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Maternal Association of me umny
"Since custom is the principal magistrate of man's life, let men by all
BY THE AUTHOR OF
PETER PARLEY'S TALES.
Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1838, BY S. G GOODRICH,
n the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
STEREOTYPED AT GEO. A. & J. CURTIS'S
In the autumn of 1837, there was an assembly in the state house at Boston, which presented two conditions of society. Among a crowd, consisting of the pale-faced race, were a number of red warriors from the West. They were the chiefs of their tribes, the picked men of their several nations; the brave of the battle-field, the orator and sage of the council. In reply to an address from the chief magistrate of the commonwealth, several of them made speeches. But how narrow was their range of thought; how few their ideas; how slight their knowledge; how feeble, their grasp of intellect! They were, indeed, powerful ia limb, but they had evidently the imperfect and limited comprehension of children. As animals, they were athletic, sinewy, and active, but as men, they had a coarse and revolting aspect. If you looked into their countenances as an index to the mind, you looked in vain for any trace of those refined emotions which belong to civilized man. It is frightful to gaze into the human face and see only the sinister stare of a wild animal. The eye of a cultivated human being is full of depth and meaning: if you read it attentively, it seems, like a mirror, to reveal the inward world of thought and feeling, as the bosom of the smooth lake reflects the image of the earth around and heaven above. But the
eye of these savages, like that of the wolf or the tiger, though bright and glassy, had no such depth of expression, and seemed only to manifest a wary attention to visible objects and the passing scene. It bespoke no inward working, as if the mind were busy in weaving its woof of reflection, and unfolded no emotion, as if some seal were broken and a new page of revelation opened on the soul. It seemed indeed but a watchful sentinel to mark outward things, not a mirror imaging forth a spirit within.
Among the savages, in the scene I have described, was the wife of the chief; but she was a subdued and downcast slave, her humble place being ever in the rear of the train. On her shone no smile from the master, no gentleness from the husband, no tenderness from the father. His bronzed features could not reveal sentiments like these, for the bosom within' was a stranger to them.
Such were the master spirits of the savage race. Compare them with the individual who addressed them on the occasion in behalf of the palefaces, and consider the difference between savage and civilized man. Consider the compass of thought, the vastness of knowledge, the power of combination, the richness of fancy, the depth, variety and refinement of sentiment, which belong to one, and the narrowness of mind, the poverty of soul, which characterize the other. And what is the mighty magic which thus makes men to differ?
The easy answer to this interrogation is offered in a single word-EDUCATION. I know indeed that in common use this only means the instruction given at our seminaries. We speak of an English education, a liberal education, a fashionable education. In these cases, the word has a restricted and technical signification, and
includes little more than instruction in certain arts and certain branches of knowledge. The learned politician who gave as a toast on some public occasion, "Education, or the three R's, Reading, Riting and Rithmetic," interpreted the word according to this popular acceptation. It has, however, a more enlarged sense, and legitimately includes all those influences which go to unfold the faculties of man or determine human character. It is in this wide sense that education may be offered as explaining the difference between savage and civilized man. It is in this sense that education is the fashioner of the great human family, including every individual of the race. It is in this sense that man is ever the subject of education, from the cradle to the grave. It is in this sense that it has a force almost realizing the heathen notions of destiny. We should therefore regard seminary instruction merely as a branch of education, not as the whole system; a link, but not the entire chain. In the following pages, I propose to consider the subject in this more extended view, and shall endeavor to show that, in limiting our notions of education to mere school tuition, we overlook important, perhaps the most important, instruments of instruction; neglect the most efficient means of moulding human character; and thus, by a common error, do infinite mischief to individuals and society at large. In pursuing this course, I shall bestow particular attention upon the chief engine by which character is formed-the Fireside Seminary. In connection with this subject, I shall have occasion to speak particularly of the Common School, the great auxiliary of the fireside, and shall endeavor to suggest some means of rendering it more effi cient in accomplishing its legitimate ends.
The theory which I present to the reader in the fol