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v. 9 1839

BARVARD UNIVERSITY GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION

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ART. I.-DR PARR'S SCHOOL AT STANMORE.*

Plan of studies in Stanınore School-The Greek language-Importance of it-The Greek authors read-Manner of explaining them-Greek versification-Writing Greek-Greek plays acted–The Latin language-Authors read-Some defects in the public schools noticed-Exercises of the memory-Study of English-Composition-Discipline of Stanmore School

-Literary associations of the upper classes-His private instructions and adınonitions-His correspondence with his pupils—Dr Parr at Halion.

INSTEAD of offering, as he could have wished, a full and detailed account of the system of education adopted in Stanmore School, the writer is obliged to content himself with tracing its mere outlines, which, however, he trusts, will be found sufficient to convey some just idea of it to his readers. On a subject so important as education, in its higher branches, the opinions of a man so eminently distinguished as Dr Parr, for his learning, his sagacity, and his judgment, confirmed, as they afterwards were, by his long experience, may reasonably excite curiosity, and may fairly demand attention.

Superintended as it was by one of the first Grecians of the age, it might easily be supposed that in Stanmore School the study of Greek would form a leading object. Indeed, in every system of learned and liberal education, the study of that language is justly entitled to hold the first and principal place; and though the study itself must be confined

• This account of Dr Parr's School at Stanmore, is taken from Field's Life of Parr. We hope in another number to give a brief sketch of the life and labors of this celebrated teacher.-ED.

chiefly to the literary and the superior orders of society, yet the beneficial influence of it is extended indirectly from them to all the more enlightened classes of the community. In the works of the ancient Greeks, every one knows, are presented the finest and most perfect models of composition in all its various kinds, historical, philosophical, rhetorical, and poetical. As long, therefore, as these works are known and read, and admired by the scholars and writers of the age; so long the principles of pure and correct taste, and of sound critical judgment, cannot fail to be diffused extensively, and established permanently.

But it is not for the excellencies of composition alone that the literary productions of Greece have obtained, through so many successive ages, universal admiration. In the same writings, the noblest and most generous sentiments of conjugal, parental, filial, social affection, and the most elevated maxims of virtuous, dignified, public-spirited conduct are inculcated, with all the force of which argument is capable, and all the eloquence to which language can aspire. The wise precepts of philosophy, delivered in strains not unworthy to be listened to even by a disciple of the Christian school, are also recommended by the most beautiful and engaging examples which the history of a high-minded people could present, or which the powerful imagination of lofty genius could create. It is surely impossible that such work's can be read without producing the happiest effects upon the minds, the manners, and the morals of those who read them; and it may be fairly said, that, from these persons, the same happy effects are communicated in no inconsiderable degree to all who peruse their writings, or participate in any way, of their knowledge and of their improvement.

If, besides, we take into the account the two sacred volumes, the one containing the original of the Christian, and the other a faithful though not literal translation of the Jewish Scriptures, it is evident that the interests of religion are closely connected with the knowledge of the language in which those important volumes are written. The study of Greek, is, therefore absolutely necessary to form the learned and accomplished divine; and it must be added, that, besides the general advantage of high cultivation of mind, the same study offers some peculiar advantages, which it were easy to point out, important in no small degree to those intended for the superior, or even the subordinate stations, in the two remaining professions of law and medicine. These few remarks contain the substance of many conversations which Dr Parr has held, with the writer and with others, when expatiating, as he often did with delight, upon the utility and importance of his own favorite language.

Among the Grecian writers, the highest place was assigned, in Stanmore School, to the orators and poets, and especially to the dramatic poets. The teaching of the Greek plays, Dr Parr always called “the most difficult and the most honorable of school business :" and there were certain seasons peculiarly and almost exclusively devoted to it. “For three or four weeks," says Dr Monro, “before the usual holidays, Dr Parr was accustomed to make the boys of the upper school read the Greek plays for seven or eight hours together; and he sometimes kept them so employed till near eleven o'clock at night.” The orators, too, obtained an almost equal share of close and careful attention.

On these subjects, always so delightful to the young and ardent mind, nothing could be more able and efficient than the manner in which the learned preceptor delivered his instructions. Besides the Grecian and Roman authorities * brought in illustration, he was accustomed to adduce passages from modern writers, principally English, and to point out, in his own masterly way, their characteristic or comparative excellencies. So eloquent and impressive were these recitations, and the remarks which accompanied them, that "it was hardly possible,” says Mr Maurice, “ even for the most stupid boy not to be struck and aroused.”—“I have known,” continues he, “ youth of sensibility affected even to tears; and I believe none who heard them ever forgot them.” On these occasions, the notes which Dr Parr delivered, whether explanatory or illustrative, “were written down,” says Dr Monro,t "by the pupils, either at the time, or from recollection afterwards.”— T had a large collection of them,” he adds, “ which I gave to Mr Beloe many years ago.”

*" Parr's memory,” says one of his pupils, " from nature and from appli. cation was very capacious. In reading a Greek or Latin author, a stream of illustration issued from him. When we were up at Virgil with him, he thundered out, ore rotundo, all the passages which the poet had borrowed, and whilst he borrowed, adorned, from Homer and Apollonius the Rhodian.”- Parriana. New Month. Mag., Nov. 1826.

I In his written communications to the writer.

The Rev. William Beloe, the person just mentioned, was another of Dr Parr's pupils, who, though unfavorable in his general representation of his early friend and tutor, has rendered due homage to many of his great qualities, and who thus speaks: “ His taste was exquisite, acute, accurate, elegant: and this he seemed to communicate and inspire. It was really delightful to hear him read; and I do not think that this accomplishment, which is never sufficiently cultivated, can possibly be carried to a higher degree of perfection than it was by him.”—“He possessed, also,” continues Mr Beloe, “ extraordinary powers of eloquence; and bis easy flow of words could only be equalled by his nervous, appropriate, and happy disposition of them.”

The gratefulness of this praise is, however, lessened by the disparaging words which follow : He was proud of this talent; and somewhat ostentatious in the display of it.' But this little instance of spite—for such it is, though disguised under the apparent moderation and the acknowledged truth, in some degree, of the reflection--is nothing in comparison with the many unjust and shameless aspersions aimed at Dr Parr's character, scattered about in various parts of the work which formed his last literary labor. * Let it, however, be known to the reader, that, on account of some real or supposed grievance in early schoolboy days, from that time to the latest moment of his life, Mr Beloe secretly cherished strong feelings of resentment against one whose friendship he openly courted ; and whose favors, on many important occasions, he eagerly solicited and accepted. On this unpleasing subject, a word or two, and only a word or two, will be said by the writer hercaster. At present a more agreeable theme occupies his thoughts and his pen.

With the study of the orators, and the tragic and other poets, was united that of the historians and the philosophers of Greece. In perusing the former, the aids of chronological and geographical science were diligently employed, so far as necessary to illustrate the more important facts; and, in studying the latter, the interest of the young scholar was greatly increased, and his understanding greatly assisted, by an elaborate comparison instituted between the different systems taught in the different schools of Greece ; accompanied with a clear and lumious exposition of the theories

* Belve's Sexagenarian, vol i. p. 24.

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