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into particulars. We examine each county by itself, each river, every range of mountains, &c. These are compared carefully every one, with whatever like it we can find in our own neigborhood; and this comparison is continued till I can see that the conception of every child has gradually expanded, and has become a perfect picture.
In like manner, in treating of the productions of our state, the pupil is first shown and made to know the things, by actual observations of those produced in our own town, and this whether they be natural products of the earth, or articles of manufacture.
So also in respect to dimensions, by a series of gradual comparisons the pupil is taught to form an accurate conception of the size of all things referred to in his lessons, such as cities, rivers, mountains. His standard of distances too, is taken from some known and familiar measure, for example, the distance from his home to the church, which is afterward enlarged, when necessary, to the distance from our town to the shiretown of our county. Then again the length of our state forms the basis of our comparisons.
I am satisfied that this is the most exact and economical method of teaching geography. The pupil, as he goes on, sees clearly what is around him, at every step he takes, and gains the maturity of conception which is necessary to enable him to grasp the whole subject in its most scientific aspects. Accompanying this, will also be the power, which the common method never gives, of detecting and rectifying errors of various kinds which creep into books of history and travels ; for the reader will have in his own mind continually, the means of comparison and judgment. Besides it will give to all such reading a liveliness and spirit, which the imperfect geographer can never experience.
For the Annals of Education. Art. V.-MARRYAT'S DIARY IN AMERICA. A DIARY IN AMERICA with remarks on 1ts Institutions. By Capt. Marryat, C. B. 1839.
CAPTAIN MARRYAT seems to have had rather an uneasy journey through our country. Petty vexations followed him every where, which we must add were brought upon him chiefly by his own imprudence. He seems not to have mingled very largely in good society. His book gives little evidence of it. In New England we are sure he did not. And if his conversation is as rambling, contradictory, gossiping and fault finding as his book, we do not wonder at his exclusion. His observations must have been confined chiefly to steamboats and hotels.
We do not doubt, that Captain Maryatt has written as impartial a book, as, what with spleen and disappointment and limited observation, he could. Many of its details are probably accurate ; but the entire impression the book is fitted, we almost believe intended, to make, is wholly false.
We know not what claim, the author has to be considered a competent witness for or against our country. We believe his opportunities for knowledge were not very ample, nor his habits of mind such as to enable him to judge well of our institutions. He is a captain in the British Navy, has seen many countries, or as he would have us understand, exhausted most of the phases of human society, and has written very good novels. His novels show more than common talent, but are not of the highest order. He is inferior to Smollet, whom he would rival, in the truth and force of bis delineations of character, and immeasurably below Fielding in grace and naturalness.
It is not our purpose to write a review of the book, but simply to introduce to our readers, some of the author's views on American Education. His statements are often egregiously at variance with the truth, but under all the caricature we can find views of the state of things among us, to which we shall do well to give heed. He has touched on some sources of immense practical evil in our country. Hear what he says of insubordination, of hurrying early into business, of professional and female education.
It is admitted as an axiom in the United States, that the only chance they have of upholding their present institutions is by the education of the mass; that is to say, a people who would govern themselves must be enlightened. Convinced of this necessity, every pains has been taken by the Federal and State governments to provide the necessary means of education. This is granted; but we now have to inquire into the nature of the education, and the advantages derived from such education as is received in the United States.
In the first place, what is education? Is teaching a boy to read and write education ? If so, a large proportion of of the American community may be said to be educated ; but, if you supply a man with a chest of tools, does he therefore become a carpenter? You certainly give him the means of working at the trade, but instead of learning it, he may only cut his fingers. Reading and writing without the farther assistance necessary to guide people aright, is nothing more than a chest of tools.
Then what is education ? I consider that education commences before a child can walk : the first principles of education, the most important, and without which all subsequent are but as leather and prunella, is the lesson of obedience of submitting to parental control" Honor thy father and thy mother !"
Now, any one who has been in the United States must have perceived that there is little or no parental control. This has been remarked by most of the writers who have visited the country; indeed to an Englishman it is a most remarkable feature. How is it possible for a child to be brought up in the way that he should go, when he is not obedient to the will of his parents ? I have often fallen into a melancholy sort of musing after witnessing such remarkable specimens of uncontrolled will in children; and as the father and mother both smiled at it, I have thought that they little knew what sorrow and vexation were probably in store for them, in consequence of their own injudicious treatment of their offspring. Imagine a child of three years old in England behaving thus ;
" Johnny, my dear, come here,” says his mamma. “I won't”, cries Johnny.
" You must, my love, you are all wet, and you'll catch cold.”
“ I won't,” replies Johnny.
“A sturdy republican, sir,” says his father to me, smiling at the boy's resolute disobedience.
Be it recollected that I give this as one instance of a thousand which I witnessed during my sojourn in the country.
It may be inquired, how is it that such is the case at present, when the obedience to parents was so rigorously inculcated by the puritan fathers, that by the blue laws, the punishment of disobedience was death? Captain Hall ascribes it to the democracy, and the rights of equality therein acknowledged: but I think, allowing the spirit of their institutions to have some effect in producing this evil, that the principal cause of it is the total neglect of the children by the father, and his absence in his professional pursuits, and the natural weakness of most mothers, when their children are left altogether to their care and guidance.
The self-will arising from this fundamental error, manifests itself throughout the whole career of the American's existence, and, consequently, it is a self-willed nation par excel
At the age of six or seven you will hear both boys and girls contradicting their fathers and mothers, and advancing their own opinions with a firmness which is very striking. **
At fourteen or fifteen the boys will seldom remain longer at school. At college, it is the same thing; and they learn precisely what they please and no more. Corporal punishment is not permitted ; indeed, if we are to judge from an extract I took from an American paper, the case is reversed.
The following “Rules” are posted up in a New Jersey school house :
“No kissing girls in school time; no licking the master during holydays.”
At fifteen or sixteen, if not at college, the boy assumes the man; he enters into business, as a clerk to some merchant, or in some store. His father's home is abandoned, except when it may suit his convenience, his salary being sufficient for most of his wants. He frequents the bar, calls for gin cocktails, chews tobacco, and talks politics. His theoretical education, whether he has profited much by it or not, is now superseded by a more practical one, in which he obtains a most rapid proficiency. I have no hesitation in asserting that there is more practical knowledge among the Americans than among any other people under the sun.
It is singular that in America, every thing, whether it be of good or evil, appears to assist the country in going a-head. This very want of parental control, however it may affect the morals of the community, is certainly advantageous to America, as far as her rapid advancement is concerned. Boys are working like men for years before they would be in England ; time is money, and they assist to bring in the harvest.
But does independence on the part of the youth of America end here? On the contrary, and what at first was independence, assumes next the form of opposition, and eventually that of control.
The young men, before they are qualified by age to claim their rights as citizens, have their societies, their book-clubs, their political meeting, their resolutions, all of which are promulgated in the newspapers ; and very often the young men's societies are called upon by the newspapers to come forward with their opinions. Here is opposition.
All this is undeniable; and thus it appears that the youth of America, being under no control, acquire just as much as they please, and no more, of what may be termed theoretical knowledge. This is the first great error in American education, for how many boys are there who will learn without coercion, in proportion to the number who will not ? Certainly not one in ten, and, therefore it may be assumed that not one in ten is properly instructed.
Now that the education of the youth of America is much injured by this want of control on the part of the parents, is easily established by the fact that in those states where the parental control is the greatest, as in Massachusetts, the education is proportionably superior. * * * *
The education of the higher classes is not by any means equal to that of the old countries of Europe. You meet very rarely with a good classical scholar, or a very highly educated man, although some there certainly are, especially in the legal profession. The Americans have not the leisure for such attainments : hereafter they may have; but at present they do right to look principally to Europe for literature, as they can obtain it thence cheaper and better. In every liberal profession you will find that the ordeal necessary to be gone through is not such as it is with us; if it were, the difficulty of retaining the young men at college would be much increased. To show that such is the case, I will now just give the difference of the acquirements demanded in the new and old country, to qualify a young man as an M. D. :