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much zeal either in making their scholars liberal and intelligent, or in enlarging and improving the general system of instruction Several generations must elapse, and numerous and important changes be effected, before we can expect that the great body of the Spaniards and Portuguese can become enlightened and moralized.
Russia. It is only of late years that the attention of the Russian government has been directed to the promotion of education throughout that extensive empire; and several ages will be requisite, before its half-civilized inhabitants be raised from the state of mental debasement in which they have been so long immersed. During the reign of the late emperor Alexander, Lancasterian schools and other seminaries were established in different parts of European Russia, and Bible societies, for distributing the Scriptures among the lower orders, were patronized by the Emperor, Prince Gallitzin, the archbishops, and other distinguished characters. It appears that in the beginning of 1830, the emperor Nicholas gave his sanction to certain regulations, providing for the establishment of primary schools in the several villages appertaining to the crown. The object of these seminaries is to diffuse useful knowledge among the peasantry, and to furnish the villages with individuals who may act as writers. Gratuitous instruction is to be afforded in these schools to youths of not less than eight years of age, in the catechism, reading books and written documents, writing, and the first four operations of arithmetic. The lessons are to open after their return from labour, and to continue until it be resumed; with the exception of Sundays and festivals, they are to occupy four hours a-day. Permission is, however, given to the teacher to assemble his pupils for the purpose of repeating their lessons, even whilst they are working in the fields: but this cannot take place without the consent of the villagers. The expenses of these schools are to be defrayed out of the territorial income of the villages, and the first essays are intended to be made in the governments of St. Petersburg and Pscov.
Switzerland. This country, remarkable for the sublimity of its mountain scenery, the fertility of its vales, and the beauty of its expansive lakes, is no less remarkable for the means of education it possesses, and the consequent intelligence and moral order of its inhabitants. In this respect, it is scarcely inferior to the best educated countries in Europe. The proportion of the inhabitants undergoing the process of instruction is greater thar hat of either France, England or Scotland. In the Pays de Vaud, this proportion amounts to one-eighth of the population,
which is more than the average of the other countries of Europe, where systems of instruction have been established; so that the inhabitants of this district of Switzerland, have generally been considered by travellers as the most intelligent and the best educated among the European nations.
The celebrated school of Pestalozzi at Yverdun, in the Pays de Vaud, has been visited and celebrated by every traveller. This was among the first seminaries in which the intellectua system was introduced, in which the rationale of every subject taught is explained and illustrated, and the intellectual faculties stimulated and brought into exercise. It embraces also the plan of mutual instruction, as exemplified in the schools of Bell and Lancaster. The establishment of the School of Industry of M. Fellenberg at Hofwyl, in the Canton of Berne, has also been deservedly celebrated. The object of this seminary is to combine scholastic education with industrious habits, and a knowledge of the best manner of performing mechanical and agricultural operations. Although, at Hofwyl, the principles and practice of Agriculture are the chief objects of attention, yet the general principles of the institution and the mode of instruction might, in towns, be successfully applied to mechanical operations and manufacturing processes of every description. It has given a great impulse to education throughout the country, and has produced some very eminent scholars. Not only the lower classes, but pupils of the highest rank come to this seminary, from Germany, France, England, and other parts of Europe. In most of the cantons, education is a matter of state, persons of the greatest respectability are engaged in the business of instruction, and the arrangements of the system of tuition are under the immediate direction and protection of the government.
Strictures on the mode in which Education has generally been conducted.
THERE are few subjects which have so frequently engaged the attention of the literary public as the instruction of the young; and yet there is no subject about which so many vague and erroneous notions generally prevail. No term in our language has been more abused and misapplied than that of education. By the great majority of our countrymen it is considered as consisting merely in the acquisition of pronunciation, spelling, and gram.
mar-of writing, casting accounts, and the knowledge of lan guages; and these acquisitions are considered of value chiefly as they prepare the individual for engaging in certain secular employments, and are instrumental in procuring his subsistence. By others it has been confined to the communication of the elements of thought, and the improvement of the intellect; and, by a comparatively small number, it has been regarded chiefly as the formation of character, and the cultivation of moral habits. But, to neither of these objects is education to be exclusively confined. It consists of a comprehensive and harmonious combination of them all, including every mean and every mode of improvement by which intelligent beings may be trained to knowledge and virtue-qualified for acting an honourable and respectable part on the theatre of this world, and prepared for that immortal existence to which they are destined.
It is deeply to be regretted, that, up to the present hour, with a very few exceptions-in an age deemed liberal and enlightened-the system on which education has generally been conducted is repugnant to the dictates of reason, inefficient for enlightening and meliorating the human mind, and is little short of an insult offered to the understandings of the young. While almost every initiatory book has for its motto, and every teacher can readily repeat the following lines of Thomson,—
“Delightful task! to rear the tender thought,
And pour the fresh instruction o'er the mind,"
the great objects which education ought to promote have been miserably neglected. A farrago of words has been substituted in the place of things; the elements of language have been preferred to the elements of thought; the key of knowledge has been exhibited instead of knowledge itself; and the youthful mind, at the termination of the common process of instruction, is almost as destitute of ideas as at its commencement. At that period of life when the minds of the young are beginning to expand-when they ardently thirst after novelty and variety-when they are alive to the beauties and sublimities of nature, and listen with delight to the descriptions of other countries, and the tales of other times-instead of being gratified with the exhibition of all that is interesting in the scenes of creation and the history of man-they are set down in a corner to plod over unknown characters and strange sounds-no pleasing objects are exhibited to inspire them with delight-their memories are burdened, and even tortured, while their understandings are neglected; and, after many pain.
ful efforts, intermingled with cries and tears, while the detested lash is hanging over their heads, they are enabled to repeat, like a number of puppets, their medley of grammar rules, their psalms, their hymns, their catechisms, and their speeches from the English and Roman classics, pouring out their words with a velocity like water bursting from a spout, without a single correct idea connected with their exercises, "understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm."-Hence it has too fre quently happened, that the school-room has been viewed as a prison, their teachers as a species of tyrants, and the scholastic exercises in which they are engaged, as repugnant to their natural vivacity, and subversive of their youthful pleasures. Hence they have frequently been driven to the village school, like sheep to the slaughter, and like criminals to a jail, or carried on the shoulders of their companions, amidst cries, and lamentations, and forebodings of punishment.
In seminaries a higher order than those to which I now allude, five or six years are generally spent in learning the declension of nouns, the conjugation of verbs, and the rules of syn. tax, and in acquiring a smattering of the Roman classics; while, at the close of this tedious, and to the pupil, revolting process, he retires from the seminary to the shop, the counting-house, or the university, nearly as ignorant of the common phenomena of nature, of the sublime discoveries of modern times, of the principles of the arts and sciences, and the laws of moral action, as if he had been born in Patagonia, or in the centre of New Holland. If he has acquired any thing at all, which may be denominated knowledge, it consists chiefly in a jumble of notions about the squabbles of heathen gods and goddesses, detached fragments of Roman history, the Metamorphoses of Ovid, the fictions of Pagan mythology, and the revengeful encounters of destroying armies and ambitious despots. While his mind is familiar with the absurdities and impieties of ancient superstition and idolatry, he not unfrequently quits the scene of instruction as ignorant of the character and attributes of the true God, of the doctrines of the Christian religion, and of the tempers which it inculcates, as if he had been tutored in a Pagan land.
Even in those seminaries which are devoted to the religious instruction of the young, the same absurd and inefficient system to which I have alluded is too frequently acted upon. Instead of exhibiting to the understandings of the young the character and perfections of the Deity, and the truths of Christianity, by familiar and popular illustrations deduced from the economy of nature and the facts of revelation, a great proportion of their Sabbath
school exercises consists in repeating, with a disgusting ffippancy and vociferation, their catechisms, psalms, paraphrases, hymns, and Scripture passages, assigned them as tasks, and in listening to the crude expositions of certain abstract theological dogmas, to which they can attach no precise or well-defined notions, and which do not enter into the essence of the Christian system. In certain schools of this description, I have witnessed the attention of the children almost exclusively directed to the mere repetition of the Shorter Catechism, and other compends of divinity, and that, too, in a most inaccurate, irreverent, and vociferous manner, without a single attempt being made to convey any idea to the understanding of the nature of the truths repeated-while the catechumens seemed to be much gratified and relieved in having got their memories disburdened of the ungracious tasks imposed upon them. In other schools, where the teachers had acquired a smattering of systematic theology-after the memorial tasks were dispatched-I have listened to a series of crude dissertations addressed to the young respecting the covenant of works and of grace, predestination, absolute and conditional decrees, faith, the Trinity, and similar topics, together with long-winded exhortations, occasionally intermingled with boisterous and unhallowed threats and denunciations, because the young did not yield a profound attention to such abstract speculations. Yet all this goes by the name of religious instruction; and, when it is found to produce little influence on the moral conduct of the young, the effect is attributed solely to the corruption of human nature, and to the withholding of the influences of Divine grace,—a sentiment which goes far to attribute to the "Only Wise God" those effects which are produced by the folly and the injudicious schemes of men. As it is painful to exercise the memory to any extent on words unconnected with ideas, so it frequently happens, that a disrelish for religion and its services is induced, in consequence of the labour and drudgery with which they are thus associated. In these seminaries, too, the duties of Christian morality are too frequently thrown into the shade. Christianity is not a mere theory, but a practical system; for all its historical details, its doctrines and precepts, its promises and threatenings, have an ultimate reference to the regulation of the temper and affections, the direction of the conduct, and to the general renovation of the moral powers of man, in order to his preparation for a higher state of moral and intellectual excellence. And, therefore, it ought to be one of the grand objects of religious instruction to cultivate the moral powers, to direct the temper and affections, and to show, by familiar illustrations taken from the scenes of