« VorigeDoorgaan »
when they copied out the words of my official reply, and gave the reply to him, he laid it down and would not peruse it !!
Loo next proceeds to give an account of the arrival of another ship of war in Macao Roads, and remarks, not without terror,
'I again, and a third time, consulted with your Majesty's minister, Ke, and we came to the conclusion that the common disposition of the English barbarians is ferocious; what they trust in are the strength of their ships and the effectiveness of their guns! Loo declares that they will treat Lord Napier with consideration, because they stand in the relative state of host and guest ; but, “if he should madly think to steal over bounds, our troops may peaceably wait to work with him.'
Let a dispassionate reader mark the concluding extracts :
• The said Barbarian Eye would not receive the linguists to interpret, so that the officers deputed had no means of giving clear orders, and after having repeatedly commanded the Hong merchants to inquire and investigate, the origin and occasion of his mission still could not be at all ascertained !
• There has been no want of bending and stooping to investigate clearly ; nor has he been forcibly troubled with any difficulty. Yet the said Barbarian Eye,' &c.
Here follows an account of the dictatorial offences of Lord Napier. Again :
* At present the barbarian ships which clandestinely sell opium in the outer seas are daily increasing. Just when the laws were being established to bring them to order, there further came this mad, mistaken, Barbarian Eye!!
'If at this time indulgence be at once shown to them, they will then advance step by step, begetting other foolish expectations. It is unavoidable that a slight display should be made of reducing and repressing them. But,’ Loo adds, 'there decidedly must not be the least tendency towards what will occasion the commencement of a bloody quarrel and disturbance.
Now in spite of the ludicrous vanities and other national peculiarities contained in the above Memorial, its equity, moderation, pacific disposition, and love of order and regularity in the conduct of public affairs, is fully as apparent as its sedate (crosslegged) reasonings and curious prying investigations and queries are irresistibly comic. But while the Chinese authorities and merchants, and the British authorities and merchants in China, have been thrown into a state of excitement, during the process of which it is evident that the aggrieved celestials kept their temper and behaved with moderation, the only sincere excitement that has been produced in England, is among the tea-dealers both wholesale and retail; not as to who is right and who is wrong in the recent quarrel ; not as to the chances of war with China ;—but as to the best method of filling their pockets“ in case of accidents.” Messrs. Brocksopp announce, that although there is a great rise in the market, there is no rise in their prices; the excellent article remaining as cheap as usual: Mr. Eagleton very eloquently and unaffectedly holds forth fair promises to the "connoisseurs in flowery pekoe and young hyson ;' (poetical seducer!-how we long to take tea with him!) Messrs. Hancock hare issued their circulars, exhorting all the country dealers to hasten before the arrival of the new teas; while their allusion to mercantile rivals is made in the most handsome and Christian-like spirit: Mr. Comber of the Silver Subscription-pot, taking up his pen against the 'free trade tea now pouring into the ports of the kingdon, and calling it poison, adds the following piece of startling information : Go along a lane five or six miles out of London, and you will find plenty of free traders full at work-pulling the hedges for the London tea-factors !' This is worth knowing.
Let us forgive the Chinese for manifesting a determination not to suffer us to trespass against them. Their ignorance of the people they have to deal with’ is an excuse of which we cannot equally avail ourselves. As to Loo informing the Emperor that • the said barbarians, except in guns and fire-arms, have not one single peculiar talent,' we are of opinion, that although our intercourse with the Chinese has been almost entirely limited to affairs of trade, and that the unprofitable difficulty of their language to foreigners, as well as their national jealousy, have placed such barriers between their men of ‘peculiar talent and ours; yet notwithstanding all this, Loo knew better. And this opinion induces us in conclusion, to start the question, as to how far the jealous distance preserved on the part of the Chinese, is the wish and determination of the people at large; and whether it be not owing to certain private motives of the Canton authorities and maritime place-men? This question is of course involved in the far higher one of the progress of human liberty, and the ultimate overthrow of every despotic government, with reform for every abused people beneath the sun. We shall, therefore, cut short the present discussion. After we have gained all our own rights—cheap bread, equal laws, good national education, and light taxes upon poor English people--we may then, perhaps, begin to think of stirring up the spirit of freedom in the East, and of getting a Reform Bill passed in China !
The Author of the Erposition of the False Medium,' &c.
ARITHMETIC FOR YOUNG CHILDREN.* Eighteen hundred years ago the complaint made against mankind by a high authority was, that they substituted the letter for the spirit; and at this present day matters are not much better. Words still pass current for ideas, signs for things, outward acts for inward feelings. To know a few names is to be accounted wise among the sons of men; and when we contemplate the vast field of facts which nature presents for research, it is melancholy to think of the time lost, and the faculties not merely wasted but destroyed, in the acquirement of a few words totally worthless, or of the signs alone of truly valuable ideas.
* Arithmetic for Young Children, being a Series of Exercises, exemplifying the Mavner in which Arithmetic should be taught to Young Children, London, Knight.
The present systems of teaching are faulty in one of two ways; either (as is the case with the dead languages) they blunt the faculties by employing them on that which yields no real profit ; or, as is the case with many sciences, for instance, that of numbers, they present the knowledge in too abstract a form. Every thing is easy and delightful if one begins at the beginning, and goes on step by step; but hitherto few instructors, or writers of books, have condescended to go to the elements of the subjects which they have professed to teach. To be able to analyse and simplify is indeed only given to a very high order of minds; it would be much for the benefit of mankind if master minds would undertake the task of making the rough places smooth, and the high places level to minds of inferior capacity. It is with extreme pleasure that we see this good work begun and most successfully executed in regard to the science of numbers, in a little book entitled * Arithmetic for Young Children,' (published by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.) Arithmetic is a science so sure, capable of such complete verification, that it requires a great deal of skill to render it irksome. Affording the mind that most exquisite sensation, viz. complete satisfaction in the realization of anticipated results, it is one of the most favourite of the mental exercises of children. We speak of mental arithmetic, for the mechanical routine of cyphering cannot be interesting until it ceases to be mechanical, i. e. until the pupil has a clear idea of the reason of all its technicalities.
The author of ' Arithmetic for Young Children’ has wisely formed his little exercises upon data both interesting and instructive; and arithmetic should always thus be connected with facts suited to the age of the pupil. Why, when the sciences present such an inexhaustible store of data to which the laws of number may be applied, should the pupil's mind be kept to pounds, shillings, and pence, and other matters which, however interesting they may be to the social man, can scarcely interest the child ?
This first stage of arithmetic is intended for the instruction of children between three or four, and six or seven.' It teaches the names of numbers to twenty, and figures to nine; yet we will venture to say that a child who should have gone through it would have clearer ideas, and more real arithmetical knowledge, and more love of arithmetic, than many who are far advanced in Joyce. Nothing can be more beautiful than the wise and playful adaptation of the questions to the childish capacity, or the slow, but most sure, progressiveness of the lessons. The pupil is always firm in the point he has reached before another step is presented to him; and that step it always is in his power to take. There are none of those frightful chasms, or bewildering intricacies with which vulgar minds render the path of knowledge difficult, and even impracticable to the learner. The philosophic mind alone is clear and simple.
The lessons on arithmetic are preceded by some most excellent s remarks on teaching arithmetic,' and directions for the teacher :'
• In this treatise,' says the author, 'rules are not mentioned, because it is not necessary to mention them. The pupil discovers them for himself when he wants them. He goes through the various portions of the subject according to their difficulty, and to the light they throw upon each other; not according to their place in a scientific arrangement. He is, by this means, in a condition to multiply and to divide small numbers, and to perform simple calculations in fractions, long before he can attempt the addition of large numbers. And as each operation facilitates the rest, he soon can grapple powerfully with the smaller numbers. For him they really have a meaning; so far as they go, they are a dis. tinct language, and a clear and powerful instrument of thought. And this knowledge is attained in a space of time that would have been occupied, under ordinary circumstances, in groping painfully, and perhaps fruitlessly, at the very threshold.
• Although we should not forget that we ought to teach knowledge for the purpose of improving all our faculties, still we must remember that we should also teach it because it is wanted for use in the world; we must teach in the way in which it will be wanted and used in the world, and also in conjunction with those things that will render it useful. We should not teach any subject so as to separate it from everything else, and render it practically useless, merely because the entire abstraction or separation of a science from all others happens to be best for some other purposes. A child, if sent to a foreign country, will learn the language in a few months. Instruct him at home, by means of scientific works on grammar, by plans and books suited only to the learned or the initiated, and he shall learn less in as many years. The memory is refreshed, and the mind is to a certain extent instructed, by looking over an ordinary scientific work; but it is little of the real nature of a subject that can be learnt by the beginner from this external labelling and ticketing: A science may be arranged and prepared for the instruction of youth ; it may also be arranged in the most compact and logical form for the use of the philosopher : these arrangements may be equally scientific ; but they must be materially different, because they have a very different purpose to serve.
Some reason has generally existed for the peculiar arrangement of this treatise, though, at first sight, the work may present no signs of order. When a child sees four counters or two pebbles, he understands their number long before he has any clear notion of the words four and iwo, used alone. Counting with objects is, therefore, the first stage practicable. Children also remember and understand the numbers of those things with which they are very familiar, before they comprehend abstract numbers: questions respecting familiar absent objects are, therefore, the next in difficulty. And the most difficult questions of all are those connected with abstract numbers, that is to say, with the names of numbers without any reference to present or absent objects. But as children are in a condition to understand easy questions of the second and third sort before they can manage difficult exercises of the first kind, questions of all three sorts have been mingled together, according to their relative difficulty, so that they shall mutually assist each other, and give that variety to the subject which the infant mind urgently requires.
• The Arabic numerals, or ordinary figures, have been most studiously kept out of sight until near the conclusion of the treatise, because it has been found that, when they are introduced very early, they relieve the pupil from the necessity of examining numbers thoroughly. They present a bright and clear picture to the eye, compared with which all other impressions and notions connected with number are slow of acquirement and dim; and thus their superficial clearness overpowers the more solid properties of their brethren. When kept in proper subordination, and allowed only their fair share of attention, they become most valuable assistants.'
'In lieu of tables, a few of the most useful weights and measures should be shown to the pupil; and such manual, as well as arithmetical exercises, should be performed with them, as are indicated in various parts of this treatise. With these the child would be much delighted ; an agreeable variety of calculation would be attained; he would never forget what he had seen and handled; and would take an interest in all future calculations about weights and measures.
• The above remarks will explain, in some degree, the cause of the repetitions, and of the apparently trifling and homely nature of many of the questions, and also of the language in which they are couched. The state of mind of the child frequently prevents us from using the most correct and elegant phraseology and illustration. Variety of expression and copiousness of illustration, however, must be provided ; and it will soon be found that they who restrict themselves to the most correct and scientific language are unintelligible to children. Great variety of language must studiously be used, or we shall not prevent the pupil from falling into many serious errors, which are certain to result from the invariable use of a single form of words. Before a child can understand the peculiar language of a science, he must understand something of the science itself. Besides, the general ignorance of children necessarily precludes forms of expression and modes of illustration which might be employed with advantage in teaching adults.'
'In the first stage the pupil is taught to think and speak in numbers ; in the second stage he will continue his former practice, and will unite with it the art of writing numbers; for there is no reason why we should violate, in arithmetic, those laws of nature which hold good in general life, and which prescribe that we should think before we speak, and that we should both think and speak before we are in a fit condition to learn to write.'
A box containing a very useful set of counters, shells, cubes, and measures, may he had of the publishers of the · Arithmetic for Young Children;' and it were greatly to be wished that those engaged in education would enter into the spirit of this little work,