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the ploughed fields and rural forests of New England, the Middle States and Virginia. The indigestion of the first Napoleon, and the gout of Charles V., of Germany, each in its turn, changed the course of events in the European world. Much as it has been fashionable to decry physical vigor as being inferior to mental excellence, the sound body and a high condition of health are essential for the greatest achievement.
I am impelled at this point in the argument, to speak in behalf of another and more vital of our endowments. We forget our essential selfhood, that which is the subjective personality, when we neglect to consider that of which it consists, the Will. The education, the training, the culture, which does not maintain the will in its integrity, unimpaired, is faulty and pernicious. The energy to do, to accomplish, to overcome obstacles, is of and from it. The health of the body, the ability to live and master unwholesome and deadly influences, and to achieve a true fitness and virtue, are its manifestations. Many individuals recover from dangerous maladies by virtue of their energy of will. We have heard talk of breaking the will of the child, as preliminary to his proper discipline; to break the will, is to unman, to dehumanise. It may be good training for wild beasts, but it is the transforming of human beings into short-lived weaklings, unable to decide for themselves, void of moral responsibilty, and facile for slavery. "It is the right and healthy state of every man," says Ralph Waldo Emerson, "when he is free to do that which is constitutional for him to do.".
Why in the "Lord's Prayer" is the clause desiring that the will of God be done-be the outcome and fruitage of everything on the earth as it is in heaven, except that in that will is the all of perfect goodness, that which is best in itself, and best for all? By the same logic, let us give due heed and respect to human will as the potency which enables man to be like divinity.
In schools and family discipline, while endeavoring to teach its proper directing and field of action, its integrity should be guarded as we would guard the very life itself.
The discourse of Plutarch, upon the Training of Children,
is as seasonable now as when it was originally prepared. He never hesitates to talk common sense. He always speaks and writes on the human side of his subject, and we therefore understand him better. He begins his treatise with the prenatal period of life. The children of an unworthy father or mother, he declares, are blemished in their birth, and liable to be pursued as long as they live, with the opprobrium of the early history. It gives a man a good stock of confidence to be well born. Diophantos, the young son of the great Themistokles, used to boast that whatever was pleasing to him was esteemed by all the people of Athens. "What I like," says he, "my mother likes; what she likes, my father likes; and what he likes, all the Athenians like."
Nature struggles to free our constitutions from the effects of our vices and follies, but with indifferent success. The virtuous tendencies are transmitted by parentage, we are assured, even to the thousandth generation; nevertheless, the iniquitous propensities are certain also to continue to the third and fourth. Much of the insane diathesis, perverted faculty, deficient intelligence, imperfect physical sense, stunted or repulsive form of body and vicious predisposition which we observe in society, should be set down as the inheritance from a drunken ancestry. Diogenes, the cynic, once reproached a crack-brained and half-witted stripling: "Surely, young man, when thy existence began thy father was very drunk."
It is certain that the conditions attending the commencement of physical life are essentials of culture. To be weak is to be miserable, yet the best beginning will not suffice, except the discipline is also good. The richest soil will be unproductive if it is not properly treated, while a poorer soil will be prolific and bring its fruit to maturity, if labor is judiciously bestowed upon it. A person of strong body will grow weak and distempered by indolence, delicate usage and vicious habits; yet where is the man of a natural conformation ever so faulty, who cannot render himself far more robust and vigorous, if he will only give himself to exercises of activity and strength? So true is this, that many of our longer-lived individuals began with a physical constitution apparently
frail, and easily overcome; nevertheless, the drawback always exists with them, that they are carrying a heavy weight through their whole term of life, which checks their endeavor on every hand, an generally compels them to take a secondary place in the enterprises of the world.
Nature has assigned to the child its lawful place of sustenance at the breast of its mother. It should be fed during infancy from the same source whence it derived its earlier nutrition. The physical, moral and emotional conditions of a woman, permeate and enliven her milk as well as her blood. Childhood is a tender thing and easily wrought into any shape. Plutarch has remarked: "If habit is a second birth, as another great man declares, whose child is that which has been fed for months, from the milk and life of a stranger?" "Hyrcanian tigers gave thee suck," says Dido to Æneas: Hyrcanæque admorunt ubera tigres.
Education, likewise, has begun at this period. We often find that the coarse and incorrect speech, the evil manners, the foolish and corrupt notions by which many are blemished, were acquired in the most tender season of life. They result often from the unworthy associates that many parents employ, or permit to be about their children.
A good memory should be assiduously cultivated in the young from the very first. It is essential to exalted moral and spiritual as well as mental development. Like the muscular and other organic tissues, it becomes stronger in proportion to its frequent exercise, due regard being had to normal intervals of rest. Habit really is but memory impressed on the soul and physical organism, in such a manner that the sense of novelty which we often denominate consciousness, is not vividly aroused.
I do not, however, regard child-prodigies of memory, or indeed of any other excellence, as wholesome manifestations. Such precocity is in about the same category with any other evolution of adult conditions during the infantile period of life. Child-poets, child-musicians, and child-saints are analogous to fruit that has ripened prematurely. A worm may be in it, some abnormality or sirocco may have hastened it,
but it is very sure to be a windfall or a blight. Such children will generally pine away, die young, or degenerate in their adolescence into very ordinary sickly creatures. This period is not designed in the order of nature for great proficiency in intellectual pursuits of the higher character. All the nutritive functions and processes of growth are more rapid and vigorous than in mature life, and the same thing is true in regard to the energies which actuate them. The accumulation of energy in the nervous system, impels the child to employ itself in some form of muscular effort to relieve itself from the undue tension. It resorts to play or some new exploration for this purpose.
Nevertheless, the organism is still too tender to sustain any long continuance in physical or mental effort. This is especially true in regard to study. The nervous tissues soon weary, and the growing process is disturbed. The intellectual development is more or less warped or arrested; and, very likely, the physical health is more or less impaired.
Indeed, it is more wholesome for children to be noisy, boisterous, and even what many consider naughty or a little wicked. The function of the child is to grow, to become strong and robust. The objects of our existence in this world. require the intermediation of a sound and healthy bodily organism for their successful accomplishment. If we would have a massive and beautiful superstructure, there must be a broad and deep foundation; and that which in highest in rank in organic existence can reach its proper eminence, only by the perfecting of the lowest in its own legitimate sphere. In the training of the child the highest, best-balanced, and largestcontinued action of the mind can be secured only by due care for the health of the physical structure. The foundation of a vigorous old age is a good constitution of the body in childhood. It is necessary to keep in good order, and to govern ourselves by rules of temperance in early life as the best provision which can be made for later years. The strength, too, must be husbanded, so as to be able for study. By temperance, I understand the Pythagorean virtue: "nothing in excess."
I sometimes feel it to be unfortunate that the school and the schoolmaster are so essential in our modern social life. There is something unnatural about the matter, something repugnant to our better intuitions. It comes short of fulfilling what is required in a proper education. The animal instinct is quickened and the lower faculties often seem to be trained to perform, or rather supersede, the function of the higher. Indeed, it often seems as though more attention was paid to the handling of the money set apart for educational purposes than to the education itself, and its cost to the pupils in that which constitutes fitness for the end of life. Thus, health is too often undermined by the amount of labor imposed upon them, and the encroachment upon the hours of sleep and recreation. The sickliness, nervous deterioration, and general lack of stamina which appear to characterise so much of our American life, bear a very close relation to the undue number of hours, the night-study, the excessive cramming of lessons incident to the curriculum, the pernicious competitions, the neglect of proper hygiene-in short, unnatural stimulation and excitement, with insufficient rest. Whether school-houses or dwellings are ever often supplied with a salubrious atmosphere is a matter that ought to be thoroughly investigated. It is certainly unwholesome and unphysiological to group hundreds of individuals, children especially, in close quarters for so large a part of each day. They are not only poisoned by the devitalised air, and false safeguards which have been compulsorily established by school and medical officials, but are certain to contaminate each other in other ways. The little which is known of animal magnetism, as well as of sanitary matters, affords conclusive demonstration, that our careful attention is required to this department of the subject.
The curriculum for a boy in ancient Persia consisted entirely of physical culture for the first seven years; then of riding and archery for the next seven; and afterward of discipline in knowledge, justice, temperance and moral qualities. The wisdom-religion of the Persian proscribed all falsehood as impiety toward the Deity: Mithras was revered as the God of