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tic, and keeping accounts, with the addition of Geometry and Surveying, formed the whole of his scholastic attainments; and, like a large portion of American youth, he left school before he reached the age of sixteen. But was he, therefore, uneducated or badly educated? He had already, even at that early age, given evidence that his character was moulding under the influence of discipline and culture, and that the foundation was laid for those moral and intellectual habits, which formed the secret of his power and eminence through life. With great fondness for athletic amusements, and even for military sports, he combined a probity and self-control, which made him the object of universal respect among his companions, and which led to his being almost invariably selected as the arbiter of their disputes. To show, how early he cultivated habits of diligence, regularity, and neatness, and how deeply he was impressed with the importance of controlling his own passions, and discharging every social and relative duty, Mr. Sparks gives extracts from one of his manuscript schoolbooks, written before he was thirteen years old. Besides various forms for the transaction of business, such as notes of hand, receipts, indentures, bonds, &c., and selections of poetry pervaded by a religious spirit, this book contains what he called Rules of Behaviour in Company and Conversation, compiled by himself from various sources, and of which, many are admirably calculated to soften and polish the manners, to keep alive the best affections of the heart, to inculcate a reverence for every moral duty, and especially to cultivate habits of self-control.*
* "One hundred and ten rules," Mr. Sparks says, "are here written out and numbered. The source from which they were derived is not mentioned. They form a minute code of regulations for building up the habits of morals, manners, and good conduct in a very young person. A few specimens will be enough to show their general complexion; and whoever has studied the character of Wash
Here, then, at the early age of thirteen, we see in this boy's education, the germes of that patriot, statesman, and chief, who was always to be "without fear and without reproach." Proper prominence was assigned, in his training, to moral culture. The greatest pains were taken, to form habits of diligence, and persevering application. Though much knowledge was not conveyed to him at school, yet an active curiosity was awakened, and a spirit of self-culture and self-reliance developed, which always enabled
ington, will be persuaded that some of its most prominent features took their shape from these rules thus early selected and adopted as his guide." In the Appendix (No I.) of the second volume of Washington's Writings, fifty-seven of these rules are given. I extract a few of them:
"1. Every action in company ought to be with some sign of respect towards those present..
"2. Be no flatterer.
"3. Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another, though he were your enemy.
"4. Strive not with your superiors in argument, but always submit your judgment to others with modesty.
"5. Take all admonitions thankfully, in what time or place soever given; but afterward, not being culpable, take a time or place convenient to let him know it that gave them.
"6. Use no reproachful language against any one, neither curse, nor revile.
"7. Let your conversation be without malice or envy, for it is a sign of a tractable and commendable nature; and in all causes of passion, admit reason to govern.
"8. Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of others, and ask not how they came.
"9. When you deliver a matter, do it without passion and with discretion, however mean the person be you do it to.
"10. In disputes, be not so desirous to overcome, as not to give liberty to each one to deliver his opinion.
"11. When you speak of God or his attributes, let it be seriously in reverence. Honour and obey your natural parents, although they
"12. Labour to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience."
him, even under the most difficult and untried circumstances, to meet the claims of his station. In his case, educa
tion was made to perform its great and most important office, by training its subject to habits of ardent and generous self-improvement. It is true, doubtless, that education has rarely had so noble a subject to operate on. Still, it is to be remembered, that Washington seems to have had originally no very splendid endowments, and that his strength lay chiefly in that fine balance of powers, and in that unblenching perseverance of labour and purpose, which are the gift rather of education than of nature. Hence we maintain, that his life does present a most cheering example to his young countrymen. A sphere so exalted, and duties so eventful as his, will probably never devolve on any of the generation of his countrymen now rising into life. But every walk of life affords scope for energy, diligence, selfcontrol, and a lofty public spirit. In every sphere, if we would be men and live as men, we shall be called to master great difficulties, and in all we may make vast progress in knowledge and virtue, and may render vast service to our country and race. Let us, then, remember what Washington was, and what, by the faithful use of his powers and opportunities, he became, and let us listen to the monitory and inspiring summons which comes forth from his life— "Go THOU and do likewise."
* Hume has shown, in the following passage, that he appreciated the great and salutary power of good example when combined with proper efforts on our own part. "The prodigious effects of education," he says, "may convince us that the mind is not altogether stubborn and inflexible, but will admit of many alterations from its original make and structure. Let a man propose to himself the model of a character which he approves; let him be well acquainted with those particulars in which his own character deviates from this model; let him keep a constant watch over himself, and bend his mind, by a continual effort, from the vices towards the virtues, and I doubt not but in time he will find in his temper an alteration for the better."
WHAT IS THE EDUCATION MOST NEEDED BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE?
"In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened."-WASHINGTON.
In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labour to subvert these great pillars of human happiness"religion and morality-"these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens."-Ibid.
I HAVE already intimated, that education is a right of every human being, and in the previous sections of this chapter, I have endeavoured to explain, what kind and degree of education is called for, everywhere, by the condition of man as man. It is important to determine, farther, in what way the education of the people ought to be modified, by the spirit of the age, and especially by the condition of our own country. Every state of society, and every form of government has its dangers as well as advantages, and we should never forget, that it is through education, which incorporates principles and habits with the very nature of children, that we can most effectually avert the one, and secure the other. What, then, are the dangers and advantages of our condition? It is believed, that a slight examination of them will satisfy us that special and most anxious attention ought, now, to be given to
1. Moral and Religious Education. Moral motives and restraints, which are always necessary, have become, in this age and land, of the last importance. "Where is the security," asks Washington, in his farewell address, "for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of in
vestigation in courts of justice," and which bind, it may be added, incumbents of office to the faithful discharge of their duties? Moral ties once dissolved, those of a political nature would be utterly powerless. And if this is the case, everywhere and at all times, it must be especially so with us, and at this time. Men are, now, less patient than they once were, of the restraints of authority and even of law, and are more bent on change. They are excited, and sometimes almost maddened, by the vast revolutions which are accomplished, with magical celerity, in the physical relations of nations and individuals. Constantly they are tempted, to grasp at glittering prizes held out by a material and sensual civilization, and to substitute hazardous and gambling speculation for industry, frugality, and virtue. A gross and outward success occupies, in the minds of the people, that place which ought to be given only to worth; and a man is thought to be nothing unless he is rich, or popular, or installed in office. In this country, with immense general industry and activity, there is still a great want of regular occupation-which the individual adopts for life, and which he pursues in a contented and cheerful spirit. Each one seems to be struggling for something other, and, as he vainly imagines, better than his own; yet, though rarely satisfied with his lot, he is apt to be abundantly satisfied with himself. Politicians find it expedient to flatter the people grossly, in order to lead them; and the people, while glorying in their collective liberty, exhibit, too often, the sad spectacle of being, as individuals, overawed by public opinion or enslaved by faction. In such a state of things, there may be a high degree of outward refinement, much of the show of virtue, and even brilliant advances in what styles itself civilization. The danger is, lest, under this fair exterior, the soul of true virtue be eaten out-lest the lower passions and propensities, by becoming everywhere predominant, gradually sap the very foundation of the social edifice, and leave