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"Every intelligent parent must be sensible that his own personal interest, and the good of his children, are closely connected with the flourishing condition of schools around him if well conducted, they are nurseries of good order and public morals, and have a favourable influence on every thing valuable in society. But schools, that they may do much good, must be well managed, and this they cannot be by vicious and incompetent teachers. One of the poorest pieces of economy practised in our country, but one of the most common, is the payment of insufficient wages to teachers. It prevents them from devoting proper attention to their business, and from remaining in the profession longer than they are compelled to do so; it discourages persons of education and talents from becoming teachers, and causes frequent changes of systems and books, as well as instructors. A bad plan of instruction or improper treatment often disgusts children with learning; discourages them, or excites bad passions, and the evil consequences may long he felt. The manners and opinions of a whole school may be unfavourably affected by similar causes, and we might as well expect to plunge our children in a filthy stream, without defiling them, as to have them mingle with a corrupt or debased society without infection. It will be important to a father, to bear in mind a few practical truths, when called to act in favor of public instruction.
1. However defective a school may be, a good teacher may soon make it equal to almost any in the world.
2. If proper means be used for the improvement of schools, and with success, it may be expected that those parents who are most interested will perceive and acknowledge the benefit.
3. Even if the person does not obtain all the success he desires, or finds his labours underrated or opposed, he is doing good, at least to the young, who derive permanent, though unacknowledged, advantage from his labours."
Speaking of the modes of exciting interest in schools, Mr. Dwight writes
"While the public, and even the intelligent and influential, remain as indifferent as they now generally are, in our own country, to the condition of common education, little improvement can be looked for in our schools. The time is probably fast hastening when this highly important subject will receive a portion of that attention which it merits, and be placed besides some others which are quite in advance of it in public favor. In the mean time, however, it is the more necessary for all those who feel it to be their duty, to make prompt and persevering exertions, at least in their own districts. A little union, a little combination in favor of common education, may effect something useful anywhere; in some places it has done much. Perhaps no plan has been devised, better calculated for the object of diffusing knowledge rapidly, thoroughly, and economically, than by Lyceums. This word, now, understood, embraces every kind of voluntary associations for this purpose, whether librarying companies, debating societies, periodical meetings of teachers or other friends of knowledge, societies for providing public lectures, &c. Of course they are applicable, under some form or other, to every community in our country, and by correspondence with each other, may indefinitely extend their spheres and their benefits.
Every individual may find some means of increasing the interest in schools. A few pounds will supply a valuable apparatus, a few kind words will encourage a teacher, an occasional visit will gratify the children, and the more influence a man has, the more careful he should be to throw it into the useful scale. A public man should blush to be thought indifferent to so fundamental an interest of the common wealth. Editors should devote a portion of their columns to it; parents should lay deep in their families the foundations of a love for knowledge and its institutions."
Such are the leading principles of the "Father's Book." We cordially recommend it, not only to the perusal of fathers, but also to the attention of teachers of all kinds; it affords many very valuable hints on the science of education, and will be found a help in the business of instruction generally.
NOTICES OF SCHOOL BOOKS.
The Intellectual Calculator; or, Manual of Practical Arithmetic. Hamilton and Co. Fourth Edition.
THIS is perhaps one of the best, if not the best, as it is by far the cheapest Arithmetical Tutor extant. It appears to have gone through four editions in the space of a twelvemonth, affording testimony that intellectual expositions of the principles of arithmetical science are beginning to be appreciated; and that the old and formal methods will very shortly be exploded. The Intellectual Calculator is certainly what its name imparts, an intellectual book. It appears to steer the medium course between the tangible methods of Pestalozzi and the abstractions of the common mode; and combines all the vivacity of one, with the certainty of the other. The more abstruse and difficult rules have been shortened and simplified, particularly compound proportion and fractions; and the latter is illustrated by a diagram, by which fractions of all kinds are easily shown, and can be rapidly calculated. What, however, is perhaps of more importance, is the complete course of mental arithmetic, which is here reduced to a system, and by the working of which the most difficult and involved questions are easily resolved, as is the practice in the British and Foreign schools, where the work is used as a text book. The work also contains a greater variety of practical questions than any book published of the kind, and at a price one-third less than is usual; which, with its other advantages, is surely sufficient to make its adoption general in public and private schools.
Flowers of all Hue. Fry, Hounsditch. Second Edition. PERHAPS there are few things more calculated to awaken refined feeling and delicacy of sentiment than flowers. They bring us back to Paradisiacal enjoyments; and all that is sweet and lovely seems associated with their presence. We have had the “Language of Flowers" and the " Moral of Fowers"; here we have the poetry of flowers. The snowdrop and the daisy, the violet and the rose, and almost every flower we can name, have been made to breathe poetry, and that too, in many instances, of the highest kind. Among the contributors we find the names of B. Barton, Felicia Heman, Barry Cornwall, J. Montgomery, Cowper, Neele, Bowring, Wordsworth, and William Martin, the author of the Christian Philosopher. The united talents of these are sufficient to form a splendid bouquet; and indeed we may justly affirm that they have done so, one from which many a flower may be taken, to be placed near the heart of the fairest and the dearest of our youthful readers.
Lectures at Home. By Maria Hack. Darton and Harvey, London.-pp. 211. THERE is no female writer who has brought down the high things of science, and of information generally, to the minds of the young, so successfully as the author of the volume before us; her "Geological Sketches and Glimpses of the Ancient Earth," is most admirably executed, and makes information that is sufficient for a man, easy and interesting to a child. "Lectures at Home are written in the same excellent style; and comprehend the discoveries, methods of manufacture, properties, and uses of glass, with the mechanism of human vision, and the structure of the eye. Without going into optics as a science, the authoress has contrived to condense and simplify a variety of essential information, forming part of that study: light, refraction, lenses, mirrors, spectacles, telescopes, microscopes, the camera-obscura, are all treated with
great clearness and perspicuity. No work can be better calculated for the young, than those which bring out any of the natural senses: this is one which takes up the first and most valuable which we enjoy; and the authoress has not only made the most of her subject, but has gone through it in a manner calculated to awaken further inquiry, and to stimulate the mind to the acquirement of knowledge generally.
Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and its Consequences to the Protestant Churches of France and Italy. By the Author of the Wild Garland. Darton and Harvey. pp. 140.
THIS Volume contains sketches of some of the most remarkable circumstances, attending the persecution of the French and Italian Protestants, at the close of the seventeenth century; and is calculated in no small degree to elevate our views of the love and mercy of God, in Christ Jesus, by the pictures it affords of spiritual strength vouchsafed in the day of trial, to those who remain faithful to their Lord.
The information contained in this volume, has been obtained from some good authorities: "The History of the Edict of Nantes," printed in French by authority of the States of Holland, and translated into English, A. D. 1694; "Eclaircissemens Historiques sur les Causes de la Revocation de l'Edit de Nantes;" "L'Histoire Apologetique;" "Burnet's History of His own Times;" and some others: and the narratives given are such as to awaken pathetic and pious reflections in the mind of the reader. Care has been taken (no unimportant matter in such works) to avoid such scenes, as might be calculated to harrow up the feelings; and the principal aim of the writer seems to have been to fix in the youthful breast a steadfast attachment to divine truth, and the cause of religion. That Christians will yet have to endure many fiery trials on account of their faith is not impossible; but that all who are sincere will overcome them is most certain: and however long and fearful the conflict may be, they will be enabled to end the warfare with this triumphant song of praise, "Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ." We would recommend the volume as one of high interest, illustrating very forcibly an important part of history, and much calculated to assist the cause of true religion.
Spain Yesterday and To-Day. Darton and Co.
SPAIN is every day becoming an object of greater interest; and a work combining historical and local information, with illustrations of the various provincial customs and traits of national manners, cannot but be acceptable. It is a condensation of a variety of information, which could only be obtained from larger and more expensive works; and is calculated to give a tolerably correct picture of Spain as she was formerly, and as she is now. The influence of the Inquisition, the reformation in Spain and its fall, the auto da fe, the bull fights, the history of Columbus, the Arabs, and Conquest of Grenada, are subjects always calculated to excite interest. These are treated in an off-hand, conversational manner, while many of the customs and habits of modern Spain, not generally known, are introduced with pleasing effect; such a work is of value in education, and it would be well if every country were treated in a similar manner.
The East Indians at Selwood; or, the Orphan's Home. Darton and Co. A PRETTY little volume, full of instruction. The chapter on the uses of particular plants is illustrated by some well-executed wood cuts, and is interesting in a point of no small importance, and calculated to be useful to the young botanical student. Cowper's Hares are formed into a subject for one or two chapters, and the wonders of nature are more or less dwelt upon throughout the whole; nor is a reference to nature's God forgotten, the whole being written with a relation to the great Author of all, while in many parts attempts are made to interest and call out the higher feelings of the mind.
The Geographical Planesphere. By T. Parkhurst. Simpkin and Marshall. THIS is a design to exhibit the world on a plane laid down with the north pole in the centre, and the south pole diverging. By this plan, although the map becomes unnatural and distorted in appearance, many of the common geographical problems can be performed. Considering that the invention is by one of a very humble class in life, it is ingenious, and will supersede the use of a globe to very young classes in schools. We wish the inventor every success, and think his devotion to a subject of the kind, which he has evidently studied with effect, is creditable to him and deserving of encouragement.
A Visit to the Banks of Jordan. Darton and Harvey.
To lead the youthful mind to serious thoughts of the necessity of preparation for death, is the object of this little work. To make a serious impression of this kind on the mind of a child ought always to be done with extreme caution, and with a strict regard to the intellectual and physical constitution of the individual. Children should be taught to look upon death calmly, but the imagination should not be roused, as is the case in some ill-judged publications, or the dreadful brooding that follows may lay the foundation of future insanity. Above all things, in making serious impressions in young minds, care should be taken in no way to quench the sweet hilarity and buoyancy of youth; such is the natural bequest of a good Creator towards his children; and while it is highly proper to give it a wholesome check from time to time in the high and important concerns of eternity, the greatest caution is necessary in not pushing the remedy too far, on the same principle that a small dose of medicine does good, while too large a one of the same medicine may do incalculable injury. The volume, on which these remarks are made, should be placed in judicious hands; if this is the case, it may be rendered useful in the purpose of instruction; if, on the contrary, it should fall into the hands of an incompetent person, or one whose mind is tinged with gloom, it may have the effect of doing much harm.
Report from the Select Committee on the State of Education. THIS Report, so called, is no Report at all, as it simply expresses a hope that the House will direct, early in the next session, a further prosecution of inquiry upon a subject which they deem of the highest national importance. The object of the Committee was to ascertain the state of instruction and the amount of information abroad through the instrumentality of public and private schools, the practicability of a general system of compulsory education, and the effects of the grant made in the last session of Parliament, for the erection of schoolhouses, and to consider of the expediency of further grants in aid of education.
The committee consisted of
Lord Viscount Morpeth, Lord John Russell, Mr. Secretary Rice, Mr. Roebuck, Mr. Strutt, Sir James Graham, Sir Robert Peel, Mr. Poulett Thompson, Mr. Grote, the Earl of Kerry, Mr. Abercrombie, Mr. Plumtree, Mr. Frankland Lewis, Mr. William Ord, Sir Harry Verney, Mr. Wolryche Whitmore, Lord Viscount Sandon, Mr. Parker, Mr. Edward Romilly, Mr. William Gladstone, Mr. Hawkins, Sir Richard Vyvyan, Mr. Briscoe, Mr. Divett, Mr. Marshall, Mr. William Evans, Mr. George William Wood, Mr. VOL. I.-Jan. 1835.
Vernon Smith, Mr. Ashford Sandford, Sir Oswald Mosley, Mr. Hawes, Sir William Molesworth.
The witnesses examined were
John Rickman, Esq., the Rev. Wm. Johnson, Mr. Henry Dunn, Professor Pillans, the Rev. Joseph Cotton Wigram, William Allen, Esq., Mr. John Thomas Crossley, Mr. William Freeman Lloyd, Mr. Henry Althans, Dr. Nicholas Henry Julins, William Cotton, Esq., the Rev. George Clark, the Rev. Samuel Wood, the Rev. William Wilson, Benjamin Braidley, Esq., the Right Rev. Lord Bishop of London, the Rev. James Carlisle, Captain Edward P. Brenton, R.N., Mr. William Wright, William Davis, Esq., James Trimmer, Esq.
So far as the object of the committee was to ascertain the exact situation and extent of education in England and Wales, we think it has most certainly failed; indeed there is no method of arriving at the precise truth, except by the institution of a commission, which should not sit in London, but go round the country and take evidence. Nevertheless the evidence comprises much that is valuable, not only as regards the efforts made by the two Educational Societies, but also as to the state of public feeling on the subject; and although it may not exactly be able to ascertain the extent of what is done, it very clearly marks out what is not done, and what it will be more or less expedient to do. We scarcely know how to select from the vast number of unimportant questions put to the witnesses, such as will give a fair idea of the information obtained by their examination. The committee appear to us in the character of miners, who have brought to the surface a vast quantity of earth, stones, loam, sand, ore, and metal, thrown together in heaps; and if we could by any process of literary chemistry, precipitate the pure gold from the dross, we should afford the public a valuable residue.
Dispairing, however, of effecting this, we shall, as the best means of making the public acquainted with the information elicited by the committee, and to avoid going into unimportant and general matters, refer to the evidence, by adopting a certain classification of it under several heads. Such a plan will have the advantage of calling attention to the most interesting parts, and by concentrating the evidence in a focus, upon the most important points, will give a tolerably general idea of the information elicited.
We have therefore arranged our plan under the following heads:—
1. AS REGARDS THE FEELING IN FAVOR OF EDUCATION.
II. AS REGARDS THE NECESSITY OF ITS EXTENSION.
III. AS REGARDS COMPULSORY EDUCATION.
IV. AS REGARDS RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION.
V.-AS REGARDS SUNDAY SCHOOLS.
VI. AS REGARDS BOOKS AND SCHOOL LIBRARIES.
VII. AS REGARDS INFANT. SCHOOLS.
VIII. AS REGARDS CORPORAL PUNISHMENT.
IX. AS REGARDS NORMAL SCHOOLS.
X.-AS REGARDS SCHOOLMASTERS.
1. As regards the feeling in favour of Education.
This, we are glad to find, is now nearly universal. The most im