietors. The plan of the institute, as we have already had occasion to mention, was originally suggested by the late Intendant, Conde de VillaNueva, who, though we cannot approve his notions of political economy, may justly be regarded as one of the most remarkable men, that the island has produced. The Conde de Fernandina, the Spanish member of the mixed commission for superintending the execution of the treaties between Great Britain and Spain, on the subject of the slave trade, affords an example of the union of literary accomplishments and habits with the advantages of an eminent social position, and the charm of an elegant and liberal hospitality, that would do honor to the highest circles of any capital, in Europe or America.

We have been led to make these remarks upon the reports before us, not only by the importance of the subject of education in itself and our personal regard for the enlighened and estimable authors of these works, but by the interest which now extends itself in this country to every thing connected with the situation and fortunes of Cuba. That superb island, the Queen, as she is proudly called by her sons, of the Western Indies, politically still in an embryo state, contains within herself, in her vast resourses, fine climate, and eminently fortunate geographical position, the germs, should circumstances prove at all favorable, of future greatness. Her present colonial dependance on the distant monarchy of Spain is probably not destined to endure for ever : but when we look at the picture presented by the emancipated colonies of the continent, we can hardly feel a desire that any attempt should be made to precipitate a separation. If the affairs of the island could be administered by the parent country, in a rather more liberal and enlightened spirit, the bond of union between them might fairly be regarded, for the present, as equally advantageous to both. Another island, far away in the German Ocean, less extensive and much less favored by nature, than Cuba, not content with the possession of half the continents

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