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History of other countries.
of the United States, involving, as it does necessarily, the history of Great Britain, France, Spain, &c. would lead gradually to the study of those countries—their history and their geography, for history and geography are hardly separable--and the study of the life of Washington leading to that of the life of Lafayette, would involve again, through him, a knowledge not only of the principal events, but of the principal actors of French history.
It is not indispensably necessary, by the way, to introduce the young child first to Washington. His name was merely referred to because he was so conspicuous an actor in a great and important drama. Other men, in whom a child happened to be interested, especially if they were, at the same time, the heroes of the story of the grandfather or oft-visiting neighbor, such as Gates, Greene, Marion, or even Arnold, might lead to the same results. In fact, there is hardly an individual, who figured so extensively in history, whose life, if properly and usefully written, would not include the history, for the time, of the country in which he lived and acted.
Nay, we have often thought, with others whose observation has been more extensive, and whose experience in teaching larger than our own, that all history would be best taught, not not only in the dawn of life but at every age, through the medium of biography. No man, for example, can understand well the biography of Washington, involved as it is with the events in which he was so deeply concerned, without understanding well the history of the United States; not merely during the life of Washington, but long before he was born, if not for some time after his death. And if an ingenious youth, in reading the life of Washington, does not obtain this sort of knowledge, it is either because the work is not properly written, or because he does not receive that kind of collateral instruction as he goes along, from parents or teachers, which is so indispensable. And the same might be said of the life of almost every other conspicuous man, either in the United States or any other country. It is the actions of conspicuous men that make history ; why then, should not a full and thorough knowledge of those actions render us historians ?
But we are not pleading, at the present time, for any but the younger classes of learners. These we do say—and must again insist upon it-should first be taught in the way we have described. Above all we had almost said more than all, but we mean not quite so much--they should, if possible, be blest with the · Tales of a Grandfather,' and the. Simple Stories of a Mother's love. Not alone that series of tules peculiarly characterized by the title we have given, for there are many grandfathers out Natural Tendencies of Children.
of Scotland ; nor the stories of any mother who stands out remarkably distinguished from all others. We believe that every grandfather has an abundance of stories laid up in the book of his long experience, which hè sighs and suffers to relate, and which the grand child's whole nature is suffering for the want of; and which, unless some bond or medium of communication can be discovered, will soon be buried with the former in the grave. Now it is more blessed to give than to receive; but it is still exceedingly blessed to be the recipient of that which is truly valuable; and we do most heartily and fully believe, that while it would contribute most largely to the health and happiness-body and mind-of the aged to act thus the part of historians and guardians of the rising generation, the latter would still be benefited beyond the most enlarged conceptions of those whose opportunities for reflection on the tendencies of human nature have been but limited, by such a course of management as we have described.
But it is not a preparatory knowledge of history and geography alone to which every child should be led by this domestic college, with its array of natural presidents, professors and tutors -the grand parents, parents, brothers and sisters. A love for the elements of all useful knowledge should be acquired here; nor is there any reason, of weight, why it should not be so. No school out of the family-whether it bear the name of infant school, district school, academy, high school, college, or university-can ever be what it should be, till the teachers of this domestic, primary, and most indispensable of all colleges are prepared and disposed to do their duties, both preliminary and cooperative.
SOWING THE SEEDS OF CHARACTER. No. II.
I have already told you how my friend Honestus manages to encourage in bis children the love of observation and study.-I was going to say ' infuse into,' instead of encourage in,' and, such is the power of habit, that I actually wrote it so, but afterwards erased it. As much do I believe all children endowed by the God of nature with the love of observation and study, as I believe that two and two make four. I do not, indeed, suppose that all are precisely alike in this respect. I know better. Still I never yet found the child who was not fond of observation, as soon as he found himself in possession of eyes, ears, hands, &c. 108
Abuse of these Tendencies.
and could use them; nor, until he had been spoiled, who was not fond even of hard study.
Here I know my sentiments may be a little novel. But in bow many instances have I seen the young and unspoiled child as intensely engaged—and for as long a period, to him-in the examination of some new object, as a philosopher! Does he not put it to the test, as it were, of the senses of taste, smell, &c. ? Does he not examine it, on every side, a thousand times over ? Does he not at last break it, to examine its character still more deeply? And unless we cry out against him, does not this new avenue to a knowledge of its interior, engage his attention for a long period ? Now what is all this but the incipient development of a love for study?
I wish to see this love of observation and study perpetuated. I do not wish to make prodigies of children, by the premature study of books; far enough from that. On the other hand, I do not believe those philosophers who tell us the brain must not be exercised till the child is six or seven years of age. The child's brain, for aught I can learn, is as well developed, and as fit for action as his lungs or his stomach; and not more tender. Nay, both the philosophers and physiologists admit that the brain is developed quite in advance of the other organs. Why then, should its moderate use be more injurious than a moderate use of the stomach, or any other tender internal organ? Rather, I might ask, why should its moderate use--and I contend for no other-be more injurious than that immoderate use, or, as it should be called, abuse, of the stomach, which is every where witnessed ?
Need I stop here, to explain what I mean by abuses of the stomach ? Does not every reader, who is a parent, know how apt parents are to over-feed their children, to feed them too often, and to feed them with improper substances, substances, I mean, which keep its tender lining membrane in an almost constant state of redness or half-inflammation—such as condi. ments, pastry, fat, coffee and tea ?
If it is said that the constant abuse of the stomach, instead of justifying an abuse of other organs, especially the brain, only requires, on the contrary, that we should guard that organ with increased care, I grant it. Still I must insist, that both the stomach and the brain are made for action; that the healthy action and development of both require exercise ; and that the brain, developed as it always is, quite in advance of the stomach, permits and even requires more exercise, in proportion to the age, than the stomach. Nay, I see in this provision of the Creator, one of the most striking marks of his wisdom.
The True Ends of Education.
Knowledge, to be useful as a guide in life, should always be in advance of other things. Were we governed by instinct, solely, this might not be necessary ; but rational, as we are, how can we be expected to act at least to act wisely—any farther than we know?
Again, I say, that I am not defending the practice of prematurely tasking the brain or any other organ. Half the diseases which afflict humanity, probably have their origin in causes of this kind; and half those which are hereditary, are aggravated and rendered unnecessarily fatal by them. Still, as I have already intimated, I deem the moderate and appropriate use of all the organs, and the brain among the rest, not only harmless, but salutary; and I hope no parent or teacher will be frightened out of a reasonable cultivation of the mind of the infant, because he is told by pseudo-philosophers, physiologists, or phrenologists, that there is danger of injuring its tender organ. I hope the mind will be always kept in advance of the instincts and propensities ; not so much, it is true, by books or set lessons, especially if they are long ones, as, by farniliar conversation, short and appropriate stories, apt illustrations, and occasional readings. As to set lessons, they should at the earliest age be short. As the infantile stomach demands small, but at the same time frequent supplies, with seasons of rest or change quite as frequent, so does the brain. The error of parents and the teachers of infant and primary schools probably consists far less in cultivating the mind proportionably, than in attempting to keep it employed too long at a time, or too long on the same subject, and, above all, in repressing physical exercise, at frequent and suitable seasons, and in suitable measure.
But I must return from this long digression, to tell you more about my friend Honestus. Intellectual education is not, with him, a prominent object. He does not teach his children to observe for the sake of observing, or to remember for the sake of remembering. Nor does he ever feel satisfied in the mere acquisition of language or facts. Though he would have them by all means intelligent, he is still more anxious to have them good. The adversary of all good, he is accustomed to say, is by no means wanting in knowledge ; the trouble with him is, that he makes a bad use of it. Let my children, he says, be wise ; but let them be wise that they may be healthful, and good, and useful, and happy.
I have presented you an example of Honestus method of giving instruction on health, when speaking of his conversation with his children about twilight. That may serve as a tolerable specimen of this part of his course of instruction. The pre110
Effects of Parental Example. ceptive part of all his physical education is conducted in a similar manner.
What he teaches, however, in this way, is enforced by a corresponding example. He does not expect his children will rise early, however ingenious in their nature or application his lessons on the subject may be, so long as he lies in bed late himself. He does not expect them to be temperate, while they see him gluttonous. He does not expect they will become habitually early risers from being called or scolded up; or temperate, from being lectured for intemperance or for gluttony. He expects to be, in all things, what he wishes his children to be. On this great principle he takes his stand, and has long done so. He was a schoolmaster many years, and a successful one ; and no small share of his success was the result of acting on this principle.
But he carries this principle into morals, as much as into manners and physical habits; and even more. Here it is, pre-eminently, that he becomes what he would have his children be. And here it is, more than any where else, that the world goes wrong.-It is in awakening, developing and directing the affections; it is in forming the temper, and bringing into proper subjection the propensities; it is, in one word, in educating the heart, that the spirit of reform, at the present crisis, seems to be most demanded.
Honestus wishes to have his children quiet and serene. Does he tell them stories, illustrating the advantages of a serene temper? Does he labor with all his might, to secure their conscientious approbation of the right, and their hearty condemnation of the wrong? To effect this, even in a preceptive way, does he exert himself in season and out of season, on every proper occasion ? Does he exhaust his powers of rhetoric and eloquence in setting forth, from time to time, the advantages of possessing our souls in patience ? He certainly does. But is this all ? Very far from that. All this might be done, and well done; and yet the more important division of this department of moral education left, not merely undone, but untouched.
If he wishes his children to speak in a low tone of voice-1 mean without hollowing-in common conversation, he speaks thus himself. If he wishes them to maintain a quiet deportment at table or elsewhere, he keeps as quiet as possible himself. If he does not wish them to interrupt each other, or their parents or friends or playmates, in conversation, he takes care not to interrupt them or any one else, in their presence. If he wishes 10 discourage all haște, or discontent, or murmuring, or frowning, he takes care to go calmly to work, to be contented, good-natured, and