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to drown his reason in the intoxicating bowl, is far more imperfectly educated than many an unlettered backwoodsman. The public teacher is indeed virtually limited in his stated inculcations to a narrow circle of Arts and Sciences, so called, but he should nevertheless endeavor so to teach as to secure in the end a thoroughly symmetrical culture. The education of the prince will differ somewhat from that of the plow-jogger, but either should be consistent with itself and thoroughly adapted to the nature of both as well as to the circumstances of each.
Nor is this all. Each should be so educated that if fortune should call him to fill the place of the other he would do so naturally, heartily, effectively. Being educated as a man, he should be able promptly to qualify himself for and adapt himself to whatever a man may properly be required to do. Herein is laid the only solid foundation for a life of manly independence and a readiness to brave all the possible consequences of a frank truthfulness and a generous, fearless devotion to the highest and enduring good.
Herein, too, is the condemnation of our ordinary training. It is too special, narrow, one-sided. The merchant, we will say, educates his son for a merchant, and tolerably well with a view to that particular calling. But we live in a world and an age of mutation. The ground perpetually rocks and heaves beneath our feet, throwing up new eminences and opening chasms where heights have lately been. The young man who enters on the stage of action at twenty a trader, banker, doctor, will very likely be found pursuing a different vocation at forty, or at least unable to follow advantageously that in which he began life. Joe Dobbs, the Yankee stable-boy of 1830, becomes the Western horse-dealer of '36, and very likely the South American Cavalry Colonel of 1840, thence branching off into running steamboats on the Paraguay, or working gold-mines in the Cordilleras, unless he happen to have a taste for politics, and so undertake a job of constitution-making or accept the post of Foreign Secretary of State. On the other hand, a Nabob's son who does not quite graduate at Yale, owing to some trilling irregularities, is perfectly successful in doing so at wine-parties, gaming-saloons, and ultimately at Sing-Sing. No man's destiny, hardly his vocation, can be predicted with anything like certainty ; and the only safe plan of education is that which shall prepare the learner for usefulness and independence in every imaginable contingency.
Now, while the teacher cannot be allowed to forget that it is his primary duty, so far as their intellectual culture is concerned, to supply his pupils with the mere implements of education, with the axe, the saw, the plane, wherewith they are to work out an education each for himself, he must never fall mentally into the
error of confounding these with the essential thing itself. It is not enough that the child be taught to realize that he is to master the arbitrary and capricious spelling of a page of crooked words, not as an ingenious puzzle, a mental exercise, nor even for any intrinsic worth thereof as a mental acquisition, but simply because of the practical uses of that acquisition, and the indispensableness of this knowledge to a clear and accurate understanding of the meaning of written language. The farther use of a correct Orthography in fixing and throwing light upon the meaning of words and sentences is of course to be explained to and impressed upon the learner's mind. Yet, after all, the central truth that all instruction in letters is but means to an end, an end immensely transcending in importance all scholastic eminence in itself considered, cannot be too profoundly realized by the teacher nor too sedulously impressed on the learner. He whose admiring contemplation rests on the prizes of successful scholarship, who thinks more of the honors awarded to the most proficient in branch of study than of the remoter uses of his proficiency, is readily perceived to be laboring under a baneful delusion; but not less so is he who prizes intellectual culture unless accompanied by moral, and except as conducive to ends of practical utility. Thut teaching has been most effective, however simple in manner or deficient in quantity, which has qualified, enabled the pupil to find a salutary lesson in every passing event, a healthful companionship in his own thoughts, a meaning and a wondrous beauty in every changing phase of Nature. He who knows how to do, when to do, and stands ready with a hearty will to do whatever it is or fairly may be incumbent on him to do, perilous though it be, and apart from the sense of duty repulsive, is truly educated, though he knows nothing of logarithms or Latin; while the graduate with highest honors at Oxford or Gottingen may be as essentially ignorant as many a Typee or Hottentot. Fitness and utility are the only tests of the value of acquirement.
I have reminded you, but am not satisfied with the mere suggestion, that Education is essentially Development. The teacher must never forget that he has much to learn of his pupil before he can safely assume to instruct him. Few of us will not readily recall instances within his own experience where a youth, wearied and sorely perplexed with some puzzling problem in his arithmetic, has been caught by his instructor in flagrante delicto, having been tempted by his aching brain into the astounding depravity of sketching a house, a ship, a tree, or a face, on his slate. Black grew the brow of the master at the sight of this enormity, and his virtuous indignation was only assuaged by the infliction, on the shrinking body of the conscience-smitten culprit, of sundry thumps and bruises, whereby justice was satiated
and the evil example carefully guarded against. But at length it has crawled through the hair of pedagoguism, that this propensity for sketching need not absolutely be treated as one of the seven deadly sins, that it may even be tolerated, patronized, licked into shape, so as to take rank in the end as a decent, wellfavored pedagogical acquirement. How many millions of palms have been blistered by the ferule, how many backs have been warmed by the rod, to beat this tendency to linear drawing out of the minds of pupils before the first attempt was made to beat it in, it would be idle to guess at. The practical use of the notorious facts in this instance is to suggest farther inquiries in the same broad field, that we may see whether there are not other tendencies of the youthful nature which we rush eagerly to punish and repress, when, were we wiser, we should rather guide, encourage and rightly develop them. I cannot doubt that many millions of lithe, graceful rods have been rudely torn from their parent trees, and worse than wasted on juvenile backs in vain attempts to repress the superabounding muscular energies of boyhood, where wiser teachers would have said to the several offenders, “ If you feel too restless to sit still and study, be good enough not to disturb others by whispering, or tickling, or other mischief, but step out, take a brisk run of half a mile or so, climb a smooth tree, or hurl heavy stones, until you shall feel like coming in and studying quietly.” That such liberty would sometimes be abused, is a matter of course; but that very
abuse would tend promptly to correct the original fault and ultimately the superimposed truancy also. The mysterious luxury of breaking laws will lose its zest when the law-giver evinces his readiness to obviate any needless severity involved therein, and to accommodate or even relax them in the subject's favor so far as is compatible with that subject's ultimate well-being. To defer our own to others' good is the perfection of moral culture, and cannot be expected to precede the long course of wise and careful training which is required to produce it. Meantime, while keeping it ever in view, it is just and necessary to secure obedience and growth by means of laws of inferior scope and more personal bearing. To do right because it is right, without asking what will be the effect of so doing on our individual wellbeing, is the consummation, not the beginning of moral culture. Pending that consummation, attained as yet by so few even of the ripe in years and in experience, we must guide and profit by such springs of action as we find already implanted in the youthful breast.
But let the great fundamental truth that “no man (rightfully] liveth to himself,” be ever the pole-star of all moral inculcation. The child taught to practice virtue mainly that he may reap the rewards of virtue, and to shun transgression because of the perils
and penalties of transgression, is viciously taught, and will hardly fail to exhibit the fruits of vicious training in his subsequent career. Such good savors too much of enlightened, wary and cunning evil. The taint of utter selfishness poisons all it touches.
. What merit can there be in serving God for the best of wages when we know that the devil pays only in counterfeit coin? The truly virtuous do good from an inherent love of good, because it is the spontaneous dictate of their moral nature, and because it is calculated to increase and diffuse happiness. If it were possible to blot the Creator from his Universe, the good man would be no more deflected from his unvarying moral course than by the death of an earthly father. Against the temptations and trials of frail mortality there can be no absolute safeguard; but if there be any all-pervading, all-enduring security for rectitude, it is found in the conviction that Virtue is intrinsically more desirable than honors, rewards, or personal happiness. The mists of overmastering temptation may obscure every orb in the moral firmament, but this is the sun which beams longest and brightest of all. That a pure Heart is of vastly greater moment than a sharpened Understanding, is a truth too palpable to be dwelt on here, and that it is the business of the teacher, however limited his sphere or imperfect his opportunities, to develop rightly the moral affections no less than the intellectual faculties of his pupils, I presume no one has ever questioned. Yet I apprehend that the truth is but half understood by, or half impressed upon the minds of, a majority of teachers. I fear that too many fail to appreciate the evil consequences upon some scores of ingenuous, receptive minds, of any casual exhibition of meanness, or falsehood, or unworthy passion, on the part of him who is their common exemplar and ruler. How dare a man do a base act, or harbor a base thought, when acting under such a tremendous responsibility ? Yet I have known instructors, directly under the piercing eyes of their charges, evince an unworthy and partial deference for the children of their more wealthy and honored patrons, or a mean conformity to fashion or popular prejudice, which could not fail to exert the most pernicions influence upon every immature observer. It is idle to expect that his influence will do anything toward inculcating the love or practice of Virtue who himself evinces that he regards wealthy or powerful mediocrity above poor and humble excellence. Of all the lessons the teacher gives, that of his daily walk and conversation is the most potent and enduring. I apprehend that there is a radical defect in our popular inculcations with regard to manners, breeding, courtesy, though I do not know that I shall succeed in making it manifest. That we owe a certain deference to our fellow beings generally, and should ever stand ready to serve them, is of course understood. That a manifestation of respect is like
wise due to rank, station, authority, social eminence, is also obvious. But when the teacher requires his pupils to render certain outward symbols of deference to every one they may meet; above all, when he teaches them to observe a prescribed formula in entering or leaving the presence of others, is there not a peril that conformity will degenerate into rank hypocrisy or sheer grimace? Is there not a clear demand for a spontaneity and hearty directness in all our intercourse with others ? Do the prescribed courtesies mean, and are they intended to be understood, only as “sir, (or madam,) I proffer you that deference which I owe and am ready to pay to all my brethren of the human family? If they mean this, and be tendered in sincerity, very well. But I apprehend that they are often intended to express more than this, to indicate a peculiur consideration or regard, which is not and cannot be so widely cherished. If this
So, it becomes the teacher to warn against it as a virtual falsehood, and directly leading to the meanest of vices. He who does not shrink from acting a lie will not hesitate, when strongly tempted, to utter one; and the teacher who begins by exacting for himself or requiring towards others any farther indications of deference than are prompted by the inmost heart, has launched his pupils blindly on an inlet of shams and seemings, whence the tide sets strongly out to the broad ocean of insincerity, hypocrisy, and all dishonesty.
I return to consider more fully the great end of all true Education—that of qualifying and inspiring to do good. He whose life is consecrated to the enhancement of general well-being, the diminution of wrong and wretchedness, is well educated, or needs farther instruction only to increase his efficiency in well-doing, or to teach him how he may surely discriminate between the truly good and the speciously seeming good. Paul's education was perfected, not at the feet of Gamaliel, but on his journey to Damascus. We have only to consider how many—or rather how few-have dedicated their lives to the widest diffusion of good, and we shall realize how low is the state and standard of Education among us, and throughout the world. We shall find on one hand an institute for instruction in the art of throat-cutting and joint-fracturing, and on the other a college for the education of surgeons to heal the mangled bodies; and a little farther on a seminary which turns out divines for the cure of gangrened souls. So far, Education would seem to be balancing its results, and likely to leave the world nearly as well as it found it, if we could forget that one battery will in an hour cut out work enough to last many surgeons for weeks, and that the saving of perverted souls is hardly less difficult than the healing of maimed bodies. That the world should realize as the fruit of such training many Murats or Neys to one Howard is inevi