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woman, whoever thou art, who hast failed to do so, and look, the work of thy hands in future years shall not prosper. But it is time to consider what this ornament consists of: what is to be understood by the instruction of mind ?
Instruction of mind, then, is the art of introducing by judicious means to the human faculties certain valuable truths in nature, art, and science, all of which are comprized generally in the term knowledge.
A mind will receive instruction by four different means; by those of observation, reading, conversation, and meditation.
The mind itself, or the faculties in which knowledge when admitted is to remain, consists of five powers : the understanding, the memory, the judgment, the faculty of reasoning, and the conscience.
The understanding will receive and embrace the truth, if presented in a form and dress which are pleasing and attractive, and suited to its own dimensions. The memory will keep and secure the same truth, and produce it whenever required. The judg. ment will brood over the truth, and draw from it consequences and effects which will produce opinions, and new ideas. And the reasoning powers will turn over these opinions, and try their value or fallacy, by changing positions, and battling for and against, to come to a right conclusion, The conscience is a power which is every moment reminding us that we are; that we move or remain inactive; that we do right or do wrong.
These powers a well trained child of four or five years of age will have sufficiently exercised. “ It is
amazing to think," says a writer upon the physical management of children, “what a vast assemblage of facts are laid up in the mind of a child of four years. And, we may add, most of these facts must have been made his property entirely from his own observation. A fact that he observes of himself, he is most likely to understand ; and what he understands, he will remember. Let us explain to a child during four years, that fire will burn and destroy : unless he see some combustible consumed before his eyes, he will not understand this truth. But let him throw into the flames a piece of paper or linen: his understanding will instantly admit the fact, which memory will then faithfully preserve. But memory, it may be said, will retain some things which are above the understanding; this is true, but as no ideas, or but confused ones, can be conveyed to mind by mere sound, without an accompaniment of the sense attached to that sound, the mind makes no advances in knowledge ; and, consequently, what is given to memory remains a crude, undigested mass, which judgment can turn to no account whatever. For instance : a very little child of good natural powers may be taught to repeat. many verses, of which he will not understand ten words; he will even teach himself,* that is, he will of himself repeat the words on hearing them sung or said before him, and he will perfectly remember themr; but as he may not in the least understand them,
* I knew a little child of three years of age, who was taught, with scarcely any trouble, several songs in English, French, and Latin, and she recited them perfectly.
he will have no relative or new idea added to his stock, and consequently will not be able to draw inference or moral; hence his judgment can have no opportunity for exertion. The faculties of such a child are therefore loaded in that division where memory is seated, but the mind itself will not in the least be improved or expanded.
We do not, then, desire to present words, but things to children. The words are the vehicle to convey a truth or an image to the place of its destination, which is mind. A gentleman waiting dinner for a friend, would be somewhat surprised and vexed to see bis carriage drive up to the door empty. It might be a very grand equipage, but this would be a poor compensation for the vacancy within. The mind in like manner is continually on the look-out for the arrival of a friend. If words are pushed before it, it never fails, at first, to look earnestly within and with. out for the sense, which they should carry along with them ; if this companion be wanting, the mind turns away in vexation and disappointment ; until, from being played the same trick repeatedly, it becomes habituated to disappointment, and may then, perhaps, amuse itself with looking at words : as an idle passenger gazes upon an equipage, careless to whom it belongs, and of the merit of the owner. But, on the other hand, the mind rewarded for its watching and examination by the meeting with sense, where, sense was expected to be found, joyfully receives and lodges the guest among ideas ; where, in so pleasant and friendly a company, new ideas are elicited, and improvement is certain to follow.
It has been maintained by some, that memory dur-' ing childhood should be well furnished with words, that its bounds may be stretched and its capacity enlarged ; but it appears to me, that if words are crowded in, to the number which must be required for straining the limits of memory, that the boundaries of the understanding must be encroached on and injured. This experience teaches us is actually the case.
The child who has had a multitude of words crowded into memory, can have had but little sense offered to his understanding ; because his natural powers,
of mind as well as of body, are too delicate and weak to admit any great quantity at one time. If, notwithstanding, a great quantity be forced into his head or his stomach, he will neither improve upon the one nor'digest the other ; his body will be diseased, as his mind will be enfeebled and obscured. Hence how often does it happen that children, naturally well endowed, but being overloaded in the memory, in the utterance of many words and set phrases, are considered wonderful geniusses, whilst the poor understanding, suffering and pining in unmerited disgrace and neglect, is left to sink down to dullness and gloom, from which it never afterwards can be roused : the wittiest children thus making the dullest youths. The child alluded to in the note underwent this change. She was born with fine, nay, extraordinary powers of mind; when she could speak, her quickness led her to attempt the words of different nursery songs and ballads, which she heard her attendants pronounce. Had she been left to pick up weeds and trifles of her own choosing, she had
taken care to proportion their size to her own strength ; but others saw her fancy, and, as is invariably the case with ignorant people, would not allow her as a child to enjoy the amusement, without marring it by additions of their own.* Her mother, too, proud and pleased by the strength of her memory, thought to try how much it would bear. She made the child repeat after her verses in different languages, and with little exertion they were remembered and recited to admiring friends. But the glitter soon ceased; this fine memory was oppressed under its load; the understanding was clouded by difficulties, and fatigued by useless resistance to a weight it disliked ; and the child, who, like Tarpeia, wished to please herself with baubles of her own fancying, entered into a compromise which was her ruin ; the baubles she sought after were given her in such numbers, that
* It is most provoking to see one of these meddlers go up to three or four well-disposed little children, who are enjoying themselves in their pretty, artless, and always simple conversation or amusement, and put a stop at once to the harmony, the delights, and the practical improvement of the hour, by some silly exclamation, some ridiculous offer of better (by which they mean more artificial, and less innocent) amusement, and some impertinent criticism on the dialogue or diversion. : The amuscments of a child, whilst he actually is amused, should be sacred in our eyes. When mind ceases to be actively engaged, every child is certain to have recourse to adults for assistance, either to some new amusement, which should if possible be ready, or to some explanation, which if we can we should give. Then, and not till then, will be the time for the display of the wit and fancied knowledge with which some are so anxious to spoil the simple games of infancy.