Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

institutions, the cause of good learning is the foundation of success to all other good causes, and that as the public become enlightened on the subject, they are also becoming better qualified to distinguish the able from the imbecile, and those who act from principle from those who follow caprice or sordid interest alone, It is daily made more and more evident, even to those who reflect but little, that every man is not by nature an instructer; a truth which seems to have been overlooked by those who have been ready to employ the weak, untaught, and inexperienced for those offices in which eminent abilities, thorough instruction, and extensive experience are of the utmost importance."

After stating the perplexities both to instructers and pupils, and the evils and hindrances which result to the cause of education generally, from the want of competent and experienced teachers, Mr Johnson insists upon the necessity of some direct preparation for the successful discharge of the duties of the profession.

“ To obviate in some degree these difficulties, to render his duties less irksome to the teacher, and more profitable to the pupil—to give to our institutions of learning (already the subjects of much applause) a still higher character and thereby to subserve the interests of our country and of humanity, it is proposed to afford, by the institutions in question, an opportunity, to those who are designed for teachers, of making themselves theoretically and practically acquainted with the duties which they will be called upon to discharge, before they enter upon the performance of their trusts. In order, however, to afford illustrations of the principles of education, it is indispensable that practice should be added to precept, and that too, in situations favourable to the operation of those causes which display both the powers of the mind, and the peculiarities of the several departments of science and art. The school for teachers, then, ought not to be an insulated establishment, but to be connected with some institution, where an extensive range in the sciences is taken, and where pupils of different classes are pursuing the various departments of education adapted to their respective ages. The practice of superintending, of arranging into classes, instructing, and governing, ought to form one part of the duty of the young teacher. The attending of lectures on the science of mental development, and the various collateral topics, should constitute another. An extensive course of reading and study of authors who have written with ability and practical good sense on the subject, would be necessary, in order to expand the mind, and free it from those prejudices which, on this subject, are apt to adhere even to persons who fancy themselves farthest removed from their influence.”

Although Mr Johnson's experience as a faithful and successsul teacher, and his reflections as a man of sound and discriminating mind, entitle his “ Observations” to respect, he has fallen into some errors in his conceptions of the general subject upon which he has written; at least they appear so to us, and we shall state them, with the reasons for our dissent.

“A perfect plan for the education of teachers,” he says, 6 would require that the institution, with which the school for teachers is proposed to be counected, should embrace a complete circle of the Sciences and Arts, and that a professor should be appointed to lecture on the mode of teaching in each separate department.”

A plan so extensive and“ perfect” as this, even if the wealth of the country would justify its adoption, could have but little practical utility to recommend it; certainly not for one or two centuries to come. Mr Johnson seems here to have fallen into that very common mistake to which we have alluded in another part of this article. It consists in supposing that the duty of an accomplished instructer is to teach or communicate to his pupils “a complete circle of the sciences and arts.” In our view, the purpose of that part of education which can be controlled by a teacher, is not so much the acquisition of knowledge as the development of the mind. And for the attainment of this object a sufficient variety of subjects may be selected for discipline without embracing nearly “a complete circle of the sciences and arts.” When the mind is properly developed, and books are properly prepared, the pupil will not need a teacher in every department of human knowledge. This consideration so much limits the number of professors necessary for a perfect institution for the preparation of teachers, as to leave it quite within the

power of every state in the union to support, without inconvenience, at least one such establishment.

The following is Mr Johnson's arrangement of those departments, which he deems essential to any institution, which would undertake, in connexion with its other objects, the preparation of teachers.

“I. A course of lectures and practical illustrations on the subject of intellectual philosophy, as connected with the science of education.

II. A course on physical education and police.

III. On the mode of conveying instruction in the exact and physical sciences, and the various descriptive and mechanic arts.

iv. On the manner of teaching languages, belles-lettres, his

tory, and, in general, all those branches commonly classed under the philological department.”

We object to this arrangement upon the ground that it is not founded

upon

the natural division of the subject. Besides, the classing of physical education” and “police” together seems to imply that they have a more intimate connexion than we believe exists in a correct general system. If it were proposed to prepare all children for the camp or the field, and if this preparation were to be perfected by a course of training in a military school, we should, perhaps, grant that these branches had some natural connexion, and that the sanction of authority in all cases should be physical restraint, or in the last resort, the point of the bayonet. But as a very, very large proportion of them, in our own country at least, are to become peaceable and quiet citizens, we are persuaded that police should come in quite a different connexion. Indeed we cannot well perceive how“ police,” if the term mean any thing like government, has any particular connexion with physical education. The ultimate object of early education is to prepare the subjects of it for the successful discharge of all their duties in the succeeding stages of life. And the excellence of any system will best be proved by its accomplishing this object. Now, in our relation to God, we are governed wholly by motives; and in our relation to our neighbours or society, we are also, to a great degree, governed in the same manner. In other words, in both these relations, we are the subjects of a moral government. And as we must be inAuenced and governed in manhood, if we are governed at all, by motives addressed to our reason and feelings, there seems to be a propriety in controlling children and youth, if possible, by the same means.

The natural division of the general subject, seems to us to be ; 1. Physical education. 2. Moral education. 3. Intellectual education. And one professor in each of these departments would be amply sufficient to give a fair experiment to the plan. Indeed one for all of them, if furnished with the necessary apparatus and materials, would be able to do much, and to demonstrate practically that much more might be accomplished with more ample means. We intended, before the close of this article, to have developed these three topics, which constitute the leading departments in a system of education, somewhat at length; and to have urged on our own state legislature the importance of early attention to the subject in their official capaciiy; but we have already devoted so much room to must now forbear.

that we

MISOELLANY.

THE STATE OF THE STOMACH.

Propter stomachum homo est quod est. The craniologists have made a great parade, in these latter days, about the value and importance of their science, as affording a method of determining character by the outside of the head, and ascertaining a man's propensities, capacities, and probable fortunes in life by the bumps upon his skull. Without entering into a formal refutation of this vain and frivolous doctrine, I only remark, that there is an organ of much more importance and influence in our economy than the brain, viz. the stomach. Could Messrs Gall and Spurzheim, instead of wasting their time and talents upon the idle task of mapping out the human scalp, bave spent it in the investigation of the geography of the abdomen, and taught us how, by the inspection of a man's external person, to determine the state of his stomach, they would have conferred a benefit indeed

upon

mankind. This organ may be regarded as the primum mobile of the whole animal system, the common centre around which every thing moves. Like the boiler of a steam-engine, it makes no great display of what it is about; it is contented with quietly working away in the light of its own duty; whilst the head, heart, arms, and legs, like the piston-rod, crank, and levers of the same machine, perform all the showy parts, and get all the credit. There are some animals who are all stomach; whose lives are only one long act of digestion; who have no occupation but eating and drinking, and no sense but that of taste ;-an enviable race they are, and enjoy the very quintessence of existence! But you hear of no animals all heart, all brain, or all legs and arms.

Now I maintain, that disposition, temper, passion, feeling, affection, and intellect, are all dependent upon this very organ, which fills so important a part in the body physical. Would you know a man's character, study his stomach, not his head. Go to his cook, investigate his larder, take the dimensions of his kitchen, watch him in the market, and let his skull alone; no matter whether it be empty or full, smooth or bumped ; so long as the stomach is in a state of sanity and vigour, the mind will be, and no longer; their original constitutions always correspond, and every variation in the state of the former will assect that of the latter. There is an acid stomach and a bilious stomach; a hot stomach and a cold stomach ; a phlegmy stomach and a windy stomach ; a full stomach and an empty stomach ; a fluttering, a

sinking, and a dying stomach; in short, as there is no end to stomachs in themselves, and no end either to the various states in which they may be found, so also there is no end to the variations of character dependent upon them.

All nations, all ages, all sects ; fools and philosophers, poets and politicians; kings and conquerors, as well as cooks and confectioners, have acknowledged, practically at least, the truth of the doctrine which I teach. The state of the treasury is not more important than the state of the larder; the state of the stomach yields not in consequence to that of the nation. To eat together has been in all times symbolical of friendship and fellowship. It establishes a bond of sympathy between men, more sacred than the severest oath. The veriest Turk will respect the life, rights, and property of him who has eaten his bread and tasted his salt. Upon all occasions of interest and moment, when friends meet, or enemies are reconciled; when a man is married, or when he is buried, we eat and drink. Are we joyful, we eat as a signal of our joy; are we in sorrow, we eat that we may forget it. We feast in honour of the living,—we feast to the memory of the dead. All this but illustrates the paramount influence of the stomach. It is the fulcrum, upon which he must place the lever, who would move mankind. Would you flatter a great man or condescend to a little one; would you curry favour with those above you, or, for some sufficient object, seek consideration and influence among those beneath you,-make an occasion to eat with them. You may shake a man by the hand, and tell him he is a fine fellow; bow to him in all places, at all times, and in all dresses, and he will yet mistrust you; ask him to dine with you, and he knows you are in earnest.

The ancient poets tell us, that when the box of Pandora had distributed among mankind all sorts of evils, plagues, and diseases, Hope remained at the bottom, thrown in by Jupiter in a relenting moment, to enable mankind to endure a fate which would have been otherwise insupportable. The fable was incomplete; "the greatest was behind,”—the Genius of eating and drinking, a power without whom Hope were but a vain and empty shadow, came down, at the same moment, to aid her in the task of consoling and comforting mankind. How inseparably, how inalienably have they since maintained the union then begun; how faithfully have they, hand in hand, repelled the assaults of the direst foes to human happiness? Who ever hoped upon an empty stomach ? Who ever despaired upon a full one? Was Misery ever painted with plenty to eat, or Content with a short allowance ? Happiness and hunger are as incompatible as fire and water. Grieving and feeding, rejoicing and fasting cannot be predicated of each other. Either a man's sorrow destroys his appetite, or his appetite does

« НазадПродовжити »