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General Abuse of the Rod.
to advert. Sometimes the reflections are attended with so much, pain, that I can hardly compose myself. Would to heaven it were possible to erase—as pencil marks from paper—some of the worst of our past errors. But no: they are impressed with ink which is indelible. They are not merely printed in the common way, they are stereotyped.
What a sad mistake do parents and teachers make, who avoid the rod, as with a kind of superstitious awe, and yet do not scruple to box the ears, strike the heads, shake violently, or beat or kick their children! And yet nothing hardly is more common, than to shake a child with violence, or box his ears.
Such parents or teachers may rely upon it, that these blows upon little children, are attended with far more danger than the blows usually inflicted by a rod of moderate size. It is not improbable that the intellectual faculties of children are sometimes seriously injured in this way, and that some have been made idiots by it. Yet you cannot find one instance in a thousand, of even a severe use of the rod, where any permanent injury is done.
Should these pages meet the eye of any parent or teacher, who is accustomed to make it his boast that he is not so vulgar or old-fashioned as to use the rod; and yet does not hesitate to box the ears, and otherwise beat or strike the tender brain-pan of bis child or servant, let him pause, ponder, and in the fear of God, and of a judgment to come, beware.
I am not for encouraging the indiscriminate use of the rod. Nay, more; I verily believe, that in fortynine cases in fifty of its use, it does nore harm than good. But there are cases, occasionally, which in my own view, demand its use. They are cases, too, in which a judicious application of this instrument would be likely to accomplish the end in view, better than any thing else.
Let me say again, I am not for encouraging the indiscriminate use of the rod, either at home or at school. I go farther. If parents and teachers were truly wise, always, from the very first, I have many doubts whether there would be a necessity for using it at all. Children would, undoubtedly, do wrong, but not maliciously or obstinately; and it is only in cases of malice or obstinacy, as I understand the matter, that corporal punishment is required. A moderate share of sound common sense, if
parents and teachers would take time, would, in my view, prevent what it is often difficult to any person-but particularly so to those who are so unwise as not to take time for preventionto cure or eradicate.
But neither parents nor teachers will take time to discipline
How the Rod should be Used.
their children in a proper manner.
How often have I been pained, even in public discussions in learned halls,' to hear teachers of age and experience, and much supposed wisdom, gravely object to hearing, even the details of those plans for managing children, which were designed to prevent the necessity of future punishment, solely on the ground that they would take up too much time. For what purpose is time made, if not to form and mould the character of those whom God has given us, and whom we profess to love !
But we live in a day, when parents have too much to do, to take time for bringing up their children. There are so many artificial wants of the body to be attended to, that the poor mind must shift for itself; or rather must be left to starve. And as to manners and morals, these must be neglected and unheeded, till vice is deep rooted, and requires to be plucked up with violence. And lest the teacher should have any time to act upon the preventive plan, he is overburdened with pupils. The consequence is, that nothing, or almost nothing is done in the way of prevention; and the only alternative is correction or exposure to future suffering.
Now it is precisely in this case, that the question of corporal punishment comes in. Here is a parent whose own errors have produced a necessity of correcting his child, in some painful manner. Shall the child go on to certain ruin, or shall the parent correct him ?-You will say, it is the parent that most deserves the correction; and I say so too. But, will it answer the intended purpose, to inflict the pain on himself? If so, every feeling parent, I think, would greatly prefer it. But it will not answer. The child must suffer, in part, at least; although it be for the fault of the parent.
The parent has erred. The teacher has erred. The child is beginning to suffer from the consequences. These consequences are likely to run through life, perhaps beyond it, unless the wrong or error, which in the child produces them, is associated in his mind with suffering, or the fear of it.
Now I maintain that the kind of suffering which shall be thus associated with the wrong or error in the child, is not in itself of very much importance. Humanity would indeed dictate that it should be the least in annount which will answer the purpose; but mere sympathy for the sufferer, unregulated by reason, might sometimes' lead us to prefer a mode which, though more easily endured at the present time, permits a continuance of part of the evil, and thus, in the aggregate, causes the child more pain than some other mode which is, for a very short time, more severe.
A Cruel Mode of Punishment.
I do not defend the use of the rod, because the word rod happens to be found in the Bible ; for I believe it is there used as a general name for all modes of the exercise of parental authority and power. But I defend its use by parents and teachers who are reduced to the dreadful alternative of inflicting pain, or seeing the child go on to ruin. And I know of no method of inflicting pain so excellent.
When you strike a child's head, even with the flat hand, you not only produce a concussion of the whole mass of the brain, but you endanger the hearing. When a child is pushed violently, or thrown down, or kicked, there is always a greater or less degree of exposure of the vital organs of the body; to say nothing of the danger to the eyes, from these random blows and pushes. Besides, you are very likely to stupefy him, and thus produce insensibility to the smaller degree of pain you would otherwise inflict.
But when you take a rod of suitable size, and flagellate the skin, even with some degree of severity, you may not only avoid all danger of injury to any vital organ whatever, but you run no risk of stupefying him. Indeed, his sensibility increases, rather than diminishes, as long as you continue to inflict the blows.
The marks sometimes left on an obstinate boy, even for several days, do not necessarily indicate a degree of violence that borders at all upon inhumanity. A child has sometimes required a flagellation of this kind ; and would have been injured by any thing short of it. But how different is the common opinion !-• Such a little boy,' I once heard a person gravely say to another, should be whipped little and often.' Ah, it is these frequent small whippings that ruin the young by thousands! As a general rule, if we use the rod at all --remember I do not say a club, but a rod-it should be used with a good degree of severity: so that the smart may not only be considerable, but long continued.
But it was far from being my original intention, to enter so deeply into this subject. I should not have done it, but with a view to expose that shameful and soul destroying fastidiousness about the rod, which prevails with people who will not hesitate to box the ears, and beat the head, and bruise the body; yes, and I might say, produce more mental pain and suffering, than they save the body.
To return to my own story. In avoiding the rod, I fell into the cruel and abominable practice of boxing the ears. In one instance, I recollect, that partly for an offence of some degree of magnitude, and partly as a warning to the rest, I said to a boy, . Now sir, as a punishment, I am determined to knock you
Model School at St. Petersburg.
down.' So, boxing his ears with a good deal of force, and at the same time placing my foot in his way, so that he could not step aside to preserve his centre of gravity, he fell over it. This boy, now a young man of almost thirty, always reminds me, when I meet him, of the circumstance ; and says he thought and still thinks it a very unjustifiable sort of punishment. And I think so too.--He used to say that if he lived to be strong enough, he would flog me, in return; but he has never yet done it. I have been subjected, however, to a fogging much more severe -that of conscience.
I do not now recollect an individual whose hearing, or whose faculties, any of them, were known to be injured by my blows upon his head, and yet I do not know that it was not so. I may have injured a dozen pupils in this way; and the true source of their trouble may never have been traced out.-As I have already intimated, though my fame was spread far and near, as a schoolmaster, this period of my career is one upon which I look back with more pain, than upon almost any other; and could wish,-were it not in vain—that it were blotted from the book of my memory.
EDUCATION IN RUSSIA.
From the Report of Professor Stowe to the Assembly of Ohio, on the state of Elementary Instruction in Europe, we gather the following facts respecting the state of things in Russia. Nothing that we have seen from Europe, is more interesting or encouraging
The whole empire is divided into provinces, each of which has a University ; these provinces into academic districts, which are provided with their gymnasia for classical learning, and academies for the higher branches of a business education ; and these academic districts are again subdivided into school districts, each with its elementary school. As the heart of the whole system, there is at St. Petersburg, a model school for the education of teachers of every grade, for all parts of the empire. Of the Universities, six had already gone into operation in 1835, namely: one at St. Petersburg, one at Moscow, one at Dorpat, in Livonia, one at Charkow, east of the river Dnieper, one at Kasan, on the Wolga, and one at Kiew. At other points, Lyceums are established, with courses of study more limited than that of the Universities; and there is an institution at Moscow, especially for the education of the nobility.
Number and Character of Schools.
The University of St. Petersburg has 230 pupils, with 52 officers and teachers, or one teacher to every four or five students; that at Moscow 456 students, and 168 teachers and officers, or one to every two or three students; that at Kasan, 70 officers and teachers, to 238 students, or one to every three or four students; and that at Kiew, 43 officers and teachers, to 62 stu dents, or nearly as many of the one as of the other. Some of the teachers are merely lecturers on particular branches, and take no active part in the discipline or instruction of the institution ; but we may set it down as a principle, that in the Universities, it is intended there shall be one teacher at least, to every eight or ten students. It is the policy of the Minister of Public Instruction, not to crowd the schools with too many pupils—but to furnish as many teachers as possible, particularly
the higher institutions, that each individual scholar may receive a due share of attention.
At the date of the last Report of the Minister of Public Instruction, the number of elementary and parish schools was about 12,000—of private schools, 4:30,—and of gymnasia, 67.
The Minister of Public Instruction publishes a regular periodical journal, in which he gathers up all the facts, information and arguments, to which his official station gives him access, and circulates them extensively through the nation.
As a farther means of promoting education, every school director and examiner undergoes a rigid scrutiny as to his intellectual and moral fitness for those important trusts; and every candidate for civil office is strictly examined as to his attainments in those branches of learning requisite to the right performance of the official duties to which he aspires.
As common schools are new in the Russian Empire, and as school houses are to be built in every part of it, the government, knowing the importance of having these houses well planned and put up, has appointed an architect, with a salary of 1000 rubles a year, for every academic district, whose whole business it is to superintend the erecting and fitting up of the district school houses in his particular province.
That religious instruction may be efficient, and, at the same time, the rights of conscience remain inviolate, clergymen of different christian denominations, where the circumstances of the penple require it, are employed as religious teachers in the schools, their services compensated by government, and their families provided for, if necessary.—The importance of female teachers is recognized, and every encouragement is held out to young ladies to engage in this work. Private teachers are subject to the same rules and the same strict inspection as the