Imágenes de páginas

pp. 152, 153.

and at last, when the officers of the law shall have seized them for theft, or burglary, or incendiarism, console yourselves with the reflection, that, for such children, 'kindness is the appropriate, and should be the almost exclusive means of influence'; that they can now be blessed by Christian instruction and Christian love,' because their present condition has only “a very partial bearing upon the question of discipline in our common schools.'

It is an old rule for the logical conduct of a discussion, that an opponent is not to be charged with any odious consequences that may, fairly enough, be deducible from bis doctrine, unless he expressly avows and defends them. The reasonableness of this rule is evident. He may not have foreseen that his opinion would lead to such results, and would have shrunk with horror from them, if he had ; or he may not have carefully limited his statement, supposing that the necessary and obvious qualifications and exceptions would be taken for granted. Now, the writer of the last portion of the “Remarks” has but one object in view ; he endeavours to show, that "school discipline must be based upon authority, as a starting-point”; he holds, that the duty of submission and obedience, as such, explicit and unreserved, must be inculcated on the mind of a child, even, if it be necessary, by a resort to extreme means, poral punishment. Of course, it is sufficiently implied, is, indeed, it be not expressly stated in the sentence we have already quoted, that all milder means must first be tried, and physical pain be made the last resort. Mr. Mann takes no notice of this limitation, and argues, or rather declaims, throughout, on the supposition, that the whole philosophy of school discipline, according to the Teacher, is contained in the four words, “ Authority, Force, Fear, Pain”; these are Mr. Mann's words, or rather the selection and collocation are his; he afterwards alters them to “ Power, Violence, Terror, Suffering.” He says, “ It is here, that the * Remarks' introduce us to a frozen midnight, where the light of love is extinguished, and all moral sentiment and humanity are congealed.” Very strong language, certainly, and strikingly opposed to that of Mr. Emerson, who gives his entire assent to the doctrine of the Teacher as above stated, saying, “ This most important principle is sustained with power and success; it is placed, so far as reasoning can

[ocr errors]

to cor

place it, on an immovable foundation.” Mr. Emerson even admits the necessity of using the authority of brute force “ in extreme cases,” though he grieves that this idea " should have occupied so large a place in so pure a mind as that from which this portion of the Remarks' came.” Will Mr. Mann include in his anathema all who have expressly sanctioned this doctrine of the Teacher ?

But the most striking instance of the transgression of the logical rule above stated still remains. Mr. Mann insists, that the Teacher has stated his principle “ without making any exception as to age, sex, or disposition.” No express exception, it is true ; but would not charity imply one ? At any rate, does not the rule already given forbid bis taking any advantage of this omission in arguing against the main principle ? And yet he proceeds to hold the Teacher responsible for desending the abominable practice of “flogging girls,” though there is not one word upon this topic in any part of the “Remarks.” Why not also make him answerable, since there is no exception as to age, for whipping infants less than a year old ? There would be quite as much charity and justice in the latter case as in the former. We can hardly believe, that, in the Boston public schools, females are actually exposed to this degradation and cruelty. If they are, in the name of decency and humanity, earnestly do we entreat the guardians of those institutions to put an immediate stop to the disgraceful practice. But whether the practice exists or not, Mr. Mann, when his only ostensible purpose is to reply to the remarks of the Teacher, has no right to make him responsible for an inference from his doctrine, which he neither avows nor defends. To heap up indignant denunciations on this point, under the circumstances of the present discussion, is to cast unreasonable and undeserved odium upon his opponent, without advancing a step in the refutation of that opponent's principles. The following extract affords a fair specimen of his language upon this theme.

" In the clear vista of futurity, pictured against a serener sky, and glowing in a celestial light, I see, by the eye of faith, the heralds of Universal Peace. The great prophecy of Christianity is at last fulfilled. Emblems have become realities, and hope is lost in fruition. There is peace on earth and good-will among men. But lo! what hideous spectacle profanes this hal.

lowed vision ? It is a spectacle of men, and the likeness there. of is as the likeness of the Thirty-one Boston Schoolmasters still flogging boys and FLOGGING GIRLS !” – p. 164.

But enough of fault-finding. If our remarks have given pain, we are sorry for it ; but a regard for judicial fairness leaves no alternative but to expose mistakes and errors, wherever they may be found. The attack of the Boston Teachers upon the Board of Education and its Secretary has failed, — signally and disgracefully failed. Mr. Mann has not only amply vindicated his character and motives, but has gained a large accession of respect and influence by the proofs that have been exhibited of his zeal, his industry, and his untiring devotion to the cause. If he has shown any undue sensitiveness under the criticism of his favorite plans of improvement, or any improper warmth in defending them, he may still boast, that these very failings manifest the strength and heartiness of his attachment to the cause. He should consider, that his especial office is to propose for consideration all schemes of reform in discipline and instruction, which may come under his notice ; while that of others is to weigh them, and decide upon the propriety of their introduction into the schools. Sirenuous objections to any of these plans do not necessarily convey any imputation upon bim, or upon the propriety of his course in bringing them before the public. He can now afford to be generous, and to welcome his late opponents to a full participation in his labors for extending and perfecting the system of common schools throughout the State. The great business of educating the children of this commonwealth imperatively demands the undivided attention and active coöperation of both parties; and great will be the responsibility incurred by both, if they disregard this call in order to keep up a discussion, which now promises, if continued further, to degenerate into a miserable personal controversy.

We can hardly conceive it possible, that the great enterprise of the Board of Education of Massachusetts should excite jealousy, distrust, or active opposition in any quarter. The evident disinterestedness of all the persons engaged in it; the impossibility of converting it into a means for the furtherance of political or sectarian ends ; the union of all parties, sects, interests, and districts in its favor ; the sacred character of the objects it proposes to accomplish ; the good it has already effected ; and the wide sphere of usefulness which yet remains for it ; these are its titles to confidence and respect. The history of the few and insignificant attempts to check its progress is full of instruction. It has triumphed over every one of them, gaining fresh vigor and popularity by the effort, while its assailants have been silenced and disgraced. It has overcome the coldness and skepticism which were the most natural and formidable obstacles to it at the beginning, and it is now so firmly supported by the respect and gratitude of the community at large, that any direct opposition to it is not only futile, but pitiable. The Boston Teachers might as well attempt to dam up the Mississippi, as to stay its progress. They do not need to make the attempt ; for if they are faithful to themselves and to the interests intrusted to their charge, it will redound to their own reputation and advantage. It will exalt the dignity of their office ; it will surround them with the sympathies of the public ; it will put into their hands new aids and appliances for the performance of their duties ; it will advance the reputation of their schools ; it will secure to them a richer harvest of esteem and gratitude from their pupils, who will be indebted to them for a more comprehensive, liberal, and profitable education than they now receive. Let them cheer it onward, then, instead of throwing themselves before it, so as to be prostrated and crushed by its irresistible momentum.


1. — The Library of American Biography. Conducted by JA

RED SPARKS. Second Series. Vol. III. Boston: Charles
C. Little and James Brown. 1844. 12mo. pp. 438.

We have often called the attention of our readers to the successive volumes of Mr. Sparks's “Library,” yet not with greater frequency than was warranted by the interesting nature of the matter contained in them, and by the great value of such fresh and well prepared contributions to the stores of American history. The thirteen volumes, to which the work now extends, em. brace an amount of biographical and historical information, strictly American in its character, which would be vainly sought elsewhere, being derived in many cases from materials that now exist only in manuscript, or are very difficult of access. On the other hand, the portion derived from well known and easily accessible sources is so complete, succinct, and well digested, as either to obviate the necessity of applying to the original works at all, or materially to lessen the labor of consulting them. The great range of the editor's inquiries, and his long experience in historical investigations, enable him to point out all the foun. tains whence knowledge can be obtained, and his fellow-laborers have generally used the materials which he has put into their hands with diligence and good taste. If the patronage of the public should allow the work to be continued to a sufficient length, it will form an illustrative complement to the general history of this country, which will be invaluable to the student either of that history, or of the politics, the literature, the science, or the antiquities of our American confederacy. We consider it as a national work, which will not only richly repay immediate and continuous perusal, but will be of great value for preservation and reference in future years. It will be a matter of good omen for the taste of our countrymen, if, amidst the flood of trashy and ephemeral publications now issuing from the press, the worth of such a standard work should be generally recog. nized, and the editor be encouraged to carry it onward to its natural close.

To show how much he has already accomplished, it may be worth while to give a full list of the individuals whose biographies are now included in the work, distributing them, for convenience, into three classes, according as they belong to the Colonial times, to the annals of the Revolution, or to the history of American politics, science, and literature. In the first class, we find the names of Cotton Mather, Sir William Phips, Sebastian Cabot, Robert de la Salle, General Oglethorpe, Jacob Leisler, Nathaniel Bacon, John Mason, John Eliot, John Smith, and Sir Henry Vane; to the second belong William Ellery, Israel Putnam, Baron Steuben, Patrick Henry, James Otis, General Sullivan, John Stark, Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold, Richard Montgomery, and Anthony Wayne ; and in the third are ranked William Pinckney, Lucretia M. Davidson, David Rittenhouse, Jonathan Edwards, David Brainerd, William Eaton, Alexander Wilson, and Charles Brockden Brown. It is obvious from this list, that the work is yet far from being complete, many names of much note and interest remaining for the future biographer. Among the writers of the lives already published, besides the

« AnteriorContinuar »