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childhood. The best too frequently teach even virtue upon worldly and selfish motives ; they do not excite the natural love of excellence for its own intrinsic sake, which belongs to our nature, although we strive to lessen the purity of the principle by dwelling exclusively on the advantages and utility of goodness; they do not sufficiently “respect in the inind of the child, the future man,-in the man, reverence the rudiments of the angel." That we are immortal beings should never be forgotten ; yet how few that are not exclusively devoted to religion are actuated by this truth! And these drive many who are well intentioned away from the ennobling consideration, by demanding them to forget that they are men in whom the spiritual nature is but imperfectly developed. The intellectual admit our great destiny ; but in their attention to the wonders the mind can perform here, they sometimes lose sight of the practical influence which should follow from the truth they rejoice to admit, but which, alas! they often lay by in a napkin, while they are intent upon cultivating the powers that, magnificent as they are, useful and enchanting as is their exercise, would fill us with mournful perplexity were their sphere and duration limited to the extent of earthly life. I could wish some English writer would undertake a work upon
the plan of Pestalozzi's tale, combining equal knowledge of the details of practical life with equal fervour and purity of piety and love of man. I fear his book is quite unsuited to our population, but they possess virtue and worth sufficient and more than sufficient to afford materials to be worked upon ; although the extreme simplicity of the Swiss whom Pestalozzi addressed, almost a generation back, does not exist, I am confident the strength and simplicity of enlightened and humble piety need only be put forth to produce good effect.
Does not your heart melt,-for mine does, when I read such passages as these in the midst of the homely, unadorned tale ? “ Gertrude thought it was death, and told Rudi so. How he and all the little ones wrung their hands in anguish I cannot describe-Reader, let me be silent and weep, for it goes to my heart to think how man, in the dust of earth ripens to immortality; and how in the pomp and vanity of the world, he decays without coming to maturity.–Weigh then, O man, weigh the value of life, on the bed of death; and thou who despisest the poor patient and dost not know him—tell me can he have lived unhappy who can thus die! But I refrain ; I wish not to teach you, O men, I only wish you to open your eyes, and see for yourselves what really is happiness or misery, a blessing or a curse in this world." O Eternity! when thou revealest the ways of God, and the blessedness of those to whom he teaches steadfastness, courage, patience, by suffering want and sorrow,—0 Eternity! how wilt thou exalt those tried ones who have been so lowly here."
Here our correspondent breaks off somewhat abruptly. The reasoning might perhaps have ended more pithily if we had stopped at the conclusion of the passage preceding the last-but we could not strike out that which appeals to the heart on behalf of the poor! Not only the great and wealthy, but even those whose labour places them in circumstances of comfort and ease, think but far too little upon the
misery existing at their gate, or in the next street. This is one frightful point of that condition of the poor, which we hope and believe, most fully, the great question of which we are now treating, to be the chief means of softening by degrees, and ultimately of removing altogether.
This may seem Utopian-and certainly, never in our own lives shall we be able to say, “See, we prophesied truly.” But, when we look to what even the last fifteen years have done, we think it is by no means extravagant to hope that our children, or theirs--or, if you will, theirs again—will see the general diffusion of Comfort and Peace, through Virtue and Knowledge : while each generation, including our own, some few years hence, will have the gratification of beholding the progress to that end, whether slow or rapid, still steady and sure.
We have here said that we believe that Virtue and Knowledge will co-operate to produce happiness. And we certainly regard them as more directly fellow-labourers than, at the first view, our correspondent would seem to do. We grant that they are not identical - we believe that spontaneous and natural good and benevolent feelings may exist without knowledge ;-though even they are not so thoroughly to be relied on as those which are founded upon the rock of Principle; and that scarcely can exist without some degree of cultivation. On the other hand, we think that any considerable share of knowledge will, in the vast majority of instances, involve goodness. And this brings us to the difference of verbal interpretation, on which we conceive the main variance between our correspondent and ourselves really rests. When we use the word cultivation, or the word knowledge, we mean distinctly to include moral culture, moral knowledge.
We repeat, we have not sufficient confidence in that vague, untutored goodness which is often the result of mere physical temperament, or, at the most, of a happy mental disposition. We prefer that which—if founded upon the above fortunate circumstances so much the better-is made firm and sure by that Instruction which leads to Principle. Principle is the first stay and reliance of Virtue, and that is never given by Nature; it must be made.
We would not, for the world, be supposed in the remotest degree to undervalue those excellences of the heart and temper, which are among the greatest blessings which can be bestowed upon human nature. They, indeed, are twice blessed, in the manner which Shakspeare has made so familiar to us—they bless those who possess them, and those on whom their influence is shed. But if they do not exist by the gift of God, they can only be brought forth by education. And many, we are sure, can easily call to mind instances in which tuition has supplied defects, and rooted out bad qualities, where Care, and Kindness, and cultivated Sense have been exerted for the purpose.
This extension of the application of the term Education to moral, as well as merely intellectual instruction, would tend, we think, very nearly to reconcile our ideas with our correspondent's. But there are two points even on this part of the subject, on which we must be permitted to say a little more. We really do not see how moral culture is to take place without its being accompanied, to a considerable extent, by intellectual culture. How is it possible to inculcate those principles which form the only safeguard for goodness, unless the mind has
sufficient power to receive them, to digest them, to enable them to become part of the heart? We cannot-would that we could !-concur in that “strong belief in the natural excellence of unsophisticated man,' which our correspondent, in attributing it to Pestalozzi, designates, with a rashness visible, we think, in no other part of the letter, as necessary ingredient in the character that devotes itself to the purpose of amending the condition of mankind;" and adds that it “is shared by all who advocate the cause of education.” We cannot share in it would to heaven that we could !-and it is natural, therefore, that we should not believe that it is necessary for all who desire to ameliorate the condition of mankind. We cannot agree with this necessity, because we do not think the dogma true. We thoroughly believe in the natural capacity of man to acquire excellence, but we do not in its original gift at the time of his birth. And we do not believe this, because universal experience, as it appears to us, tends directly to the reverse. That men are born with different talents, temperaments, and dispositions, seems to us so evident, that it would be waste of time to prove it by instances. That the general tendency of unsophisticated nature is towards good we are well inclined to believe--but the exceptions are so many, and occasionally so strong, that we cannot regard it as a principle to be trusted to in action. We think the minds and hearts of all need culture; and those of many require the pruning-knife, as well as the implements which produce and foster.
But we do go further, also, than our correspondent, in our estimation of mere intellectual cultivation ; though we are far from saying that it is sufficient in itself. We think that “intellectual pursuits” do “ restrain” as well as “refine the passions”-because that the very exercise of reason prevents, in proportion to its extent, the activity of the inore hurtful passions. Reason, in its advance, carries with it the improvement of moral goodness—for it carries with it the habit of thought-and the more people think, the better they will be. We are the very last persons in the world who would check the warm and kindly ebullitions of the heart; but these, we are confident, would, in a mind made pure by Reason, be only the warmer and more kindly. It is the worse and fiercer outbreaks of our nature which it is calculated to weaken and to destroy.
Our correspondent says most truly that “Ignorance is the cause of evil of all description;" and that to remove it is not only to break up the soil, and fit it for produce, but is also sowing the seed of valuable crops. But then allusion is made to the thistles which grow among grass, and the tares among wheat. Undoubtedly they do; but the more the soil is prepared, the fewer are the weeds—the more the human mind is cultivated, the fewer will be its vices. In illustration of the opinion that moral faults will exist in despite of intellectual cultivation, our correspondent cites “the character of the upper orders, while knowledge was confined to the few;" and asks, whether they displayed " a proportionate improvement in principle because their lights were the stronger ?” Here, again, we think that, in the main, we agree with our friend; for while we own that the upper classes certainly had not“ a proportionately stronger attachment to the right,” we ascribe its absence entirely to the lack of Moral Culture. Perhaps we are not very strongly inclined to attach high value to the usual intellectual education of the gentlemen of England; but their moral education, we at once confess, we rate at almost nothing. There is a carelessness, an apathy, in most parents of the upper classes *, which is scarcely short of marvellous. When do they ever take any direct, or indirect, mode (the latter we think the better) of bringing before their sons' minds the beauty of Kindness and Generosity ?--the advantages-in every sense, personal, social, and eternal—of Virtue? When do they ever strive to form the juster, the nobler, and the kinder feelings into principles ? We are quite aware that set sermons upon such subjects would have, probably, the contrary effect from that desired; but it needs but little skill for one with the opportunities of a parent to imbue his children with those principles by degrees, without running any risk of wearying or revolting them by a too formally didactic manner of proceeding
Do the upper classes act thus ? Can you, Sir, or you, whose eye may be tracing these lines, say that you have seen such things done around you ?--that you have experienced them in your own person when a boy? We fear you cannot. We fear that on such matters parents are almost universally careless; while schoolmasters (we fear the few exceptions would nearly allow us to say quite universally) think them totally beyond the scope of their duty. The regular routine of the school does not include such matters ; and the masters think of nothing beyond the regular routine. We might, however, very naturally expect to find such a system prevalent at home; and what is the system there? At home, if things move quietly on—if the son says his Latin grammar correctly, or—if he be rather beyond that-write his half-dozen verses without a false quantity ;-;f the daughter have made no blunder in her French exercise, and have “practised” her two hours with diligence and attention,-every thing is cousidered right and fitting. There may be even warm and sweet affection between the parties; but is that most powerful, as well as beautiful, engine applied by the parents to further those moral ends which we have mentioned above ?-or is it merely felt as an object of present enjoyment, whose only use is that enjoyment itself?
For these reasons we cannot allow the present condition of the upper classes to be brought against us as an argument that Knowledge has the tendency to run parallel with Virtue-namely, not to meet it. We have not touched upon the point, what the intellectual cultivation of those classes really is, though a great deal might be said with regard to it. We lay down that, for the most part, their moral cultivation is most feeble and imperfect in youth; and that the amiable and virtuous people whom we meet become so, not so much from their direct education, as from applying reflection to the occurrences of life as they pass through it, and thus feeling the beauty and the wisdom of Virtue. Those with natural dispositions happy in all ways, and who have chanced to be exempted from strong temptation early, of course acquire principle the soonest ; but we feel confident that both these, and others who, in gradation, from their gifts being fewer and their disadvantages more, have schooled their minds later and less
* It will be understood that we apply this term generally to the educated classes of the country.
we are confident that all have often bitterly regretted that this principle was not part of their inheritance from their parents, instead of theis own painful earning.
What we have said about the absence of due attention on the part of parents, leads us to the consideration of one of Pestalozzi's most favourite doctrines, most strongly enforced in other works as well as Leonard and Gertrude, and with which our correspondent goes along. We allude to the passage on motherly influence, p. 147. With that principle we also fully coincide: we believe, with joy and thankfulness, that a mother's love, and a mother's influence, are always the most influential, and, when duly exerted, the best, means of forming the child's mind. But is she always capable of being of benefit ? That “ nature, and God its eternal creator have left” no capability wanting," we are well inclined to believe; but that discretion in the use of that capability has been left to us, we cannot doubt. Else, whence the moral difference between one human being and another? We should be very loth to incur the charge of blasphemy; but we could wish that Pestalozzi had used this sweeping charge only against those “ who maintain that [most] mothers have no desire to devote themselves to their children." But even granting that all have that desire, are all capable of using it to the best advantage? We heartily agree with our correspondent in the opinion that, although the principle of infant schools is excellent in cases where “ mothers are necessarily often absent from their children, and are ignorant, and often worse than ignorant, no society can be equal to the provision of nature where that is duly administered.” Most cordially do we concur with this; and the conviction that it is just leads us the more strongly to desire that the education of girls should indeed be duly carried on. They will one day be mothers, and their improvement would tend above all things to realize our hope of the rapidity of the ratio in which each new generation will rise in the scale of cultivation. For no one can surpass us in believing maternal influence to be, as it is the first, so also the sweetest and strongest of all powers of instruction.
To return. We cannot consent to ground our hopes of the benefits of education on the state, intellectual or moral, of the upper classes. We hope that the cultivation which the spirit now beginning to be diffused will tend to bestow upon all orders of the people, will be of a quality exceedingly different from that which now prevails. We doubt not that it will be more useful, in the best and most comprehensive sense of that word-morally, that is, as well as intellectually-spiritually as well as with regard to mere worldly thrift. We believe that it will naturally adapt itself to the wants and wishes of the time, with reference individually to each gradation of society. The spirit which is far spreading from the formation of three or four establishments, which it might seem invidious to others to name, will, we are sure, slowly but steadily operate great changes in our oldest and largest schools. The eyes of the public are becoming open to the necessity of their being much altered ; and the public will not, in these times, be content to keep their eyes passively open upon a recognized evil. In the same way, we trust, the same spirit will operate in lower