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ciently developed, why not wait a little while before we attempt to teach him to talk?
And yet the contrary practice is almost universal ; not in relation to this word always, or to this alone; but to many words in common use among parents, though not yet familiar to the child. The consequence is, almost every where, a sort of baby dialect, which it is much more difficult to eradicate than it is to establish ; and which, in some of its parts, is not unfrequently carried through life.
The same is true of the style of conversation. There is a style often in vogue with those who iinpart the first lessons to children-their lessons and language, as well as almost every thing else—which bears about the same relation to a true style, as bubba does to the true pronunciation of the word brother. Whereas we consider it is as the plainest dictate of common sense, that both pronunciation and style should be correct, whether we speak to the babe or the octogenarian. We would not of course make use of so extended a vocabulary, in conversing with the child, as we would in conversing with the adult ; nor would we converse with either on topics of which they were utterly ignorant, at least without sufficient explanation and illustration.
That there are some sounds, and by consequence some words large and small, which a child cannot utter as early as others, we fully admit. His vocal organs, like the rest, are not prepared for everything at once. All that we insist on, is that when he is taught to enunciate, or to pronounce, he should be taught to do it properly and correctly. This we conceive to be the legitimate, and the only legitimate field for educational effort. We have nothing to do with hastening the process of utterance or even of language. When however, a child inclines to speak and give names, it is the business of the educator to see that he does it right. God has given the organs, and a due attention to his physical laws will duly and seasonably develop them ; and a due attention to the laws of the mind and heart, will call forth seasonable thought. The business of the man whom God has created, -as of the first man,-is to give the names, and, as we have already said, give them correctly.
There is, however, another branch of the error to which we refer, which prevails among our writers for children; sometimes to an alarming extent. We allude to a certain baby style which is used. To simplicity of style, we have, of course, no objection ; on the contrary, it is exceedingly important and desirable. It delights even the adult. Indeed there are no books which are better understood or better relished, both by old and
young, than some of those of Gallaudet and Goodrich.* And we have always found, too, that a sermon which really interested and improved children, was equally interesting and improving to parents. The truth is, that the style of books and sermons for adults, is usually as much above their heads as those for children are below theirs. The true simple style of Gallaudet, for children and youth, is what is wanted for books and sermons, and conversation too--for there should be one style, both for speaking and writing.
At the same time, however, we would guard, as we have already said, with great care, against affectation-against puerility and childishness. It is not pleasing even to the child himself. He likes to be treated as a man, and to be approached with manly language. Why else is it that he is always imitating the pursuits and employments of manhood ? Puerility is as inexpedient as it is unpleasant. Even the philosopher Locke assures us that the sooner we take a child to be a man, the sooner he will become so.
We will present a single example of that affected simplicity of style of which we speak; and we do it with the more cheerfulness, because it is the error of one who we are sure will not be offended at the hints which it affords; for no man, more than he, desires to improve in the means of being useful to children.
In a popular children's paper, we find an account of the Florida Indians, and of our treatment of them, in the war against them. The writer certainly toils hard to make himself simple and intelligible, but the greater his effort, as often happens, the greater his failure. Towards the close, he says as follows.
* Then our rulers offered money to any body who would be a soldier, and go to Florida to shoot Indians; there a great many Indians and white men have been killed, and more are likely to be. But they have not driven the Indians away; and General Jessup, who commanded our troops there, says we cannot, and if we could, it would do us no good, because white men would die in that sickly country, and only runaway slaves would soon be the inhabitants. He says the land would not be worth the medicines necessary for the sick soldiers.
• How do you think it may seem to God, who sees all things, for a nation of many millions of people, with more land than they want, and Bibles to teach them to do better, to hire men to kill a few Indians who want to live in the land where they were born and brought up? If this is wrong, we know that
• We allude to S. G. Goodrich, the famous Peter Parley.
God will punish the whole American people for it, first or last, in some way or other.'
We will not stop long to speak of the strange philosophy—as it may seem to a child—which appears on the face of the article, of inaking every American citizen, and of course all children among the rest, (the writer says the whole American people,) responsible for what is at first laid down as the sin of our rulers;' nor to question the truth of the prevailing notion that white men cannot live in Florida. Our business is chiefly with the writer's manner of expression. '
Observe the phrase "there a great many Indians and white men have been killed. Where have they been killed. Were the white men alluded to, our soldiers, or were they certain white men found fighting with the Indians, as their allies?
Again; the writer makes Gen. Jessup say we cannot driven the Indians away.--Is it well to be so loose in our expressions, for the sake of seeming to talk to children ?
But again, in the second paragraph ; who or what is it that hires or induces men to kill Indians ? Is it Bibles ? No. Is it nations and Bibles? No; that cannot be. Is it God ? That cannot be meant; the idea would be shocking. With a good deal of thought, though not otherwise, the child may discover that this is the nation of many millions of people.' But we think that simple correctness and grammatical accuracy, both of which, however, in our opinion, mean the same thing, ought never to be sacrificed to an affectation of simplicity, which is apt to be as disgusting as it is puerile or babyish.
Only once more. They, that is the rulers, “ bave not driven away.ihe Indians, and Gen. Jessup says we cannot. Why say we cannot? To say nothing, as was observed before, of adverting to this sort of responsibility without qualification, why change the form of the pronoun, when it relates to the same antecedent? Either say they,' in both places, and throughout the sentence, at least till the antecedent is changed; or, else say 'we,' in every instance.
This may be thought a solitary editorial blunder. Far otherwise. Many of those who write for children make frequent and great blunders; and some of them-who, by the way, would not endure criticism so well as the writer of the foregoing-fall into worse errors.We hope these remarks will be understood; and in so far as they accord with trutii, will be made to bear on the cause of human improvement.
Every account we have seen of this wonderful man, mentions his extraordinary depravity. We are glad to find, for once, that the press has courage to speak the truth. For it is notorious, that not the press alone, but even the pulpit, in too many instances, is prone to eulogize the dead, even where the justice of their praises is at best but doubtful. In the case of the monster Talleyrand, however, there seems to be but one sentiment; that of unmingled disapprobation.
Contemplating him in this view, some may be led to smile, at first thought, on seeing in the Boston Mercantile Journal, the expression of a wish that the public may be furnished with a well written life of this perverse man. But we think, with the editor, that such a work is a desideratum, and ought to be supplied. We believe such a character as his ought to be held up to the world as a beacon to assist them in avoiding, and in teaching their children to avoid the rocks on which he split.
The paper which we have mentioned, contains one or two statements, which if true, are of great importance to parents and teachers.
He was the eldest,' it is said, of three brothers, but being lame from his infancy, he was incapable of entering the army, and was early destined to the church, although he possessed by nature not one of the qualifications which belong to a minister of the gospel--an expounder of Holy Writ.'
What is to be expected of an individual, when he is thus miseducated? How long ere parents will learn to educate their children according to the indications of their physical and moral constitutions, instead of consulting principally, if not entirely, their own convenience? Such a perversion of the law of God, as revealed in the expanding powers of the young, is as contrary to the best interests of society, as it is wicked.-But let us proceed with our quotations.
'At the age of thirteen, he received the first prize for learning in his class, and, at the same time was publicly reprimanded for his irregularities and vices.'
A fine candidate for holy orders! A fine son of the church! And yet if this were the only parental mistake of the kind ever made, we need not have said a word. The mistake is, in a greater or less degree, universal ; even in our own country. But once more.
• Having been forced to yield the rights of primogeniture to a younger brother, he hardly ever slept under the same roof with
his parents, by whom he was despised as a being disgraced by nature, and fit for nothing; and he thus, from his youth, contracted a sombre and taciturn habit. At the seminary he had but few associates, and from his habitual chagrin, he was considered proud. Condemned to the ecclesiastical state against his will, he did not imbibe sacerdotal sentiments and opinions, (and who can wonder?) He even exceeded the indulgence granted in that immoral age to youth and gentle blood, and was early notorious for his libertine and licentious habits.'
If parents were punished, as in Iceland, for the faults of their children, the parents of Talleyrand should have received a punishment of no ordinary severity. If all things are to be set right, in the judgment to come, we are glad it is not ours, to bear the responsibilities of wronging and miseducating such a man as Talleyrand. Esau, as we see, is not the only instance of mental and moral injury by parental mismanagement; nor Stephen . Burroughs the only individual whose education made him twice as great a villain as he was by nature.
We have seen deformed or weak children spoiled in both ways ; by neglect, and by over kindness. We have seen the whole character completely changed by these errors.Which is worst, we do not undertake to determine. Let parents strive to avoid both. Let teachers also take hints from the story of this moral scourge of humanity; and let them remember their amazing responsibilities. There is no certainty that a good education might not have made Talleyrand as great a blessing as he has proved a curse, to bis species..
OR, HINTS TO BROTHERS.
Am I my brother's keeper? said the murderous Cain. And a more impudent question, considering the circumstances, never was asked. Thy brother's keeper! Why affront thy Maker with such an inquiry? I hou knewest thou wast the keeper of thy brother. Was he not younger than thyself-less acquainted with men and manners, with the world and its tricks ? Wast thou not often his only companion, in the absence of both parents ? Whilst thou wast tilling the ground in thy little field, was it not thy duty to have an eye to him and his sheep, and fly to rescue either him or them, if need should be, from any signal dangers ?