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progress they may desire, yet a hope is cherished, that they will learn to teach themselves—that they will lay a foundation broad, deep and firm, on which they may be continually building, and adorning an intellectual edifice, till the days of their dotage.
This course of instruction includes none but the solid and useful branches; and even these cannot be all included. If some attention should be devoted to drawing, it will be in a manner that requires very little skill or time; and the time thus employed will probably be as conducive to enrich the intellectual treasury, as if it were devoted immediately to literary pursuits. Though some useful branches must be omitted, it is hoped, that attention will be paid to the most important; that the most deserving of these will receive most attention; and that every branch will be treated, in a good degree, according to its importance.
In this course, it is proposed to follow the indication of nature: to teach those things first, which appear first in the order of nature; or, in other words, to teach first, those branches and parts of branches, which may be understood by themselves, and gradually proceed to others, which most immediately and intimately depend upon these. This is among the most important and difficult problems in education. How absurd must it be for example, to attempt to teach Multiplication to a person ignorant of Addition; or to teach Division to one, unacquainted with Subtraction and Multiplication. Inconsistencies like these, are probably to be found, in a greater or less degree, in almost every literary institution. And there is no doubt, that a teacher is often grieved, distressed, and vexed, with the seeming stupidity of his pupils in not understanding what appears so very plain and easy to him, when the whole difficulty arises from their ignorance of some word used in the explanation, or their not being acquainted with some branch, necessary to be known, in order to understand the point under consideration, It is probable, that defects in intellectual education have owed their origin more to this cause, than to almost any other-and more than to all others, except the depravity of the heart. From this cause, no doubt, thousands of bright geniuses, after devoting much time to literary formalities, and a dull routine of what was misnamed sludy, have lived and died haters of literature and despisers of science; and many who possibly might have been Newtons, have been scarcely superior to dunces. Nor do I presume to flatter inyself, that the course of study in my institution, will be entirely free from such inconsistences. There are difficulties, intrinsic difficulties, relating to this subject, which perhaps cannot be surmounted, till Intellectual Philosophy, is better understood, and more skilfully applied in the process of education. These difficulties have appeared to me more and more appalling, as I have been painfully
engaged, from year to year, in attempting to understand and remove them.
This is not the place to discuss this subject at length. A few additional remarks must suffice. As literary instruction must be communicated, in a great measure, by means of language, it is of radical importance, that the greatest efforts should be made to give the pupil clear, correct and precise ideas of the words used in defining and illustrating. The best method of doing this, is not by teaching them foreign or dead languages, nor by repeating synonymous words, which they do not understand, but by familiar and copious explanations, by showing them the object, whenever it is practicable, or by showing them pictures, or natural signs of the object with frequent questions, to ascertain how far they understand the subject. Indeed, questioning may often do more, than merely aid in ascertaining how far the pupil understands the point under consideration. It may lead him to a discovery of things before unknown, for which other means might not be effectual.
I will mention two or three instances of the gradation of branches, proposed in the course. It is manifest that Arithmetic must be in some measure known, in order to understand Geography, In almost every page of Geography, numbers are brought to view; and these cannot be understood without some knowledge of Arithmetic, which is the science of numbers, To the study of Geography, some acquaintance with Geometry also is a prerequisite equally important. For the want of this, it is often the case, that those who have devoted much time to the study of Geography, know scarcely anything of latitude or longitude, of the comparative mag. nitudes of countries, &c. of the distances and bearings of places, and of some of the most important properties of maps.
Geography and Chronology are the eyes of history. How many, alas, have attempted to grope their way through the historic field, without these lights! How dark and bewildering has been their course! The study of History, then, should be preceded by that of Geography, and either preceded or accompanied by that of Chronology. ledge of Geometry should also precede the study of Natural Phi
A considerable acquaintance with Arithmetic and some knowlosophy. In this course of instruction, it is designed, as far as possible
, to proceed gradually from the more easy to the more difficult. This rule of procedure is not exactly the same as the preceding. Though they often coincide, they sometimes differ in their requirements. In Euclid's Elements of Geometry, for example, the 5th many of those that succeed. In Legendre's Elements of Geome
try, the demonstration of the first proposition is incomparably more intricate, than any of the rest, that I have examined. In Arithmetic, some exercises in Addition and Subtraction, are very much more difficult, than others in Multiplication and Division. This is the case in a greater or less degree, with every branch of science and literature: at least, it is undoubtedly the case with all the regular treatises that have been designed as elementary.
The evil of this is formidable indeed. When the ardent youth spends hour after hour, in vainly attempting to understand the first demonstration of Legendre, it must be extremely distressing and discouraging. In my early pupilage, I studied Cicero's Orations, without suitable preparations, or suitable aids. I met with many passages, which I did not understand—which under such disadvantages, I could not understand. The exercise was nearly as unprofitable, as it was unpleasant. The same may be, in some measure, the case, in the pursuit of various other studies. For such evils, it is doubtless impossible, at once, to devise and apply complete remedies. It is confidently believed, however, that these evils may be exceedingly mitigated. The accomplishment of this will be a leading object in all the arrangements and operations of my institution.
In this course of instruction, it is designed, that each student shall, as far as possible, see and feel the real importance and practical utility of every branch pursued. It is designed, that every branch attended to, and every exercise required, shall be at once conducive to discipline and improve the mental faculties, and also to furnish that knowledge and that skill, which are continually need ful for practical application in every walk of life. Some writers upon this subject, seem to imagine, that in a course of intellectual education, the idea of direct practical utility is scarcely to be regarded; and that if any study or exercise is conducive to mental improvement, this circumstance alone is a sufficient recommendation. To a person of such views, it may be said · Behold thou art wiser than Solomon!' I am not yet convinced, however, that there is any way better than the best—that there is any way to be preferred to the good old way, that Infinite Wisdom has taught us, "Train up a child in the way he should go.' That those under our care may be thus trained up, it seems desirable, that they should proceed understandingly, that they should know and feel the practical importance of every branch pursued, that they may thus be enabled and disposed to cooperate with us for their own advantage; and that for this end, they should receive line upon line, and precept upon precept, continually.
One object, which will be constantly kept in view, in this course of instruction, is to give the pupils some information respecting the astonishing improvements, which, the wonder-working
providence and grace of God are continually effecting in different parts of the world-improvements relating principally to religion, liberty, science and literature. But little attention can, indeed, be devoted to this object, compared with its stupendous magnitude and vast importance. The object is, if possible, to draw the attention of the pupils to the great and glorious things, which God is accomplishing, to prepare the way for greater things than these, which fu. ture ages shall behold; and to render the reading of the most important parts of the public journals from week to week, more intelligible, more pleasing and more beneficial.
It may be interesting to such, as may be disposed to patronise this Seminary, to be informed a little more particularly of the time and order of exercise from day to day.
In these respects, there will probably be some variety in different stages of the course. One or both of the lower classes will generally recite at 8 o'clock A. M. At 9, the members of the Seminary and School attend devotional exercises. A lecture upon some branch of literature is generally then attended by most of the members of the Seminary. Next, is a recitation, or recitations, for those who did not recite at 8. Different classes meet at different hours in the afternoon, from one to three, to attend recitations or exercises in Chirography or Arithmetic. Devotional exercises, at five, hal after five, or six. Each young lady generally spends four or five hours a day at these religious and literary exercises. Studying is chiefly performed at their places of residence. The afternoons of Wednesday and Saturday are ordinarily devoted to reading, the young ladies attending in small divisions at different hours. One half day in a week is generally devoted to reviews.
SUGGESTIONS TO PARENTS.
Early physical education. To the Editor,
Sir, I am one of those among your subscribers who have always been pleased with the importance which you ascribe to female influence and agency in the business of education and I should be happy to contribute something to the mother's success in her department. This I am most disposed to attempt in the way of physical education, in this view, I will with her leave take my stand by the side of her infant, from his first respiration, in order to defend him from the bustling interference of officious self-suffi
ciency, from ignorance and fashion, and from the ill directed measures of groundless solicitude. And if you can believe that the tender object of our care is ordinarily surrounded by all these friends and enemies, you will readily feel that he needs at least one protector to shield him from their combined operations.
The first wants of the infant may be divided into those of cleanliness, clothing, and food; and, for this time, I shall limit my remarks chiefly to these three topics. One not skilled in the theory and practice of nurses, and women of years and experience, would not suppose that there was, in the nature of things, any great mystery or difficulty in washing an infant; and yet they on whom this simple operation commonly devolves, contrive to do it badly.
Milk-warm, soft water, mild soap, and a piece of flannel, are all the preparation that is necessary.
Soft flannel more readily absorbs and removes the caseous matter with which the skin is covered than linen or cotton.
This washing should be steadily and perseveringly, not violently, continued till the skin is perfectly clean, smooth, and comfortable. Instead of this natural, easy, and grateful process, the nurse or some experienced matron present, full of the magnitude of her assumed office, and her all sufficiency to perform it according to custom and art, calls for some lard or other animal oil to besmear the body, which is then to be removed by acrid soap and water, after which the irritated skin of the tender plant,' is to be further chafed and inflamed by a free application of rum, brandy, or some other spirit; -whichever can be first found in the hurry and confusion with which the whole matter is despatched.
We thus see how early it is necessary to oppose the errors and intrusions of ignorance, presumption, and habit, by the aid of reason, common sense, and humanity, in any attempts to secure the physical well being of our race.
Important and desirable as it is, that children, in northern climates, should be rendered hardy and familiar with cold air and cold water, it should never be forgotten, that this firmness and security can only be obtained by slow and cautious advances.
Few customs are so unnatural and injurious as that of washing new-born infants in cold water. The washing and dressing of infants, with the necessary exposure to the air, constitute a sufficient commencement of the seasoning regimen for the first three months, during which the water should not be suffered to communicate any sensation of cold. The only exception to this rule is, where the child is oppressed with atmospheric heat, in which case the water should be pleasantly cool only.
From this period, if the infant be well, and the weather not cold, the temperature of the water may he gradually lowered: so that at