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Title: In the School-Room - Chapters in the Philosophy of Education
Author: Hart, John S. (John Seely), 1810-1877
Language: English
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  17 and 19 South Sixth Street.

  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by
  in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States
  for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.



TO THE Teachers of the United States, AND ESPECIALLY TO THE ALUMNI OF


The views contained in this volume are the result of a prolonged and
somewhat varied professional experience. This experience includes the
training of more than five thousand young men and of nearly one thousand
young women, a large portion of them for the office of teachers; and it
has been gained in College, in Boarding School, in a city High School,
and in a State Normal School. In all this prolonged and varied
experience, I have constantly put myself in the attitude of a learner,
and my aim in the present volume is to place before the younger members
of the profession, in the briefest and clearest terms possible, the
lessons I have myself learned. Beginning with the question, What is
Teaching? and ending with the wider question, What is Education? the
book will be found to take a pretty free range over the whole field of
practical inquiry among professional teachers. The thoughts presented
are such as have been suggested to the writer in the school-room itself,
while actively engaged either in teaching, or in superintending and
directing the instruction given by others. These thoughts are for the
most part purposely given in short, detached chapters, each complete in
itself. Such a method of presentation, though less imposing, seemed to
have practical advantages for the reader too great to be neglected for
the mere vanity of authorship. Often one can find leisure to read a
chapter of five or six pages on some point complete in itself, when he
might not feel like reaching it through an intervening network of
connected and dependent propositions. At the same time, it should be
observed, the topics though detached are not isolated. There is
everywhere an underlying thread of connection, the whole being based
upon, if not constituting, a philosophy of education.


I.        What is Teaching?
II.       The Art of Questioning
III.      The Difference between Teaching and Training
IV.       Modes of Hearing Recitations
V.        On Observing a Proper Order in the Development of
            the Mental Faculties
VI.       Teaching Children what they do not Understand
VII.      Cultivating the Memory in Youth
VIII.     Knowledge before Memory
IX.       Power of Words
X.        The Study of Language
XI.       Cultivating the Voice
XII.      Eyes
XIII.     Errors of the Cave
XIV.      Men of One Idea
XV.       A Talent for Teaching
XVI.      Teaching Power
XVII.     Growing
XVIII.    Loving the Children
XIX.      Gaining the Affections of the Scholars
XX.       The Obedience of Children
XXI.      Rarey as an Educator
XXII.     A Boarding-School Experience
XXIII.    Phrenology
XXIV.     Normal Schools
XXV.      Practice-Teaching
XXVI.     Attention as a Mental Faculty, and as a Means of
            Mental Culture
XXVII.    Gaining the Attention
XXVIII.   Counsels:
            1. To a Young Teacher;
            2. To a New Pupil;
            3. To a Young Lady on leaving School;
            4. To a Pupil on Entering a Normal School
XXIX.     An Argument for Common Schools
XXX.      What is Education?




In the first place, teaching is not simply telling. A class may be told
a thing twenty times over, and yet not know it. Talking to a class is
not necessarily teaching. I have known many teachers who were brimful of
information, and were good talkers, and who discoursed to their classes
with ready utterance a large part of the time allotted to instruction;
yet an examination of their classes showed little advancement in

There are several time-honored metaphors on this subject, which need to
be received with some grains of allowance, if we would get at an exact
idea of what teaching is. Chiselling the rude marble into the finished
statue; giving the impression of the seal upon the soft wax; pouring
water into an empty vessel;--all these comparisons lack one essential
element of likeness. The mind is, indeed, in one sense, empty, and needs
to be filled. It is yielding, and needs to be impressed. It is rude, and
needs polishing. But it is not, like the marble, the wax, or the vessel,
a passive recipient of external influences. It is itself a living
power. It is acted upon only by stirring up its own activities. The
operative upon mind, unlike the operative upon matter, must have the
active, voluntary co-operation of that upon which he works. The teacher
is doing his work, only so far as he gets work from the scholar. The
very essence and root of the work are in the scholar, not in the
teacher. No one, in fact, in an important sense, is taught at all,
except so far as he is self-taught. The teacher may be useful, as an
auxiliary, in causing this action on the part of the scholar. But the
one, indispensable, vital thing in all learning, is in the scholar
himself. The old Romans, in their word education (_educere_, to draw
out), seem to have come nearer to the true idea than any other people
have done. The teacher is to draw out the resources of the pupil. Yet
even this word comes short of the exact truth. The teacher must put in,
as well as draw out. No process of mere pumping will draw out from a
child's mind knowledge which is not there. All the power of the Socratic
method, could it be applied by Socrates himself, would be unavailing to
draw from a child's mind, by mere questioning, a knowledge, for
instance, of chemical affinity, of the solar system, of the temperature
of the Gulf Stream, of the doctrine of the resurrection.

What, then, is teaching?

Teaching is causing any one to know. Now no one can be made to know a
thing but by the act of his own powers. His own senses, his own memory,
his own powers of reason, perception, and judgment, must be exercised.
The function of the teacher is to bring about this exercise of the
pupil's faculties. The means to do this are infinite in variety. They
should be varied according to the wants and the character of the
individual to be taught. One needs to be told a thing; he learns most
readily by the ear. Another needs to use his eyes; he must see a thing,
either in the book, or in nature. But neither eye nor ear, nor any other
sense or faculty, will avail to the acquisition of knowledge, unless the
power of attention is cultivated. Attention, then, is the first act or
power of the mind that must be roused. It is the very foundation of all
progress in knowledge, and the means of awakening it constitute the
first step in the educational art.

When by any means, positive knowledge, facts, are once in possession of
the mind, something must next be done to prevent their slipping away.
You may tell a class the history of a certain event; or you may give
them a description of a certain place or person; or you may let them
read it; and you may secure such a degree of attention, that, at the
time of the reading or the description, they shall have a fair,
intelligible comprehension of what has been described or read. The facts
are for the time actually in the possession of the mind. Now, if the
mind was, according to the old notion, merely a vessel to be filled, the
process would be complete. But mind is not an empty vessel. It is a
living essence, with powers and processes of its own. And experience
shows us, that in the case of a class of undisciplined pupils, facts,
even when fairly placed in the possession of the mind, often remain
there about as long as the shadow of a passing cloud remains upon the
landscape, and make about as much impression.

The teacher must seek, then, not only to get knowledge into the mind,
but to fix it there. In other words, the power of the memory must be
strengthened. Teaching, then, most truly, and in every stage of it, is a
strictly co-operative process. You cannot cause any one to know, by
merely pouring out stores of knowledge in his hearing, any more than you
can make his body grow by spreading the contents of your market-basket
at his feet. You must rouse his power of attention, that he may lay hold
of, and receive, and make his own, the knowledge you offer him. You must
awaken and strengthen the power of memory within him, that he may retain
what he receives, and thus grow in knowledge, as the body by a like
process grows in strength and muscle. In other words, learning, so far
as the mind of the learner is concerned, is a growth; and teaching, so
far as the teacher is concerned, is doing whatever is necessary to cause
that growth.

Let us proceed a step farther in this matter.

One of the ancients observes that a lamp loses none of its own light by
allowing another lamp to be lit from it. He uses the illustration to
enforce the duty of liberality in imparting our knowledge to others.
Knowledge, he says, unlike other treasures, is not diminished by giving.

The illustration fails to express the whole truth. This imparting of
knowledge to others, not only does not impoverish the donor, but it
actually increases his riches. _Docendo discimus._ By teaching we learn.
A man grows in knowledge by the very act of communicating it. The reason
for this is obvious. In order to communicate to the mind of another a
thought which is in our own mind, we must give to the thought definite
shape and form. We must handle it, and pack it up for safe conveyance.
Thus the mere act of giving a thought expression in words, fixes it more
deeply in our own minds. Not only so; we can, in fact, very rarely be
said to be in full possession of a thought ourselves, until by the
tongue or the pen we have communicated it to somebody else. The
expression of it, in some form, seems necessary to give it, even in our
own minds, a definite shape and a lasting impression. A man who devotes
himself to solitary reading and study, but never tries in any way to
communicate his acquisitions to the world, or to enforce his opinions
upon others, rarely becomes a learned man. A great many confused, dreamy
ideas, no doubt, float through the brain of such a man; but he has
little exact and reliable knowledge. The truth is, there is a sort of
indolent, listless absorption of intellectual food, that tends to
idiocy. I knew a person once, a gentleman of wealth and leisure, who
having no taste for social intercourse, and no material wants to be
supplied, which might have required the active exercise of his powers,
gave himself up entirely to solitary reading, as a sort of luxurious
self-indulgence. He shut himself up in his room, all day long, day after
day, devouring one book after another, until he became almost idiotic by
the process, and he finally died of softening of the brain. Had he been
compelled to use his mental acquisitions in earning his bread, or had
the love of Christ constrained him to use them in the instruction of the
poor and the ignorant, he might have become not only a useful, but a
learned man.

We see a beautiful illustration of this doctrine in the case of
Sabbath-school teachers, and one reason why persons so engaged usually
love their work, is the benefit which they find in it for themselves. I
speak here, not of the spiritual, but of the intellectual benefit. By
the process of teaching others, they are all the while learning. This
advantage in their case is all the greater, because it advances them in
a kind of knowledge in which, more than in any other kind of knowledge,
men are wont to become passive and stationary. In ordinary worldly
knowledge, our necessities make us active. The intercourse of business,
and of pleasure even, makes men keen. On these subjects we are all the
while bandying thoughts to and fro; we are accustomed to give as well as
take; and so we keep our intellectual armor bright, and our thoughts
well defined. But in regard to growth in religious knowledge, we have a
tendency to be mere passive recipients, like the young man just referred
to. Sabbath after Sabbath we hear good, instructive, orthodox
discourses, but there is no active putting forth of our own powers in
giving out what we thus take in, and so we never make it effectually our
own. The absorbing process goes on, and yet we make no growth. The
quiescent audience is a sort of exhausted receiver, into which the
stream from the pulpit is perennially playing, but never making it full.
Let a man go back and ask himself, What actual scriptural knowledge have
I gained by the sermons of the last six months? What in fact do I retain
in my mind, at this moment, of the sermons I heard only a month ago? So
far as the hearing of sermons is concerned, the Sabbath-school teacher
may perhaps be no better off than other hearers. But in regard to
general growth in religious knowledge, he advances more rapidly than his
fellow-worshippers, because the exigencies of his class compel him to a
state of mind the very opposite of this passive recipiency. He is
obliged to be all the while, not only learning, but putting his
acquisitions into definite shape for use, and the very act of using
these acquisitions in teaching a class, fixes them in his own mind, and
makes them more surely his own.

I have used this instance of the Sabbath-school teacher because it
enforces an important hint already given, as to the mode of teaching.
Some teachers, especially in Sabbath-schools, seem to be ambitious to do
a great deal of talking. The measure of their success, in their own
eyes, is their ability to keep up a continued stream of talk for the
greater part of the hour. This is of course better than the embarrassing
silence sometimes seen, where neither teacher nor scholar has anything
to say. But at the best, it is only the pouring into the exhausted
receiver enacted over again. We can never be reminded too often, that
there is no teaching except so far as there is active coöperation on the
part of the learner. The mind receiving must reproduce and give back
what it gets. This is the indispensable condition of making any
knowledge really our own. The very best teaching I have ever seen, has
been where the teacher said comparatively little. The teacher was of
course brimful of the subject. He could give the needed information at
exactly the right point, and in the right quantity. But for every word
given by the teacher, there were many words of answering reproduction
on the part of the scholars. Youthful minds under such tutelage grow

It is indeed a high and difficult achievement in the educational art, to
get young persons thus to bring forth their thoughts freely for
examination and correction. A pleasant countenance and a gentle manner,
inviting and inspiring confidence, have something to do with the matter.
But, whatever the means for accomplishing this end, the end itself is
indispensable. The scholar's tongue must be unloosed, as well as the
teacher's. The scholar's thoughts must be broached, as well as the
teacher's. Indeed, the statement needs very little qualification or
abatement, that a scholar has learned nothing from us except what he has
expressed to us again in words. The teacher who is accustomed to
harangue his scholars with a continuous stream of words, no matter how
full of weighty meaning his words may be, is yet deceiving himself, if
he thinks that his scholars are materially benefited by his intellectual
activity, unless it is so guided as to awaken and exercise theirs. If,
after a suitable period, he will honestly examine his scholars on the
subjects, on which he has himself been so productive, he will find that
he has been only pouring water into a sieve. Teaching can never be this
one-sided process. Of all the things we attempt, it is the one most
essentially and necessarily a coöperative process. There must be the
joint action of the teacher's mind and the scholar's mind. A teacher
teaches at all, only so far as he causes this coactive energy of the
pupil's mind.



The measure of a teacher's success is not what he himself does, but what
he gets his scholars to do. In nothing is this more noticeable, than in
the different modes of putting a question to a scholar. One teacher will
put a question in such a manner as to find out exactly how much or how
little of the subject the child knows, and thereby encourage careful
preparation; to give the pupil an open door, if he really knows the
subject, to express his knowledge in a way that will be a satisfaction
and pleasure to him; to improve his power of expression, to cultivate
his memory, to increase his knowledge, and to make it more thorough and
definite. Another teacher will put his questions so as to secure none of
these ends, but on the contrary so as to induce a most lamentable degree
of carelessness and inaccuracy.

Let me illustrate this point, taking an example for greater convenience
from a scriptural subject. Suppose it to be a lesson upon Christ's
temptation, as recorded in the 4th chapter of Matthew. The dialogue
between teacher and scholar may be supposed to proceed somewhat in this

_Teacher._ Who was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be
tempted of the devil?

_Pupil._ Jesus.

_T._ Yes. Now, when Jesus had fasted forty days and forty nights, he
was afterward a---- what? How did he feel after that?

_P._ Hungry.

_T._ Yes, that is right. He was afterward "a hungered." Now, then, the
next scholar. Who then came to Jesus and said, If thou be the Son of
God, command that these stones be made bread?

(Scholar hesitates.)

_T._ The t----?

_P._ The tempter.

_T._ Yes, you are right. It was the tempter. Who do you think is meant
by the tempter?--the devil?

_P._ Yes.

_T._ When a man has fasted, that is, has eaten nothing, for forty days
and forty nights, and feels very hungry, would the suggestion of an easy
mode of getting food be likely to be a strong temptation to him, or
would it not?

_P._ It would.

_T._ Yes, you are right again. It would be a strong temptation to him.

I need not pursue this dialogue further. The reader will see at once how
there may thus be the appearance of quite a brisk and fluent recitation,
to which however the pupil contributes absolutely nothing. It requires
nothing of him in the way of preparation, and only the most indolent and
profitless use of his faculties while reciting. He could hardly answer
amiss, unless he were an idiot, and yet he has the appearance, and he is
often flattered into the belief, of having given some evidence of
knowledge and proficiency.

The opposite extreme from the method just exhibited, is that known as
the topical method. It is the method pursued in the higher classes of
schools, and among more advanced students. In the topical method, the
teacher propounds a topic or subject, sometimes in the form of a
question, but more commonly only by a title, a mere word or two, and
then calls upon the pupil to give, in his own words, a full and
connected narration or explanation of the subject, such as the teacher
himself would give, if called upon to narrate or explain it. The subject
already suggested, if profound topically, would be somewhat in this

The first temptation of Jesus.

Or, more fully: Narrate the circumstances of the first temptation of
Jesus, and show wherein his virtue was particularly tried in that

The teacher, having propounded the subject clearly to the class, then
waits patiently, maintaining silence himself, and requiring the members
of the class to be silent and attentive, until the pupil interrogated is
quite through, not hurrying him, not interrupting him, even with
miscalled helps and hints, but leaving him to the free and independent
action of his own faculties, in giving as full, connected, and complete
an account of the matter as he can. When the pupil is quite through, the
teacher then, but not before, makes any corrections or additional
statements that may seem to be needed. In such an exercise as this, the
pupil finds the absolute necessity of full and ample preparation; he has
a powerful and healthy stimulus thus to prepare, in the intellectual
satisfaction which one always feels in the successful discharge of any
difficult task; and he acquires a habit of giving complete and accurate
expression to his knowledge, by means of entire sentences, and without
the help of "catch-words," or leading-strings of any kind.

Some classes, of course, are not sufficiently advanced to carry out
fully the method here explained. But there are many intermediate
methods, founded on the same principle, and suited to children in every
stage of advancement. Only let it be understood, whatever the stage,
that the object of the recitation is, not to show what the teacher can
say or do, but to secure the right thing being said and done by the

To recur once more to the same subject, the temptation of Christ. For a
very juvenile class, the questioning might proceed on this wise:

_T._ Where was Jesus led after his baptism?

_P._ He was led into the wilderness.

_T._ By whom was he led there?

_P._ He was led by the Spirit.

_T._ For what purpose was he led into the wilderness?

_P._ He was led into the wilderness to be tempted.

_T._ By whom was he to be tempted?

_P._ He was to be tempted by the devil.

_T._ What bodily want was made the means of his first temptation?

If the class is quite young, and this question seems too difficult, the
teacher, instead of asking it, or after asking it and not getting a
satisfactory answer, might say to his class, that Jesus was first
tempted through the sense of hunger. He was very hungry, and the devil
suggested to him an improper means of relieving himself from the
inconvenience. He might then go on with some such questions as these:

_T._ What circumstance is mentioned as showing how very hungry he must
have been?

_P._ He had fasted forty days and forty nights.

_T._ Mention any way in which _you_ might be tempted to sin, if you were
suffering from hunger?

The foregoing questions, it will be perceived, are very simple, being
suited to scholars just advanced beyond the infant class. Yet no one of
the questions, in its form, or terms, necessarily suggests the answer.
No one of them can be answered by a mere "yes" or "no." No scholar,
unacquainted with the subject, and with his book closed, can guess at
the answer from the way in which the question is put. Not a question has
been given, simple as they all are, which does not require some
preparation, and which does not, to some extent, give exercise to the
pupil's memory, his judgment, and his capacity for expression.

If the class is more advanced, the questions may be varied, so as to
task and exercise these faculties more seriously. For instance, the
teacher of a class somewhat older might be imagined to begin the
exercise thus:

_T._ After the baptism of Jesus, which closes the 3d chapter of Matthew,
we have an account of several temptations to which he was exposed. Now,
open your books at the 4th chapter, and see if you can find out how many
verses are occupied with the narrative of these temptations, and at what
verse each temptation begins.

The teacher then requires all the class to search in silence, and each
one to get ready to answer, but lets no answer be given until all are
prepared. When all have signified their readiness, some one is
designated to give the answer.

The books being closed, the questioning begins:

_T._ Name the different places into which Jesus was taken to be tempted,
and the verse in which each place is named.

_P._ It is said in the 1st verse that Jesus was led up into the
wilderness; in the 5th verse, that he was taken up into the holy city,
and set on a pinnacle of the temple; and in the 8th verse, that he was
taken up into an exceedingly high mountain.

_T._ What was the condition of Jesus, when the devil proposed his first

_P._ He had been fasting forty days and forty nights, and he was very

I need not multiply these illustrations. I have not made them entirely
in vain, if I have succeeded in producing in the mind of the reader the
conviction of these two things: first, that it is a most important and
difficult part of the teacher's art, to know how to ask a question; and
secondly, that the true measure of the teacher's ability is, not so much
what he himself is able to say to the scholars, as the fulness, the
accuracy, and the completeness of the answers which he gets from them.



These two processes practically run into each other a good deal, but
they ought not to be confounded. Training implies more or less of
practical application of what one has been taught. One may be taught,
for instance, the exact forms of the letters used in writing, so as to
know at once by the eye whether the letters are formed correctly or not.
But only training and practice will make him a penman. Training refers
more to the formation of habits. A child may by reasoning be taught the
importance of punctuality in coming to school; but he is trained to the
habit of punctuality only by actually coming to school in good time, day
after day.

The human machine on which the teacher acts, is in its essential nature
different from the material agencies operated on by other engineers. It
is, as I have once and again said, a living power, with laws and
processes of its own. Constant care, therefore, must be exercised, in
the business of education, not to be misled by analogies drawn from the
material world. The steam-engine may go over its appointed task, day
after day, the whole year round, and yet, at the end of the year, it
will have no more tendency to go than before its first trip. Not so the
boy. Going begets going. By doing a thing often, he acquires a
facility, an inclination, a tendency, a habit of doing it. If a teacher
or a parent succeeds in getting a child to do a thing once, it will be
easier to get him to do it a second time, and still easier a third time.

A teacher who is wise, when he seeks to bring about any given change in
a child, whether it be intellectual or moral, will not ordinarily
attempt to produce the change all at once, and by main force. He will
not rely upon extravagant promises on the one side, nor upon scolding,
threats, and violence on the other. Solomon hits the idea exactly, when
he speaks of "leading in the way of righteousness." We must take the
young by the hand and lead them. When we have led them over the ground
once, let us do it a second time, and then a third time, and so keep on,
until we shall have established with them a routine, which they will
continue to follow of their own accord, when the guiding hand which
first led them is withdrawn. _This is training._

The theory of it is true, not only in regard to things to be done, which
is generally admitted, but also in regard to things to be known, which
is often ignored if not denied. A boy, we will say, has a repugnance to
the study of arithmetic. Perhaps he is particularly dull of
comprehension on that subject. We shall not remove that repugnance by
railing at him. We shall never make him admire it by expatiating on its
beauties. It will not become clear to his comprehension by our pouring
upon it all at once a sudden and overpowering blaze of light in the way
of explanation. Such a process rather confounds him. Here again let us
fall back upon the method of the great Teacher, "Line upon line, precept
upon precept." We will first patiently conduct our boy through one of
the simplest operations of arithmetic, say, a sum in addition. The next
day we will conduct him again through the same process, or through
another of the same sort. The steps will gradually become familiar to
his mind, then easy, then clear. He learns first the practice of
arithmetic, then the rules, then the relations of numbers, then the
theory on which the rules and the practice are based, and finally, he
hardly knows how, he becomes an arithmetician. He has been trained into
a knowledge of the subject.

You wish to teach a young child how to find a word in a dictionary. You
give at first, perhaps, a verbal description of the mystery of a
dictionary. You will tell him that, in such a book, all the words are
arranged according to the letters with which they begin; that all the
words beginning with the letter A are in the first part of the book;
then those beginning with the letter B, then those beginning with C, and
so on; you tell him that all the words beginning with one letter,
covering some one or two hundred pages, are again re-arranged among
themselves according to the second letter of each word, and then again
still further re-arranged according to the third letter in each, and so
on to the end. Arouse his utmost attention, and explain the process with
the greatest clearness that words can give, and then set him to find a
word. See how awkward will be his first attempt, how confused his ideas,
how little he has really understood what you have told him. You must
repeat your directions patiently, over and over, "line upon line;" you
must take him by the hand day after day, and train him into a knowledge
of even so apparently simple a thing as finding a word in a dictionary.

While teaching and training are thus distinguishable in theory, in
practice they are well nigh inseparable. At least, they never should be
separated. Teaching has never done its perfect work, until, by training,
the mind has learned to run in accustomed channels, until it sees what
is true, and feels what is right, with the clearness, force, and
promptitude, which come only from long-continued habit.



The first that I shall name is called the Concert Method. This is
practised chiefly in schools for very young children, especially for
those who cannot read. There are many advantages in this method, some of
which are not confined to infant classes. The timid, who are frightened
by the sound of their own voices when attempting to recite alone, are
thereby encouraged to speak out; and those who have had any experience
with such children, know that this is no small, or easy, or unimportant
achievement. Another benefit of the method is the pleasure it gives the
children. The measured noise and motion connected with such concert
exercises, are particularly attractive to young children. Moreover, one
good teacher, by the use of this method, may greatly multiply his
efficiency. He may teach simultaneously fifty or sixty, instead of
teaching only five or six. But in estimating this advantage, one error
is to be guarded against. Visitors often hear a large class of fifty or
more go through an exercise of this kind, in which the scholars have
been drilled to recite in concert; and if such persons have never been
accustomed to investigate the fact, they often suppose that the answers
given are the intelligent responses of all the members of the class. The
truth is, however, in very many such cases, that only some half dozen
or so really recite the answers from their own independent knowledge.
These serve as leaders; the others, sheep-like, follow. Still, by
frequent repetition, even in this blind way, something gradually sticks
to the memory, although the impression is always apt to be vague and

The method of reciting in concert is chiefly useful in reciting rules
and definitions, or other matters, where the very words are to be
committed to memory. The impression of so large a body of sound upon the
ear is very strong, and is a great help in the matter of mere verbal
recollection. Children too are very sympathetic, and a really skilful
teacher, by the concert method, can do a great deal in cultivating the
emotional nature of a large class.

Young children, too, it should be remembered, like all other young
animals, are by nature restless and fidgety, and like to make a noise.
It is possible, indeed, by a system of rigorous and harsh repression, to
restrain this restlessness, and to keep these little ones for hours in
such a state of decorous primness as not to molest weak nerves. But such
a system of forced constraint is not natural to children, and is not a
wise method of teaching. Let the youngsters make a noise; I had almost
said, the more noise the better, so it be duly regulated. Let them
exercise, not only their lungs, but their limbs, moving in concert,
rising up, sitting down, turning round, marching, raising their hands,
pointing to objects to which their attention is called, looking at
objects which are shown to them. Movement and noise are the life of a
child. They should be regulated indeed, but not repressed. To make a
young child sit still and keep silence for any great length of time, is
next door to murder. I verily believe it sometimes is murder. The
health, and even the lives of these little ones, are sacrificed to a
false theory of teaching. There is no occasion for torturing a child in
order to teach him. God did not so mean it. Only let your teaching be in
accordance with the wants of his young nature, and the school-room will
be to him the most attractive spot of all the earth. Time and again have
I seen the teacher of a primary school obliged at recess to compel her
children to go out of doors, so much more pleasant did they find the
school-room than the play-ground.

Quite the opposite extreme from the concert method, is that which, for
convenience, may be called the individual method. In this method, the
teacher examines one scholar alone upon the whole lesson, and then
another, and so on, until the class is completed.

The only advantage claimed for this method is, that the individual
laggard cannot screen his deficiencies, as he can when reciting in
concert. He cannot make believe to know the lesson by lazily joining in
with the general current of voice when the answers are given. His own
individual knowledge, or ignorance, stands out. This is clear, and so
far it is an advantage. But ascertaining what a pupil knows of a lesson,
is only one end, and that by no means the most important end of a
recitation. This interview between the pupil and teacher, called a
recitation, has many ends besides that of merely detecting how much of a
subject the pupil knows. A far higher end is to make him know more,--to
make perfect that knowledge which the most faithful preparation on the
part of the pupil always leaves incomplete.

The disadvantages of the individual method are obvious. It is a great
waste of time. If a teacher has a class of twenty, and an hour to hear
them in, it gives him but three minutes for each pupil, supposing there
are no interruptions. But there always are interruptions. In public
schools the class oftener numbers forty than twenty, and the time for
recitation is oftener half an hour than an hour. The teacher who pursues
the individual method to its extreme, will rarely find himself in
possession of more than one minute to each scholar. In so brief a time,
very little can be ascertained as to what the scholar knows of the
lesson, and still less can anything be done to increase that knowledge.
Moreover, while the teacher is bestowing his small modicum of time upon
one scholar, all the other members of the class are idle, or worse.

Teaching, of all kinds of labor, is that in which labor-saving and
time-saving methods are of the greatest moment. The teacher who is wise,
will aim so to conduct a recitation that, first, his whole time shall be
given to every scholar; and secondly, each scholar's mind shall be
exercised with every part of the lesson, and just as much when others
are reciting, as when it is his own time to recite. A teacher who can do
this is teaching every scholar, all the time, just as much as if he had
no scholar but that one.

Even this does not state the whole case. A scholar in such a class
learns more in a given time, than he would if he were alone and the
teacher's entire time were given exclusively to him. The human mind is
wonderfully quickened by sympathy. In a crowd each catches, in some
mysterious manner, an impulse from his fellows. The influence of
associated numbers, all engaged upon the same thought, is universally to
rouse the mind to a higher exercise of its powers. A mind that is dull,
lethargic, and heavy in its movements when moving solitarily, often
effects, when under a social and sympathetic impulse, achievements that
are a wonder to itself.

The teacher, then, who knows how thus to make a unit of twenty or thirty
pupils, really multiplies himself twenty or thirty-fold, besides giving
to the whole class an increased momentum such as always belongs to an
aggregated mass. I have seen a teacher instruct a class of forty in such
a way, as, in the first place, to secure the subordinate end of
ascertaining and registering with a sufficient degree of exactness how
much each scholar knows of the lesson by his own preparation, and
secondly, to secure, during the whole hour, the active exercise and
coöperation of each individual mind, under the powerful stimulus of the
social instinct, and of a keenly awakened attention. Such a teacher
accomplishes more in one hour than the slave of the individual method
can accomplish in forty hours. A scholar in such a class learns more in
one hour than he would learn in forty hours, in a class of equal numbers
taught on the other plan. Such teaching is labor-saving and time-saving,
in their highest perfection, employed upon the noblest of ends.



Education may be defined to be the process of developing in due order
and proportion all the good and desirable parts of human nature. On this
point all educators are substantially agreed. Another truth, to which
there is a general theoretical assent, is, that, in the order in which
we develop the faculties, we should follow the leadings of nature,
cultivating in childhood those faculties which seem most naturally to
flourish in childish years, and reserving for maturer years the
cultivation of those faculties which in the order of nature do not show
much vigor until near the age of manhood, and which require for their
full development a general ripening of all the other powers. The
development of a human being is in some respects like that of a plant.
There is one stage of growth suitable for the appearance and maturity of
the leaf, another for the flower, a third for the fruit, and still a
fourth for the perfected and ripened seed.

The analogy has of course many limitations. In the human plant, for
instance, one class of faculties, after maturing, does not disappear in
order to make place for another class, as the flower disappears before
there can be fruit. Nor, again, is any class of faculties wanting
altogether until the season for their development and maturity. The
faculties all exist together--leaf, flower, fruit, and seed--at the same
time, but each has its own best time for ripening.

While these principles have received the general assent of educators,
there has been a wide divergence among them as to some of the practical
applications. Which faculties do most naturally ripen early in life, and
which late in life?

According to my own observation, the latest of the human powers in
maturing, as it is the most consummate, is the Judgment. Next in the
order of maturity, and next also in majesty and excellence, is the
Reasoning power. Reason is minister to the judgment, furnishing to the
latter materials for its action, as all the other powers, memory, fancy,
imagination, and so forth, are ministers to reason, and supply it with
its materials. The reasoning power lacks true vigor and muscle, the
judgment is little to be relied on, until we approach manhood. Nature
withholds from these faculties an earlier development, for the very
reason, apparently, that they can ordinarily have but scanty materials
for action until after the efflorescence of the other faculties. The
mind must first be well filled with knowledge, which the other faculties
have gathered and stored, before reason and judgment can have full scope
for action.

Going to the other end of the scale, I have as little doubt that the
earliest of all the faculties to bud and blossom, is the Memory.
Children not only commit to memory with ease, but they take actual
pleasure in it. Tasks, under which the grown-up man recoils and reels,
the child will assume with light heart, and execute without fatigue.
Committing to memory, which is repulsive drudgery to the man, is the
easiest of all tasks to the child. More than this. The things fixed in
the memory of childhood are seldom forgotten. Things learned later in
life, not only are learned with greater difficulty, but more rapidly
disappear. I recall instantly and without effort, texts of Scripture,
hymns, catechisms, rules of grammar and arithmetic, and scraps of poetry
and of classic authors, with which I became familiar when a boy. But it
is a labor of Hercules for me to repeat by memory anything acquired
since attaining the age of manhood. The Creator seems to have arranged
an order in the natural development of the faculties for this very
purpose, that in childhood and youth we may be chiefly occupied with the
accumulation of materials in our intellectual storehouse. Now to reverse
this process, to occupy the immature mind of childhood chiefly with the
cultivation of faculties which are of later growth, and actually to put
shackles and restraints upon the memory, nicknaming and ridiculing all
memoriter exercises as parrot performances, is to ignore one of the
primary facts of human nature. It is to be wiser than God.

Another faculty that shoots up into full growth in the very morning and
spring-time of life, is Faith. I speak here, of course, not of religious
belief, but of that faculty of the human mind which leads a child to
believe instinctively whatever is told him. That we all do thus believe
until by slow and painful experience we learn to do otherwise, needs no
demonstration. Everybody's experience attests the fact. It is equally
plain that the existence and maturity of this faculty in early childhood
is a most wise and beneficent provision of nature. How slow and tedious
would be the first steps in knowledge, were the child born, as some
teachers seem trying to make him, a sceptic, that is, with a mind which
refuses to receive anything as true, except what it has first proved by
experience and reason! On the contrary, how much is the acquisition of
knowledge expedited, during these years of helplessness and dependency,
by this spontaneous, instinctive faith of childhood. The same infinite
wisdom and love, which in the order of nature provide for the helpless
infant a father and mother to care for it, provide also in the
constitution of the infant's mind that instinctive principle or power of
faith, which alone makes the father's and mother's love efficacious
towards its intellectual growth and development. Of what use were
parents or teachers, in instructing a child which required proof for
every statement that father, mother, or teacher gives? How cruel to
force the confiding young heart into premature scepticism, by compelling
him to hunt up reasons for everything, when he has reasons, to him
all-sufficient, in the fact that father, mother, or teacher told him so?

It may seem trifling to dwell so long upon these elementary points. Yet
there are wide-spread plans of education which violate every principle
here laid down. Educators and systems of education, enjoying the highest
popularity, seem to have adopted the theory, at least they tacitly act
upon the theory, that the first faculty of the mind to be developed is
the Reasoning power. Indeed, they are not far from asserting that the
whole business of education consists in the cultivation of this power,
and they bend accordingly their main energies upon training young
children to go through certain processes of reasoning, so called. They
require a child to prove everything before receiving it as true; to
reason out a rule for himself for every process in arithmetic or
grammar; to demonstrate the multiplication-table before daring to use
it, or to commit it to memory, if indeed they do not forbid entirely its
being committed to memory as too parrot-like and mechanical. To commit
blindly to memory precious forms of truth, which the wise and good have
hived for the use of the race, is poohed at as old-fogyish. To receive
as true anything which the child cannot fathom, and which he has not
discovered or demonstrated for himself, is denounced as slavish. All
authority in teaching, growing out of the age and the reputed wisdom of
the teacher, all faith and reverence in the learner, growing out of a
sense of his ignorance and dependence, are discarded, and the frightened
stripling is continually rapped on the knuckles, if he does not at every
step show the truth of his allegations by what is called a course of
reasoning. Children reason, of course. They should be encouraged and
taught to reason. No teacher, who is wise, will neglect this part of a
child's intellectual powers. But he will not consider this the season
for its main, normal development. He will hold this subject for the
present subordinate to many others. Moreover, the methods of reasoning,
which he does adopt, will be of a peculiar kind, suited to the nature
of childhood, the results being mainly intuitional, rather than the
fruits of formal logic. To oblige a young child to go through a formal
syllogistic statement in every step in elementary arithmetic, for
instance, is simply absurd. It makes nothing plain to a child's mind
which was not plain before. On the contrary, it often makes a muddle of
what had been perfectly clear. What was in the clear sunlight of
intuition, is now in a haze, through the intervening medium of logical
terms and forms, through which he is obliged to look at it.

A primary teacher asks her class this question: "If I can buy 6 marbles
with 1 penny, how many marbles can I buy with 5 pennies?" A bright boy
who should promptly answer "30" would be sharply rebuked. Little
eight-year old Solon on the next bench has been better trained than
that. With stately and solemn enunciation he delivers himself of a
performance somewhat of this sort. "If I can buy 6 marbles with 1 penny,
how many marbles can I buy with 5 pennies? Answer--I can buy 5 times as
many marbles with 5 pennies as I can buy with 1 penny. If, therefore, I
can buy 6 marbles with 1 penny, I can buy 5 times as many marbles with 5
pennies; and 5 times 6 marbles are 30 marbles. Therefore, if I can buy 6
marbles with one penny, I can buy 30 marbles with 5 pennies."

And this is termed reasoning! And to train children, by forced and
artificial processes, to go through such a rigmarole of words, is
recommended as a means of cultivating their reasoning power and of
improving their power of expression! It is not pretended that children
by such a process become more expert in reckoning. On the contrary,
their movements as ready reckoners are retarded by it. Instead of
learning to jump at once to the conclusion, lightning-like, by a sort of
intuitional process, which is of the very essence of an expert
accountant, they learn laboriously to stay their march by a cumbersome
and confusing circumlocution of words. And the expenditure of time and
toil needed to acquire these formulas of expression, which nine times
out of ten are to those young minds the mere _dicta magistri_, is
justified on the ground that the children, if not learning arithmetic,
are learning to reason.

Let me not be misunderstood. I do not advocate the disuse of
explanations. Let teachers explain, let children give explanations. Let
the rationale of the various processes through which the child goes,
receive a certain amount of attention. But the extreme into which some
are now going, in primary education, is that of giving too much time to
explanation and to theory, and too little to practice. We reverse, too,
the order of nature in this matter. What it now takes weeks and months
to make clear to the immature understanding, is apprehended at a later
day with ease and delight at the very first statement. There is a clear
and consistent philosophy underlying this whole matter. It is simply
this. In the healthy and natural order of development in educating a
young mind, theory should follow practice, not precede it. Children
learn the practice of arithmetic very young. They take to it naturally,
and learn it easily, and become very rapidly expert practical
accountants. But the science of arithmetic is quite another matter, and
should not be forced upon them until a much later stage in their

To have a really correct apprehension of the principle of decimal
notation, for instance, to understand that it is purely arbitrary, and
that we might in the same way take any other number than ten as the base
of a numerical scale,--that we might increase for instance by fives, or
eights, or nines, or twelves, just as well as by tens--all this requires
considerable maturity of intellect, and some subtlety of reasoning.
Indeed I doubt whether many of the pretentious sciolists, who insist so
much on young children giving the rationale of everything, have
themselves ever yet made an ultimate analysis of the first step in
arithmetical notation. Many of them would open their eyes were you to
tell them, for instance, that the number of fingers on your two hands
may be just as correctly expressed by the figures 11, 12, 13, 14, or 15,
as by the figures 10,--a truism perfectly familiar to every one
acquainted with the generalizations of higher arithmetic. Yet it is
up-hill work to make the matter quite clear to a beginner. We may wisely
therefore give our children at first an arbitrary rule for notation. We
give them an equally arbitrary rule for addition. They accept these
rules and work upon them, and learn thereby the practical operations of
arithmetic. The theory will follow in due time. When perfectly familiar
with the practice and the forms of arithmetic, and sufficiently mature
in intellect, they awaken gradually and surely, and almost without an
effort, to the beautiful logic which underlies the science.

How do we learn language in childhood? Is it not solely on authority
and by example? A child who lives in a family where no language is used
but that which is logically and grammatically correct, will learn to
speak with logical and grammatical correctness long before it is able to
give any account of the processes of its own mind in the matter, or
indeed to understand those processes when explained by others. In other
words, practice in language precedes theory. It should do so in other
things. The parent who should take measures to prevent a child from
speaking its mother tongue, except just so far and so fast as it could
understand and explain the subtle logic which underlies all language,
would be quite as wise as the teacher who refuses to let a child become
expert in practical reckoning, until it can understand and explain at
every step the rationale of the process,--who will not suffer a child to
learn the multiplication table until it has mastered the metaphysics of
the science of numbers, and can explain with the formalities of
syllogism exactly how and why seven times nine make sixty-three.

These illustrations have carried me a little, perhaps, from my subject.
But they seemed necessary to show that I am not beating the air. I have
feared lest, in our very best schools, in the rebound from the exploded
errors of the old system, we have unconsciously run into an error in the
opposite extreme.

My positions on the particular point now under consideration may be
summed up briefly, as follows:

1. In developing the faculties, we should follow the order of nature.

2. The faculties of memory and faith should be largely exercised and
cultivated in childhood.

3. While the judgment and the reasoning faculty should be exercised
during every stage of the intellectual development, the appropriate
season for their main development and culture is near the close, rather
than near the beginning, of an educational course.

4. The methods of reasoning used with children should be of a simple
kind, dealing largely in direct intuitions, rather than formal and

5. It is a mistake to spend a large amount of time and effort in
requiring young children formally to explain the rationale of their
intellectual processes, and especially in requiring them to give such
explanations before they have become by practice thoroughly familiar
with the processes themselves.



It is not uncommon to hear persons declaim against teaching children
what they do not understand. If by this is meant that children should
not learn a set of words as parrots do, merely by the ear, and without
attaching any idea to what they utter, no one will dissent from the
propriety of the rule. But if the meaning is that they should learn
nothing except what they fully comprehend, the rule certainly needs to
be hedged in by some grave precautions.

There are indeed few things which any one, the oldest or the wisest,
fully comprehends. Who knows what matter is? Certainly not the most
eminent of philosophers. They do not pretend to know. We pick up a
pebble. Who can tell what it is, absolutely? We say that it is something
which has certain qualities. But even these we know mainly by negations.
The pebble is hard, that is, it does _not_ yield to pressure. It is
opaque, that is, it does _not_ transmit light. It is heavy, that is, it
does _not_ remain still, but goes towards the centre of the earth unless
intercepted by some interposing body.

Who knows the meaning, absolutely, of a single article of the Creed?
Certainly not the most eminent of divines. We know certain things about
the great mysteries of the Godhead, and even these things we know, not
directly, but by certain faint, distant analogies, and we express our
knowledge in terms chosen mainly from Scripture and arranged with care
by wise and learned men. These venerable formularies, containing the
most exact verbal expression which the Church has been able to frame, of
what the Scriptures teach about God and his ways, we commit to memory,
and we repeat them with comfort and edification. But we do not pretend
to penetrate the very essence of their meaning. Who by searching can
find out God? One must be God himself to understand him.

We read that Christ was tempted of the devil in the wilderness. There
are many things in this transaction which we may be said, in a certain
sense, to know. But a man will not proceed far in analyzing this
knowledge before he will discover that there are mysteries underlying
the whole, which he cannot penetrate. He knows some of the surface
relations. But the things themselves, in their essence, are unknown. Was
Christ tempted, as the devil tempts us, by suggesting thoughts in the
mind? Was the devil present in a bodily shape? Did he utter an audible
voice, by undulating the air, as we do? Has he direct relations to
matter, as we have? How could his offer of worldly power and riches be
any real temptation to the Saviour, when Jesus knew that Satan had no
power to make his offer good?

There are indeed few things, in revelation or out of revelation, in mind
or in matter, which we really and fully comprehend. If, therefore, we
are to teach children nothing but what they understand, we must either
teach them nothing at all, or our rule must be materially qualified. No
one knows absolutely but God. Among created beings, there are almost
infinite gradations of intelligence, although the highest created
intelligence begins its range infinitely below that of the Divine mind.
A given formula of words, therefore, may express very different degrees
of truth according to the degree of intelligence of the party using it.

A catechism or a creed may convey twenty different degrees of meaning to
twenty successive persons, varying in age, character, and culture. Yet
the very youngest and feeblest shall understand something of its
meaning, while the wisest and oldest shall not have exhausted it. The
young and feeble intellect, receiving a formula of truth with suitable
explanations of its terms, takes in at once a portion of its meaning and
gradually grows into a fuller comprehension of what it has received. A
statement of doctrine received by a child at the age of five, conveys to
him a few feeble rays of light. The same statement at the age of ten,
means to him far more than it did before, while at twenty it is all
luminous with knowledge.

The mind itself grows and expands, and with every addition to its own
vigor and stature, does it find new truths in those expressive and
pregnant formulas of doctrine with which it has from childhood been
familiar. It is like looking at a material object, first with the naked
eye, and then with glasses of continually increased magnifying power.
The more we increase the power, the more we see in the same bit of
matter. Yet no glass will ever reveal to us the very interior essence of
even the smallest particle of dust. God only knows fully either any
single thing or the sum of things. Because, however, we cannot see into
the essence of a pebble or a grain of sand, shall we shut our eyes to it
altogether? Shall we not look at it, first as an infant does, then as a
child, then as a youth, then as a man, then as a philosopher? We can
never see it as God does. But we shall see it with ever-growing powers
of vision, until that which was to us at first only a rude mass becomes
an exhaustless organized microcosm of wonders.

I do not advocate the overloading of children with verbal statements of
abstruse doctrines, whether of religion or of science. Much less would I
turn them into parrots, to repeat phrases to which they attach no
meaning at all. But when it is demanded, on the other hand, that they
shall learn nothing but what they understand, I demur. I ask for
explanation of the rule. I insist that, every statement of truth which
they learn, even the most elementary, contains depths which neither they
nor their teachers can fathom. I insist that, both in science and
religion, there are certain great, admitted elementary truths, reduced
to forms of sound words with which the whole world is familiar; and that
while these formularies contain many things which a child cannot
understand, they yet contain many things of which even the youngest
child has a fair comprehension. I insist that a carefully prepared
religious creed or catechism, even though it contains many things beyond
a child's present comprehension, is a fit subject for study. Memory in
childhood is quick and tenacious. The treasures first laid away in that
great storehouse are the last to be removed. They may be overlaid by
subsequent accumulations, but they are still ready for use. Forms of
sound words are certainly among the things which parents and teachers
should store away in the young minds of which they have charge. If the
child does not understand all that he thus places in his memory, he
understands portions of it just as he sees certain qualities of the
pebble which he holds in his hand, and he will see and understand more,
as his mind expands and his powers of spiritual vision increase.



Many educators now-a-days are accustomed to speak slightly of the
old-fashioned plan of committing to memory verses of Scripture, hymns,
catechisms, creeds, and other formulas of doctrine and sentiment in
religion and science. Many speak disparagingly even of memory itself,
and profess to think it a faculty of minor importance, regarding its
cultivation as savoring of old-fogyism, and sneering at all memoriter
exercises among children as the chattering of parrots. It is never
without amazement that I hear such utterances. Memory is God's gift, by
which alone we are able to retain our intellectual acquisitions. Without
it, study is useless, and education simply an impossibility. Without it,
there could be no such thing as growth in knowledge. We could know no
more to-day than we knew yesterday, or last week, or last year. The man
would be no wiser than the boy. Without this faculty, the mind would be,
not as now like the prepared plate which the photographer puts in his
camera, and which retains indelibly on its surface the impressions of
whatever objects pass before it; but would rather be like the window
pane, before which passes from day to day the gorgeous panorama of
nature, transmitting with equal and crystalline clearness the golden
glory of the sun, the pale rays of the moon and stars, the soft green of
meadow and woodland, images of beauty and loveliness, of light and
shade, from every object on the earth and in the heavens; but retaining
on its own surface not a line or a tint of the millions of rays that
have passed through its substance, and remaining to the end the same bit
of transparent glass, unchanged, unprofited by the countless changes it
has received and transmitted.

Memory alone gives value to the products of every other faculty,
stamping them with the seal of possessorship, and making them truly
ours. In vain reason forges its bolts, in vain imagination paints its
scenes, in vain the senses give us a knowledge of the shapes and forms
of external nature, in vain ideas of any sort or from any source come
into our minds, unless we have the power to retain and fix them there,
and make them a part of our accumulated intellectual wealth. To do this
is the office of memory, and whatever increases the activity and power
of the memory, gives at once value and growth to every other power.

Memory has been well called the store-house of our ideas. The
illustration is true not only in its main feature, but in many of the
minor details. The value of what a man puts away in a store-house
depends much upon the order and system with which the objects are
stored. The wise and thrifty merchant has bins and boxes and
compartments and pigeon-holes, all arranged with due order and symmetry,
and every item of goods, as it is added to his stock, is put away at
once in its appropriate place, where he can lay his hands upon it
whenever it is wanted. There should be a like method and system in our
mental accumulations. The remembrance of facts and truths is of little
value to us unless we can remember them in their connections, and can so
remember them as to be able to lay our hands upon any particular thought
or fact just when and where it is wanted. Many persons read and study
voraciously, filling their minds most industriously with knowledge, but
such a confusion of ideas prevails throughout their intellectual
store-house, that their very wealth is only an embarrassment to them.
The very first rule to be observed, therefore, in cultivating the
memory, is to reduce our knowledge to some system. Those who are charged
with the training of the young should seek not only to store their minds
with ideas, but to present these ideas to them in well ordered shapes
and forms, and in due logical order and coherence. Hence the peculiar
value of requiring children at the proper age to commit to memory the
grand formulas of Christian doctrine, on which, in every church, its
wisest and ablest men have expended their strength in placing great
truths in connected and logical order and dependence. The creeds and
catechisms of the Christian church are among the best products of the
human intellect as mere specimens of verbal statement, and are valuable,
if for nothing else, as a means for exercising the memory. A child who
has thoroughly mastered a good catechism has his intellectual
store-house already reduced to some order and system. His mind is not
the chaos that we so often find in those children who are gathered into
our mission schools.

The objects that are put away for safe-keeping differ in one respect
from those things which are stored away in the memory. The material
object is the same, whether we visit and inspect it from day to day or
not. The banker's dollars are not increased in fineness or value by his
handling them over carefully every day. Not so with intellectual coin.
The more frequently we re-examine our knowledge and pass it under
review, the more does it become fixed in its character, the more full
and exact in its proportions. Handling it does not wear it out. Even
giving it away does not diminish it. In short, so far as the cultivation
of the memory is concerned, the next best thing we can do, after
reducing our knowledge to due order, is to give it a frequent and
thorough re-examination. Constant, almost endless repetition is the
inexorable price of sound mental accumulation.

A distinction is to be made between memory as a power of the mind and
the remembrance of particular facts. One or two examples will illustrate
this difference. The late Dr. Addison Alexander, of the Theological
Seminary at Princeton, had memory as an intellectual power to a degree
almost marvellous. The following instance may be cited. On one occasion,
a large class of forty or fifty were to be matriculated in the Seminary
in the presence of the Faculty. The ceremony of matriculation was very
simple. The professors and the new students being all assembled, in a
large hall, each student in turn presented himself before the
professors, had his credentials examined by them, and if the same proved
satisfactory, entered his name in full and his residence, in the
register. When the matriculation was complete and the students had
retired, there was some bantering among the professors as to which of
them should take the register home and prepare from it an alphabetical
roll,--a work always considered rather tedious and irksome. After a
little hesitation, Dr. Alexander said, "There is no need of taking the
register home; I will make the roll for you;" and, taking a sheet of
paper, at once, from memory, without referring to the register, and
merely from having heard the names as they were recorded, he proceeded
to make out the roll, giving the names in full and giving them in their
alphabetical order. This was a prodigious feat of pure memory; for in
order to make the alphabetical arrangement in his mind, before
committing it to paper, he must have had the entire mass of names
present in his mind by a single act of the will. Some of the wonderful
games of chess performed by Paul Morphy are dependent in part upon a
similar power of memory, by which the player is enabled to keep present
in his mind, without seeing the board, a long series of complicated
evolutions, past as well as prospective and possible. The same is true
of every great military strategist.

In all these cases, there is an act of pure memory, a direct and
positive power of summoning into the mind its past experiences, such as
can only take place where, either by natural gift or by special
training, the memory as a faculty of the mind is in a high state of
vigor. But there are other cases, in which a man is enabled to recall a
great number of particular facts by a species of artifice or trick,
which does not imply any special mental power, and the study of which
does not tend, in any marked degree, to develop such power. More than
thirty years ago, the late Professor Dod, of Princeton College, in
lecturing to a class on the subject of light, was explaining the solar
spectrum, and after exhibiting the solar ray, divided into its seven
primary colors, violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red,
said, "If you will form a mnemonic word of the first letters of each of
these words, you will be able, without further effort, to remember the
order of the prismatic colors the rest of your lives," and he
accordingly wrote upon the board and pronounced the uncouth and almost
unpronounceable word, _Vibgyor_, which probably not one of us has ever
forgotten. An ingenious Frenchman some years ago traversed the country
and collected large audiences by his exhibitions of skill in this
species of artifice, and by undertaking to initiate his hearers in the
method of remembering prodigious numbers of historical facts by means of
such artificial contrivances. Mnemotechny, the name which he gave to his
invention, is merely a trick of the memory. It is a means of remembering
a particular set of facts or things by the aid of contrivances purely
artificial and arbitrary. Its possession does not imply, and its
cultivation does not produce, real mnemonic power. It undoubtedly has
its uses. But it is rather wealth gained by a lottery ticket than a
wealth-producing power acquired by wise habits of business.

In teaching the young, it is well not to neglect either of these
principles. We should give our children from time to time ingenious and
interesting contrivances for remembering important facts. These
contrivances, if judicious in plan and execution, will be great helps
to them. We may in this way bridge over the difficulty of remembering
many of the important facts and dates in history.

I would not discourage these artificial methods. Though they are mere
tricks, they are valuable. But they have by no means the same value as
those methods of teaching which cultivate and produce true mnemonic
power. This power, like every other mental power, is given in unequal
measure to different individuals. Like every other mental power, also,
it grows mainly by exercise. No power of the mind is more capable of
development. I have mentioned some things which tend to the growth of
this power, such as presenting knowledge to children in logical and
orderly arrangement, and frequent re-examination of knowledge already
obtained. Perhaps there is no quickener and invigorator of the memory
equal to that of reciting to a judicious teacher before a large class of
fellow-students. By a proper and skilful use of the art of questioning,
under the excitement of answering before a large class, the mnemonic
power is subjected to a healthy and invigorating test, and all such
exercises promote powerfully the mental growth. A child may absorb
knowledge by mere solitary reading and study, just as a sponge absorbs
water, but the knowledge so acquired readily evaporates, or is squeezed
out. Something is needed to fix in the mind the knowledge that has been
lodged there, and no process is more effectual to this end than that of
class recitation. It is by telling other people what we have learned,
that we learn it more effectually, and make it more completely our own.
A good teacher, by good methods of recitation, can do more than all
other persons and all other things to secure a sound and healthy growth
of memory in the young.

Another thing highly necessary in cultivating a really good memory, is
attaining the utmost possible clearness in our ideas. If the knowledge,
when it first comes into the mind, is clearly and sharply defined, so
that we really know a thing, instead of having vague and confused
notions about it, we shall be the more likely to remember it
permanently. Nothing is more conducive towards giving these sharp and
definite impressions than the use of visible illustrations. Actual
exhibition before a class of the objects talked about, actual
experiments of the operations described, and the constant use of the
chalk and the blackboard, presenting even abstract truths in concrete
and visible symbols, as is done in algebra, chemistry, and logic, are
among the means by which, chiefly, knowledge becomes well defined to the
mind. Such is the constitution of the mind, that we have a clearer
apprehension of what we see than of what comes to us through any other
sense, and the knowledge which comes to us by means of the sight, is, of
all kinds of knowledge, the most lasting and the most easily recalled.
Hence, in teaching, it is hardly possible to exaggerate the importance
of visible illustration.

Another condition extremely favorable to the growth of memory, is the
existence of a considerable degree of mental excitement at the time that
knowledge enters the mind. Metals weld easily only at a white heat. If
we would obtain a vigorous grasp of knowledge, and incorporate it
thoroughly into our other mental products, so that it shall become
really ours, there should be the glow of mental heat at the time of our
acquiring such knowledge. Ideas that come into the mind when we are in
an apathetic state, make no permanent lodgment. Hence the importance of
exciting a lively interest in that which is the subject of study. If the
teacher has failed to excite this interest, and finds in his class no
animation, no sympathy, no eagerness of attention, he may be sure that
he is not accomplishing much. The child must, if possible, acquire a
fondness for that which is to be remembered. Love, in fact, is the
parent of memory.



I have had frequent occasion to urge upon teachers the importance of
cultivating the memory of their pupils. The old-fashioned plan of
requiring the young to commit to memory precious truths, in those very
words in which wise and far-thinking men have handed them down to us,
has too much gone out of use. I have felt called upon, therefore, from
time to time, to recall to the minds of teachers the unspeakable
importance of early exercising the memory of children, and of storing
their memories with wise sayings and rules. I would not take back
anything I have said on this subject, but rather repeat and reiterate
it. At the same time, I am aware that there is an extreme in this
direction, and I therefore put in a word of caution.

The danger to which I refer is that of requiring children to commit mere
words, to which they attach no meaning, or without their having any real
knowledge of the things expressed by the words. Of course there is much
in the formulas and rules of science that the immature minds of children
cannot entirely comprehend, and I am far from saying that a child should
commit nothing except what it can comprehend. But whatever in a rule or
a doctrine they can understand, should be diligently explained to them,
and the ingenuity of teachers should be exercised in awakening the minds
of their scholars to the apprehension of real knowledge as a preliminary
to the act of committing it to memory.

An example or two will illustrate my meaning. Children at school are
required to commit to memory the tables of weights and measures. The
exercise is one of acknowledged and indispensable importance. But it is
possible for a child to repeat one of these tables with entire glibness
and accuracy, pretty much as he would whistle Yankee Doodle, without any
apprehension of the actual things which the terms of the table
represent. He may learn to say "sixty seconds make a minute, sixty
minutes make a degree, three hundred and sixty degrees make a circle,"
with no more idea of the things expressed by this formula of words, than
the parrot who has been taught to say, "You are a big fool." If the
teacher will show the child an actual circle, with the degrees, minutes,
and seconds marked, and will let him count them for himself, so that he
has a real knowledge of the things, he will then not only commit this
formula of words to memory more easily, but the knowledge itself will
promote his mental growth. He will be feeding on real knowledge, not on
its husks. So in learning about inches, feet, yards, rods, and miles,
let the teacher, with foot-rule and yard-stick, show what these measures
really are, let him by some familiar instance give the child an idea of
what a mile is, and then let the memory be invoked to store up the
knowledge gained. So with ounces, pounds, and hundred-weights. So with
gills, quarts, and gallons. The common weights and measures are as
necessary in the school-room as are spelling-books and arithmetics. The
actual weights and measures, so far as possible, should be exhibited,
should be seen and handled, and the child's mind made to grasp the very
things which the terms express, that is, he should first get real
knowledge, and then he should store his memory with it in exact words
and forms of expression.

This is the true mental order. Knowledge first, then memory. Get
knowledge, then keep it. Any other plan is like attempting to become
rich by inflating your bags with wind, instead of filling them with
gold, or attempting to grow fat by bolting food in a form which you
cannot digest.

Some teachers, in their fear of cramming children with words, spend
their whole time and energy in awakening thought, and none in fixing
upon the memory the thoughts which have been awakened. They are so much
afraid of making children parrots, that they discard rules entirely in
teaching, or require pupils to frame rules for themselves. This is to go
into the opposite extreme. The rules and formulas of science require the
greatest care and consideration, and a large and varied knowledge. Few
even of men of learning and of those specially skilled in the meaning of
words and the use of language, are qualified to frame scientific rules
and propositions. To suppose that young children, just beginning to feel
their way into any department of science, are competent to such a task,
is simply absurd. Yet this is by no means uncommon. A teacher will
conduct a boy intelligently and skilfully through the process of doing a
sum in arithmetic, or analyzing a sentence in grammar, and then say to
him, "Now, form a rule for yourself, stating how such things should be
done." The first step here is right. Take your pupil by the hand, and
conduct him through the process or thing to be done. This is necessary
to enable him to understand the rule. But when he thus gets the idea,
then give him the rule or principle, as it is laid down in the book, in
exact and well considered words, and let him commit those words
thoroughly to memory, without the change or the omission of a word or a

What is thus true as to the method of teaching the common branches of
knowledge, is equally true in the study of religious knowledge. I would
not set a child to framing a creed or a catechism, nor, on the other
hand, would I require him to commit such formulas to memory, without
making some attempt to awaken in his mind previously an apprehension of
the ideas which the creed or formula contains. I do not say that a
child's mind is competent to grasp all the truths embraced in these
symbols. But there is no portion of any religious creed or catechism
that I have ever seen, some of the terms of which are not capable of
being apprehended by children. A wise teacher, in undertaking to
indoctrinate a child in such a formula, will begin by showing him as far
as possible what the words mean, by exciting in him ideas on the
subject, by filling his mind with actual knowledge of the truths
contained in the formula. Then, when the words of the formula have
become to the child's mind instinct with meaning and life, the teacher
will pause to stamp them in upon the memory. That is the way to study a
catechism. First, give the child, so far as possible, the meaning, then
grind the words into him. Do not set him to making a catechism; do not
let him stop at understanding the meaning, without committing the words.

Two phrases will cover the whole ground. Knowledge before memory. Memory
as well as knowledge.



Words govern the world. Let any one who doubts it, canvass the motives
by which his own action is decided. Considerations are presented to his
mind, showing him that a certain course of conduct is right, or good, or
expedient, or pleasant, and he adopts it. The considerations presented
to his mind decide his action. But those considerations are in the form
of arguments, and those arguments exist in words. The true original
power, indeed, is in the thought. It is the thinker who generates the
steam. But thought unexpressed accomplishes nothing. The writer and the
speaker engineer it into action.

Thought, indeed, even in the mind of its originator, exists in words.
For we really think only in words. Much more, then, must the thought
have some verbal expression, written or spoken, before it can influence
the opinions or the actions of others. A man may have all the wisdom of
Solomon, yet will he exercise no influence upon human affairs unless he
gives his wisdom utterance. Profound thinkers sometimes, indeed, utter
very little. But they must utter something. They originate and give
forth a few thoughts or discoveries, which minds of a different order,
writers and talkers, pick up, reproduce, multiply, and disseminate all
over the surface of society. When a man unites these two functions,
being both an original thinker and a skilful and industrious writer, the
influence which he may exert upon his race is prodigious. If any one,
for instance, would take the pains to trace the influences which have
sprung from such a man as Plato, he would have an illustration of what
is meant. Plato, while living, had no wealth, rank, or position of any
kind, to add force to what he said or did. Whatever he has done in the
world, he has done simply by his power as a thinker and a writer. There
were many Grecians quite as subtle and acute in reasoning as he. But
their thoughts died with them. Plato, on the other hand, was an
indefatigable writer, as well as an acute and profound thinker. He gave
utterance to his ideas in words which, even in a dead language, have to
this day a living power. When Plato was dead, there remained his written
words. They remain still. They have entered successively into the
philosophies, the creeds, and the practical codes, of the Grecian world,
the Roman, the Saracen, and the Christian. At this very hour hundreds of
millions of human beings unconsciously hold opinions which the words of
that wise old Greek have helped to mould. The mere brute force of a
military conqueror may make arbitrary changes in the current of human
affairs. But no permanent change is ever made except by the force of
opinion. The words of Plato have done more to influence the destinies of
men than have a hundred such men as Genghis Khan or Tamerlane. Four
hundred millions of Chinese, in half the actions which go to make up
their lives, are now governed by maxims and opinions which have come
down to them from remote antiquity, from a man whose very existence is
almost a myth. Those military heroes whose influence on society has been
permanent have been propagandists as well as warriors. Opinions and
codes have gone with, and survived, their conquering armies. The armies
of the elder Napoleon were routed at Waterloo. But the Napoleonic ideas
survived the shock, and they are at this day a part of the governing
power of the world. It was the Koran--the words, and the creed of
Mahomet--that gave to the Mahometan conquest its permanent hold upon the

Spoken words have in themselves greater power than merely written ones.
There is a wonderful influence in the living voice to give force and
emphasis to what is uttered. But the written word remains. What is lost
in immediate effect, is more than gained in the permanent result. The
successful writer has an audience for all time. He being dead still
speaks. Men are speaking now, who have gone to their final account
twenty centuries ago. Paul possibly may not have had the same influence
with a popular assembly as the more eloquent Apollos. But Paul is
speaking still through his ever-living Epistles. He is speaking daily to
more than a hundred millions of human beings. He is exerting through his
writings a power incomparably greater than that even which he exercised
as a living speaker.

All men have not the commanding gifts of the apostle Paul. Yet after
all, the main difference between ordinary men and men of the Pauline
stamp, is not so much in their natural powers, as in the spirit and
temper of the men, in that entire consecration to the service of Christ
which Paul had, and which they have not. It is wonderful to see how much
may be accomplished even by men of ordinary talents, when they have that
zeal and single-mindedness which may be attained by one as well as by
another. We are accountable for the talents which we have, not for what
we have not. But let each man see to it that he uses to the utmost every
talent which his Lord has committed to his trust.

How much, for instance, may be accomplished by a man who has a gift for
addressing a popular assembly! Such a man by a few wise words, spoken at
the right time and place, may do as much in five minutes, in pushing
forward a general cause, as another man can do by the laborious drudgery
of years. The words of the speaker touch the secret springs of action in
a thousand breasts. He sends away a thousand men and women animated with
a new impulse to duty, and that impulse is propagated and reproduced
through hundreds of channels for long years to come.

Words are never entirely idle. They have at times a power like that of
the electric bolt. They may sting like a serpent, and bite like an
adder. In the ordinary intercourse of society, a man of good
conversational powers may, even in discharging the customary civilities
of life, put forth a large influence. The words dropped from minute to
minute, throughout the day, in the millions of little transactions all
the while going on between man and man, have an incalculable power in
the general aggregate of the forces which keep society in motion.

As with spoken, so with written words. The man who knows how to weave
them into combinations which shall gain the popular ear, and sink into
the popular heart, has a mighty gift for good or evil. The self-denying
and almost saintly Heber, by all his years of personal toil on the
plains of India, did not accomplish a tithe of what has been
accomplished for the cause of missions by his one Missionary Hymn. It
would hardly be an exaggeration to say that those few written words are
worth more to the cause than the lives of scores of ordinary
missionaries. How many anxious souls, just wavering between a right and
a wrong decision, have been led to make the final choice, and to decide
for Christ, by that beautiful hymn beginning "Just as I am, without one
plea"? Who can doubt that the patient invalid of Torquay, in the hour
that she penned those touching words, did more for the conversion of
sinners than many a minister of the gospel has done in the course of a
long and laborious life? What a fund of consolation for pious hearts
through all time is laid up in the hymns of that other sweet singer,
Mrs. Steele?

But as with spoken, so with written words, the great aggregate of their
force is not contained in these few brilliant and striking exceptions,
but in the millions of mere ordinary paragraphs which meet the eye from
day to day, in the columns of the daily and weekly press, and which have
apparently but an ephemeral existence. The dashing torrent and the
mighty river are the more noticeable objects to the casual observer. But
it is the minute myriad drops of the rain and the dew that cause the
real wonders of vegetation. So these words which we read, and think we
forget, hour by hour, all day long, are continually sinking into the
soil of the heart, and influencing imperceptibly the growth of the germs
of thought. The aggregate of all these minute, unnoticed influences is
prodigious, incalculable.

Whoever can put words together wisely, either by the tongue or the pen,
has a precious talent, which he may not innocently lay up in a napkin.
The gift, like that of wealth, is not his by right of ownership, but
only as a steward. It is his as a means to do good for the honor of his
Lord, and the welfare of his fellow-men. As I said in the beginning of
these remarks, the world is governed by words. Let Christian men, by the
industrious use of the gifts they have received, see to it that a
greater proportion of this governing force in the world is contributed
by the friends of Christ. Let them unceasingly fill up with the words of
truth and righteousness every accessible channel of thought and opinion,
and thus occupy till Christ come.



The study of language has ever been considered a study of high
importance, regarded merely as a means of intellectual cultivation.

There are obvious reasons for this. The analysis of language is the
analysis of thought. Resolving complex forms of speech into simple ones,
and again combining simple expressions into those which are complex, and
investigating, alternately by logic and aesthetics, the varying
properties of words and phrases, are operations which come nearer,
perhaps, than any other in which we are engaged, towards subjecting
spirit itself to the crucible of experiment. The study of grammar, the
comparison of languages, the translation of thought from one language to
another, are so many studies in logic and the laws of mind. The
subtleties of language arise from the very nature of that subtle and
mysterious essence, the human mind, of which speech is the prime agent
and medium of communication.

The class of studies under consideration bears nearly the same relation
to the spiritual that anatomy does to the bodily part of us. It is by
the dissecting-knife of a keen and well-tempered logic, applied to the
examination of the various forms which human thought assumes, that we
most truly learn the very essence and properties of thought itself. It
is this intimate, immediate, indissoluble connection and correlation
between mind and language, between human thought and human speech,
between the soul itself and the mould into which it is cast, that gives
such importance to the general class of studies known as philological.

The study of language, more than any other study, tends to make the mind
acute, discriminating, and exact. It tends also, in a most especial
manner, to fit a person to train the minds of others to acuteness,
discrimination, and exactness. The person who has learned to express a
thought with entire exactness and idiomatic propriety in two languages;
or where, from the want of analogy between the two languages, he finds
this impracticable, to perceive the exact shade of difference between
the two expressions; who can trace historically and logically the
present meaning of a word from its original starting-point in reason and
fact, and mark intelligently its gradual departures and their causes;
who can perceive the exact difference between words and phrases nearly
synonymous, and who can express that difference in terms clear and
intelligible to others,--that person has already attained both a high
degree of intellectual acumen himself, and an important means of
producing such acumen in others.

The study of language is, in the profession of teaching, like the
sharpening of tools in the business of the mechanic. Words are the
teacher's tools. Human knowledge, even before it is expressed, and as it
is laid up in the chambers of the mind, exists in words. We think in
words. We teach in words. We are qualified to teach only so far as we
have learned the use and power of words.



If we except the lower kinds of handicraft, nine-tenths of all that is
done in the world is done by means of the voice,--by talking. It is by
talking we buy and sell; by talking, the lawyer, the doctor, the
minister, the teacher perform the chief of their functions; by talking,
the intercourse and machinery of life are chiefly kept in motion. As it
was by a word that creation was accomplished, as the worlds came into
being and were moulded into shape, not by the hand, but by the omnific
voice of God, _saying_, "Let there be light and there was light," so in
this lower sphere of human action, the tongue is mightier than the hand.
The moulding, propelling forces of society come from the use of words.
By words, more than by all other means, we persuade, convince, alarm,
arouse, or soothe, or whatever else leads men to action and achievement;
and while written words are full of power, yet even these are feeble as
compared with spoken words, the living utterances of the human voice.
Not only so, but the manner of speaking, the tone and quality of the
voice influence us quite as much as the words spoken.

Yet how strangely we neglect this wonderful instrument. The mechanic
sees to it that his tools are as keen and strong as it is in the power
of art and labor to make them. The sportsman spares no expense or care
to have the articles that minister to his pleasure in the highest
possible state of finish and perfection. How lavish we are in the
purchase of instruments of music, and in keeping them properly tuned and
cared for. Yet this most wonderful organ, the voice, which God has given
to every one of us, and which is worth more to us than all the
instruments of music, all the inventions of pleasure, all the tools of
trade, that human skill has devised, is left for the most part in utter
neglect, without intelligent guidance, its wonderful powers almost
totally uncultivated and undeveloped. We all feel the sway that a well
cultivated and modulated voice has upon us, its power to give us
pleasure and win our assent, and yet the great majority of us neglect to
cultivate in ourselves that which may give us such a power over others.
We are not oblivious of other advantages. We strive to make ourselves
acceptable and to increase our influence, by attention to dress, by the
adornment of our persons, and by the cultivation of our minds, by stores
of knowledge and by accomplishments of various kinds, while the voice,
which more than anything else is the direct instrument of the soul, is
treated with neglect.

We mumble and mutter what should come out clearly and distinctly; we
speak with a nasal drawl, or in a sharp key that sets all the finer
chords of sympathy ajar; we use just so much of the vocal power that is
given us as is needed to express in the faintest way our most imperative
wants, and indolently leave all the rest of its untold and exquisite
resources to go to waste.

Mrs. Siddons once made a shopkeeper turn pale with affright and
unconsciously drop his goods upon the counter, simply by the tone in
which, by way of experiment, she asked him the price of a pair of
gloves. Undoubtedly Mrs. Siddons had natural gifts of voice which do not
belong to every one. But a great part of the wonderful fascination which
she and the other members of that remarkable family exerted, was due to

If ministers of the gospel, and others who undertake to influence the
minds of a congregation on the side of religion, would give this matter
more attention, they would find it very greatly to their own advantage
and that of others. The manner in which the words of eternal life are
read and uttered from the pulpit is often such as to kill all vitality
out of them. It is not enough that a preacher should be a good
theologian, and that his sermon contain sound and valuable thoughts. The
influence which they are to exert upon the people, is largely dependent
upon the voice which gives them utterance. A competent teacher of
elocution is quite as important a part of the machinery of a theological
seminary, as a teacher of Hebrew. Yet, in organizing our seminaries,
this matter is usually entirely ignored.



I have spoken much of blackboards, maps, pictorial cards, natural
objects, and apparatus of various kinds, as among the urgent wants of
the teacher. But there is one thing which he wants more than all these,
and that is EYES. A good pair of eyes are to the teacher, in the
government of his school, worth more than the rod, more than any system
of merit or demerit marks, more than keeping in after school, more than
scolding, reporting to parents, suspension, or expulsion, more than
coaxing, premiums, and bribes in any shape or to any amount. The very
first element in school government, as in every other government, is
that the teacher should know what is going on in his little kingdom, and
for this knowledge he needs a pair of eyes.

Most teachers, it is true, seem to be furnished with this article. But
it is in appearance only. They have something in the upper part of the
face which looks like eyes, but every one knows that appearances are
deceiving. They look over a school or an assembly of any kind, and are
vaguely conscious that things are going on wrong all around them, just
as people sometimes grope about in a dark room filled with bats, and are
aware that something is flitting about, but they have no power of
seeing distinctly any one object. It is amazing how little some people
see, who seem to have eyes.

The fact is, there is an entirely mistaken notion on this whole subject.
Having the eyes open, and seeing, are two distinct things. Infants have
their eyes open, but they do not see anything, in the sense in which
that word is generally used. Light comes into those open windows, the
moving panorama of external nature passes before them, but distinct
vision, which recognizes and individualizes objects, is something more
than a mere passive, bodily sensation. It is a mental act. It is the
mind rousing itself into consciousness, and putting forth its powers
into voluntary and self-determined activity. Nothing in the history of
childhood is more interesting than to watch this awakening of the mind
in infancy, to notice how the whole face brightens up when the little
stranger first begins actually to see things.

The misfortune with many people is, that in this matter of vision they
seem never to get beyond the condition of infancy. They go along the
street, or they move about in a room, in a sort of dreamy state, their
eyes open, but seeing nothing. A teacher of this kind, no matter what
amount of disorder is going on before him, never sees any one particular
act. He sees things in the mass, instead of seeing individual things.
The difference between teachers in this faculty of seeing things is more
marked probably than in any other quality that a man can have. Two
teachers may stand before the same class. One will merely be aware that
there is a general disorder and noise throughout, being unable to
identify any scholar in particular as transgressing. The other will
notice that John is talking, that James is pulling his neighbor's hair,
that William is drumming on the desk with his fingers, that Andrew is
munching an apple, that Peter is making caricatures on his slate, and so

To have this power of seeing things, it is not necessary that one should
be sly, or should use stealth of any kind. Knowledge gained by such mean
practices never amounts to much, and always lowers a teacher in the
estimation of his scholars; it weakens instead of strengthening him.
Whatever a teacher does in the way of observation of his scholars,
should be done openly and aboveboard. And after all, more can be seen in
this way, by one who knows how, than by any of the stealthy practices
usually resorted to. Darting the eyes about rapidly in one direction and
another, is not a good way to make discoveries. Seeing is accomplished,
not so much by the activity of the bodily organ, as by mental activity.
The man's mind must be awake. This in fact is the secret of the whole
matter. The more the face and eyes are quiet, and the mind is on the
alert, the more a man will see. Seeing is rather a mental than a bodily
act, though of course the bodily organ is necessary to its
accomplishment. To be a good observer, one must maintain a quiet and
composed demeanor, but be thoroughly wide awake within.



Improvement comes by comparison. One of the most profound observations
of Bacon is that in which he remarks upon the dwarfing and distorting
influence of solitariness upon the human faculties. The man who shuts
himself up in his own little circle of thought and action as in a cave,
having no consort with his fellows, evolving all his plans from his own
solitary cogitation, must be more than human if he does not become
one-sided, narrow, selfish, bigoted.

A like result, but not so aggravated, is produced, when a man limits his
range of thought and action to those of his own special calling or
profession; when the merchant mingles only with merchants and knows only
merchandise; when the teacher knows nothing but teaching and books; when
the medical man spends every waking hour and every active exercise of
thought upon his healing art; when any man forgets that, in the very
fact of his being a man at all, he is something greater and nobler than
he can possibly be in being merely a merchant, or teacher, or doctor, or
lawyer, or the possessor of any other one special art or faculty.

It is true, indeed, that in order to attain to eminence in any one
department, a man must bend his main energies to that one thing; and he
must give to it much solitary thought and study. But no department of
action is isolated. No interest is unconnected with other interests. No
truth stands alone, but forms a part in the great system of truth. Study
or action, therefore, which is entirely isolated, must needs be dwarfed
and distorted.

A man must go occasionally out of his own sphere in order fully to
understand those very things with which he is most familiar. A man must
study other languages, if he would hope fully to understand his own. A
man must study more than languages merely if he would become a perfect
linguist. The only way to understand arithmetic thoroughly is to study
algebra. A parent who has only one child, and who gives his entire and
exclusive attention to the study of that child, in order that he may, by
a thorough understanding of its nature and disposition, be better able
to teach and train it, will not be so likely to attain his object as he
would if he were to spend a portion of his time in mingling with other
children and in becoming acquainted with childhood generally. A teacher
who should shut himself up in his own school-room, giving to it every
moment of his waking hours, would not be likely to benefit so largely
his own pupils, as if he were to spend a portion of his time in
communing with other teachers and observing other methods besides his
own. A teacher even who should mingle freely with those of his own
profession, and get all the benefit to be derived from observation of
the views and methods of other teachers, but should stop there, would
not yet obtain that broad, comprehensive view, even of his own calling,
and of the duties of his own particular school-room that he might have
if he would travel occasionally beyond the walk of books and pedagogy,
and become acquainted with the views and methods of men in other spheres
of life, with merchants, lawyers, and doctors, with farmers, mechanics,
and artisans.

It is only by mingling with those outside of our own little specialty
that we are disenthralled from the bonds of prejudice. It is wonderful
to see the change produced in the minds of men of different religious
denominations, when by any means they are thrown much into the actual
fellowship of working together in some cause of common benevolence. How,
without any argument, merely by the fact of their being brought out to a
different point of view, the relative magnitude and importance of
certain truths change in their estimation! The points in which
Christians differ become so much smaller; the points in which they agree
become so much larger. The little stone at the mouth of the cave no
longer hides the mountain in the distance.

Let the teacher, the merchant, the mechanic, the banker, the lawyer, the
minister of religion even, still remember that he is a man, and that he
can never reach a full and just estimate of his own position without
sometimes going outside of it and placing himself in the position of
other men.



There is between the teacher and other operatives one obvious
difference, arising from the difference in the materials upon which
their labor is bestowed. That class of laborers whose toil and skill are
exerted in modifying the forms of matter, succeed generally in
proportion to the narrowness of the range to which each individual's
attention is confined. It is possible (the writer has known it to be a
fact) for the same person to sow the flax, to pull and rot it, to break
it, hatchel it, spin it, warp it, weave it, dye or bleach it, and
finally make it into clothes. I say this is _possible_, for I have seen
it done, and I dare say many of my readers have seen the same. But how
coarse and expensive is such a product, compared with that in which
every step in the progress of production is made the subject of one
individual's entire and undivided attention.

If we were to go into the factories of Lowell, or into any of the
thousand workshops which are converting Philadelphia into a great
manufacturing centre, we would find the manufacture of an article
approaching perfection just in proportion to the _im_perfection (in one
sense) of the individual workmen employed in its production. The man
who can make a pin-head better and cheaper than any one else, must give
his attention to making pin-heads only. He need not know how to point a
pin, or polish it, or cut the wire. On the contrary his skill in that
one operation increases ordinarily in proportion to his want of skill in
others. His perfection as a workman is in the direct ratio to his
imperfection as a man. He operates upon matter, and the more nearly he
can bring his muscles and his volitions to the uniformity and the
precision of a mere machine--the more confined, monotonous, and
undeviating are his operations--the higher is the price set upon his
work, the better is he fitted for his task.

Not so the instructor of youth. The material operated on here is of a
nature too subtle to be shaped and fashioned by the undeviating routine
of any such mechanical operations. The process necessary to sharpen one
intellect may terrify and confound another. The means which in one
instance serve to convince, serve in other cases to confuse. The
illustration which to one is a ray of light, is to another only
"darkness visible." Mind is not, like matter, fixed and uniform in its
operations. The workman who is to operate upon a substance so subtle and
so varying must not be a man of _one idea_--who knows one thing, and
nothing more. It is not true in mind, as in matter, that perfection in
the knowledge of one particular point is gained by withdrawing the
attention from every other point. All truth and all knowledge are
affiliated. The knowledge of arithmetic is increased by that of algebra,
the knowledge of geography by that of astronomy, the knowledge of one
language by knowing another. As no one thing in nature exists
unconnected with other things, so no one item in the vast sum of human
knowledge is isolated, and no person is likely to be perfectly
acquainted with any one subject who confines his attention with
microscopic minuteness to that subject. To understand thoroughly one
subject, you must study it not only in itself, but in its relations. To
know one thing well you must know very many other things.

Let us return then to the point from which we set out, namely: that one
important difference between the teacher and other operatives arises
from the difference in the objects on which they operate. The one
operates upon matter, the other upon mind. The one attains perfection in
his art by a process which in the other would produce an ignoramus, a
bungler, a narrow-minded, conceited charlatan. Hence the necessity on
the part of those who would excel in the profession of teachers, of
endeavoring continually to enlarge the bounds of their knowledge. Hence
the error of those who think that to teach anything well it is necessary
to know only that one thing. That young woman who undertakes to teach a
primary school, or even an infant class, has mistaken her calling if she
supposes that because she has to teach only the alphabet or the "table
card," she has therefore no need to know many other things. There are
some things which every teacher needs. Every teacher needs a cultivated
taste, a disciplined intellect, and that enlargement of views which
results only from enlarged knowledge.

We all know how much we are ourselves benefited by associating
habitually with persons of superior abilities. So it is in a still
higher degree with children. There is something contagious in the fire
of intellect. The human mind, as well as the human heart, has a
wonderful power of assimilation. Every judicious parent will say: Let
not my child be consigned to the care of an ill-informed, dull,
spiritless teacher. Let it be his happy lot, if possible, to be under
one who has some higher ambition than merely to go through a certain
prescribed routine of duties and lessons; one whose face beams with
intelligence and whose lips drop knowledge; one who can cultivate in him
the disposition to inquire, by his own readiness and ability to answer
childish inquiries; who can lead the inquiries of a child into proper
channels, and train him to a correct mode of thinking by being himself
familiar with the true logical process, by having himself a cultivated
understanding. Such a teacher finds a pleasure in his task. He finds
that he is not only teaching his pupils to read and to spell, to write
and to cipher, but he is acquiring an ascendancy over them. He is
exerting upon them a moral and intellectual power. He is leaving, upon a
material far more precious than any coined in the Mint, the deep and
inerasible impress of his own character.

Let me repeat then, at the risk of becoming tiresome, what I hold to be
an important and elementary truth, that the teacher should know very
many things besides what he is required to teach. A good knowledge of
history will enable him to invest the study of geography with new
interest. Acquaintance with algebra will give a clearness to his
perceptions, and consequently to his mode of inculcating the principles,
of arithmetic. The ability to delineate off-hand with chalk or pencil
the forms of objects, gives him an unlimited power of illustrating every
subject, and of clothing even the dullest with interest. Familiarity
with the principles of rhetoric and with the rules of criticism, gives
at once elegance and ease to his language, and the means of more clearly
detecting what is faulty in the language of others. A knowledge of Latin
or of French, or of any language besides his own, throws upon his own
language a light of which he before had no conception. It produces in
his ideas of grammar and of language generally, a change somewhat like
that which the anatomist experiences from the study of comparative
anatomy. The student of the human frame finds many things that he cannot
comprehend until he extends his inquiries to other tribes of animals; to
the monkey, the ox, the reptile, the fish, and even to the insect world.
So it is with language. We return from the study of a foreign language
invariably with an increased knowledge of our own. We have made one step
at least from the technicalities of particular rules towards the
principles and truths of general grammar.

But it is not necessary to multiply illustrations. I have already said
enough to explain my meaning. Let me say, then, to every teacher, as you
desire to rise in your profession, as you wish to make your task
agreeable to yourself or profitable to your pupils, do not cease your
studies as soon as you gain your election, but continue to be a learner
as long as you continue to be a teacher, and especially strive by all
proper means, and at all times, to enlarge the bounds of your



There can be no doubt that some persons have a natural aptitude for
teaching. As there are born poets, so there are born teachers. Yet the
man born with the true poetic temperament and faculty will never achieve
success as a poet, unless he add study and labor to his natural gift. So
the man born with a talent for teaching needs to cultivate the talent by
patient study and practice, before he can become a thoroughly
accomplished teacher. No man probably ever showed greater native
aptitude for anything, than did Benjamin West for painting. Yet what
long years of toil and study it took for him to become a really great
painter? In teaching, as in every other profession, while men doubtless
differ as to their original qualifications and aptitudes, yet the
differences are not so great as they are often supposed to be, and they
are by no means so great as those produced by study and practice. The
man who has no special gift for this employment, but who faithfully and
intelligently tries to perfect himself in it, is sure to be a better
teacher than the one who has the natural gift, but adds to it no special
study and preparation. Indeed, if we exclude from consideration those
very nice and delicate touches in education, which are so rare as to be
quite exceptional, there is nothing in the business of teaching which
may not be acquired by any person of average ability.

When, therefore, we see a teacher not succeeding in gaining the
attention of his scholars, or in securing obedience and respect, or in
bringing them forward in their lessons, we are not disposed to free such
a person from blame on the plea of his having no natural aptitude for
teaching. We would respectfully say to such a teacher: if you know not
how to impart knowledge, learn how; if you have no tact, get it.
Teaching is a business, as much as knitting stockings, or planting corn.
Either do not undertake to teach at all, or learn how it is to be done.

If one-fourth of the labor bestowed upon the work of teaching were
devoted to studying the business, the value of the remaining
three-fourths would be quadrupled. It is painful to see the amount of
hard work done in school with so little proportionate effect. If a man
who knew nothing of farming, but who had a desire to be useful, were to
dig a pit and bury therein a bushel of corn, and imagine that he was
planting, his labor would not be wider of the mark than much that is
bestowed in school. A man must learn how to do even so simple a thing as
planting corn. Let the teacher also learn how to plant the seeds of
knowledge, how to prepare the soil, how to open it for the reception of
truth, where and when to deposit the precious grains.

I have no desire to discourage those faithful men and women who are so
nobly striving to do good as teachers. But I cannot help expressing the
regret that so much of this labor is without adequate result. Why
should persons act so differently in this matter from what they do in
any other? If a woman wants to make a pair of stockings, she goes to
some other woman who understands knitting, and sees how it is done, and
learns the stitches, tries and experiments, and studies the matter,
until it is all familiar to her. So of any other ordinary business. Yet
when it comes to teaching, anything like definite study or observation
of the mode of doing it, is almost unknown! It is really no exaggeration
to say that many teachers bungle in their work as egregiously as would a
woman who should put yarn into a churn, and expect, after a proper
amount of churning, to draw out stockings.

In our schools are many professional teachers of approved skill. Why
should not a school-teacher, who is conscious of not succeeding as he
would desire, spend an hour occasionally in observation? Find out the
name of some teacher who is particularly successful, and look on while
the work is being done, and if possible see how it is done.

Then again, there are books on the subject, in which the business of
teaching is explained in all its branches. Get some of these books and
read. The mere reading will not make you teachers. But it will set you
to thinking. It will quicken your power of observation. It will help you
to learn from your own experience.

Make a note of the difficulties you encounter, and the points in which
you cannot accomplish what you desire. Very likely you will find these
very difficulties discussed in the books on teaching which you are
reading. If not, lay your difficulties before some friend who is a
successful teacher, and get advice. _Anything_, rather than going on,
week after week, without improvement. There _is_ a way of interesting
your class in their lessons, of securing good order and punctual
attendance, of making the scholars learn. Only make up your mind that
you will find out what that way is. If you think it cannot be done, of
course it will not be done. If you have fairly made up your mind that it
_may_ be done, and that _you_ can do it, it is half done already.

You have no idea how much more pleasant the work will be, when you have
once learned how to do it. One reason why so many teachers desert the
ranks, is the irksomeness produced by want of success. Few things are
more intolerable than being obliged to do a thing while conscious of
doing it in an awkward and bungling manner. On the other hand, almost
any work is a pleasure, which one is conscious of doing well.



Teachers differ greatly in their ability to bring a class forward in
intellectual acquisition and growth. With one teacher pupils are all
life and energy, they take hold of difficulties with courage, their
ideas become clear, their very power of comprehension seems to gather
strength. With another teacher, those same pupils, studying the same
subject, are dull, heavy, easily discouraged, and make almost no
progress. The ability thus to stimulate the intellectual activity of
others, to give it at once momentum and progress, is the true measure of
one's teaching power. It may be well to consider for a moment some of
the conditions necessary to the existence and the exercise of this

In the first place, we can exert no great, commanding influence over
others, whether pupils or not, unless we have in a high degree their
confidence. Pupils must have faith in their teacher. I never knew an
instance yet, where there was great intellectual ferment going on in a
class, that the pupils did not believe the teacher infallible, or very
nearly so. This principle of confidence in leadership is one of the
great moving powers of the world. In teaching, it is specially
important. This feeling may indeed be in excess. It may exist to such
an extent as to extinguish all independence of thought, to induce a
blind, unquestioning receptivity. Such an extreme is of course opposed
to true mental progress. But short of this extreme point, there is
almost no amount of faith that children can have in their teacher, that,
if well founded, is not of the highest advantage. Seeing the firm,
assured tread of father or mother, or of an older brother or sister, is
a great aid to the tottering little one in putting forth its own steps
while learning to walk. So the child is emboldened to send out its
young, unpractised thoughts, by the confidence it has in the guidance
and protection of its teacher. To acquire and retain the proper
ascendancy over the mind of a child, two things are essential, ample
knowledge and entire honesty. Shallowness and pretension may mislead for
a while. But to hold a child firmly and permanently, the teacher must
abound in knowledge, and must have thoroughly honest convictions.

The next condition to great teaching power is confidence in one's self.
A timid, irresolute, hesitating utterance of one's own convictions fails
to produce conviction in the minds of others. I do not recommend
self-conceit. It is not necessary to be dogmatic. Yet a certain style of
self-assertion, bordering very closely upon these qualities, is needed
in the teacher. In the higher regions of science and opinion, there are
of course many points about which no one, at least no one well informed,
would undertake to speak with authority. Such subjects it becomes us all
to approach with reverent humility, as at the best only inquirers after
truth. But the case is very different with teachers of the common
branches concerned in our present remarks. On these points the teacher
ought to have a certainty and a readiness of knowledge, so as to be
thoroughly self-reliant before the class. Teaching is like fighting.
Self-reliance is half the battle.

Equally important with the former is it to have the affection of one's
pupils. Writers on metaphysics now-a-days dwell much, and very properly,
on the influence of the body upon the mind, and the necessity of a
healthy condition of the former in order to the full clearness and
strength of our intellectual apprehensions. There is a still more
intimate connection between our moral emotions and our mental action.
The wish is father to the thought, in more senses than that intended by
Shakspeare. If the intellect is the seeing power of the soul, the
affections are the atmosphere through which we look. The same object may
appear to us very differently, as it is seen through the colorless
medium of pure intellectual perception, or as it is enlarged and
glorified by the mellowing haze of fond affection, or as it is distorted
and obscured by the mists of prejudice and hate. When a child has a
thorough dislike for a subject or for his teacher, the difficulty of
learning is very greatly increased. Not only is the willingness to study
weak or wanting, but the very power of mental perception seems to be
obstructed. The power of attention, the power of apprehension, the power
of memory, the power of reasoning, are all paralyzed by dislike, and are
equally vitalized by love and desire. Mental action, in short, is
influenced by the state of the heart as much as by the state of the
body. If you do not expect great mental efforts from a child that is
sickly, burning with fever, or racked with pain, neither may you expect
the best and highest results from one whose heart is diseased and
alienated, who approaches a subject with feelings of aversion and
dislike, whose conceptions are clouded with prejudice.

A teacher of great intellectual force, and with an overbearing will, may
push forward even a reluctant and a rebellious class with a certain
degree of speed. On the other hand, a teacher who enjoys the unbounded
love of his scholars, may accomplish comparatively little, on account of
lacking the other qualities needed for success. The highest measure of
success in teaching is attained only where these several conditions
meet,--where the teacher has and deserves the full confidence of the
scholars, where he has full confidence in himself, is self-reliant and
self-asserting, and where at the same time he has the warm affection of
his pupils. Love, after all, is the governing power of the human soul,
as it is the crowning grace in the Christian scheme. Love is, in
teaching, what sunshine and showers are in vegetation. By a system of
forcing and artificial culture, the gardener may indeed produce a few
hot-house plants, but for all great or general results, he must look to
the genial operations of nature.



Children often use the term "grown-up people." By it they mean persons
who have come to the age of twenty, or twenty-one, and whose bodily
growth is complete. But there are other kinds of growth, besides that of
the body.

What is a "grown-up" _teacher_? It is not difficult, certainly, to find
some, in every locality, to whom this term could _not_ be applied, with
any propriety. They have been engaged for years in the work, and yet
they are the merest babes. They have no more skill than when they first
took a class in hand. When a boy begins to use a penknife, he is very
awkward. He cuts himself about as often as he cuts the stick. After a
while, however, he learns to manage the matter better. He finds out how
to handle the curious instrument with skill and even with elegance. But
you will see teachers, so called, who seem never to make any of this
progress in their work. They have no more idea now, than they had when
they gave their first lesson, of what they must do to secure attention
and silence, how they must manage to keep all the children busy, how to
secure good attendance, or study of the lesson, how to gain affection
and confidence, how to enforce order and obedience, how to do anything,
except to sit, book in hand, and ask the questions one after the other
round the class, and see that John, George, and James severally say the
answers correctly. This is the idea of teaching with which they begin,
and they make no progress towards anything better. They acquire no
skill. They make no growth. They are "grown-up" bodily. But in all that
pertains to teaching, they are still babes. They whittle as awkwardly
and unskilfully as when the delicate instrument was first put into their
clumsy fingers. They go on from year to year and learn nothing.

Some persons are born teachers, just as some are born poets or
mechanics. That is, they are gifted with a natural aptitude for that
particular work. But those most gifted by nature, are capable of
improvement, and those having least natural gifts for teaching, may
acquire a certain and a very considerable amount of skill, by proper
observation and study. The point which I wish to make, and which I deem
important, is, that teachers should not rest content with their present
qualifications, whatever they may be, whether large or small. Let it be
the aim of every one to be a growing teacher. We come short, if we are
not better teachers this year than we were last. We should aim and
resolve to be better teachers next year than we are now. Our education
as teachers should never be considered as finished. Forgetting the
things which are behind, let us ever press forward. Let us constantly
aim upward. Skill in teaching admits of infinite degrees, and no one
will ever be perfect in it. Efforts at improvement, if persistently
followed up, are always rewarded with success, and success in such a
work brings a most sweet recompense. What satisfaction is equal to that
of feeling that one is steadily increasing in the power of guiding and
moulding the minds of others? Growing skill in anything, even in works
requiring mechanical ingenuity, brings joy to the mind. How much more
intense and pure the joy, when there is a consciousness of growth in
this higher department of mental power?

Will the teacher, who reads these paragraphs, consider the matter? Are
you, as a teacher, growing? or are you working on in dull content in the
same old routine? On your answer to these questions depend very largely,
not only the welfare of your scholars and the amount of good you will
achieve, but your own happiness and satisfaction in your work. The
artist, who produces some great work of genius, has his reward not
merely in the dollars which it may bring to his coffer, but in the
inward satisfaction which successful achievement produces. The true
artist is always struggling towards some unattainable ideal, and his joy
is proportioned to the nearness of his approach to the imagined
perfection. So in proportion as we approach in skill the great Teacher,
will be our joy in the work itself, apart from our joy in the results.

To be a growing teacher requires a distinct aim to this end, and a
resolute and persistent effort. It does not come by chance. It is not a
weed that springs up spontaneously, and matures without culture. It is
not the fruit of mere wishing. There must be _will_, A DETERMINED AND
RESOLUTE WILL. Rules and theories will not accomplish it. There are
books and essays in abundance on the art and practice of teaching. But
back of means we must have, first of all, the propelling power. Have you
made up your mind to be stationary, or have you resolved to go forward?
Will you remain in the wilderness, or will you advance into the promised
land and take possession? Are you a deliberate, predetermined, contented
dwarf, or will you resolutely grow? You may never become a giant, but do
not remain an infant.

If there is any one duty of the teacher more imperative than another, it
is that of continued, persistent self-improvement. No element of
progress is so efficient as a wholesome discontent. "I count not myself
to _have_ attained," says the great apostle of progress. To sit down
self-satisfied with present attainments is in itself a sign that you
have not yet risen much. It is to belong to the owls and the bats of the
lower valleys. One must already have ascended to lofty heights before he
can even see the higher Alps towering beyond.

The teacher who would improve must, in a good sense, be restless. He
must bestir himself. He must study and read and experiment, attend
teachers' meetings and conventions, and take teachers' papers, and find
out what other teachers are doing and have done, ever remembering that
improvement comes mainly by comparison.



Some teachers make the mistake of supposing that a love for the work and
a love for the children are one and the same thing. The two things are
certainly separable in thought, and they are often actually separated in
action. It is of some importance to teachers to remember the difference.

We see persons every day struggling with all their might to accomplish
certain results. They have certain ideas which they wish to realize,
certain theories which they wish to verify. To bring about these
results, is a matter of pride with them. So that the end is gained, the
means to be used are a matter of comparative indifference. Their heart
is set on the result, they care nothing for the machinery by which it is
brought about. Now, so long as the work is of a nature which requires
only the use of mechanical powers, or of mere brute force, it is all
very well. The sculptor need not fall in love with the block of marble
on which he is working, in order to realize from it the conception of
his mind. The engine which carries us thirty miles an hour towards the
goal of our desires, will not speed us more or less for not being an
object of our affections. But every man has a natural and proper
dislike to becoming a mere machine for carrying out the schemes of
others. Children especially revolt at being treated in this way. If a
teacher takes the charge of a class or of a school, for the purpose of
showing to himself or to others how certain things may be done, the
children are quick to find it out, and to resent it. No child, however
humble or obscure, but feels indignant at being considered as a mere
pawn upon a chess-board, or a mere wheel or pulley in some complicated
piece of machinery. Every individual child is to itself the centre of
all human interests, and if you are to have any real and abiding
influence upon him, he must first feel that you have a regard for
himself, in his own proper person, independently of any schemes or plans
of your own.

You may love to see your children all present punctually, to see them
making a good appearance, and by their orderly behavior and manners
helping forward the school generally; you may love the work of teaching
as giving you honorable and useful occupation. But something more than
this is wanting. _You must love the children._ You must love each
particular child. You must become interested in each child, not for what
it is to you, or to the class, or to the school, but for what it is in
itself, as a precious jewel, to be loved and admired, for those immortal
qualities and capacities which belong to it as a human being. No matter
how degraded or depraved or forbidding in appearance that child may be,
it has qualities which, if brought out, may make it more glorious than
an angel. If Jesus loved him, you may love him. Jesus did not stand off
at a distance from the loathsome and filthy leper, while performing the
miracle of healing. He first "_touched_" the leper, and said, "Be thou
clean." We are sometimes too fastidious in our benevolence, and shrink
too much from coming into contact with those whom we would befriend.

Little real influence is ever produced upon any human being, without
creating between you and him a bond of sympathy. If we would work
strongly and efficiently upon the minds of children, we must really love
them, not in the abstract, not in a general way, but concretely and
individually. We must love John and William and Mary and Susie, simply
and purely because he or she is, in himself or herself alone, an object
of true interest and affection. In looking over a school, it is not
difficult to discover at a glance which teachers thus love their
children. It speaks in every word from the lips. It beams in every look
from the eyes. It thrills in every tone of the voice. It has a language
in the very touch of the hand and the movements of the person.

Some persons are naturally more fond of children than others are. But
those not naturally thus inclined may cultivate the disposition. They
_must_ do so if they mean to be teachers. No one is fitted to be a
teacher, who has not learned to sympathize with the real wants and
feelings of children. Pretence here is all wasted. Shams may do with
grown persons sometimes, never with children. They have an instinctive
perception of what is genuine and what is pretended, in professed love
for them. In fact, the way to win the affection of a child is to love
him, not to make professions of love.

It is not always the easiest thing in the world to exercise this love. A
teacher may have the charge of a class of children whose appearance,
manners, and dispositions are exceedingly forbidding, perhaps even
loathsome. Yet observation and study will ordinarily discover some good
quality even in the worst and most degraded. A talent for discovering
what is good in a child is much more important in the work of elevating
him, than the smartness at detecting and exposing his tricks, in which
some teachers take pride. It is a bad sign, though not an uncommon one,
to see evidences of cunning in a teacher. Better by far to be outwitted
and duped occasionally, than to forfeit that character of perfect
sincerity and straightforwardness which secures the confidence of a
child. The teacher who would love his children, particularly if he
happens to have been entrusted with an unpromising class, must learn to
wear the spectacles of charity. He must cultivate the habit of seeing
things in their best light. While not blind to faults, he must be prompt
and eagle-eyed to spy out every indication of good. Above all, he must
remember that no human soul, however degraded, is without some elements
and possibilities of good, for whom there is the possibility that Christ



The importance of this point is not to be measured by the mere
gratification it affords. It adds undoubtedly to the happiness of the
teacher in his work, to know that his scholars love him. Nor is this a
small consideration. The teacher has many vexatious rubs. He encounters
much toil and self-denial; and whatever tends to mitigate these
asperities, and to make his labor sweet, is for that very reason
important. The teacher has, for a part at least of his reward, the
enjoyment of a love as pure and unselfish as any known upon earth. He
will doubtless go forward in duty, even where he fails of obtaining this
precious foretaste of the heavenly bliss, and he has doubtless higher
aims than any arising from mere gratification, of whatever sort. Yet a
boon so great is not to be despised or ignored. The ardent love which
scholars sometimes give to their teachers is a high gratification, and
something to be greatly prized for the mere pleasure it gives.

And yet, after all, this is not its main value. The fact that children
love their teacher, gives to the teacher almost unbounded influence over
them. There is hardly a point, necessary to the success of a school or
of a class, that scholars will not readily yield to a teacher whom they
love. By this silken cord they can be drawn whithersoever the teacher
wills. To please teacher, they will attend regularly, will come
punctually, will be quiet and orderly, will learn their lessons, will be
attentive to instruction. More than all this, many a child, by the love
of an earthly friend, has been led to the love of his heavenly Friend.
The young heart is opened to receive the Saviour, by the warmth of its
love for one who so manifestly bears his image. Perhaps there is no one,
not even excepting a mother, who can so easily bring the young to the
Saviour, as the teacher who has thoroughly succeeded in winning his
scholars' affections.

There is another consideration in this matter, not so weighty as the one
named, yet of great importance, and the more worthy to be named, because
it is generally not rightly understood. I refer to the fact that
children will learn so much more readily under a teacher whom they love.
Not only will they study better, and be more attentive, for the sake of
pleasing their teacher, but by some mysterious process of the mind, love
helps us to understand, as dislike disturbs and beclouds the
understanding. When a child has a dislike or prejudice or ill-feeling of
any kind against a teacher, or a subject of study, the effect upon the
mind of the child is like that produced upon a spring of pure and
sparkling water by stirring up the mud and sediment from the bottom. In
the human organization the heart is at the bottom, and disturbing
influences there cause us to see things through an impure medium. The
calmness and serenity, produced by perfect love and trust, are the
proper conditions for the right and best working of the understanding.
We must get the heart right if we would see truth clearly, and that
teacher who has won the love of his scholars has done much towards
making the path of knowledge easy for them.

Let the teacher, then, aim to win the love of his scholars, first,
because this love is in itself a boon to which the teacher has a
rightful claim; secondly, because it gives him a powerful influence in
moulding the character and habits of the children, and especially in
bringing them to the Saviour; and, thirdly, because it helps the
scholars intellectually, enabling them to understand better and to learn

But how is this love to be gained?

Assuredly, _not_ by demanding it as a right, or by fretting,
complaining, or scolding because your scholars do not love you. Love
only is the price for love. If you wish your scholars to love you, you
must first love them, not pretend to do it,--children are quick to see
through such pretences,--but really and truly love them.

Many teachers, however, sincerely love their scholars, and yet do not
succeed in winning their affections. Something in their manner and
appearance is repulsive. There is in the face of some good people a hard
and forbidding look, at which the heart takes alarm and retires within
itself. The young heart, like the young buds in spring-time, requires an
atmosphere of warmth and sunshine. If we would draw forth their warm
affections towards us, we must not only feel love towards them in our
hearts, but we must wear sunshine in our faces. A pleasant smile, a
loving word, a soft, endearing tone of the voice, goes a great way with
a child, especially where it is not put on, but springs from a loving

Some teachers in avoiding this hard, repulsive manner, run to the
opposite extreme, and lose the respect of their scholars by undue
familiarity. Children do not expect you to become their playmate and
fellow, before giving you their love and confidence. Their native
tendency is to look up. They yearn for repose upon one superior to
themselves. Only, when the tender heart of youth thus looks up, let it
not be into a region filled with clouds and cold, but into a sky
everywhere pervaded with a clear, steady, warm sunlight. Let there be no
frown upon your brow, no harsh or angry word upon your lips, no exacting
sternness in your eye. Let the love which you feel in your heart beam
forth naturally and spontaneously in loving looks and words, and you
need not fear but that you will meet with a response.



There is much misapprehension as to the true nature of obedience.
Wherein does obedience really consist? What is its essence?

Merely doing a specified act, which has been required, is not
necessarily an act of obedience. A father may have a rule of his
household that the children shall rise in the morning at five o'clock. A
son who habitually disregards this rule, may rise at the appointed time
on a particular morning, in order to join a companion on a fishing
excursion, or for some object connected solely with his own pleasure and
convenience. Here the external act is the one required. He rises at the
hour enjoined by his father's command. But his doing so has no reference
to his father's wishes. It is not in any sense an act of obedience.
Something more than mere external compliance with a rule or a command is
needed to constitute obedience. In other words, not only the act itself
must be the one required, but the motive must be right.

If I am led to do what my father or my mother requires, by mere dint of
coaxing, or by the expectation of cakes or pennies or promised
indulgence of any kind, if it is a bargain, in which I give so much
compliance for so much per contra of self-gratification, the compliance
rendered is not an act of obedience. As well might a man profess to obey
his neighbor, because he gives him a bag of oats for a bag of corn. A
great deal of what passes for obedience in families and schools, is mere
barter. Strip the matter of all glosses and disguises, and the naked
truth remains, that children are hired to do what the parent or the
teacher wants to have done. They do not obey, in any legitimate and
wholesome use of the word. They are quiet when they should be quiet,
they learn the lessons which they should learn, they abstain from
whatever things they should abstain from, because they have learned that
this is the only way to gain the indulgences which they desire. The
parent and the teacher use a motive adequate to secure the outward act,
but they do not secure obedience.

It is not obedience for a child to do a thing because his reason and
conscience tell him that the act in itself, without reference to his
parents' wishes, is right and proper. At least it is not filial
obedience. I may be obeying my conscience, but I am not obeying my
father. Many parents, who are above the weakness of bribing their
children, satisfy themselves by reasoning with them. Far be it from us
to say a word against any legitimate appeal to the reason and conscience
of a child. Children, at the proper age, should be taught to reason and
to judge for themselves, in regard to the right and wrong of actions,
just as they should learn to walk alone, and not be forever dependent
upon leading strings. Only, let it be understood that just so far as the
child acts on its own independent judgment, the act is not one of filial

Obedience is doing a thing because another, having competent authority,
has enjoined it. The motive necessary to constitute any act an act of
obedience, is a reference to the will and authority of another. It is
submission of our will to the will of another. The child receives as
true what his parents say, and because they say it; so, he does as right
what they command, and because they command it. That fact is, and in the
first instance it should be, to the child's mind, the ultimate and
sufficient reason for either believing or doing--for faith or obedience.
This faith and obedience rendered to my earthly father, which is only
partial and temporary, besides serving its own immediate ends, in
securing a well-ordered household and my own best interests as a child,
has the further end of training me for that unqualified faith and
obedience, which I am to render to my heavenly Father, and which is of
universal and permanent obligation. One object of the parental relation
seems to be to fit the soul for this higher obedience. I must, however,
learn to obey my father simply because he is my father, and because as
such he has the right to command me, if thereby I am to learn, for a
like reason, to obey my heavenly Father. No lower motive will secure the

Submission to parental authority is not always the instinctive impulse
of childhood. Where this submission is not yielded, it must be enforced.
Authority, in other words, requires sanctions. The father has no right
to command, unless he has the right to punish in case of disobedience.
Furthermore, if he does not, especially in the early childhood of his
offspring, train them to a habit of real obedience and submission to
authority, he does his children a great wrong. He deprives them of the
benefit of that habit of obedience, which will be of the utmost value to
them in their future religious life.

A man forbids his child to eat green apples. The child abstains. That
abstinence is not necessarily an act of obedience.

He may abstain because his mother offers, in case of his doing so, to
give him sugar-plums, and he prefers the sugar-plums to the apples. This
is not obedience.

Or, his reason and experience may have taught him that the eating of
green fruit will cause him sickness and pain, and so he abstains for the
same reasons that his father, mother, or anybody else does. This is not

But children often have not the forethought to look at remote
consequences, or they have not the strength of purpose to deny a present
gratification for the sake of a distant good, and especially for a good
of which they have only a vague idea through the representations of
their parents or teachers. Suppose such a case. Suppose a child with a
strong inclination and desire for the thing forbidden, and with no clear
apprehension that there is anything wrong or hurtful in the indulgence,
except in the fact that the father has forbidden it, and with no
temptation of a higher indulgence as a reward for abstaining. If, in
such a case, the child abstains, he performs a true act of obedience. He
really subjects his will to the will of his father.

This kind of implicit obedience is greatly needed. It is to be secured
just as our heavenly Father secures obedience to some of his laws. If a
child thrusts his finger into the candle, he violates a law, and he
instantly suffers for it. We are surrounded by many such laws, without
the observance of which we could not live a day. To teach us obedience
to these laws, the penalty of transgression is immediate and sharp.
There are other laws of our physical well-being, the penalties of which
are remote, and in regard to those we have room for the exercise and
cultivation of our reasoning powers. Now in childhood, there are many
things which a child should be taught to forbear doing as promptly as he
forbears to thrust his hand into the fire. Yet for these things there is
no natural penalty. Here the command of the parent should be interposed,
and transgression should be promptly followed by penalty. The authority
of the parent and the penalties by which he sustains it, guide the child
during those years when reason and the power of self-denial are weak.
But to make this discipline easy and effective, there should be no
hesitation or uncertainty about the exercise of it. Parents often have
to strain their authority, and use very largely their right of
punishment, because they are so unequal and irregular in their methods
of government. A child soon ceases to thrust his finger into the fire.
Fire is not a thing which burns one day, and may be safely tampered with
the next. So, if disobedience, invariably and promptly, without passion
or caprice, and with the uniformity of a law of nature, brings such a
penalty as to make the disobedience painful, there will be little
transgression and little need of punishment. A child does not fret
because he cannot play with fire. He will not fret because he cannot
transgress a father's direct command, if he once knows that such
commands _must_ be obeyed.



Parents, teachers, and all who are charged with the duty of training the
young, may learn important lessons from the example of the late Mr.
Rarey. The principles on which the horse is rendered obedient and docile
do not differ essentially from those to be employed in the government of
children or of men.

Some of the accounts of Mr. Rarey's system, however, which have been
published, are liable to mislead, and to foster a mischievous error. His
procedure was eminently kind and gentle. The horse became fully assured
that no harm was intended towards him. This conviction is essential to
success in securing a perfect and willing obedience, whether from brute
or human. But the distinctness with which this feature of the treatment
was brought out in Mr. Rarey's exhibitions, led some apparently to think
that this was the main, if not the only feature. Kindness alone,
however, will not tame, and will not govern, brutes or men. There must
be power. There must be, in the mind of the party to be governed, a full
conviction that the power of the other party is superior to his
own--that there is, in the party claiming obedience, an ample reserve of
power fully adequate to enforce the claim. The more complete this
conviction is, the less occasion there will be for the exercise of the
power. The most headstrong horse, once convinced that he is helpless in
this contest of strength, and convinced at the same time that his master
is his friend, may be led by a straw.

Mr. Rarey went through various preliminary steps, the object of which
was to make the horse acquainted with him, and to prevent fright or
panic. But obedience was not claimed, and was not given, until there had
been a demonstration of power--until the horse was convinced that the
man was entirely too much for him. By a very simple adjustment of straps
to the forefeet of the animal, he became perfectly helpless in the hands
of his tamer. The struggle, indeed, was sometimes continued for a good
while. The horse put forth his prodigious strength to the utmost. He
became almost wild at the perfect ease and quietude with which all his
efforts were baffled, until at length, fully satisfied that further
struggles were useless, he made a complete surrender, and lay down as
peaceful and submissive as an infant.

This point is of some importance. I do not underrate the value of
kindness and love in any system of government, whether in the household,
the school, the stable, the menagerie, or in civil society. But love is
not the basis of government. Obedience is yielded to authority, and
authority is based on right and power. The child who complies with his
father's wishes, only because a different course would make his father
grieve, or give his mother a headache, or because his parents have
reasoned with him and shown him that compliance is for his good, or who
has been wheedled into compliance by petty bribes and promises, has not
learned that doctrine of obedience which lies at the foundation of all
government, human and divine. God has given to the parent the right to
the obedience of his children, and the power to enforce it. That parent
has failed in his duty who has not trained his child, not only to love
him, but to obey him, in the strict sense of the word, that is to yield
his will to the will of a superior, from a sense of appointed
subordination and rightful authority. This sense of subordination and of
obedience to appointed and rightful authority, is of the very essence of
civil government, and the place where it is to be first and chiefly
learned is in the household. To teach this is a main end of the parental
relation. The parent who fails to teach it, fails to give his child the
first element of good citizenship, and leaves him often to be in
after-years the victim of his own uncontrolled passions and tempers. The
want of a proper exercise of parental authority is, in this age of the
world, the most prolific source of those frightful disorders that
pervade society, and that threaten to upturn the very foundations of all
civil government. The feeling of reverence, the sense of a respect for
authority, the consciousness of being in a state of subordination, the
feeling of obligation to do a thing simply because it is commanded by
some one having a right to obedience--all these old-fashioned notions
seem to be dying out of the minds of men. The popular cry is, Don't make
your children fear you. Govern them by love. Conquer them by kindness.
Treat them as Mr. Rarey did his horses.

I protest against the notion. It is a mistake of Mr. Rarey's system,
and it is not the true basis for government, whether of brutes or men.
The doctrine may seem harsh in these dainty times. But, in my opinion, a
certain degree of wholesome fear in the mind of a child towards its
parent, is essential, and is perfectly compatible with the very highest
love. I have never known more confiding, affectionate, and loving
children, than those who not only regarded their parents as kind
benefactors and sympathizing friends, but who looked up to them with a
certain degree of reverence. The fear spoken of in the Bible, as being
cast out by perfect love, is quite a different emotion. It is rather a
slavish fear, a feeling of dread and terror. It sees in its object not
only power but hostility. It awakens not only dread but hate. The
child's fear, on the contrary, sees power united with kindness. It obeys
the one, it loves the other. It is the exact attitude of mind to which
Mr. Rarey brought the horse that was subjected to his management.



I have often wished I had the descriptive power of the man who wrote
"The Diary of a Physician." My experiences in another profession have
not been wanting in incident, often of a curious and romantic kind, and
sometimes almost startling. But the "Diary of a Schoolmaster," to be
read with interest, requires something more than a good basis of facts.
He who writes it must have, also, graphic and narrative powers--a
special gift, of which nature has been sparing to me. I had one
experience, however, many years ago, so remarkable in some of its
features, that perhaps the bare facts, stated in the simplest form,
without artifice or embellishment, will be found worthy of perusal. The
youth who was the principal actor in the scene which I am about to
describe, has been dead these many years, and I believe the family have
nearly all died out. The only survivor that I knew anything of ten years
ago was then blind, and ill of an incurable disease. There would,
therefore, perhaps be no harm in giving the youth's real name; but as
the name is one widely known, and as it is always best to avoid
unnecessary intrusion upon private affairs, I have concluded to use a
fictitious name, both for the person referred to and for the place from
which he came. In other particulars the following incident is a simple
narration of facts.

At the time of which I am writing, I had a large boarding-school for
boys, at Princeton, New Jersey. Particular circumstances gave me, for
several years, quite a run of patronage from a town in one of the
Western States, which for convenience I shall call Tompkinsville. Among
those who applied for admission from this town were two brothers, Bob
and Charlie Graham. Bob was only ten years old. Charlie was fourteen,
and as mature as most boys at nineteen. Mature, I mean, not so much in
his intellectual development, for in that respect he was rather
behindhand, but in his passions, and in his habits of independent
thought and action.

I had many misgivings about the propriety of receiving these boys into
the school. Most of those that I had already from Tompkinsville were of
the fire-eating class, whom it had taken all my skill as a
disciplinarian to bring into subjection, and I did not know what might
be the effect of adding to their number two such combustible youths as
these Grahams were reputed to be. Tompkinsville, indeed, had long been
notorious for the fiery and lawless character of its inhabitants. While
containing many most estimable families, where a generous and
warm-hearted hospitality reigned supreme, yet no town, probably, in all
the Western States witnessed annually a greater number of street-fights
and other deeds of violence of the most desperate character. No family
in Tompkinsville were more noted than the Grahams, on the one hand for
the passionate warmth of their attachments, and on the other for the
fierceness and violence of their resentments. Nothing was too much for
them to do for you when their affections were touched. On the other
hand, no law, human or divine, seemed to restrain them when their blood
was up. When roused by what they regarded as an insult, they were human
tigers, no less in the quickness than in the desperate ferocity of their
anger. The father once, in open court, in a sudden rage, actually strode
over the tables and heads of the lawyers, and seizing the presiding
judge by the collar, dragged him from the bench and horsewhipped him in
the presence of all his officials. Charlie himself, of whom I am
writing, gave, about two years after leaving school, a similar
demonstration of violence. Hearing that a young man, who was a
fellow-student of his in a law office, had done something insulting,
Charlie drew up a formal written apology and presented it to the young
man to sign, intending afterwards to post it. On the young man's
refusing to sign the paper, Charlie drew a weapon of some kind and
sprang upon him. The young man being several years older, and very large
and powerful, had no difficulty in disarming his assailant, throwing him
upon the floor and holding him there. While thus down upon his back,
bound hand and foot, and completely at the mercy of his antagonist,
Charlie still demanded, as fiercely as ever, the signing of the
"apology," giving the young man, as the only alternative, either to kill
him or to be killed. "If you let me up alive, I will shoot you at sight,
as sure as my name is Charles Graham." Knowing the desperate character
of the family, and feeling too well assured of his own social position
to care for any effect the signing of such a paper might have, the young
man courageously let the ruffian up and signed the apology. Two days
after, Charlie came back to the office, thoroughly mortified and
penitent for his outrage, voluntarily gave up the paper, and apologized
in the amplest manner for his folly.

I might enumerate other instances by the score, were it necessary, to
show the character of the boy with whom I had to deal. But these are
probably sufficient. His passions were as quick as gunpowder, and as
indiscriminate. Had I known all that I afterwards knew in regard to his
disposition and his antecedents, I certainly would not have undertaken
the charge of his education.

The Grahams had been with me nearly a year without the occurrence of
anything to attract attention or call for discipline. The school had
considerable reputation among the people of Tompkinsville for the
strictness of its discipline. Though the relations between the pupils
and myself were for the most part thoroughly kind and friendly, yet it
was well understood by every boy who entered school that the will of the
Principal was supreme. Mr. Graham had probably brought his boys to the
school for that very reason. The routine of obedience had been so
thoroughly established, that his boys, he thought, would submit through
mere force of example. Bob was too young to give any uneasiness. He
fell, of course, into many of the peccadilloes of boys of his age, and
received, without demur, the treatment of a little boy. Charlie, for a
long time, was almost a model of propriety. He was diligent in his
studies, and observed the rules of the school with scrupulous care. He
was fair, almost girlish, in appearance, and gentle in his speech. No
one, merely observing the quiet, modest boy, going about his usual
routine of duty, without noise or turbulence, would have dreamed of the
sleeping volcano that lay beneath this placid exterior.

About the middle of the second term I began to notice in Charlie
symptoms that I did not like. The harness evidently chafed him
somewhere, and there was no telling when he might kick out of the
traces. The crisis at length came. One morning, when the boys were in
the washroom, under the charge of the senior teacher, Charlie, with what
precise provocation I could never ascertain, drew back his basin of
water and threw it full into the teacher's face.

Here was a case. We were about to have an explosion. Evidently the young
fire-eater's blood was up. He was bent on having "a scene;" and, while
his hand was in, he would quite likely make up for all the long months
of peaceful inaction. All the tiger within him stood revealed.

The matter was reported to me of course. After some little thought, my
plan was chosen. Not a word was said on the subject for several hours.
Meals, play-time, study-hours, lessons, everything went on as usual. At
length, about eleven o'clock, Charlie was summoned, not to the
principal's desk, in the public school-room, but to my private office,
in a remote part of the premises. As he entered the quiet apartment, it
was evident that the intervening hours of reflection had not been lost
upon him. He was pretty sure, of course, that I had sent for him in
consequence of the occurrence of the morning. Still he was not certain.
Not a word had been uttered in school on the subject--no allusion to it
even. Altogether there was something about the affair that mystified

The following brief dialogue ensued.

"Where are your skates, Charlie?"

"In my box in the play-room, sir."

"Where is your sled?"

"That is hanging up in the outer shed."

"Where is your fishing-line and your ball?"

"They are in the play-room."

"I wish you would get these and all your other playthings together
before dinner. Peter (this was the head waiter) has collected your boots
and shoes, and Sarah (the seamstress) has got your clothes together and
packed your trunks. I have made out your accounts, and will be ready to
send you home to your father by the afternoon train. You may help Bob
also to collect his playthings; he has not done anything wrong, but he
is so young I think your father would not like to have him here alone so
far from home."

All this was said in a tone as utterly emotionless as I would have used
if asking him whether he would be helped to beef or lamb at table.

Charlie was taken aback. If I had attempted to chastise him, if I had
even used towards him the language of invective or reproach, he could
have met the case. But here was an issue which he had never
contemplated. After a moment of blank amazement, he said:

"Mr. H., I don't want to go home thus. It will grieve my father, and it
will be a lasting stigma to me in Tompkinsville, where it is counted an
honor to belong to this school. I know I have done wrong, but can't you
inflict some other punishment? I will submit to anything rather than be
sent home in this way. Put me in 'exile' and at the 'side-table,' for
three days, or any time you please!"

This was an extreme penalty, sometimes used in school for very grave
offences. The boy who was subject to it was obliged to stand at a table
by himself in the dining-room and eat bread and water, while the other
boys and their teachers were at their meals. Besides this, during the
continuance of the penalty the culprit was not allowed to go upon the
play-ground, or to speak to any one, nor was any one allowed to speak to
him, under the penalty of being himself similarly punished. The
punishment was, of course, a severe one in itself, and was very
mortifying to a boy of high spirit. It was only resorted to in extreme
cases, and was limited to one day. Charlie begged that I would "exile"
and "side-table" him for a week, if I pleased; only not send him home

"No, Charlie; I am not sure that your father would approve of your being
thus publicly disgraced before the school and the family, nor am I
myself sure that it would be right in the case of a boy so far advanced
towards manhood as you are. In assuming the charge of you, I never
contemplated anything in our intercourse but such as occurs between
gentlemen. Since I have been mistaken in my estimate of you, let our
intercourse cease. It would not alter your character to subject you to a
humiliating punishment before the assembled school. If it were your
brother Bob, the case would be different. But you are almost a man. You
have been treated here, as at home, with the consideration due to a
young gentleman. I would myself revolt at seeing one of your years and
standing treated as you request me to treat you. I cannot do it. You
must go home."

"Oh, no! no! Do not send me home! Do anything else. I will submit to any
punishment you please. Flog me; _please_, flog me!"

"Flog you! Never! I have no scruples, as you know, on the subject of
corporal punishment, for I often chastise the smaller boys; but boys as
old and mature as you are have sense enough to be governed by other
considerations than fear, and especially fear of the rod. If they have
not, I want nothing to do with them."

"Oh! Mr. H., won't you _please_ to flog me?"

And the boy actually went down on his knees and begged me to thrash him.
He, Charlie Graham, whose veins ran fire, who, six hours before, would
have leaped at my throat had I so much as raised my finger at him, was
now begging me, as a special boon, to give him a whipping! I could
hardly believe my senses. Yet there was no doubt of the boy's sincerity,
or of his earnestness. So, to give me time to reflect as to what should
be done, I finally said, "Charlie, I will think of what you have asked,
and let you know at three o'clock."

Three o'clock came, and Charlie again made his appearance.

"Do you still wish me to whip you?"

"I do. I will make any apology you think proper to the teacher whom I
insulted, and I will be most thankful to you to chastise me for the

"Please to take off your coat."

       *       *       *       *       *

When the painful affair was over, I gave him my hand cordially and
frankly, and said, "Charlie, you have honorably and courageously atoned
for a grievous fault, and I assure you, I restore you not only to your
position in school, but to my respect and confidence."

I never had any further difficulty with Charlie Graham. Years
afterwards, when I met his father at the Springs, he could hardly
contain his amazement when I told him that I had once flogged his oldest
son Charlie, at his own particular request. It was, I suppose, the first
and last time the hand of correction was ever laid on him.



In the previous chapter I gave a leaf from my experience of life in a
boarding-school. I propose now to give another leaf from the same book.
The incident about to be narrated, however, is not given as an
illustration of boarding-school life, but merely because it happened at
school. It might have happened elsewhere, though the circumstances on
that occasion were particularly favorable for giving to it a curious

While I was at the head of the Edgehill school, at Princeton, N. J., a
stranger called one day and announced himself as Prof. ----. The name is
one almost as well known in the history of Phrenological science as that
of Prof. Combe. He said he was about to give a lecture in Princeton on
the subject of Phrenology, and as he was an entire stranger to myself
and to all the pupils and teachers in the school, he thought it would be
a good opportunity for making an interesting and critical experiment. He
proposed, therefore, with my consent, to spend an hour, in presence of
the school, in examining the heads of any of the boys that I might call
up for that purpose. From the very intimate relations existing in a
boarding-school, the characters of the boys would be well known to me
and to their companions and teachers, and we would have therefore the
means of knowing how far he succeeded in his experiment.

Thinking that an hour spent in this way would not be misspent, that it
would at least give some variety to the monotonous routine of study and
lessons, and, let me add, being not entirely without curiosity as to the
result, I consented to his proposition, and called the school together
in the large assembly-room. All the boys being in their seats, together
with the teachers and the ladies of the household, I stated briefly the
object of their assembling and the method in which it was proposed to
proceed with the experiment. They were to observe entire silence, and to
give no indication, by word or look, so far as they could help it, to
show whether the Professor was hitting the mark or not, as he read off
to them the characters of their companions. The boys took to the idea at
once, and the excitement very soon was at fever-heat.

Placing a chair upon the platform, in full view of the school, and the
Professor alongside of it, I called up

_Boy No. 1._--This happened to be a lad about fourteen, from the
interior of Alabama. He was the most athletic boy in school. "Full big
he was of brawn and eke of bones," as Chaucer says, in his picture of
the Miller. He could beat any boy in school in wrestling, and no doubt
could flog any of them in a fist-fight, though on this point I speak
only from conjecture, as this part of boys' amusements is not always as
well known to their teachers as it is to the boys themselves. The
Professor, after some little manipulation of the cranium, read off the
boy's character with tolerable accuracy. Any one, however, with a grain
of observation, who had seen the boy stalking up to the platform, with
bold, almost defiant air, or had noticed his bull-neck, hard fist, and
swaggering gait, could not have had much difficulty in guessing what
kind of a boy he was, without resort to his bumps for information. It
was written in unmistakable characters all over his physical
conformation, from his head to his heels.

I noticed, however, that while the Professor's fingers were busy with
the boy's cranium, his eyes were not less busy with the faces of his
youthful auditors. Whenever his interpretation of any bump was a
palpable hit, his success could be all too plainly read in the upturned
faces before him. If the success was very marked and decisive, the
youngsters were entirely unable to restrain their expressions of
surprise and admiration. It was very evident, from his method of
procedure, that he was guided by these expressions, quite as much as by
his fingering of the bumps. He would first mention lightly some trait of
character. If it attracted no particular attention, he would quietly
fall on to something else. But if the announcement seemed to create a
little breeze, showing that he had made a hit, he would then dwell upon
the point, and intensify his expressions, until, in some instances, the
school was in quite an uproar of satisfaction.

Possibly there was a spice of malice in what followed. At all events, it
seemed to me that that was a kind of game at which two could play, and
if, under the circumstances, he chose to palm off for knowledge gained
by the fingers, what he was really getting by means of his eyes and
ears, there would be no great crime in punishing him a little for his
impertinence. So, in calling the following boys, I selected some who
were notorious in school for certain marked traits, but whose general
appearance and manner gave no indication of their mental peculiarities;
and I questioned the Professor, in regard to each boy, after a method
suited to the case.

_Boy No. 2_ was a youth of moderate abilities, and was, in all things,
save one, just like other boys. But, in one matter, he had a peculiarity
about which there could be no mistake. That was in the matter of music.
So, after questioning the Professor about various indifferent points,
moral and intellectual, such as reverence, combativeness, secretiveness,
language, ideality, etc., I asked incidentally something also about tune
and music. The answer was such as might be safely given in regard to
ninety-nine out of every hundred persons--some vague, indefinite epithet
that would apply to almost any one. But, seeing a little sparkle in the
eyes before him, the gentleman manipulated the cranium again, and then
expressed himself somewhat more strongly. As his expressions increased
in strength, the excitement of the audience increased, until he was
quite lost in hyperbole, as they were in uproar. He even went into
particulars. "Now," said he, "though I never saw this boy before, yet I
venture to say that his ear for music is so quick that he can pick up
almost any tune by once hearing it played or whistled in the street. [A
general rustle through the school, boys winking and giving knowing looks
one to another.] I dare say he could now sing or whistle a hundred tunes
from memory. [More knowing looks.] Possibly he may never make a very
accurate performer, on account of the very ease with which he picks up a
tune. He learns a tune so easily by the ear, that he will not submit to
the drudgery of studying it scientifically."

"You think, then, Professor, that the boy has decided indications of
musical talent?"

"Undoubtedly. He has musical talents of a very high order [suppressed
shouts] amounting almost to genius!"

The fact was, poor Charlie was the butt of the whole school, on account
of his utter inability to learn the first elements of either the art or
the science of music. He could neither sing, whistle, nor play. He could
hardly tell "Old Hundred" from "Yankee Doodle." Although he had been
taking music-lessons for two years, he could not rise and fall through
the eight notes, to save his neck. His attempts to do so were a sort of
indiscriminate goo, goo, goo, like that of an infant; and the excitement
among the boys, which the Professor had mistaken for applause and
admiration, grew out of their astonishment. They were simply laughing at

_Boy No. 3_ was a youth over fourteen years old, regularly and
symmetrically formed in face, features, and person. There was nothing in
his make or bearing to indicate any marked peculiarity. Yet he had a
peculiarity as marked as that of the preceding. He was singularly
deficient in the capacity for mathematical studies. He was studying
English grammar, geography, and Latin, and got along in these branches
about as well as the majority of his class. But when it came to the
science of numbers, he seemed to stick fast. Neither I nor any of my
teachers had been able to get him beyond Long Division. It was as clear
a case as I have ever known of natural deficiency in that department of
the mental constitution. Yet this boy was declared by the manipulator to
have a decided talent for mathematics.

_Boy No. 4_ was my crack mathematician. He was really in mathematics
what our manipulator had made out No. 2 to be in music. His quickness in
the perception of mathematical truth was wonderful. Besides this natural
readiness in everything pertaining to the science of quantity and the
relations of numbers, he had received a good mathematical training, and
he was in this department far in advance of his years. Whenever we had a
public exhibition, George was our show-card. The rapidity with which he
would fill the blackboard, in solving difficult problems in quadratics,
was almost bewildering. It was not every teacher even that could follow
him in his quick but exact evolutions of complex algebraical formulæ. In
Greek and Latin he hardly attained to mediocrity, being always behind
his class, while in mathematics he was superior, not only to every boy
in school, but to any boy of the same age that I have ever had in any
school. But this boy received from the Professor only a second or
third-rate rank for mathematical indications, while highly praised for
linguistics, in which he was decidedly inferior.

The fact was, I saw that the gentleman was trying to read _me_, as well
as the more youthful part of his audience; and so, in questioning him
about this boy, I was malicious enough to be very minute and specific in
my inquiries about any indications of a talent for language, while the
questions about mathematics were propounded just like those about half a
dozen other points; that is, with no special stress or emphasis, but
just enough to draw from the Professor a clear and distinct expression
of opinion.

_Boy No. 5_ was perhaps the most critical case of all, yet the one most
difficult to describe. He was good, and about equally good, in all his
studies. He stood head in almost every class. He was so uniformly good
that his character became monotonous, and would have been insipid, but
for the manly vigor that marked all his performances. His moral were
like his mental traits. He was indeed our model boy. In two years he had
not had one demerit mark. He was on all sides rounded and
complete--_totus teres atque rotundus_. The uniformity of his goodness
was sometimes a source of anxiety to me. There was danger of his growing
up with a self-satisfied, pharisaical spirit.

Thus far, however, I have not named the feature which I regarded as the
critical one, and which had led me to select him as one of the subjects
for examination. Model boys are to be found in all schools. But this boy
had a power of reticence which was to me a continual study, and it was
this feature in his character that I wanted to bring out in the
examination. He was not a sneak. There was nothing sly about him. His
conduct was open and aboveboard. What he did was patent to all. But what
he thought, or how he felt, no one knew. Not Grant himself could more
perfectly keep his own counsel. If a new rule was promulgated, Joseph
obeyed it to the letter. But whether it was agreeable or disagreeable
to him, no teacher could ever find out. Nor was his obedience of that
tame, passive sort which comes from indifference and lack of spirit. We
all knew him to be resolute, and to be possessed of strong passions. But
his power of self-restraint was equal to his power of reticence. He had,
indeed, in a very marked degree, qualities which you look for only in
those who have had a long schooling in the stern realities of life, and
which you find rarely even then. He was as self-poised as a man of
fifty, with not a particle of that easy impulsiveness so nearly
universal at his age.

None of the gentleman's performances surprised me so much as the
character which he assigned to this boy, and all the more because
something of the boy's self-continence and reserve was written upon his
face and manner. He was represented by the Professor, in general terms,
as having a free and easy, rollicking sort of disposition--not being
really worse than his companions, though probably having the reputation
of being so. 'If he got into more scrapes than the others [Joseph was
never in a scrape in his life], it was more owing to his natural
impulsiveness than to anything inherently bad in him. And then, when he
did get into a scrape, he had no faculty for concealing it. His organ of
secretiveness was unusually small. The boys would hardly admit him to a
partnership in their plans of mischief, so sure was he inadvertently to
let the cat out of the bag,' etc., etc.

_Boy No. 6_ was the weakest boy, mentally, that we had in school. He was
barely able to take care of himself. Some of his mistakes and blunders
were so ridiculous, that they were handed down among the traditionary
jokes of the school, and I am afraid even at this day to repeat them,
lest they may be recognized. If the manipulator had had the cranium of
Daniel Webster under his fingers, he could not have drawn a mental
character more marked by every trait that belongs to intellectual
greatness of the highest order. Finding that he was making a decided
impression upon his young hearers, the Professor continued to pile up
qualities and powers, until the scene became almost too much for the
most practised gravity.

The examinations occupied an hour, and I made copious notes of the
whole, writing down, as nearly as I could, the exact expressions used by
the operator. The report which I have now given of it is as nearly
literal as it is safe to make it.

When the Professor was through, and was about to leave, he asked me
privately to tell him how far he had succeeded in his experiments. Not
wishing to say anything disagreeable, I evaded the question to the best
of my ability, answering with some vague generalities, but indicating
sufficiently that it was not agreeable to be more explicit. He pressed
me, however, to tell him candidly and explicitly whether he had
succeeded, and how far. I then told him frankly that he had failed
point-blank in every case. "Ah," said he, "you are skeptical." "No,
sir," said I, "skepticism implies doubt, and I have no longer any doubts
on the subject. _My skepticism is entirely removed!_"



The term Normal School is an unfortunate misnomer, and its general
adoption has led to much confusion of ideas. The word "Normal," from the
Latin _norma_, a rule or pattern to work by, does not differ essentially
from "Model." A Normal School, according to the meaning of the word,
would be a pattern school, an institution which could be held up for
imitation, to be copied by other schools of the same grade. But this
meaning of the word is not what we mean by the thing. When we mean a
school to be copied or imitated, we call it a Model School. Here the
name and the thing agree. The name explains the thing. It is very
different when we speak of a Normal School. To the uninitiated, the term
either conveys no meaning at all; or, if your hearer is a man of
letters, it conveys to him an idea which you have at once to explain
away. You have to tell him, in effect, that a Normal School is not a
Normal School, and then that it is something else, which the word does
not in the least describe.

What then do we mean by a Normal School? What is the thing which we have
called by this unfortunate name?

A Normal School is a seminary for the professional education of
teachers. It is an institution in which those who wish to become
teachers learn how to do their work; in which they learn, not reading,
but how to teach reading; not penmanship, but how to teach penmanship;
not grammar, but how to teach grammar; not geography, but how to teach
geography; not arithmetic, but how to teach arithmetic. The idea which
lies at the basis of such an institute, is that knowing a thing, and
knowing how to teach that thing to others, are distinguishable and very
different facts. The knowledge of the subjects to be taught, may be
gained at any school. In order to give to the Teachers' Seminary its
full power and efficiency, it were greatly to be desired that the
subjects themselves, as mere matters of knowledge, should be first
learned elsewhere, before entering the Teachers' School. This latter
would then have to do only with its own special function, that of
showing its matriculants how to use these materials in the process of
teaching. Unfortunately, we have not yet made such progress in popular
education as to be able to separate these two functions to the extent
that is desirable. Many of those who attend a Teachers' Seminary, come
to it lamentably ignorant of the common branches of knowledge. They have
consequently first to study these branches in the Normal School, as they
would study them in any other school. That is, they have first to learn
the facts as matters of knowledge, and then to study the art and science
of teaching these facts to others. Instead of coming with their brick
and mortar ready prepared, that they may be instructed in the use of the
trowel and the plumb-line, they have to make their brick and mix their
mortar after they enter the institution. This is undoubtedly a drawback
and a misfortune. But it cannot be helped at present. All we can do is
to define clearly the true idea of the Teachers' School, and then to
work towards it as fast and as far as we can.

A Normal School is essentially unlike any other school. It has been
compared indeed to those professional schools which are for the study of
law, divinity, medicine, mining, engineering, and so forth. The Normal
School, it is true, is like these schools in one respect. It is
established with reference to the wants of a particular profession. It
is a professional school. But those schools have for their main object
the communication of some particular branch of science. They teach law,
divinity, medicine, mining, or engineering. They aim to make lawyers,
divines, physicians, miners, engineers, not teachers of these branches.
The Professor in the Law School aims, not to make Professors of law, but
lawyers. The medical Professor aims, not to make medical lecturers, but
practitioners. To render these institutions analogous to the Teachers'
Seminary, their pupils should first study law, medicine, engineering,
and so forth, and then sit at the feet of their Gamaliels to be
initiated into the secrets of the Professorial chair, that they may in
turn become Professors of those branches to classes of their own. Nor
would such a plan, if it were possible, be altogether without its value.
It surely needs no demonstration to prove, that in the highest
departments, no less than in the lowest, something more than knowledge
is needed in order to teach. An understanding of how to communicate
one's knowledge, and practical skill in doing it, are as necessary in
teaching theology, metaphysics, languages, infinitesimal analysis, or
chemistry, as they are in teaching the alphabet. If there are bunglers,
who know not how to go to work to teach a child its letters, or to open
its young mind and heart to the reception of truth, whose school-rooms
are places where the young mind and heart are in a state, either of
perpetual torpor, or of perpetual nightmare, have these bunglers no
analogues in the men of ponderous erudition that sometimes fill the
Professor's chair? Have we no examples, in our highest seminaries of
learning, of men very eminent in scientific attainments, who have not in
themselves the first elements of a teacher? who impart to their students
no quickening impulse? whose vast and towering knowledge may make them
perhaps a grand feature in their College, attracting to it all eyes, but
whose intellectual treasures, for all the practical wants of the
students, are of no more use, than are the swathed and buried mummies in
the pyramid of Cheops!

A Teachers' Seminary, if it were complete, would include in its
curriculum of study the entire cycle of human knowledge, so far as it is
taught by schools. Our teachers of mathematics and of logic, of law and
of medicine, need indeed a knowledge of the branches which they are to
teach, and for this knowledge they do not need a Teachers' Seminary. But
they need something more than this knowledge. Besides being men of
erudition, they need to be teachers, no less than the humbler members of
the profession, who have only to teach the alphabet and the
multiplication table; and there is in all teaching, high or low,
something that is common to them all--an art and a skill which is
different from the mere knowledge of the subjects; which is not
necessarily learned in learning the subjects; which requires special,
superadded gifts, and distinct study and training. There is, according
to my observation, as great a lack of this special skill in the higher
seminaries of learning, as in the lower seminaries. Were it possible to
have a Normal School, not which should undertake to teach the entire
encyclopædia of the sciences, but which, limiting itself to its one main
function of developing the art and mystery of communicating knowledge,
should turn out College Professors, and even Divinity, Law, and Medical
Professors,--men who were really skilful teachers,--it would work a
change in those venerable institutions as marked and decisive as that
which it is now effecting in the common schools. Of course, no such
scheme is possible; certainly, none such is contemplated. But I am very
sure I shall not be considered calumnious, when I express the
conviction, that there are learned and eminent occupants of Professors'
chairs, who might find great benefit in an occasional visit to a good
Normal School, or even to the class-room of a teacher trained in a
Normal School. I certainly have seen, in the very lowest department of
the common school, a style of teaching, which, for a wise and
intelligent comprehension of its object, and for its quickening power
upon the intellect and conscience, would compare favorably with the very
best teaching I have ever seen in a College or University.

I come back, then, to the point from which I set out, namely, that a
Normal School, or Teachers' Seminary, differs essentially from every
other kind of school. It aims to give the knowledge and skill that are
needed alike in all schools. To make the point a little plainer, let me
restate, with what clearness I can, some of the elementary truths and
facts which lie at the foundation of the whole subject. Though to many
of my readers it may be going over a beaten track, it may not be so to
all; and we all do well, even in regard to known and admitted truths, to
bring them occasionally afresh to the mind.

As it has been already said, a man may know a thing perfectly, and yet
not be able to teach it. Of course, a man cannot teach what he does not
know. He must first have the knowledge. But the mere possession of
knowledge does not make one a teacher, any more than the possession of
powder and shot makes him a marksman, or the possession of a rod and
line makes him an angler. The most learned men are often unfortunately
the very men who have least capacity for communicating what they know.
Nor is this incapacity confined to those versed in book knowledge. It is
common to every class of men, and to every kind of knowledge. Let me
give an example. The fact about to be stated, was communicated to me by
a gentleman of eminent commercial standing in Philadelphia, at that time
the President of one of its leading banks. The fact occurred in his own
personal experience. He was, at the time of its occurrence, largely
engaged in the cloth trade. His faculties of mind and body, and
particularly his sense of touch, had been so trained in this business,
that in going rapidly over an invoice of cloth, as his eye and hand
passed in quick succession from piece to piece, in the most
miscellaneous assortment, he could tell instantly the value of each,
with a degree of precision, and a certainty of knowledge, hardly
credible. A single glance of the eye, a single touch, transient as
thought, gave the result. His own knowledge of the subject, in short,
was perfect, and it was rapidly winning him a fortune. Yet when
undertaking to explain to a younger and less experienced member of the
craft, whom he wished to befriend, by what process he arrived at his
judgment, in other words, to teach what he knew, he found himself
utterly at a loss. His thoughts had never run in that direction. "Oh!"
said he, "you have only--to look at the cloth, and--and--to run your
fingers over it,--thus. You will perceive at once the difference between
one piece and another." It seems never to have occurred to him that
another man's sensations and perceptions might in the same circumstances
be quite different from his, and that in order to communicate his
knowledge to one uninitiated, he must pause to analyze it; he must
separate, classify, and name those several qualities of the cloth of
which his senses took cognizance; he must then ascertain how far his
interrogator perceived by his senses the same qualities which he himself
did, and thus gradually get on common ground with him.

Let the receiving-teller of a bank be called upon to explain how it is
that he knows at a glance a counterfeit bill from a genuine one, and in
nine cases out of ten he will succeed no better than the cloth merchant
did. Knowing and communicating what we know, doing and explaining what
we do, are distinct, separable, and usually very different processes.

Similar illustrations might be drawn from artists, and from men of
original genius in almost every profession, who can seldom give any
intelligible account of how they achieve their results. The mental
habits best suited for achievement are rarely those best suited for
teaching. Marlborough, so celebrated for his military combinations,
could never give any intelligible account of his plans. He had arrived
at his conclusions with unerring certainty, but he was so little
accustomed to observing his own mental processes, that he utterly failed
in attempting to make them plain to others. He saw the points himself
with perfect clearness, but he had no power to make others see them. To
all objections to his plans, he could only say, "Silly, silly, that's
silly." It was much the same with Cromwell. It is so with most men who
are distinguished for action and achievement. Patrick Henry would
doubtless have made but a third-rate teacher of elocution, and old Homer
but an indifferent lecturer on the art of poetry.

To acquire knowledge ourselves, then, and to put others in possession of
what we have acquired, are not only distinct intellectual processes, but
they are quite unlike. In the former case, the faculties merely go out
towards the objects to be known, as in the case of the cloth merchant
passing his eye and finger over the bales of cloth. But in the case of
one attempting to teach, several additional processes are needed,
besides that of collecting knowledge. He must turn his thoughts inward,
so as to arrange and classify properly the contents of his intellectual
storehouse. He must then examine his own mind, his intellectual
machinery, so as to understand exactly how the knowledge came in upon
himself. He must lastly study the minds of his pupils, so as to know
through what channels the knowledge may best reach them. The teacher may
not always be aware that he does all these things, that is, he may not
always have a theory of his own art. But the art itself he must have. He
must first get the knowledge of the things to be taught; he must
secondly study his knowledge; he must thirdly study himself; he must
lastly study his pupil. He is a teacher at all only so far as he does at
least these four things.

In a Normal School, as before said, the knowledge of the subject is
presupposed. The object of the Normal School is, not so much to make
arithmeticians and grammarians, for instance, as to make teachers of
arithmetic and grammar. This teaching faculty is a thing by itself, and
quite apart from the subject matter to be taught. It underlies every
branch of knowledge, and every trade and profession. The theologian, the
mathematician, the linguist, the learned professor, no less than the
teacher of the primary school, or of the Sabbath-school, all need this
supplementary knowledge and skill, in which consists the very essence of
teaching. This knowledge of how to teach is not acquired by merely
studying the subject to be taught. It is a study by itself. A man may
read familiarly the _Mechanique Celeste_, and yet not know how to teach
the multiplication table. He may read Arabic or Sanskrit, and not know
how to teach a child the alphabet of his mother tongue. The
Sabbath-school teacher may dip deep into biblical lore, he may ransack
the commentaries, and may become, as many Sabbath-school teachers are,
truly learned in Bible knowledge, and yet be utterly incompetent to
teach a class of children. He can no more hit the wandering attention,
or make a lodgment of his knowledge in the minds of his youthful
auditory, than the mere unskilled possessor of a fowling-piece can hit a
bird upon the wing.

The art of teaching is the one indispensable qualification of the
teacher. Without this, whatever else he may be, he is no teacher. How
may this art be acquired? In the first place, many persons pick it up,
just as they pick up a great many other arts and trades,--in a
hap-hazard sort of way. They have some natural aptitude for it, and they
grope their way along, by guess and by instinct, and through many
failures, until they become good teachers, they hardly know how. To
rescue the art from this condition of uncertainty and chance, is the
object of the Normal School. In such a school, the main object of the
pupil is to learn how to make others know what he himself knows. The
whole current of his thoughts and studies is turned into this channel.
Studying how to teach, with an experimental class to practise on, forms
the constant topic of his meditations. It is surprising how rapidly,
under such conditions, the faculty of teaching is developed; how fertile
the mind becomes in devising practical expedients, when once the
attention is roused and fixed upon the precise object to be attained,
and the idea of what teaching really is, fairly has possession of the
mind. For this purpose every well-ordered Normal School has, in
connection with it, as a part of its organization, a Model School, to
serve the double purpose of a school of observation and practice.

Thus, after these pupil-teachers are once familiar with the branches to
be taught, and after they have become acquainted with the theory of
teaching, as a science, it is surprising how soon, with even a little of
this practice-teaching, they acquire the art. If the faculty of teaching
is in them at all, a very few experimental lessons, under the eye of an
experienced teacher, will develop it.

The fact of possessing within one's self this gift, or power of
teaching, sometimes breaks upon the possessor himself with all the force
of a surprising and most delightful discovery. The good teacher does not
indeed stop here. He goes on to improve in his art, as long as he lives.
But his greatest single achievement is when he takes the first
step,--when he first learns to teach at all. The pupil of a Normal
School gains there a start and an impulse, which carry him forward the
rest of his life. A very little judicious experimental training redeems
hundreds of candidates from utter and hopeless incompetency, and
converts for them an awkward and painful drudgery into keen, hopeful and
productive labor.



One feature of a Normal School which distinguishes it especially from
other schools, is the opportunity given to its matriculants for
practising their art under the guidance and criticism of an experienced
teacher. This practice-teaching is done in a Model School, maintained
for this purpose in connection with the main school. Such is the theory.

But serious difficulties are encountered in carrying the plan into
practical effect, and these difficulties are so great as in some
instances to have led to the entire abandonment of the plan, while very
rarely have the conductors of Normal schools been able to realize
results in this matter commensurate with their wishes or with their
views of what was desirable and right.

Some of the difficulties are the following: Parents who send their
children to the Model School object to have their children taught to any
considerable extent by mere pupil-teachers. The teachers of the Model
School, having little or no acquaintance with the Normal pupils sent to
teach under their supervision, do not feel that entire freedom in
criticising the performance which is essential to its success. The
irregularities produced by these practice-teachings have a tendency to
impair the discipline of the classes in the Model School.

For these and other reasons which I need not dwell upon, I at least have
always been obliged to be somewhat chary in regard to the amount of
practice-teaching that was done in the institution under my care, and
have never felt quite satisfied as to the result. At the beginning of
the year 1867, I determined to try the plan of having a considerable
portion of the practice-teaching done in the Normal School itself, the
Model School still holding its place in the system as furnishing an
unrivalled opportunity for observation, and to some extent of practice
also. The effect of thus extending the opportunity for practice by
including the Normal School in its operations has been most happy. The
pupils have attained a degree of freedom in the exercise which is
working the most marked and decisive results. They enter into it with
more zest than into any other exercise of the class, and derive from it
in some instances as much benefit as from all their other exercises put

Some detailed account of the method may perhaps be of interest to other
laborers in the same field. The method is substantially the same as that
followed in the Girls High and Normal School of Philadelphia, from which
indeed I borrowed the idea.

Once a week I make up a programme containing the names of those who are
to teach during the following week, and the classes and lessons which
they are severally to teach. The practice-pupils are thus enabled to
prepare themselves fully for the exercise. It is an indispensable
condition in all these exercises that the lesson be given without the
use of the book. When a pupil enters a room to teach one of these
assigned lessons, he is to bring with him only his crayon and pointer,
and is expected to assume entire charge of the class, maintaining order,
hearing the pupils recite, correcting their mistakes, illustrating the
subject, if necessary, by diagrams or experiments, giving supplementary
information drawn from other sources than the text-book, and acting in
all respects as if he were the regular teacher. The regular teacher
meanwhile sits by, observing in silence, and at the close of the day
writes out a full and detailed criticism upon the performance in a book
kept for this purpose, and gives the pupil an average for it, the
maximum being 100. These criticisms, together with the teaching
averages, are read next day by the Principal to the pupil in the
presence of the class to which he belongs, with additional comments in
regard to any principles of teaching that may be involved in the

An essential element of success in this scheme, is that the teachers
should be thoroughly faithful in the work of criticism, and point out
the errors and shortcomings of the young practitioners, not with
harshness, but with unsparing truthfulness and wise discrimination.
Practice-teaching under such conditions cannot fail to have a powerful
effect. The pupils are stimulated by it to put forth the very best
efforts of which they are capable, and the talent which they often
develop is a surprise equally to themselves and their teachers.

I cannot better give an idea of this practice-teaching, and especially
of the criticism which is its vitalizing principle, than by quoting a
few of the actual criticisms made during the last year. I feel sure they
will interest teachers and perhaps the public.

In making these extracts, I suppress, of course, the names of the


Miss ---- gave the C class a lesson in Elocution. She was animated and
energetic in giving the vocal exercises, but she pitched her voice too
high. The same shrill tone characterized the concert reading. Many of
the criticisms given by pupils were not loud enough to be heard by the
whole class. One of the ladies, in giving a sketch of Shakspeare, said
"his principal works _was_ 'Much Ado About Nothing,' 'Merchant of
Venice,' etc.;" but the error passed unnoticed by pupils and teacher.
Miss ---- herself, said "Hamlet thought it wasn't _him_." She marked
the pupils too high, the worst readers in the class receiving 8 and 9.
Teaching average 85.

Miss ---- gave the D class a lesson in History. She was herself well
prepared with the lesson, but she allowed the pupils too long a time to
think and _guess_. A chronology lesson is apt to be dry and
uninteresting; and unless the teacher calls upon the pupils in _rapid_
succession, thus keeping them wide awake, the interest will flag, and
even good pupils will be inattentive. One of the pupils, after gaping
two or three times, indulged in short naps during the recitation; the
teacher evidently did not see her. Miss ---- marked the pupils
judiciously. Teaching average 90.

Miss ---- gave the D class a lesson in Arithmetic. She assisted the
pupils too much. She did not require them to be accurate enough in
answering questions; otherwise she taught well, the subject being rather
a difficult one. Miss ---- marked the pupils judiciously. Teaching
average 85.

Miss ---- gave the D class a lesson in Grammar. She began the recitation
well, spoke in a loud and decided tone, and was well prepared with the
lesson. She failed to keep her class in order; she allowed pupils to
speak without being called upon, and all to criticise and ask questions
at the same instant--thus she became confused and sought refuge behind
her book. Teaching average 80.

Miss ---- gave the C class a lesson in the Constitution of the United
States. She was too quiet in conducting the recitation. The entire
period was spent in repeating the mere words of the book; but once or
twice the lady asked for the explanation of clauses, and then the
answers given were neither full nor satisfactory, yet the lady ventured
no comment of her own. Many practical questions might have been given by
the teacher respecting the executive departments, ambassadors, consuls,
treaties, and so forth. The lesson contained many subjects of interest
sufficient to occupy more than the allotted time. Teachers should call
more frequently for definitions, and always take it for granted that
their pupils are ignorant of the meaning of even the simplest words. I
venture to assert that more than one third of the class left the room
without knowing the difference between a _reprieve_ and a _pardon_.
Teaching average 80.

Miss ---- gave the D class a lesson in Arithmetic. She was well prepared
with the lesson, seemed to understand the subject fully, and readily
answered questions proposed by pupils; but she allowed too many pupils
to speak at once, and did not pay enough attention to _signs_. One of
the pupils began a sentence with a small letter, and Miss ---- took no
notice of it. Miss ---- marked judiciously. Teaching average 88.

Miss ---- gave the C class a lesson in the Constitution. She failed
entirely in teaching. She became embarrassed, and soon lost the respect
and confidence of the class. Pupils assumed all sorts of positions; and
one picked up a ruler and began fanning himself, but was not rebuked by
the teacher. The lady, not familiar with the names of the scholars, made
several mistakes, (perfectly excusable); but, there being no sympathy
between the teacher and the class, the pupils laughed immoderately, and
seemed to enjoy the lady's embarrassment. The words of the book were
repeated over and over again, without a word of explanation or comment,
until the teacher, tired of the monotony, announced that the lesson was
finished, and called upon me to fill up the remainder of the time. The
lesson was one that needed thorough preparation on the part of the
teacher, but Miss ---- had merely studied the _words_ and not the
_subject_; when asked a very simple question by one of the pupils, she
was completely nonplussed. Teaching average 50.

Miss ---- gave the D class a lesson in Map Drawing. She became somewhat
confused in her work, and so did not distinctly enough give the points
of criticism. I think she was not familiar enough with the map drawn to
notice, with sufficient readiness, the great points of error in the
work. Several of the pupils were allowed, in one or two cases, to speak
at the same time. She marked well, using a good scale of markings.
Teaching average 85.

Miss ---- gave the D class a lesson in Arithmetic. She was either very
careless or had not prepared the proper lesson, as she gave pupils
problems to solve that were not in the lesson; in consequence of which
some good pupils failed, as they had not prepared an advance lesson. She
was too quiet, and spoke in so low a tone that many of the pupils did
not hear her. The pupils were more animated than the teacher. Miss ----
marked some pupils too high, others too low, and in one instance did not
mark at all. Teaching average 65.

Miss ---- gave the D class a lesson in History. She was thoroughly
prepared with the lesson, and did not confine herself to the mere words
of the text-book. She asked many good general questions connected with
the subject, thus compelling pupils to think; and whenever the class
failed to give the desired information, the lady very promptly gave it
herself; she thus won the confidence of her pupils. Miss ---- lacked
animation and did not speak loud enough; otherwise she did well.
Teaching average 92.

Miss ---- gave the D class a lesson in Grammar. She has improved since
teaching for me before, but she still lacks energy and decision. She
gave the pupil who was reciting all her attention, thus allowing an
opportunity to some (who took advantage of it) to assume lounging
positions, in which to await lazily for their turn to recite. Some
remained wide awake, and embarrassed Miss ----, by speaking at any time,
even interrupting her in the middle of a sentence, to ask questions.
Teaching average 87.

Miss ---- gave the C class a lesson in Grammar. She taught well. She
spoke in that decided tone which conveys a conviction of truth to
pupils, and by so doing gained their confidence. She used the
blackboards to advantage, and thoroughly inspected and criticised all
writings that she had required to be put upon the boards. The facts she
taught were correct, except one, which was, that "is ashamed" was a verb
in the passive voice; in this she was corrected by a number of the
class. Teaching average 93.

Miss ---- gave the C class a lesson in Elocution. She failed in
teaching. The pupils read badly, and many errors were made, but there
were no criticisms. The lady spoke in a very low tone, and seemed to be
afraid of the class. She did not read a single line for the pupils.
Reading cannot be taught properly by arbitrary rules, the voice of the
living teacher is indispensable. Teaching average 65.

Miss ---- gave the D class a lesson in Elocution. She cannot become a
successful teacher until she studies the pronunciation of words. Not
only did she permit mistakes made by the pupils to pass unnoticed, but
she mis-pronounced many words herself, hos-_pit_-a-ble, for
_hos_-pi-ta-ble, _in_-tense for in-_tense_, etc.; the errors consisted
chiefly in changing the accented syllable. In the word _machination_,
however, though the accent was correctly marked, she taught the class
to call it "mash-in-a-tion." There can be no possible excuse for such
carelessness, or rather ignorance, since the lady had three days for the
preparation of the lesson. The dictionary should be kept in constant use
by pupils and teacher. Teaching average 65.

Miss ---- gave the C class a lesson in the Constitution. She did well.
The lesson was a long one, and somewhat difficult, but the lady evinced
thorough preparation. She ought to have disturbed the repose of the
drones in the class, by calling upon them more frequently. Explanations
given by the teacher should be repeated by the pupils: first, to
ascertain whether or not they have been properly understood, and
secondly, to make a deeper impression upon the minds of the scholars.
Indeed, the whole business of teaching might be summed up in two words,
namely, _simplify_ and _repeat_. Teaching average 95.

Miss ---- gave the D class a lesson in Map Drawing. She was quite well
prepared for the lesson, but did not always speak quite distinctly
enough; she required all those pupils, who had criticisms to make, to
stand, and then designated one to give them--a very good plan. Miss ----
must be more careful in regard to the grammatical construction of her
own sentences. Teaching average 90.

Miss ---- gave the C class a lesson in Mental Arithmetic. She became
somewhat confused, and so made several mistakes in her work. She
attempted to solve several examples, but each time made some error,
either of statement or solution. She was not careful enough in her
markings, omitting to mark one of the pupils for absence, and two for
recitation. Teaching average 88.

Miss ---- gave the D class a lesson in Map-Drawing. She should have kept
one of the divisions at the board drawing while the other were reciting.
It was the first day of map description, she should therefore have given
them an example of the work desired; instead of this she scolded them
for not knowing her method. Teachers should be careful never to ask for
anything but what the pupil would reasonably be expected to know. If you
insist that they shall give anything not found in the lesson, or not
before given by the teacher, they will become angry and careless, as
shown in the class to-day. She did not criticise the map drawn. Teaching
average, 82.

Miss ---- gave the C class a lesson in Constitution. She did well. She
used the blackboards to advantage, and very carefully examined and
criticised the work placed there by the pupils. She should speak in a
louder and more decided tone. Teaching average 93.

Miss ---- gave the C class a lesson in Elocution. She gave a very short
vocal exercise and omitted the concert reading. During the recitation
she read _remarkably_ well; her voice was clear and full, her emphasis
and inflections were correct, and her whole manner free from
embarrassment. The entrance of three or four visitors did not in the
least disconcert her; for her calmness and dignity, she deserves much
commendation. Teaching average 95.

Miss ---- gave the D class a lesson in Geography. She taught well. She
did not call upon enough members of the class for recitation. A subject
that can be divided into portions small enough to enable the teacher to
call upon each member of the class at each recitation, should be so
divided. She made it still worse by calling upon several members to
recite twice. With a little more energy on her part she could have had
more work performed in the forty minutes. Teaching average 90.

Miss ---- gave the D class a lesson in Arithmetic. She taught very well.
The subject, Repetends, was a difficult one, which required careful
preparation on the part of the teacher and close attention during the
recitation. Miss ----, conscious of this, made herself perfectly
familiar with the lesson before appearing in class, and when pupils
failed to explain examples from a want of knowledge, she was ready and
able to give the necessary information. She marked judiciously. Teaching
average 90.

Miss ---- gave the C class a lesson in Ancient History. She was
sprightly and animated. She spoke in a clear, decided tone; but she
pursued no regular plan in conducting the recitation. Events in Egyptian
and Assyrian history were indiscriminately mixed, the pupils became
confused, and the lady herself was somewhat bewildered. Teaching average

Miss ---- gave the D class a lesson in Grammar. She did not speak loud
enough for the class to understand her. There was much disorder in the
class, but no notice was taken of it by the teacher. Some carried on a
conversation among themselves, others asked questions without
permission, often at the most inappropriate times. Many errors passed
unnoticed, and the lady gave corrections herself which she should have
required of the pupils. Several times, in attempting to correct, she
made the errors worse; for instance she parsed verbs that were
transitive and in the passive voice as being intransitive and active.
She must endeavor to gain more confidence in herself. Teaching average

Miss ---- gave the A class a lesson in Geometry. She taught the class
decidedly well. She deserves all the more credit, as it was a difficult
lesson of her own class. She allowed but one error of work--that I
noticed--to pass uncorrected. Her method of calling upon the class for
criticisms was very good. She should strive to speak a little more
distinctly. Teaching average, 96.

Miss ---- gave the B class a lesson in Physiology. She evinced perfect
familiarity with the subject of the lesson. She did not confine herself
to the text-book, but asked many good, general questions. One of the
pupils did not understand a portion of the lesson which was to be
explained by a diagram. Miss ---- endeavored to make the matter clear by
an explanation, which was very good, still the pupil did not see it
clearly. I think the teacher would have succeeded in clearing the
difficulty if she had used the _pointer_ instead of designating certain
points by letters. She spoke a little too low. Teaching average, 96.

Miss ---- gave the D class a lesson in Geography. She deserves great
credit for the distinctness with which she speaks, for her care in the
preparation of the lesson for the day, and for the promptness with which
she stops all irregularities in the class. Her marks for the day were a
little too high; she did not make distinction enough between the good
and the poor scholars. Teaching average, 96.

Miss ---- gave the A class a lesson in Elocution. She succeeded
admirably. The vocal exercises and concert reading were well given. The
lady threw herself entirely into the work, and this was the real secret
of her success. Her grade of marking was too high; otherwise, she did
very well. Teaching average, 97.

Miss ---- gave the A class a lesson in English Literature. She did not
spend enough time upon the lesson for the day, and consumed too much of
the period in reviewing old lessons. She was not careful in examining
the blackboards. _Lbs._ was permitted to stand as the abbreviation for
pounds sterling, and _whimsicalities_ was spelled with two l's. The lady
made no deduction for errors; all the pupils with but one exception
received 10. She deserves commendation for speaking in a loud, clear
tone. Teaching average, 88.

Miss ---- gave the C class a lesson in Constitution. She did nothing
more than hear the recitations. She did not venture to give any
explanations or to ask them of the class, but spent the whole period in
repeating again and again the words of the text-book. It is probable
that no pupil knew anything more of the subject on going from the room
than when she entered. Teachers should possess and impart to their
pupils some information independent of the book. Teaching average, 55.

Miss ---- taught the A class Geometry. She did not question enough or
criticise enough, but almost always called upon the class for
criticisms. She added no remarks or criticisms herself; thus many
important omissions and errors were unnoticed. She succeeded well in
calling upon almost every member of the class. Teaching average, 75.

Miss ---- gave the B class a lesson in Physiology. She was not
sufficiently animated and self-possessed. The substance of the lesson
was recited before the expiration of the period, which left the lady at
a loss to know what she should do with the remainder of the time. It
might have been profitably employed asking questions of importance
connected with the lesson; but instead of doing so, Miss ---- turned to
me for assistance. She was asked her opinion of a disputed point, which,
although of slight importance, merited some attention; but she passed it
by, notwithstanding her attention was called to it several times.
Teaching average, 76.

Miss ---- gave the A class a lesson in Elocution. She displayed the tact
and skill of an experienced teacher. She assumed full authority over the
pupils (though they were her classmates), and her whole manner was such
that a visitor entering the room would have supposed she was the
permanent teacher. One secret of her success was that she had given the
reading lesson much home practice and preparation. Teaching average,

Miss ---- taught the A class in Literature. She taught well. Though
rather quiet, she succeeded in awakening the interest of her pupils, and
the entire recitation was very animated. The class is a good one, and
the pupils deserve as much commendation as the teacher. Teaching
average, 96.

Miss ---- gave the D class a lesson in Geography. She came before the
class well prepared for her duties. She did not use the book, though it
was written in the catechetical style--the one most difficult to teach
without some such reference. She by her questions brought out a number
of points not given in the text-book. Teaching average, 97.

Miss ---- gave the B class a lesson in Rhetoric. She showed a thorough
preparation of the lesson and taught well. She should have worked a
little faster. Pupils were allowed too much time to think. Teaching
average, 98.

Miss ---- gave the D class a lesson in History. She taught with much
dignity and self-possession. She did not teach simply by having the
lesson recited as the author had given it, but asked for the definition
of words, and gave information not found in the text-book. But one error
was allowed to pass, which was that of calling Queen Victoria the
grand-daughter of William of Orange. Teaching average, 98.

Miss ---- gave the B class a lesson in Physiology. She conducted the
recitation in a very dignified and lady-like manner. The lesson was a
difficult one, but the teacher seemed to understand the subject
thoroughly. There was a reference to the _retina_ of the eye in the
lesson; the pupils not having studied that subject, did not know what
the retina was, and called upon the teacher for explanation; she
attempted to describe it, but failed to make them understand because she
did not thoroughly understand it herself. With this exception, she
taught very well. Teaching average, 96.

Miss ---- gave the B class a lesson in Elocution. She is a good teacher,
and reads well. She maintained her dignity and composure during the
entire recitation, though several visitors were present. Nothing tends
to embarrass a teacher so much as the entrance of strangers; the lady's
calmness and self-possession then are worthy of much commendation.
Teaching average 100.

Miss ---- gave the C class a lesson in Mental Arithmetic. She read the
questions distinctly, and had them correctly solved; but for the plan of
recitation, she helped the pupils too much. The method was that called
"Chance Assignment;" in this method, as the pupils have time to think of
the problems, the work should be purely that of the memory, in regard to
the example itself. Teaching average 95.

Miss ---- gave the A class a lesson in Literature. She evinced thorough
preparation, and displayed considerable tact in conducting the
recitation. Every pupil was called on and compelled to recite or confess
ignorance. Teaching average 98.

Miss ---- gave the C class a lesson in Elocution. She selected a very
difficult reading-lesson, and not only read it well herself, but
insisted upon the pupils reading it well too. The lady has a good clear
voice, but it lacks power; nothing will develop this quality but
constant daily practice. Teaching average 97.

Miss ---- taught the C class in Ancient History. She did not succeed.
Her embarrassment was caused in a great measure by not knowing the names
of the pupils. Teachers should obtain lists of the names, if they are
not familiar with them. The lesson being one in mythology, could have
been made very interesting with a slight effort on the part of the
teacher. Many errors in pronunciation made by both teacher and pupils,
were allowed to pass. Teaching average 72.

Miss ---- gave the A class a lesson in Elocution. She taught well, but
would have succeeded better if she had given the lesson a little more
home practice. When delivering a passage requiring considerable force,
she heightened the pitch of her voice, and thus gave an unpleasant
shrillness, where the pure orotund tone was needed. Teaching average 95.

Miss ---- gave the B class a lesson in Elocution. She is a very
sprightly, animated teacher, and reads well. She paid special attention
to the correct orthoëpy of words, and insisted upon pupils' making use
of their dictionaries whenever a word occurred with which they were not
familiar. Teaching average 100.

Miss ---- gave the D class a lesson in History. She is one of the best
teachers in her class. She is sprightly, animated, and critical. The
lesson was well taught; a map having been neatly drawn on the board, the
teacher required the most important places referred to in the lesson, to
be pointed out upon it. Teaching average 100.

Miss ---- gave the A class a lesson in Chemistry. She has improved very
much in teaching. She understood the subject which she taught, and had
given the lesson careful preparation. She requested one of the pupils to
look for the orthoëpy of a word which occurred in the lesson. The lady
turned over the leaves of the dictionary in a very careless manner, then
took her seat, saying she could not find the word, although she must
have been conscious all the while that she was not searching for it in
the proper place. Miss ----, instead of sending the lady to look for
the word again, as she should have done, pronounced it herself. The
teacher should require prompt obedience on the part of pupils. Teaching
average 95.

Miss ---- gave the C class a lesson in Elocution. She is a very
energetic teacher, and manifests a deep interest in her pupils--hence,
her success. A visitor would have inferred from her manner, that she was
the permanent teacher, not a mere substitute for a passing hour.
Teaching average, 100.



The illustrations which first led to a satisfactory elucidation of the
subject, were drawn from the eye. There are many facts in the history of
vision, which show that we may experience sensations and perceptions and
other intellectual operations, and may at the time be conscious of the
same, without giving them any attention, or, at least, without giving
them such a degree of attention as to have the slightest recollection of
them afterwards.

When, for instance, we read a printed book, the eye glances so rapidly
from sentence to sentence, that we can hardly persuade ourselves that we
actually see successively every letter. We certainly have no
recollection of having gone through such an innumerable train of
conscious acts as the theory necessarily implies. That such, however, is
the case, is proved by the fact, that if by accident any letter is
omitted, or transposed, or put upside down, the eye at once detects the
mistake. The fact is familiar to all. It can be accounted for only on
the supposition that, even in the rapid and cursory perusal of a book,
the eye actually passes from letter to letter, and gives to each a
distinct notice. It not only notices each letter, but the position of
each in reference to the other letters in the line, and even those nice
diacritical points by which one letter is distinguished from another, as
_c_ from _e_, _u_ from _n_, _b_ from _d_, _p_ from _q_. This notice,
however, is so slight, the transition is so rapid, that we have no
recollection of it afterwards, and we can hardly persuade ourselves that
such has been the sober and yet most wonderful fact.

Take another instance. If, on the occasion of an evening assemblage, by
a sudden movement of the gas-pipe, any one should instantly extinguish
all the lights in the room and leave the building for a time in total
darkness, and if, by an equally sudden movement, he should then restore
the light to its previous condition, every one present would notice the
change and have a distinct recollection of it afterwards. Yet, every
time we close our eyes in winking, that is, several times in every
minute of our waking hours, we experience precisely this change from
full and perfect vision to total darkness. But no one ever notices or
remembers the fact of his winking, unless he stops to make it the
subject of special attention.

Sight however is not the only means of illustrating this point. We are
drawn to a similar conclusion by observing the workings of the mind
itself, in the act of volition. Whenever we make any single volition an
object of special attention, we are conscious of that volition, and we
have a distinct recollection of it afterwards. Yet probably not one out
of ten thousand, possibly not one out of a million, of our simple
volitions, is ever known to us after the moment of its occurrence. In
voluntary muscular action, every distinct movement requires a distinct
volition. And how innumerable are the movements necessary to the
accomplishment of any one of the ordinary purposes of life! We sit down
for example to write a letter to a friend. The nimble pen dances from
point to point over the darkening page, and when we reach the bottom, we
have not the least recollection of having willed any one of those
countless muscular movements which have been necessary to what, but for
its every-day occurrence, would be accounted the greatest feat of
legerdemain ever performed by man!

Take for example the act of reading aloud. Every letter requires for its
utterance at least one distinct muscular contraction. Some letters
require several. Now it has been found on trial that we are able to
pronounce more than a thousand letters in a minute. That is, during
every minute that we are reading aloud, we perform between one and two
thousand distinct muscular movements, and by necessity a like number of
antecedent acts of the will, to say nothing of those other acts, not
less numerous in the case of a speaker, connected with the general
movement of the body in earnest gesticulation. Yet after the hour's
performance, what does the speaker or the reader remember of all these
countless volitions? Nothing but the one general purpose to please,
instruct, or persuade an audience.

The conclusion, toward which these illustrations point, is objected to
by some writers, on the ground of the incredible rapidity which it
attributes to our intellectual operations. Is it possible, it is asked,
that we can crowd into such a space of time so many acts of the will,
and that we are, at the moment when each happens, conscious of its
presence? Is it not more probable that these rapid muscular actions are
resolvable, in some way, into the law of habit? May they not become in
some sense mechanical and automatic, so as to require no intervention of
the will? Take for example, the case of a person learning to play upon a
musical instrument. The first step is to move the fingers from key to
key with a slow motion, looking at the notes, and exerting an express
act of volition at every note. By degrees, however, the motions somehow
cling to each other, and to the impressions of the notes, in the way of
associations, the acts of volition all the while growing less and less
express, until at last they become quite evanescent and imperceptible.
An expert will play from notes or from memory, and with a rapidity of
motion that is perfectly bewildering, while at the same time he himself
is carrying on quite a different train of thoughts in his mind, or even
perhaps holding a conversation with another. Hence, it is concluded, by
the writers referred to, that in these cases there is really no
intervention of that idea or state of the mind called will.

The authorities for this hypothesis are among the highest that can be
named in the history of intellectual science. Let us see how far the
hypothesis explains the facts of the case. The most rapid performer, it
is obvious, can at any time retard his execution, until his movements
become so slow that each one may be made, as originally it was made, the
subject of special attention, and may be distinctly remembered
afterwards. Now, according to the hypothesis proposed, we will our
actions, and are conscious both of the act, and the antecedent
volition, so long as their rapidity is confined to a certain rate; but,
as soon as the rapidity exceeds that rate, the operation is taken out of
our hands, and is carried on by some unknown power, of which we know no
more than we do of the circulation of the blood, or of the systole and
diastole of the heart! Such a supposition is about as reasonable as it
would be to say that a projectile passes through the intermediate space,
when it is thrown with such a moderate degree of velocity that we can
see it, in its progress; but, when it is thrown with such velocity as to
become invisible, it ceases to pass through the intermediate space, and
reaches the goal only because projectiles have the habit of doing so!

The hypothesis then breaks down, and we are forced back to our original
supposition, namely, that those actions which are voluntary originally,
never cease to be so; that when, as in the cases supposed, we retain no
recollection of particular volitions, it is because of some law of our
nature by which we are capable of recollecting only those acts upon
which the attention has been fixed with a certain degree of intensity
and for some perceptible space of time; that the volition, in other
words, is too feeble and too rapid to leave any impression on the
memory. To argue that there has been no volition, because we do not
recollect it, is as absurd as it would be to say that there has been no
muscular act, because in many cases we have as little recollection of
the muscular act, as we have of the antecedent volition.

Besides, there are many other mental acts, as rapid as those which have
been adduced,--so rapid that not the least recollection of them
remains,--where, yet, this mechanical or automatic hypothesis affords
not the least explanation. Thus the expert accountant in a Bank adds up
a long column of figures with the same rapidity and ease with which
ordinary persons would read a passage from a familiar author, and he
brings out in the end the exact sum, which he can do in no other way
than by taking note in passing of the precise character and value of
each figure. Yet, at the end of such a process, the accountant has no
more recollection of those rapidly succeeding acts of the mind, than has
the musical performer of those countless volitions put forth in the
course of a piece of brilliant musical instrumentation.

As to the objection, that the theory attributes an almost inconceivable
rapidity to some of our mental operations, it may be answered, in the
first place, that there is no reason, surely, why mind should not be
capable of as rapid action as its handmaid, matter; and, in the second
place, that our ideas of time are relative, quite as much as our ideas
of space; and if the microscope has revealed a world of wonders too
minute in point of space to be observed by the naked eye, in whose
existence we yet believe with undoubting confidence, we may without
greater difficulty believe in the existence of mental acts crowded into
so narrow a point of time, so rapid and transitory in their occurrence,
as to leave no impression upon the memory.

The facts which have been adduced, then, teach clearly two things:
first, that by far the greatest part of what we do and experience and
are necessarily conscious of at the time of their occurrence,
immediately fade from the recollection, as shadows pass over a
landscape; and secondly, that in order to the recollection of any act or
object, it is necessary that the mind be fixed upon it for some
perceptible space of time and with some sensible degree of attention. It
is this indissoluble connection of the attention with memory, this
absolute dependence of the latter upon the former, which gives the
subject such far-reaching import in considering the means of
intellectual culture.

How it is that we are able to exclude all subjects but one from the
thoughts, is not very easy of explanation. It is obvious that we cannot
do it by direct volition. The very fact of our willing not to attend to
a particular object, fixes our attention upon it. That we have, however,
some power and agency in fixing our attention on one object and in
withdrawing it from another, is a fact within the knowledge and
experience of every one, whether we can explain the mode by which it is
done or not. We have the power of what the chemists call "elective
affinity;" we make our choice of some one of the various objects
claiming the attention, and fix it upon that; and it seems to be a law
of our nature, that when we thus direct the attention to one object, all
others, of themselves, and by some natural necessity, retire from the
thoughts. This is as near an approach, probably, as we shall ever make,
towards an exact verbal expression of a fact, for an intimate knowledge
of which, after all, every man must refer to his own consciousness.

This power of singling out and fastening upon some one object to the
exclusion of all others,--in other words, this power of
attention--exists in almost infinite degrees in different individuals.
The degree in which it exists is the measure of a man's intellectual
stature. No man can be truly great who does not possess it to a high
degree. To command our attention is to command ourselves, to be truly
master of our own powers and resources.

The subject, then, becomes one of first importance in every kind of
either mental or moral improvement. Its vital connection with the
faculty of memory has been already suggested. Perhaps, however, this
branch of the subject should be set forth with a little more
distinctness. There are many vague, dreamy notions afloat on the subject
of memory, standing comparisons and metaphors, intended to illustrate
its uses and magnify its importance, but not declaring with any degree
of precision what it is. It is called, for instance, the "storehouse of
our ideas." The metaphor conveys undoubtedly a certain amount of truth
in regard to the subject. At the same time, there are some important
particulars, in which the comparison, for it is nothing more, conveys a
wrong impression. Experience teaches us, for instance, that
recollections, unlike other articles of store, are from the time of
their deposit undergoing a continual process of decay, and if they do
not fade entirely from the mind, it is because we occasionally bring
them anew under the review of the mind, and thus restore them to their
original freshness and vigor.

Dismissing, therefore, the metaphor, I shall, I presume, express with
sufficient accuracy the established doctrine on this subject by the
following statements: that of the great multitude of mental operations
which we experience, by far the larger part perish at the moment of
their birth; that others, to which for any reason we give, at the time
of their occurrence, some sufficient degree of attention, afterwards
recur to us, or are in some way present to our thoughts; that this
recurrence of former ideas to our thoughts is sometimes spontaneous,
without any voluntary action on our part, and sometimes the consequence
of a direct effort of the will; and lastly, that the capacity which we
have of being thus revisited by former thoughts is called memory, while
the thoughts themselves, which thus return, are called memories, or more
commonly recollections.

How it is that by an act of volition we can summon again into the mind
an idea which has formerly been present, and which is now absent, we
have the same difficulty in explaining which we had in explaining how,
by an act of volition, we can banish a thought which is now present, or
by the power of attention can detain some one thought to the exclusion
of all others. To think what particular thing it is that we wish to
remember, is in fact to have remembered it already. It is an obstruse
and difficult inquiry, into which it is not necessary now to enter. A
more important inquiry, and one connected directly with our present
theme, relates to the different kinds of memory, and their connection
severally with the faculty of attention.

Quickness of memory is that quality which is most easily developed,
especially in young persons. It is also its most showy quality, and the
temptation to give it an inordinate development is strong. The habit of
getting things by rote, is easily acquired by practice. It is
astonishing what masses of Scripture texts young children will get by
heart, when under some special stimulus of reward or display. I have
often refused to publish marvellous feats of this kind, not because I
thought the accounts incredible, (unfortunately, they were too true,)
but because I thought they were a species of mental excess, and they
should no more be encouraged than bodily excesses. A little girl in my
own Sunday-School once actually committed to memory the whole of the
Westminster Assembly's Shorter Catechism in three days! Six months
afterwards she hardly knew a word of it. It had been a regular mental
debauch. A few more such atrocities would have made her an idiot.
College records tell us of what are called "crammed men," that is, men
who literally stuff themselves with knowledge in order to pass a
particular examination, or to gain a particular honor, and who
afterwards forget their knowledge, as fast as they have acquired it.
There is a well authenticated instance of a student who actually learned
the six books of Euclid by heart, though he could not tell the
difference between an angle and a triangle. The memory of such men is
quickened like that of the parrot. They learn purely by rote. Real
mental attention, the true digester of knowledge, is never roused. The
knowledge which they gorge, is never truly assimilated and made their

A quality of memory vastly more important than quickness, is tenacity.
To hold on to what we get, is the secret of mental, no less than of
pecuniary accumulations. The mind, too, like other misers, clings most
tenaciously to that which has cost it most labor. Come lightly, go
lightly, the world over. Knowledge which comes into the mind without
toil and effort, without protracted and laborious attention, is apt to
go as easily as it came.

But, by far the most important quality of memory, for the practical
purposes of life, is readiness. Like quickness and tenacity, it is to be
greatly improved, if not acquired by practice. It is in the cultivation
of this quality, that the power of a good teacher shines forth most
conspicuously. Quickness and tenacity may be cultivated by solitary
study. But readiness requires for its development a live teacher, and
the stir of the school-room and the class. Here it is that the art of
questioning shows its wonderful resources. Repeated and continued
interrogatories, judiciously worded, have a sort of talismanic power.
They oblige the scholar to bring out his knowledge from its hidden
recesses, to turn it over and over, and inside out, and upside down, to
look at it and to handle it, so that not only it becomes forever and
indestructibly his own, but he can ever afterwards use it at will with
the same readiness that he uses his hands or his eyes. This is what a
skilful teacher may do for his scholars, by a knowledge and practice of
the art of questioning. Unfortunately, teachers in general find it much
easier passively to hear a lesson, than to muster as much intellectual
energy as is necessary to ask a question.

It was a remark of Bacon's, that, if we wish to commit anything to
memory, we will accomplish more in ten readings, if at each perusal we
make the attempt to repeat it from memory, referring to the book only
when the memory fails, than we would by a hundred readings made in the
ordinary way, and without any intervening trials. The explanation of
this fact is, that each effort to recollect the passage secures to the
subsequent perusal a more intense degree of attention; and it seems to
be a law of our nature, not only that there is no memory without
attention, which I have labored at some length to establish, but that
the degree of memory is in a great measure proportioned to the degree of
the attention.

You will see at once the bearing of this fact upon that species of
intellectual dissipation, called "general reading," in which the mental
voluptuary reads merely for momentary excitement, in the gratification
of an idle curiosity, and which is as enervating and debilitating to the
intellectual faculties, as other kinds of dissipation are to the bodily
functions. One book, well read and thoroughly digested, nay, one single
train of thought, carefully elaborated and attentively considered, is
worth more than any conceivable amount of that indolent, dreamy sort of
reading in which many persons indulge. There is in fact no more unsafe
criterion of knowledge than the number of books a man has read. A young
man once told me he had read the entire list of publications of the
American Sunday-School Union. He was about as wise as the man at the
hotel, who began at the top of the bill of fare with the intention of
eating straight through to the bottom! Depend upon it, this mental
gorging is debilitating and debauching alike to the moral and the
intellectual constitution. There is too much reading even of good books.
No one should ever read a book, without subsequent meditation or
conversation about it, and an attempt to make the thoughts his own, by a
vigorous process of mental assimilation. Any continuous intellectual
occupation, which does not leave us wiser and stronger, most assuredly
will leave us weaker, just as filling the body with food which it does
not digest, only makes it feeble and sickly. We are the worse for
reading any book, if we are not the better for it.

There is an obvious distinction on this subject, of some practical
importance, first suggested, so far as I am aware, by the Scotch
metaphysician, Dr. Reid, between attention as directed to external
objects, and the same faculty directed to what passes within us. When we
attend to what is without us, to what we hear, or see, or smell, or
taste, or touch, the process is called observation. When, on the other
hand, dismissing for the time all notice of the external world, we turn
our thoughts inward, and consider only what is passing in the inner
chambers of the mind,--when, for instance, we analyze our motives, or
notice the workings of passion, or scan the mysterious and subtle agency
of the will, the process is called reflection. This latter species of
attention is one much more difficult of development than the former.
It is developed ordinarily much later in life,--seldom, I
believe, developed to any considerable extent before the age of
manhood,--developed by some professions and pursuits much more than by
others,--and in a very large class of mankind, probably the majority,
never developed at all.

This species of attention, which is thus directed inwards, subjective
attention some would call it,--in other words, the reflective
powers,--are, I doubt not, capable of being cultivated much earlier in
life than the age which I have indicated as the normal period of their
development. I am constrained, however, in opposition to many high
authorities in education, to doubt the wisdom of a precocious
cultivation of this part of our intellectual system. In all our plans of
education, we should closely follow nature, who seems to have reserved
the judgment and the reflective powers for the latest, as they certainly
are the most perfect, of her endowments. We, who are teachers, have
chiefly to do with those whose powers are as yet immature, and whose
attention is to be cultivated primarily in its direction to external
objects. Our business, in other words, is to train our pupils first of
all to habits of observation.

In doing this, it is of some practical importance to bear in mind the
well-known difference, in respect to memory, between the objects of
different senses. Whether it be attributed to the different degrees of
perfection with which the qualities of bodies are perceived, or to some
difference in the qualities themselves, or whatever may be the cause,
the fact is established beyond a question, that the knowledge which
comes to us through the medium of the eye is of all kinds of knowledge
the most easily and the most perfectly remembered. We remember, indeed,
the temperature of one day as distinguished from that of another; we
remember the sound of a voice; we can conceive, in its absence, the odor
or the taste of a particular object; but none of these ideas come to us
with that definiteness and perfection which mark our recollections of
what we have seen. It requires, for instance, but ordinary powers of
attention and perception, for a person who has one good look at a house,
to recall distinctly to his mind the ideas of its height, shape, color,
material, the number of stories, the pitch of the roof, the kind of
shutters to the windows, the position of the door, the fashion of
panels, the bell-handle, the plate, even the little canary-bird with its
cage in the windows above, and the roses, geraniums, and what else may
be fairer still, in the window below. These are all objects of sight. In
their absence, he can bring to mind and describe them, with almost the
same accuracy that he could if they were actually present. Now, it is
impossible to obtain a like precision and fulness in our conceptions of
a quality which we have learned through any other sense. We form in the
one case a mental image or picture of the object, which in the other
case is impossible. We can by no possibility form a mental or any other
image of the song of canary, of the perfume of a rose, or of any other
quality, except those which address us through the eye. Our conceptions
of taste, smell, touch, and even of hearing, in the absence of the
objects of sense, have a certain dimness, vagueness, mistiness,
uncertainty about them. The conceptions of visible objects, on the
contrary, are definite, precise, and most easily recalled. Hence the
knowledge derived through the sight, is, of all kinds of knowledge, the
most accurate, the most easily acquired, and the most lasting.

The practical application of these views to the science of teaching, is
too obvious to require more than a passing notice. Every thing which the
young are to make the subject of their attention, for the purpose of
remembering it, should be represented as far as possible to the eye. If
the object itself, on account of its bulk, or its expensiveness, or for
any other reason, cannot be exhibited for inspection, let there be some
visible delineation of it by brush or pencil. If the thing to be
remembered be something abstract or unreal, having neither form nor
substance, perhaps it may have, or the teacher may make for it, some
concrete, visible symbol, as has been done with the formulas of logic
and the abstractions of arithmetic and algebra. These visible symbols on
the slate and the blackboard give to those sciences all the advantages
in this respect which were supposed to be peculiar to some of the
branches of physical science. A boy who has forgotten every mere verbal
rule both of arithmetic and algebra, will remember the formula,
x^2 + 2xy + y^2, just as perfectly and on the same principle, as he will
remember the face of the man who taught it to him. It is something which
he has seen. Why has geometry in all ages been found to be of such
peculiar value as a means of intellectual training? Because of the
visible delineation of its doctrines by diagrams addressed to the eye.
How much more readily and certainly chemical science can now be acquired,
since the adoption of the present mode of symbolizing its doctrines by
combinations of letters and figures. Arguments, conjectures, theories,
respecting qualities addressed alike to every sense, respecting functions
indeed not cognizable by any sense, are now presented on the board in
visible symbolic formulas, which have the same advantage over the former
mode of presenting the subject, that the sight of a chess-board during
the progress of a game has over a mere verbal description of the

The truth of this doctrine is strikingly illustrated in the present
mode of teaching geography, as compared with that once in use, when a
child, instead of looking at the map of a country, with its boundaries
and other physical characters painted to the eye, had to grope through a
trackless wilderness of description. The study will be still more
improved, when children shall be universally required to make as well as
to look at maps,--when, to the definiteness of knowledge coming through
the sight, there shall be added that inerasible impression upon the
memory, which comes from fixedness and continuity of attention. It is
impossible for a child to draw a map, without looking intently, and with
continued attention, upon every part of that which is to be delineated.
The two conditions to perfect recollection are combined, and the
knowledge, which is the result, is the very last to fade from the

Every teacher of small children knows how much more certainly they learn
to spell by seeing than by hearing. You may repeat to a child five times
over the sounds which make up a word, and he will not recollect it with
half the certainty that he would on seeing it once. The same principle
which leads to this result, and which indicates the propriety, not only
of looking at maps but of making them, in order to the more perfect
knowledge of geography, will suggest to the thoughtful teacher the
expediency of children's not only looking at words, but of writing them,
in order to become perfect spellers.

Mental arithmetic has its fascinations. It has, too, I am ready to
admit, solid advantages. Its advantages, however, I apprehend are not
precisely those which are sometimes attributed to it. There can be no
doubt, I think, that it helps to cultivate the reflective powers; that
it requires, and by requiring gives, the ability to confine the
attention to continued mental processes. But for making expert practical
accountants, which is generally quoted as its distinguishing benefit, I
confess I am partial to the slate and pencil, and to that venerable
parallelogram, the old-fashioned Multiplication Table, in the shape it
came down to us from Pythagoras.

The reader will not, of course, understand me as wishing to discard
Mental arithmetic. All that I mean to suggest is the inquiry, whether
its advantages are not looked for in the wrong direction, whether they
are not sometimes over-estimated, and whether this mode of teaching
arithmetic, especially when pursued as a hobby, is not sometimes pushed
too far, and made the means of curious display, rather than of solid and
lasting benefit. In teaching mental arithmetic, too, for I would
certainly teach it to some extent, I would suggest the expediency of
teaching children, in performing these mental operations, to think in
figures, in other words, to form conceptions of the arithmetical figures
and signs, which are visible objects, rather than of quantities and
relations, which are mere abstractions. Multiplication is a mere
metaphysical entity. The sign of multiplication is a simple, visible
symbol, addressed to the eye, and capable of being conceived by the mind
with unmistakable clearness and precision. A child counting its fingers
in the first steps of learning to add and to take away, is a pretty
sight, doubtless. But it is painful to see a person grown to man's
estate, and in other respects well educated, as I have very often seen,
still dependent upon the same infantile contrivance,--still counting
fingers when required to add long columns of figures. Count the fingers,
if necessary, in order to get the child under way. But the sooner the
leading-string can be dropped, and the child can be made to picture in
his mind the pure figures and signs, their combinations and results,
without reference to fingers, or apples, or cakes, or tops, the better
for his arithmetic, and the better for his mental cultivation.

The subject has a painful interest for the Sabbath-School Teacher. The
teacher of the infant school, indeed, has some opportunity for employing
this principle of pictorial representation, in teaching the little ones
of his charge. The infant school-room usually has conveniences for maps
and picture cards and diagrams, and even blackboards; and most infant
school teachers wisely avail themselves of the opportunity afforded. But
go into the main school-room--what can the teacher do? Twenty, thirty,
forty classes huddled together into one room, compact as sheep in a pen,
how can the individual teacher, if disposed, use adequate visible
illustrations for the instruction of his class? Where shall he place his
blackboard? where shall he hang up his maps? where shall he suspend his
models? where shall he exhibit his specimens? The utmost that can be
done in most of our schools, as at present provided for, is to have a
few maps on the distant walls of the room which the superintendent may
refer to, whenever he chooses, and which all the children may see who
can! The time must come, however, when the teaching of religious truth
will be considered of as much importance as the teaching of arithmetic
or of chemistry, and the Sabbath-School will have the same facilities
for imparting instruction as the week-day school. But that time has not
yet come. In the meanwhile, let the teacher carefully avail himself of
whatever subsidiary aids are within his reach. No teacher should ever
present himself before his class without a Bible Atlas and a Bible
Dictionary in his hand. Many of those things with which his class ought
to be made acquainted, are here not only described, but delineated, with
equal accuracy and beauty. Thanks to the booksellers and the religious
publication societies, the scenes of sacred history, and indeed
religious topics generally, have been illustrated in cheap pictorial
cards, both large and small, and with admirable fidelity and skill.
These form a part of the indispensable furniture of the Sunday-School
teacher. They are to him as necessary as are experiments, or a cabinet
of specimens, to the lecturer on the physical sciences. The
Sabbath-School teacher should be continually on the look-out for
publications of this kind, not only for instructing and furnishing his
own mind with definite ideas, but for exhibition to his class. A wise
teacher will not only have something to say to his class, but also
something to show. The ideas which the child gets from looking at really
instructive pictures and maps, never leave him. How much also our
intelligent apprehension of the scriptures is increased, by a knowledge
of topography, and by associating each event in the sacred narration
with the place in which it occurred?

It may be proper to say, too, in this connection, that it is with a view
to the principle now under consideration, that in preparing books and
papers for the young, authors and publishers feel justified in giving so
much labor and space to pictorial illustration. When, indeed, such
illustrations are merely for display, they deserve the contempt which
they often receive. But when these pictorial illustrations have a
definite meaning and design, when they teach something, when they
connect in the child's mind sound religious truth with distinct and
easily remembered visible forms, they are a really valuable aid in the
inculcation of doctrine.

The power of attention, like all the mental powers, is by nature greater
in some than in others. Still, there is no power more susceptible of
improvement. The importance of its cultivation cannot well be
over-stated. It affects not one study only, but all studies; not one
mode of study only, but every mode of study, by text-book or by lecture;
lessons to be recited by memory, or those by question and answer; not
even study only, but conduct and manners, the regulation of the heart
and the formation of the character. The precise measure of a child's
success, in every thing that pertains to his character and standing as a
scholar, will in nine cases out of ten be his power and habit of
attention. There are indeed lamentable cases of wilful and intentional
disorder. Yet every teacher knows that by far the greater portion of the
things which interrupt and disturb a school arise from thoughtlessness
and inattention. There are also equally undoubted cases of ignorance
that is no crime. Yet the great majority of those who fail in their
studies, fail simply because they do not attend. To attend, however,
means something more than merely to be bodily present, more even than
to have the ears open and the eyes fixed in the direction of the
speaker, when a thing is said, or done. An old lady used to sit in the
same aisle with me in church, and unfortunately lived opposite me in the
street, who was neither deaf nor blind, and who was never absent from
church, and yet she sent over invariably on Sunday evenings to know what
it was the minister said about that meeting on Wednesday night, or that
meeting on Friday night,--she did not rightly understand!

But it is not necessary to go to church, to find those who "having eyes
see not, and having ears hear not, neither do they understand," who look
without seeing, and hear without comprehending. Publish a notice in your
school, making some change of hours or lessons, or giving any specific
direction. No matter how simple, or how plainly expressed, the notice
may be, or how particularly attention may be called beforehand to the
announcement about to be made, where is the happy teacher who has been
able on such an occasion to make himself understood by all? Teachers and
preachers and speakers of every name have generally very little idea how
much they are misunderstood. Let me give some instances.

In my own Sunday-School, I had neglected one morning to bring with me
the teacher's class-books. After opening the school, I rang the bell as
a signal for attention. There was a general hush throughout the room.
All eyes were turned to the desk. I said: "Your class-books
unfortunately have been left behind this morning. They have been sent
for, however, and they will soon be here. As soon as they come, I will
bring them round to the several classes. In the meantime, you may go on
with your regular lessons." The bell was then tapped again, and the
routine of the school resumed. In about a minute, a girl came up to the
desk, with, "Sir, teacher says, will you please to send her class-book;
it was not brought round, as usual, this morning, before school opened!"
Here was a class of ten girls, averaging twelve years of age, and not
one of them, nor their teacher, had heard or understood the notice which
I thought I had made so plain!

Here is another instance. At the examination for admission to the
Philadelphia High School, as a means of testing among other things how
far this very faculty of hearing and of attention has been cultivated,
the candidates are required to copy a passage from dictation. These
exercises are always preserved for reference, and in order to show the
fairness of the examination. On one occasion, when I was Principal of
the School, I took the pains to copy out a few of the exercises, in
order to show the singular freaks into which an uncultivated ear may be
led. One or two specimens will serve to illustrate the point. The first
clause with its variations, was as follows:--

  Every breach of veracity indicates some latent vice.
    "   bridge "  rascality   "       "   latest vice.
    "   breech "  feracity    "       "   latinet vice.
    "   preach "  eracity     "       "   late   device.
    "   branch "  vivacity    "       "   great advice.
    "     "    "  veracity    "       "   late advice.
    "     "    "     "        "       "   ladovice.
    "     "    "     "        "       "   ladened vice.
  Every branch of veracity in the next some latent vice.
  Every reach of their ascidity indicates some advice.

In another part of the passage occurred the following:

  Petty operations.
  Petty alterations.
  Petty observations.
  Patriarchal occupations.
  Petty oblations.

Now of what use is it to a boy who mistakes "petty" for "patriarchal,"
"latent vice" for "great advice," "breach of veracity" for "reach of
their ascidity," who is so untrained that he really cannot hear what is
said, or see what is done,--of what use is it to such a boy, merely
because he has gone through a prescribed routine of books and classes,
or perchance because he has attained a certain amount of years and of
pounds avoirdupois, to be pushed forward into a higher department to
attend lectures on chemistry, or anatomy, or morals, or history, or
literature? It is preposterous. It is an insult to the Professor, and an
injury to the boy.

This, then, is the burden of my song. We cannot take too much pains in
early life in rousing this power of attention. Depend upon it, no matter
how much learning, so called, is crammed into a youth, his intellectual
development has not begun until this power is roused. He may have a
vague, dreamy sort of knowledge; he may do sums by rule, and he may
parse by rote, and do many other wondrous things; but his powers are not
invigorated, he does not grow, until he begins really to see and hear,
and feel _terra firma_ under his feet.

The principle which I am illustrating applies with special force to that
part of a child's education which consists in learning the meaning of
words. I have serious doubts whether children ordinarily learn much of
the real meaning of words by committing definitions to memory. What is a
definition? It is only expressing the meaning of one word by the use of
another word as nearly as possible synonymous. Now, in the case of a
child, it is at least an even chance that that other word is just as
unknown as the one it is intended to explain. It is like, in algebra,
solving an equation with two unknown quantities, by giving the value of
one unknown quantity in terms of the other. A child, for instance, is
told that "potent" means "efficacious," that "power" means "ability,"
that "potion" means a "physical draught," that "potential" means
"existing in possibility, not in act." These are definitions taken at
random from a book in common use in our public schools. The definitions
possibly are good enough for the purpose for which they were designed. I
am not quarrelling with the definitions. But, surely, it is not by these
that a child is to learn the meaning of the words. Whether he is told
that "power" means "ability," or "ability" means "power," that "potent"
means "efficacious," or "efficacious" means "potent," in neither case,
nine times out of ten, is any addition made to his stock of knowledge.
It is not until much later in life,--until in fact our knowledge of
words is already very much extended, that we profit much by learning
formal definitions. But in childhood, we must learn the meaning and
power of words, just as the mechanic becomes acquainted with his tools,
by observing their use. A boy, for instance, reads this sentence. "The
drug was very _efficacious_." If the word is quite new to him, and there
is nothing in the clause preceding or following to indicate its meaning,
it is not at all unlikely that he may suppose it to mean "poisonous."
If, however, from the context, he finds that a person who had been sick,
was made suddenly well, and this statement followed by the remark, that
"the drug was very _efficacious_," he will probably get the idea that
the word means "healing," or "curative." He reads again, in another
place, that a certain mode of teaching penmanship was found to be very
"efficacious." Here is a new use of the word, quite different from the
other, and he is obliged to exclude from his idea of its meaning every
thing like "healing." So he goes on, every fresh example cutting off
some extraneous idea which the previous examples had led him to attach
to the word, and every step onward coming nearer to the general idea,
though he may never express it in words, of something which accomplished
its object, whatever that object may be. It is, I believe, chiefly by
observing in this way the manner in which words are used, that children
do and must learn their meaning. It is, in other words, by quickening
and cultivating the habit of attention to the meaning,--by training a
child, when he is reading, to imagine, not that he is reading the words,
but that he is reading the sense, by accustoming him to look through the
word, to the sense, just as he would look at objects out of doors
through the window, and to consider the words, as he would consider the
glass, merely as a medium, through which, and unmindful of it, he looks
at something beyond,--_which something is the meaning_.

Let me not be misunderstood in regard to this matter of definitions. I
believe it to be of the utmost importance that children should be
constantly required to give definitions or explanations of the words
whose meaning they have acquired. All I mean to call in question is,
whether that meaning to any considerable extent is acquired by
committing to memory formal definitions prepared by others. When they
have once learned the meaning of a word, which is to be done mainly, if
not only, by observing its use, then by all means let them be required
to express that meaning by other words which they know. Such an exercise
cannot be too much insisted on. It is one of the best means of securing
that attention to the signification of words, which is so much wanted.
It requires the child, moreover, to bring his knowledge continually to
the test. It cultivates at once accuracy of thought, and accuracy of
language, which is the vehicle of thought. Train a child, therefore, to
the habit of attention, first to the meaning of words as gathered from
observation of their use, and secondly to the expression of that meaning
in language appropriate and intelligible to others.

I have dwelt a little on this subject, because, as in the matter of
hearing, I doubt whether people generally are aware how little children
understand what they read. Nor is this ignorance confined to children.
In our acts of devotion, we are all in the habit of using certain
stereotyped phrases, without attaching to them any definite meaning,
without perhaps so much as having even thought whether they had a
meaning. This same pernicious habit is seen also in our reading of the
Scriptures. We have read the phrases over from childhood, until we have
become so familiar with them, that we are obliged often to stop, and by
a sort of compulsory process to challenge each word as it passes, and
see whether it really conveys any meaning to our mind.

If I were to say to a class, "The Bible tells us of a man who was older
than his father," or some such apparent contradiction in terms, the
sharp antithesis would doubtless arrest their attention, and I would at
least be asked to explain myself. Yet, ten to one, they have read,
hundreds of times, of him who is "the _root_ and the _offspring_ of
David, the bright and morning star," without noticing anything at all
remarkable in the expression. It is to them merely something good and
pious, couched in a very pleasant and sonorous flow of words, and
meaning doubtless something very comforting and edifying.

I was once teaching temporarily a young ladies' Bible Class. The average
age of the members was at least seventeen. They were the pick from a
large city school, and had been selected for their superior educational
advantages and attainments. Most of them were attending expensive
private schools during the week. Wishing to satisfy myself as to the
general knowledge and the intellectual habits of the members, I took the
plan of simply reading verse about, stopping from time to time to talk
familiarly about anything which might happen to suggest itself. This
verse among others was read: it is from the account of the miracle on
the day of Pentecost: "And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like
as of fire, and it sat upon each of them." I found, upon inquiring,
that _not one_ in that large class had the remotest idea of what was
meant by the word "cloven." One young lady thought it meant "fiery,"
another "flaming," another "winged," and so on. Most of them, however,
said that they really had never thought of the matter before. Probably
every one of them had read the passage hundreds of times; and when we
began talking about it, no one of them seemed to have an idea that there
was anything in the verse which she did not understand. It was not until
I took it up, word by word, and challenged a peremptory and sharp
scrutiny into the meaning attached to each word, that the remarkable
fact came out which I have stated.

One or two more leaves from my professional experience will be given.

During the greater part of my professional life, it has been a part of
my duty to examine candidates for the office of teacher in the public
schools. Out of ninety-eight candidates for the office of assistant
teacher, whom I examined on one occasion, only one knew the meaning of
the word "sumptuary," although in the public discussion then going on
about the license law, the word was in daily use in the public papers;
in fact, I took it out of the newspaper of that morning. On another
occasion, out of fourteen candidates for the office of Principal teacher
of a boys' Grammar school, four defined "friable" as that which can be
fried; several did not know at all the meaning of "hibernating," and
one, the successful candidate, said it meant "relating to Ireland." By
"successful" candidate, I mean the one who got the vote of the

This sober scrutiny into any one's knowledge of the meaning of words in
common use, is one of the most reliable tests of his general
intellectual progress and cultivation. It is one of the means by which
in many city schools it is customary to test a candidate's fitness for
promotion. To show how little people generally, and even teachers, are
aware of the extent to which children misconceive the meaning of words
in common use, I have transcribed a few examples from an examination of
the kind which I once held. The definitions which I am about to quote
were not the work of oral confusion and haste, but were given in
writing, in circumstances of entire quietude and ample deliberation. The
average age of the candidates, on the occasion referred to, was fourteen
years and ten months, and no one of them was by law under thirteen

     _Stature_--A picture; "I saw a stature of Washington."

     _Fabulous_--Full of threads; "Silk is fabulous."

     _Accession_--The act of eating a great deal; "John got very sick
     after dinner by accession."

     _Atonement_--A small insect; "Queen Mab was pulled by little
     atonements." Sound, [orthodox]; "They went to the church of the

     _Auxiliary_--To form; "The gardener did auxiliary his garden."

     _Ingredient_--A native-born; "Tobacco is an ingredient of this

     _Fragment_--Sweetmeats; "It was a fragment."

     _Develop_--To swallow up; "God sent a whale to develop Jonah."

     _Exotic_--Relating to a government; "Some countries have a very
     exotic government." Patriotic; "He was exotic in the cause of
     Independence." Absolute; "The government of Turkey is exotic."
     Standing out; "The company were exotic."

     _Circumference_--Distance through the middle. Distance around the
     middle of the outside.

     _Callous_--Something which cannot be effected; "That America should
     gain her independence was supposed to be callous."

     _Mobility_--Belonging to the people; "The mobility of St. Louis has
     greatly increased."

     _Anomalous_--Powerful; "His speech was considered anomalous."

     _Adequate_--A land animal; "An elephant is an adequate."

     _Transition_--The act of transcribing; "The transition of that book
     was gaining ground in the public mind."

     _Gregarious_--Pertaining to idols; "The Sandwich Islands worship
     gregarious." Pertaining to an oak; "The Druids were noted for their
     gregarious exercises." Consisting of grain. Grass-eating. Full of
     talk. Full of color.

     _Propensity_--Dislike; "He had a propensity to study."

     _Artificially_--Belonging to flowers.

     _Fluctuation_--coming in great numbers; "There was a great
     fluctuation of emigrants." Setting on fire. Beating.

     _Odium_--That you have a great tact at anything; "Your odium is
     very great." A poisonous herb. Pertaining to song; "He was an
     odium writer." A sweet smell; "The odium of new-mown hay."

     _Transverse_--To turn over; "Transverse that bucket and see what is
     in it." To change from verse; "Some writers change books from
     transverse to verse." To verse again; "He transversed his copy." To
     spread abroad; "They transverse the Bible."

     _Utility_--Relating to the soil; "The ground it remarkable for its

     _Quadruple_--Relating to birds; "There was a number of quadruple."

     _Alternate_--Not ternate.

     _Menace_--A tare in the flesh; "The dog caused a menace in John's

     _Vital_--Relating to death; "Vital spark of heavenly flame."

     _Intrinsic_--not trinsic. Weak, feeble; "He was a very intrinsic
     old man."

     _Subservient_--One opposed to the upholding of servants. Stubborn;
     "On account of the boy being subservient he was turned out of

     _Perfidy_--Trust; not to cheat; "Such a man is perfidy; that is,
     everything can be trusted to him." Accessible; "Some persons have a
     great deal of perfidy."

     _Access_--Intermission; "Joseph had access of his teacher to go
     into the room."

     _Vicinity_--In the same direction; "Pekin is in the vicinity of

     _Subsequent_--Preceding; "The subsequent chapter."

     _Infectious_--To make fectious.

     _Exquisite_--To be in a quisitive manner. To help. To find out.
     Talkative. Not required.

     _Mingle_--To tear in pieces.

     _Deride_--To ride down.

     _Manifold_--Made by the hand. Pertaining to man; "Forgive our
     manifold sins."

I have failed entirely in the general drift of this chapter, if I have
not made it obvious that the principle which I have been attempting to
illustrate is one of singularly pervading influence, and of most various
and manifold applications. The subject is indeed eminently suggestive.
One single additional line of illustration, however, must suffice. I
refer to the application of this principle to what may be called the
incidentals of teaching and training.

A child, for instance, should not only "spell out of book," as it is
called, but his attention should by some means be directed to the way in
which words are spelled. He should be accustomed to form, as it were, a
mental image of each word, to think of it as having a particular form
and appearance, so that his eye will detect instantly a wanting or an
excrescent letter, just as he sees a wen, a defective limb, or a
distorted feature on the person of an acquaintance. Only fire his young
ambition with the aim to spell well, and quicken his attention to the
way in which words are spelled, and every time he reads a book he
receives incidentally a lesson in spelling.

A child should have stated exercises and systematic instructions in the
art of reading. But quite as much improvement in this important and too
much neglected accomplishment may be gained by not allowing children at
any time to read in an improper manner. Every demonstration at the
blackboard, every text or hymn repeated from memory, every recitation in
arithmetic, grammar, or geography, every exercise of every kind in which
the voice is used and words are uttered, may be made an incidental
lesson in reading. By being never allowed to pronounce words
incorrectly, to utter them in a low or drawling manner, or to crowd and
overlap them, as it were, one upon the other, the ear becomes accustomed
to the correct sounds of the language, and immediately detects any
variation from its accustomed standard. By thus insisting, in every
vocal exercise, upon the full and correct pronunciation of the
elementary sounds of the language, more may be done to make good readers
and speakers than by all the pronouncing dictionaries and elocution
books in print.

Let a child by all means take lessons in writing. Let him learn plain
text, German text, round hand, running hand, back hand, and the
flourishes. But if he is to become rapidly master of that truly
beautiful and most useful accomplishment, let the teacher insist upon
his always attending to his manner of writing, and always writing as
well as he can. Whether he writes a composition, a sketch, a letter,
whenever for any purpose he puts pen to paper, let him be required to
form each letter distinctly, to write it gracefully, and to give to his
exercise a neat and elegant appearance. Teach him to think of a crooked
line or a blotted page as of an untied shoe, or a dirty face. By thus
making every written exercise an exercise in writing, his progress will
be increased beyond your expectations, and you will soon see him looking
with pleasure at the clean and symmetrical forms which flow so
gracefully from his pen, as he goes from line to line over the virgin
page, no half-formed or misshapen letters to embarrass, but all in every
part as elegantly written as it is easily read.

Grammar should no doubt be taught by text-book and in stated lessons.
The parts of speech, the conjugations and declensions, syntax and
parsing, must all be systematically conned, the rules and definitions
committed to memory, and the judgment exercised upon their application.
At the same time every recitation of a child, as well as all his
conversation, ought to be made an incidental and unconscious lesson in
grammar. Only never allow him to use unchallenged an incorrect or
ungrammatical expression, train his ear to detect and revolt at it, as
at a discordant note in music, let him if possible hear nothing but
sterling, honest English, and he will then learn grammar to some
purpose. If, on the contrary, he is allowed to recite and to talk in
whatever language comes uppermost, and to hear continually those around
him reciting and talking in a similar manner, he may parse till he is
blind without learning "to speak and write the English language
correctly." Banish from the nursery, the school-room, and the
play-ground, incorrect and ungrammatical expressions, and you do more
than can be done in all other ways to preserve "the well of English

Young persons need systematic instructions in the principles which
should govern their conduct. They need not indeed be troubled with the
more abstruse questions in the theory of morals. But the great obvious
rules of duty should be taught them, in a systematic manner, by a
competent instructor. But that man would be thought little acquainted
with the influences which go to mould and form the character, who should
suppose the matter ended here. The doctrines inculcated in the lesson,
must be carried out and applied in all the petty incidents of the day.
Not an hour passes in a large family or a school, without an occurrence
involving some principle in morals. A boy of moderate talents,
notwithstanding all his exertions, is eclipsed by one more gifted, and
he is tempted to envy. Imagining himself aggrieved or insulted by his
fellows, he burns for revenge. Overtaken in a fault and threatened with
punishment, he is tempted to lie. Misled by the opinion of others, or
esteeming some rule of his teachers harsh and unnecessary, he is
inclined to disobey. These and a hundred other instances which might be
named, will suggest to the thoughtful parent or teacher so many
opportunities for giving incidentally the most important practical
instruction in morals.

In these and the manifold other illustrations which might be given, the
essential point is to quicken and keep alive the attention. Whatever be
the subject of study, and whether the instructions be direct or
incidental, let children be preserved from attending to it in a
sluggish, listless, indifferent manner. The subject of study, in the
case of young persons, is often of less importance than the manner of
study. I have been led sometimes to doubt the value of many of the
inventions for facilitating the acquisition of knowledge by children.
That knowledge the acquisition of which costs no labor, will not be
likely to make a deep impression, or to remain long upon the memory. It
is by labor that the mind strengthens and grows: and while care should
be taken not to overtask it by exertions beyond its strength, yet let it
never be forgotten that mere occupation of the mind, even with useful
and proper objects, is not the precise aim of education. The educator
aims, not to make learned boys, but able men. To do this, he must tax
their powers. He must rouse them to manly exertion. He must teach them
to think, to discriminate, to digest what they have received, to work.
Every day there must be the glow of hard work,--not the exhaustion and
languor which arise from too protracted confinement to study,--which
have the same debilitating effect upon the mind that a similar process
has upon the body,--but vigorous and hardy labor, such as wakens the
mind from its lethargy, summons up the resolution and the will, and puts
the whole internal man into a state of determined and positive activity.
The boy in such a case feels that he is at work. He feels, too, that he
is gaining something more than knowledge. He is gaining power. He is
growing in strength. He grapples successfully to-day with a difficulty
that would have staggered him yesterday. There is no mistaking this
process; and no matter what the subject of study, the intellectual
development what it gives, is worth infinitely more than all that vague,
floating kind of knowledge sometimes sought after, which seems to be
imbibed somehow from the atmosphere of the school-room, as it certainly
evaporates the moment a boy enters the atmosphere of men and of active



The teacher who fails to get the attention of his scholars, fails
totally. The pupils may perhaps learn something, because they may give
the lesson some study at home, under the direction of their parents. But
they learn nothing from the teacher. He is really no teacher, though he
may occupy the teacher's seat. There is, and there can be, no teaching,
where the attention of the scholar is not secured. Gaining the attention
is an indispensable condition to the thing called teaching. Not,
however, the only indispensable thing. We have seen a class wrought by
special tricks and devices to the highest pitch of excited
attention,--fairly panting with eagerness, all eyes and ears, on the
very tiptoe of aroused mental activity,--yet learning nothing. The
teacher had the knack of stirring them up and lashing them into a half
frenzy of excited expectation, without having any substantial knowledge
wherewith to reward their eagerness. With all his one-sided skill, he
was but a mountebank. To real, successful teaching, there must be these
two things, namely, the ability to hold the minds of the children, and
the ability to pour into the minds thus presented sound and seasonable
instruction. Lacking the latter ability, your pupil goes away with his
vessel unfilled. Lacking the former, you only pour water upon the

How shall the teacher secure attention?

In the first place, let him make up his mind that he will have it. This
is half the battle. Let him settle it with himself, that until he does
this, he is doing nothing; that without the attention of his scholars,
he is no more a teacher, than is the chair he occupies. If he is not
plus, he is zero, if not actually minus. With this truth fully realized,
he will come before his class resolved to have a hearing; and this very
resolution, written as it will be all over him, will have its effect
upon his scholars. Children are quick to discern the mental attitude of
a teacher. They know, as if by instinct, whether he is in earnest or
not, and in all ordinary cases they yield without dispute to a claim
thus resolutely put.

This, then, is the first duty of the teacher in this matter. He must go
to his class with the resolute determination of making every scholar
feel his presence all the time. The moment any scholar shows that the
consciousness of his teacher's presence is not on his mind, as a
restraining power, something is wrong. The first step towards producing
that consciousness, as an abiding influence on the minds of the
scholars, is for the teacher to determine in his own mind and bring it
about. Without being arrogant, without being dictatorial, without being
or doing anything that is disagreeable or unbecoming, he must yet make
up his mind to put forth in the class a distinct power of
self-assertion. He must determine to make them feel that he is there,
that he is there all the time, that he is there to every one of them.

In the next place, the teacher must not disappoint the attention which
his manner has challenged. He must have something valuable to
communicate to the expectant minds before him. He must be thoroughly
prepared in the lesson, so that the pupils shall feel that they are
learning from him. His lips must keep knowledge. The human heart thirsts
for knowledge. This is one of its natural instincts. It is indeed often
much perverted, and many are to be found who even show aversion to being
instructed. Yet the normal condition of things is otherwise, and nothing
is more common than to see children hanging with fondness around any one
who has something to tell them. Let the teacher then be sure to have
something to say, as well as determined to say it.

In the third place, the teacher must have his knowledge perfectly at
command. It must be on the tip of his tongue. If he hesitates, and stops
to think, or to look in his book for the purpose of hunting up what he
has to tell them, he will be very apt to lose his chance. Teaching
children, particularly young children, is like shooting birds on the
wing. The moment your bird is in sight, you must fire. The moment you
have the child's eye, be ready to speak. This readiness of utterance is
a matter to be cultivated. The ripest scholars are often sadly deficient
in it. The very habit of profound study is apt to induce the opposite
quality to readiness. A teacher who is conscious of this defect, must
resolutely set himself to resist it and overcome it. He can do so, if he
will. But it requires resolution and practice.

In the fourth place, the teacher must place himself so that every pupil
in the class is within the range of his vision. It is not uncommon to
see a teacher pressing close up to the scholars in the centre of the
class, so that those at the right and left ends are out of his sight; or
if he turns his face to those on one side, he at the same time turns his
back to those on the other. Always sit or stand where you can all the
while see the face of every pupil. I have, hundreds of times, seen the
whole character of the instruction and discipline of a class changed by
the observance of this simple rule.

Another rule is to use your eyes quite as much as your tongue. If you
want your class to look at you, you must look at them. The eye has a
magic power. It wins, it fascinates, it guides, it rewards, it punishes,
it controls. You must learn how to see every child all the time. Some
teachers seem to be able to see only one scholar at a time. This will
never do. While you are giving this absorbed, undivided attention to
one, all the rest are running wild. Neither will it do for the teacher
to be looking about much, to see what is going on among the other
classes in the room. Your scholars' eyes will be very apt to follow
yours. You are the engineer, they are the passengers. If you run off the
track, they must do likewise. Nor must your eye be occupied with the
book, hunting up question and answer, nor dropped to the floor in
excessive modesty. All the power of seeing that you have is needed for
looking earnestly, lovingly, without interruption, into the faces and
eyes of your pupils.

But for the observance of this rule, another is indispensable. You must
learn to teach without book. Perhaps you cannot do this absolutely. But
the nearer you can approach to it, the better. Thorough preparation, of
course, is the secret of this power. Some teachers think they have
prepared a lesson when they have gone over it once, and studied out all
the answers. There could not be a greater mistake. This is only the
first step in the preparation. You might as well think that you have
learned the Multiplication Table, and are prepared to teach it, when you
have gone over it once and seen by actual count that the figures are all
right, and you know where to put your finger on them when required. You
are prepared to teach a lesson when you have all the facts and ideas in
it at your tongue's end, so that you can go through them all, in proper
order, without once referring to the book. Any preparation short of this
will not do, if you want to command attention. Once prepare a lesson in
this way, and it will give you such freedom in the art of teaching, and
you will experience such a pleasure in it, that you will never want to
relapse into the old indolent habit.



       *       *       *       *       *

1. _To a Young Teacher._

You are about to assume the charge of a class in the school under my
care. Allow me, in a spirit of frankness, to make to you a brief
statement of some of the aims of the institution, and of the principles
by which we are guided in their prosecution.

1. "Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it."
I have no professional conviction more fixed and abiding than this, that
no persons more need the direct, special, continual guidance of the Holy
Spirit than those who undertake to mould and discipline the youthful
mind. No preparation for this office is complete which does not include
devout prayer for that wisdom which cometh from above. If any one
possession, more than another, is the direct gift of the Almighty, it
would seem to be that of knowledge. The teacher, therefore, of all men,
is called upon to look upwards to a source that is higher than himself.
He needs light in his own mind; he should not count it misspent labor to
ask for light to be given to the minds of his scholars. There is a
Teacher infinitely wiser and more skilful than any human teacher. The
instructor must be strangely blind to the resources of his profession,
who fails to resort habitually to that great, plenary, unbounded source
of light and knowledge. While, therefore, we aim in this school to
profit by all subsidiary and subordinate methods and improvements in the
art of teaching, we first of all seek the aid of our Heavenly Father; we
ask wisdom of Him who "giveth liberally and upbraideth not." This, then,
is the first principle that governs us in the work here assigned us. The
fear of God is the beginning of knowledge. We who are teachers endeavor
to show that we ourselves fear God, and we inculcate the fear of Him as
the first and highest duty of our scholars; and in every plan and effort
to guide the young minds committed to us, we ourselves look for guidance
to the only unerring source of light.

2. In proportion to the implicitness with which we rely upon divine aid,
should be the diligence with which we use all the human means within our
reach. It should therefore, in the second place, be the aim of the
teachers of this school to acquaint themselves diligently with the most
approved methods of teaching. No teachers will be retained who do not
keep themselves well posted in the literature of their profession, and
who are not found continually aiming at self-improvement. In whatever
school of whatever country, any branch is taught by better methods than
those practised here, it should be the duty of a teacher in this school
to search it out, and to profit by the discovery. Improvement comes by
comparison. The man, or the institution, that fails to profit by the
experience of others, is not wise. I hold it to be the duty of every
teacher of this school to be habitually conversant with the educational
journals of the day, and with the standard works on the theory of
teaching, and to lose no opportunity for personal observation of the
methods of others. I have often noticed, with equal pain and
commiseration, that young teachers, after having once finished their
preliminary studies and obtained a situation, are thereupon apparently
quite content, making no further effort at improvement, but settling
down for life in an inglorious mediocrity. The best teachers in this
school are expected to be better teachers next year than they are
now,--with ampler stores of knowledge, and a happier faculty for
communicating it. This, then, is our second aim in this school. We aim
to have teachers thoroughly posted in regard to the theory and the
methods of teaching, prepared to ride upon the advance wave of every
real improvement in the art.

3. I should, however, fail entirely to convey my meaning, were I to lead
you to suppose that we expect to accomplish our ends mainly by fine-spun
theories. I have no faith in any theory of education, which does not
include, as one of its leading elements, _hard work_. The teachers of
this school expect to work hard, and we expect the scholars to work
hard. We have no royal road to learning. Any knowledge, the acquisition
of which costs nothing, is usually worth nothing. The mind, equally with
the body, grows by labor. If some stuffing process could be invented, by
which knowledge could be forced into a mind perfectly passive, the
knowledge so acquired would be worthless to its possessor, and would
soon pass away, leaving the mind as blank as it was before. Knowledge,
to be of any value, must be assimilated, as bodily food is. Teaching is
essentially a co-operative act. The mind of the teacher and the mind of
the scholar must both act, and must act together, in intellectual
co-operation and sympathy, if there is to be any true mental growth.
Teaching is not merely hearing lessons. It is not mere talking. It is
something more than mere telling. It is causing a child to know. It is
awakening attention, and then satisfying it. It is an out-and-out live
process. The moment the mind of the teacher or the mind of the scholar
flags, real teaching ceases. This, then, is our third aim. We aim in
this school to accomplish results, not by fanciful theories, but by
_bona fide_ hard work,--by keeping teachers and scholars, while at their
studies, wide awake and full of life; not by exhausting drudgery, nor by
fitful, irregular, spasmodic exertions, but by steady, persevering,
animated, straight-forward work.

4. A fourth aim which we have steadily before us, is to make _thorough_
work of whatever acquisition we attempt. A little knowledge, well
learned and truly digested, and made a part of the pupil's own
intellectual stores, is worth more to him than any amount of facts
loosely and indiscriminately brought together. In intellectual, as in
other tillage, the true secret of thrift is to plough deep, not to skim
over a large surface. The prevailing tendency at this time, in systems
of education, is unduly to multiply studies. So many new sciences are
being brought within the pale of popular knowledge, that it is no longer
possible, in a school like this, to embrace within its course of study
all the subjects which it is practicable and desirable for people
generally to know. Through the whole encyclopædia of arts and sciences,
there is hardly one which has not its advocates, and which has not
strong claims to recognition. The teacher is simply infatuated who
attempts to embrace them all in his curriculum. He thereby puts himself
under an absolute necessity of being superficial, and he generates in
his scholars pretension and conceit. Old James Ross, the grammarian,
famous as a teacher in Philadelphia more than half a century ago, had on
his sign simply these words, "Greek and Latin taught here." Assuredly I
would not advocate quite so rigid an exclusion as that, nor, if limited
to only two studies, would it be those. But I have often thought Mr.
Ross's advertisement suggestive. Better even that extreme than the
encyclopædic system which figures so largely on some circulars. Mr. Ross
indeed taught nothing but Latin and Greek. But he taught these languages
better probably than they have ever been taught on this continent; and
any two branches thoroughly mastered are of more service to the pupil
than twenty branches known imperfectly and superficially. A limited
field, then, and thorough work. This is our fourth aim.

5. As a fifth aim, we endeavor, in the selection of subjects of study,
not to allow the common English branches, as they are called, to be
shoved aside. To read well, to write a good hand, to be expert in
arithmetic, to have such a knowledge of geography and history as to read
intelligently what is going on and the world, to have such a knowledge
of one's own language as to use it correctly and purely in speaking and
composition,--these are attainments to be postponed to no others. These
are points of primary importance, to be aimed at by every one, whatever
else he may omit.

6. We aim, in the sixth place, to mark the successive parts of the
course of study by well defined limits. There are in the course of study
successive stages of progress, and these stages are made as clear and
precise as it is possible to make them; and no pupil is allowed to go
forward until the ground behind is thoroughly mastered. At the same
time, these stages in study should be kept all the while before the
minds of the pupils as goals to be aimed at. There are, for this
purpose, at briefly recurring intervals, examinations for promotion.
While no pupil is permitted to go forward, except as the result of a
rigorous examination, the idea of an advance should, if possible, never
be allowed to be absent from his thoughts. That scholar should be
counted worthy of highest honor, not who stands highest in a particular
room, but who by successful examinations can pass most rapidly from room
to room. That teacher is considered most successful, not who retains
most pupils, but who in a given time pushes most pupils forward into a
higher room. We want no scholar to stand still for a single week.
Motion, progress, definite achievement, must be the order of the day.

7. We aim, in the seventh place, to cultivate in every pupil a habit of
attention and observation. Youth is the time when the senses should be
most assiduously trained. The young should be taught to see for
themselves, to ascertain the qualities of objects by the use of their
own eyes and hands, to notice whether a thing is distant and how far
distant it is, whether it is heavy and how heavy, whether it has color
and what color, whether it has form and what form. They should learn to
study real things by actually noticing them with their own senses, and
then learning to apply the right words to the knowledge so acquired. We
aim to apply this habit of observation in all the branches of study, so
that in every stage of progress the scholar shall know, not merely the
names of things, but the things themselves. In other words, we would
cultivate real, as well as verbal knowledge, and aim to awaken in every
pupil an active, inquiring, observant state of mind.

       *       *       *       *       *

2. _To a New Pupil._

You have just been admitted to the privileges of this institution, and
are about to enter here upon a course of study. The occasion is one
eminently suited for serious reflection. At the close of a school career
it is difficult not to reflect. Thoughts upon one's course will, at such
a time, force themselves upon us. But then it is too late. The good we
might have achieved, is beyond our grasp, and its contemplation is
profitable only as a legitimate topic of contrition. How much wiser and
more profitable to anticipate the serious judgment which sooner or later
we must pass upon our actions, and so to shape our conduct in advance,
that the retrospect, when it comes, may be a source of joy and
congratulation, rather than of shame and repentance. How much wiser to
direct our bark to some definite and well selected channel, than to
float at random along the current of events, the sport of every idle
wave. Men are divided into two classes,--those who control their own
destiny, doing what they mean to do, living according to a plan which
they prefer and prepare, and those who are controlled by circumstances,
who have a vague purpose of doing something or being somebody in the
world, but leave the means to chance. The season of youth generally
determines to which of these classes you will ultimately belong. It is
here, at school, that you decide whether, when you come to man's estate,
you will be a governing man, or whether you will be a mere aimless
driveller. Those who at the beginning of a course in school make to
themselves a distinct aim, towards which day after day they work their
course, undiscouraged by defeat, unseduced by ease or the temptation of
a temporary pleasure, not only win the immediate objects of pursuit, but
gain for themselves those habits of aiming, of perseverance, of
self-control, which will make them hereafter controlling and governing
men. Those, on the contrary, who enter upon an academic career with an
indefinite purpose of studying after a fashion, whenever it is not too
hot, or too cold, or the lessons are not too hard, or there is nothing
special going on to distract the attention, or who are content to swim
along lazily with the multitude, trusting to the good-nature of the
teacher, to an occasional deception, or to the general chapter of
accidents, for escape from censure, and for such an amount of
proficiency as on the whole will pass muster with friends or the
public,--depend upon it, such youths are doomed, inevitably doomed, all
their days, to be nobodies, or worse.

Let me, then, my young friend, as preliminary to your entering upon the
duties before you, call to your mind some of those things, which, as an
intelligent and responsible being, you should deliberately aim to follow
or to avoid while in this school. In the counsels which I am going to
give you, I shall make no attempt to say what is new or striking. My aim
will be rather to recall to your memory some few of those familiar
maxims, in which you have been, I dare say, often instructed elsewhere.

1. First of all, remember that men always, by a necessary law, fall
below the point at which they aim. You well understand that if a
projectile be hurled in the direct line of any elevated object, the
force of gravity will cause the projectile to deflect from the line of
direction, and this deflection and curvature will be great in proportion
to the distance of the object to be reached. Hence, in gunnery, the
skilful marksman invariably takes aim above the point which he expects
to hit. At certain distances, he will aim 45° above the horizon at what
is really but 30° above it. So, in moral subjects, there is
unfortunately a native and universal tendency downwards, which deflects
us out of the line in which good resolutions would propel us. You aim to
be distinguished, and you turn out only meritorious. You aim to be
meritorious, and you fall into the multitude. You are content with being
of the multitude, and you fall out of your class entirely. So also, as
in physical projectiles, the extent of your departure from the right
line is measured by the distance of the objects at which you aim. You
resolve to avoid absolutely and entirely certain practices for a day or
a week, and you can perhaps keep very close to the mark. But who can
hold himself up to an exact fulfilment of his intentions for a whole
term? I do not wish to discourage you. The drift of my argument is, not
that you should make no aim, but that you should fix your aim _high_,
and that you should then keep yourself up to your good resolutions, as
long and as closely as you possibly can.

2. In the next place, remember that no excellence is ever attained
without self-denial. Wisdom's ways are indeed ways of pleasantness. The
satisfaction of having done well and nobly is of a certain ravishing
kind, far surpassing other enjoyments. But to obtain this high and
satisfying pleasure, many minor and incompatible pleasures must be
foregone. You cannot have the pleasure of being a first-rate scholar,
and at the same time have your full swing of fun. I am not opposed to
fun. I like it myself. No one enjoys it more. Nor do I think the
exercise and enjoyment of it incompatible with the highest scholastic
excellence. But there is a place for all things, and school is not the
place for fun. If you enjoy in moderation out of school the relaxation
and refreshment which jokes, wit, and pleasantry give, you will be all
the more likely to grapple successfully with the serious employments
which await you here. Still do not forget that your employments here are
serious. Study is a sober business. If you would acquire really useful
knowledge, you must be willing to work. You must make up your mind to
say "no" to the thousand opportunities and temptations to frivolous
behavior that will beset you in school. You must not be content with
being studious and orderly merely when the eye of authority is upon you.
This is to be simply an eye-servant and a hypocrite. To have a little
pleasantry in the school-room, to perpetrate or to join in some witty
practical joke, may seem to you comparatively harmless. So it would be
but for its expense. You buy it at the cost of benefits which no money
can measure, and no future time can replace. There are seasons of the
year when the farmer may indulge in relaxation,--may go abroad on
excursions of pleasure, or may saunter away the time in comparative
idleness at home. But in the few precious weeks of seedtime, every day,
every hour is of moment. This is your seedtime. Every hour of
school-time that you waste in trifling is an injury and a loss to your
future. Remember, then, that you cannot reach high excellence in school,
or that pure and noble enjoyment, which is its exceeding great reward,
without self-denial. Resolve, therefore, here and now, steadfastly,
immovably, to say "no" to everything in school, no matter how innocent
in itself, which shall interfere with the progress of study for a single
moment. If you make such a fixed resolution, and live up to it, you will
soon be surprised to find how easy and pleasant the discipline of school
has become.

3. Among the mischievous fallacies of young persons at school, I know
none that work more to their own disadvantage than the opinion that a
particular teacher is prejudiced against them. Against this feeling it
seems impossible to reason. When once scholars have it fairly in their
heads that a certain teacher is partial, in whatever relates to their
standing, I have been almost forced to the conclusion that it is best
not to attempt reasoning with them. Under such feelings, indeed, by a
singular freak of human nature, scholars are often driven to do, in
sheer bravado or defiance, the very things which they imagine to be
unjustly imputed to them. Allow me, my young friend, to ask you candidly
and in all seriousness to turn this matter over in your own mind. What
adequate motive can you imagine for a teacher's marking you otherwise
than impartially? Every teacher has an interest in having as many high
marks and as few demerits under his signature as possible. It is not to
his credit that he should be unable to maintain order without blackening
his roll with bad marks. A class roll filled with 0's is not the kind of
evidence a teacher covets as to his skill in teaching. Notice the
intercourse between the teachers and those scholars who are admitted on
all hands to be strictly and conscientiously correct in their behavior.
See what a pleasure it affords the instructor to have to deal with such
pupils. See what a satisfaction the teacher experiences when, at the
close of the day, there is not a demerit mark on his book. Judge, then,
whether it is not likely to be a self-denial and a cross to him, when a
sense of duty compels him to do otherwise. Be slow, therefore, to impute
bad marks to injustice, or ill nature. No man of course is infallible,
and teachers make mistakes as well as other people. But the temptations
to do intentional wrong are, in this case, all the other way.

4. Closely connected with the habit just mentioned is the disposition to
neglect particular branches of study. From disliking a teacher, the
transition is easy to a dislike for his department. Others again,
without any personal feeling in the case, think that they have a natural
fitness for one class of studies, and an equally natural _un_-fitness
for another class. So they content themselves with proficiency in that
in which they already excel, and neglect that in which they are
deficient, and which therefore they find difficult. Is this wise? The
branches which you find difficult, are precisely those in which you need
an instructor. Besides, the object of education is to develop equally
and harmoniously all your faculties. If the memory, the reasoning
faculty, the imagination, or any one power of the mind, is active far
beyond the other powers, that surely is no reason for giving additional
stimulus and growth in that direction. On the contrary, bend your main
energies towards bringing forward your other faculties to an equal
development. If you have a natural or acquired preference for
mathematics, and a dislike for languages, the former study will take
care of itself: bend all your energies to the latter. So, if languages
are your choice, and mathematical study your aversion, take hold of the
odious task with steady and sturdy endeavor, and you will soon convert
it into a pleasure. The same is true of grammar, of geography, of
history, of composition, of rhetoric, of mental and moral science, of
elocution,--of every branch. If you are wise, you will give your chief
attention in school to those branches for which you feel the least
inclination, and in which you find it most difficult to excel. You
should do so, because, in the first place, this failure and
disinclination, in nine cases out of ten, grow out of defective
training heretofore, and not from any defect in your mental
constitution; and, secondly, if your natural constitution should be, as
in some cases it is, one-sided and exceptional, your aim should be to
correct and cure, not to aggravate, the defects of nature. This advice,
you will observe, relates to your course in school, not to your choice
of a profession in life. When your career in school is finished, and you
are about to select a profession, follow by all means the bent of your
genius. Do that for which you have the greatest natural or acquired
aptitude. But here, the case is different. Your aim in school is to
develop your powers,--to grow into an accomplished and capable man,--to
acquire complete command of all the mental resources God has given you.

5. There is a practice, common to school-life everywhere, known by the
not very dignified name of cheating. There is, I fear, among young
people generally, while at school, an erroneous and mischievous state of
opinion on this subject. Deception in regard to your lessons is not
viewed, as it should be, in the light of a serious moral delinquency. An
ingenuous youth, who would scorn to steal, and scorn to lie anywhere
else than at school, makes no scruple to deceive a teacher. Is honesty a
thing of place and time? I do not say, I would not trust at my
money-drawer the boy who has been cheating at his lessons, because a boy
may have been led into the latter delinquency by a false notion of
right, which as yet has not affected his integrity in matters of
business. But this I do say. Cheating at school blunts the moral sense;
it impairs the sense of personal honor; it breaks down the outworks of
integrity; it leads by direct and easy steps to that grosser cheating
which ends in the penitentiary.

On this subject, I once had a most painful experience. A boy left school
with as fair a character for honesty as many others against whom nothing
can be said except that they do sometimes practise deceit in regard to
their lessons. I really believed him to be an honest boy, and
recommended him as such. By means of the recommendation, he obtained in
a large store a responsible post connected with the receipt and payment
of money. His employer was pleased with his abilities, and disposed to
give him rapid promotion. After a few months, I inquired after him, and
found that he had been detected in forcing his balances! I do verily
believe, the dishonest purpose, which led to this pecuniary fraud, grew
directly out of a facility at deception acquired at school. He had
cheated his teacher; he had cheated his father; he had obtained a
fictitious average; he had gained a standing and credit in school not
justly his due; why should he not exercise the same ingenuity in
improving his pecuniary resources?

Independently of the moral effect of these deceptive practices upon your
own character, is there not in the acts themselves an inherent meanness
and baseness, from which a pure-minded youth would instinctively recoil?
Is there not something false and rotten in the prevailing sentiment on
this subject among young persons at school? When by some convenient
fiction you reach a higher standard than your merits entitle you to, is
it not so far forth at the expense of some more conscientious
competitor? And, after all, when you deceive a teacher into the belief
that you are studying when you are not, that you know a thing when you
do not know it, that you wrote a composition, or executed a drawing,
which was done by some one else,--whom do you cheat but yourself? You
may deceive the teacher, but the loss is yours.

6. If there could be such a thing as an innocent crime, I would say it
was that of talking in school. There can hardly be named a more signal
instance of an act so perfectly innocent in itself, becoming so
seriously blame-worthy purely and solely by circumstances. I believe I
express the common opinion of all who have had any experience in the
matter, when I say that three fourths of all the intentional disorder,
and at least nine tenths of all the actual interruptions to study, grow
out of the practice of unlicensed talking. And yet this is the very last
thing which young persons will admit into their serious, practical
convictions as being an evil and a wrong. They may admit that they get
bad marks by it; that it brings them into trouble; but that it is really
an evil, meriting the strictures with which the teacher visits it, is
more than they believe. What deceives them is this. They call to mind
the events of a particular hour. There was during that hour, according
to their recollection, a general attention to study, and no special
disorder; perhaps some three or four of the pupils noted for talking.
This talking, too, may have been about the lesson, or at all events was
not such as to distract very perceptibly the current of instruction.
Hence the inference that a moderate amount of talking, such as that was,
is perfectly consistent with decorum and progress.

So it is. But what is to secure this moderate amount? What right have
you to talk that is not enjoyed by your neighbor? If one may talk, so
may all; if one does it, unchecked, so will all, as you very well know.
How is the teacher to know whether you are talking about the lesson, or
about the last cricket-match?

This is a perfectly plain question, and I press you to an answer. There
is no practical medium between unlimited license to talk--against which
you would yourself be the first to protest--and an entire prohibition. I
put it to your conscience, whether you do not believe, were this rule
strictly and in good faith observed, that the interests of the school,
and your own interest, comfort, and honor, would be greatly promoted? Is
the inconvenience which this rule imposes so great, or your habit of
self-indulgence so strong, that you cannot, or will not, forego a slight
temporary gratification for so substantial and lasting a benefit?

7. You will avoid much of the difficulty of observing this rule, if you
give heed to the next counsel which I have now to give, and that is,
that you economize carefully your time in school. On this point some
excellent and conscientious pupils occasionally err. They are very
faithful in home preparation; very attentive at lectures; very
industrious in discharging any set duty. But they have not yet learned
the true secret of all economy, whether of time, money, or any other
good,--namely, the knowing how to use well the odds and ends. Take care
of the pence, was Franklin's motto. If you once have the secret of
occupying usefully, in studious preparation, or in wise repetition, all
those little intervals of interrupted instruction, which necessarily
occur throughout the day, you will in the first place almost insure for
yourself an entire freedom from demerit marks of every kind; you will
secondly add materially to your intellectual progress; and, lastly, you
will acquire a habit of the utmost value in every station and walk in
life; and, depend upon it, the habits you acquire at school, are of all
your acquisitions by far the most important.

8. But I would be false to my most settled convictions, were I to stop
here. I have been a teacher of the young nearly all my life, and as the
result of such a life-long professional experience, I have no conviction
more abiding than this, that the _fear of God is the beginning of
knowledge_. I believe that mental growth is just as directly the gift of
God as bodily growth; that the healthy action of the mind is as much
dependent on his good pleasure as the healthy action of the bodily
functions. God has not only made one mind superior to another, but of
two minds naturally equal, he can, at his sovereign pleasure, make one
grow and expand more rapidly than another. As he can give symmetry and
strength to your limbs, and clothe your features with beauty and grace,
so he can make you quick of apprehension, clear of discernment, ready
and tenacious to remember, delicate in your appreciation of what is
beautiful. While, therefore, you are diligent in your studies, remember
that the reward of your labor, after all, is the gift of God. You will
neglect one essential means of intellectual progress, if you neglect
prayer. I mean, not prayer in general, but specific prayer for God's
blessing on your studies; prayer that God will bless your efforts to
learn. Keep your mind, while engaged in study, in a habitual state of
expectancy, especially when grappling with intellectual difficulties, as
if inwardly looking up for help to that all-knowing Spirit, who alone,
of all beings, acts directly on our spirits. I cannot doubt that one who
studies in such a frame of mind, will advance in his intellectual
progress more rapidly for it. I have a most assured conviction that
prayer is a direct and important means of mental growth. Not only will
the fear of God restrain you from many of the usual hindrances to study,
of which I have already spoken, but a truly devout spirit is the very
best state of mind for learning, even for learning purely intellectual

There are other and higher motives, why you should cultivate,
habitually, the fear of God. Of these motives, it is not my office to
speak now. They are often pressed upon your attention. The one point to
which I direct you now, is the importance of such a state of mind to
your making the best, and surest, and noblest kind of mental growth. If
you would grow rapidly in knowledge, grow symmetrically and beautifully,
with all your faculties in harmonious preparation and dependence, fear
God. Keep your spirit in habitual intercourse and communion with that
Almighty Spirit who is the source of all knowledge and wisdom. In the
school-room, at your desk, in your recitations, and your exercises of
every kind, let the thought that the eye of a loving Father is upon you,
diffuse habitually a calm and sweet peace through your spirit, and
depend upon it, you will not find your mental vision dimmed by moving in
so pure and serene an atmosphere. There are no quickeners to knowledge
equal to love, reverence, and earnest prayer.

Let me, in conclusion, tender you my best wishes for your success in the
career now before you. That success depends, in no small degree, upon
the feeling and spirit with which you begin. Only summon up your mind to
a serious and determined resolution at the outset; aim high; do not
flinch at self-denial; rise above the unworthy suspicion that this or
that teacher is unfair to you; resist the disposition to shirk those
studies that you find disagreeable or difficult; keep clear of every
kind and degree of trickery; come straight up to a full and strict
compliance with every rule; lay your plans to occupy usefully each
golden moment of leisure; cultivate a constant sense of dependence upon
God for success in study: and your success will be as certain as is the
wish for it, which I once more, most respectfully and affectionately,
tender you.

       *       *       *       *       *

3. _To a Young Lady on Leaving a Boarding-School._

You are about to leave school. The occasion is one certainly that cannot
fail to awaken reflection. I suppose that no young lady, who had been at
a place of education as long as you have been here, ever left it without
serious thought. The excitement of the examination, the busy whirl of
preparation for leaving, even the exhilarating anticipations of
home-going, cannot entirely shut out from your mind the sober truth that
the end of school-days is only the beginning of another career,--a
career, the issue of which you can neither foresee, nor can you be
indifferent to it. Let us talk a little about this.

The day on which a young man ends his College course is called, by an
apparent misnomer, "Commencement" day; that is, the day of commencing,
or beginning. I understand very well that the name has a definite
historical origin,--that in the old English Colleges, from which our
American Colleges were modelled, the young man, on this day, begins his
career as a Bachelor of Arts. His academical rank "commences" and dates
from this point. But there would be a beautiful appropriateness in the
term, even if it had no such special historical origin. The exit from
the curriculum of the College or School, is, in truth, only the entrance
into a more extended course. When your studies are nominally ended, they
have really only begun. The longer you live, the more will you
understand that the period of school-going is not the only, or even the
main time of learning. The more thoroughly you have been taught here,
the more certainly will you be a learner hereafter. I want no better
test of the character of a school than the extent to which the idea
prevails among its pupils and alumni, that it is a place for "finishing"
one's studies. The idea is on a par with that of the young Miss who
reported that she had read through Latin!

There is, it is true, in this School, a definite curriculum of studies,
and that curriculum you have honorably completed. You have just been
received by public acknowledgment into the community of educated women.
But you will be false to the honorable sisterhood, false, I am sure, to
all the teachings you have received here, if you entertain for a moment
the thought that no further intellectual acquisitions are before you.
The branches which you have learned thus far are chiefly valuable to you
for the power they have given you to make still further improvement. The
studies pursued at school, and during the period of youth, are mainly
intended for promoting intellectual growth, for giving us power, for
perfecting our mental machinery. Our real acquisitions come afterward. I
speak, of course, of those who occupy the higher stations in society. To
one who has to earn his bread by mere bodily toil, the few studies for
which he has leisure in youth, must, of course, be such as are directly
serviceable in his calling. But to those who claim to belong to the
educated portion of the community, school studies are of right directed
more to the development of the mental and moral powers, than to positive
acquisition. Your instructors return you to your friends and your home
with a mind enlarged, with a taste refined, with a judgment corrected,
ready to take your place and act well your part, as an educated woman.
But remember, she is not an educated woman, who knows no more this year
than she did last. True education is growth, and it never stands still.
The tree which has ceased to grow, has begun to decay.

This, then, is the one thought that I would have you take away with you
from school. Give no place to the idea that henceforth books and study
and elegant culture are to be laid aside. It would be a dishonor to your
School, and a mistake of the first magnitude for yourself.

Perhaps you will appreciate this point more adequately, if you will turn
your thoughts inward for a moment, and reflect upon the change which
has been quietly going on in your own self and during your residence
here. One whose occupation calls him almost daily to communicate his
ideas to young persons, either by formal address, or by more familiar
ways, feels to a greater degree, perhaps, than any other person can, the
change to which I refer. I mean that increased quickness of intellectual
apprehension produced by a judicious and symmetrical course of study.
Let me give you an instance. It fell to my lot, not long since, to
address a School containing three hundred young ladies, all boarders,
all over seventeen years of age. They were the best audience I ever had.
Among them was not one, who did not appear to be intelligent and
thoughtful, and with a mind more or less disciplined. But there were
perceptible differences among them, and it is to this point that I would
direct your attention. They were divided into four distinct classes,
having attended the School severally one, two, three, and four years,
and they were arranged before me in the order of their seniority as
classes. The discourse was long and didactic, and portions of it were
not easy to follow, containing a discussion of a rather abstruse point
in mental philosophy. Now it seemed to me, on concluding the address,
that I could have gone through that assembly, and marked with tolerable
accuracy, class by class, just where each class ended and another class
began, simply by what I had read in the faces of my young auditors. It
was written as plainly upon those upturned faces, as was the discourse
itself upon the manuscript before me. Those who had been four years in
the School, undoubtedly learned manifold more from the exercise than
the junior classes did. I could see it in the delivery of every
paragraph. Such is the uniform result of a proper course of study. It
enables the student to grasp new truths with increased ease and
readiness. We, who are teachers, feel this the moment we undertake to
communicate our thoughts to an audience. The consequence is, we
involuntarily measure what has been done educationally for a class of
young persons, by the development which has been given to their
powers,--by the manifest facility which they have gained for making
further gains. That young woman is best educated who is best prepared to

Let me, then, renew the appeal to your own consciousness. Think for a
moment upon the change which has been wrought in your own self during
your career here. Compare your present self with that other self that
you may remember some three or four years back. How much more you can
accomplish now than you could then! How much more clearly you can follow
out a train of reasoning! How much more easily you can compass an
argument! How much more you can enjoy what is beautiful! How much more
quickly and accurately you can remember! How much more you can command
your attention! Whence this change, and what does it purport? It means
that you are educated. You have now a degree of mental power that you
had not then. Your own consciousness tells you that you are now just in
the condition to enter upon your harvest. The field is before you. You
are girded for the work. And will you now indolently lay aside the
sickle, and let the golden grain fall to the ground ungathered? Could
there be a more egregious mistake? Last week, I saw from my window two
parent birds tempting their young fledglings from the nest. Day by day,
week by week, I had seen the child-birds growing and gaining strength.
Their muscles were now well developed, their bodies were clothed with
feathers, they had learned to use their wings,--they could fly. Would it
not have been passing strange, had they continued as they were,
contented to cower and to crawl, when they had acquired the power to
soar? And will _you_ be content to remain forever only a fledgling,
satisfied with having acquired the power of rising, but never actually
using the wings which these years of honorable industry have given you?

Some of your sex are willing to admit the force of this argument when
applied to men. A man, after graduating, is expected of course to
continue his studies. His whole profession is one continued study. But
somehow, it is thought, this truth does not hold good for women. Let me
hope that _you_ at least will not harbor such a notion. Whatever may be
said of "women's rights," one right certainly, and one duty, is to keep
yourself abreast of the other sex in continued mental growth and
culture, and in general intelligence. If you would awaken true respect
in my sex, and I hold it a not unworthy ambition, you must in this
matter do as we do, at least as those of us do who are worth your
consideration at all. You must perseveringly, every year, add to your
intellectual acquisitions. You must continue steadily to grow in
knowledge and mental power. Do not cease your studies, because you have
ceased going to school. Manage to have some elegant accomplishment or
acquisition always in hand. A woman who is wise in this matter, never
passes her prime. I speak not, of course, of the decrepitude of old age
and of the decay of the faculties. But so long as the faculties remain
unimpaired, a woman may become, and should aim to become, increasingly
attractive, as she advances in years. Poets sing of sweet sixteen. Let
me assure you, a woman may be charming at sixty. Mrs. Madison even at
seventy was the most attractive woman in Washington.

In society, how soon one feels the difference between a person who
reads, and one who does not read. Two ladies may be of the same age.
They may dress alike. They may have the same advantages of person. They
may move in the same social circle. Yet you will not have been ten
minutes in their society, though the conversation has been on only the
most common topics of the day, before you will feel that the one woman,
though at thirty or forty, is still only a superannuated school-girl,
with even less resources than when she left the seminary, while the
other is a delightful companion for persons of any age, with ready
knowledge for whatever turn the conversation may take, and so abounding
in resources as not even to be open to the temptation of making a
display of them. The one can talk only so long as the conversation turns
on dress, gossip, or the discussion of private character. In listening
to the talk of such a woman, you hardly hear a sentence which is not
based upon personalities. Her mind has not been fed and nurtured from
day to day with beautiful and noble thoughts, with history and science
and general knowledge. She may be amiable. She may have personal
beauty. But you find her empty and vapid, and you weary of her, in spite
of the very best intentions of being interested. How different the woman
who, in spite of social exactions, and even of accumulating domestic
duties, and of the time-consuming tax of dress, still keeps her mind
fresh and growing, by means of reading and culture,--who is ever adding
to her stores of knowledge some new science, to her varied skill some
new attainment,--who has ever in hand some new book. It is true, indeed,
that some ladies are blessed with more leisure for this purpose than
others. But I fear it is not a question of more and less. It is too much
a question of some and _none_. I hold that every woman is entitled to
have, and by proper determination she may have, _some_ time for personal
improvement. Remember, we have duties to ourselves, as well as to
others, and we have no duty to ourselves more sacred than this,--to
rescue from our time some portion for the purpose of making ourselves
more worthy of regard.

To undertake to suggest what particular studies you should pursue, in
this larger school to which you are now admitted, would lead me into a
train of remark entirely too extended. One single practical suggestion
may perhaps be pardoned. Do not willingly relinquish the acquisitions
already made. They are to you the true foundations for future
improvement. You have fairly entered upon several important fields in
the domain of science. You are familiar with the elements of Natural
Philosophy, Chemistry, Botany, Physiology, Mental Philosophy, Rhetoric,
and with the foundations of Mathematical Science. My advice is that in
coming years you give to each of these branches, and of whatever else
you have studied here, a stated systematic review. You have some skill
in drawing and painting. Let not so graceful an accomplishment die out
from your fingers. You excel in music. I need not say, if you would
retain this excellence, you must give time to practice and study. So,
whatever talent or attainment you now have, let it be your fixed purpose
not to let it pass from your possession. Keep what you have, whatever
else you may fail to do. To this end, as I said before, give to each of
your school studies an occasional well-considered review. You will then
always have in your mind certain fixed points, to which the
miscellaneous knowledge picked up in your general reading will adhere,
and around which it will accumulate in organized form. New studies, too,
will naturally affiliate with the old, and will be easy and pleasant
just in proportion as you keep the knowledge that you now have, fresh
and bright.

Besides this general advice, there is one accomplishment in particular,
which I would earnestly recommend to you, as I am in the habit of doing
to all of your sex. Cultivate assiduously the ability to read well. I
stop to particularize this, because it is a thing so very much
neglected, and because it is so very elegant, charming, and lady-like an
accomplishment. Where one person is really interested by music, twenty
are pleased with good reading. Where one person is capable of becoming a
skilful musician, twenty may become good readers. Where there is one
occasion suitable for the exercise of musical talent, there are twenty
for that of reading. The culture of the voice necessary for reading
well, gives a delightful charm to the same voice in conversation. Good
reading is the natural exponent and vehicle of all good things. It is
the most effective of all commentaries upon the works of genius. It
seems to bring dead authors to life again, and makes us sit down
familiarly with the great and good of all ages.

Did you ever notice what life and power the Holy Scriptures have, when
well read? Have you ever heard of the wonderful effects produced by
Elizabeth Fry among the hardened criminals of Newgate, by simply reading
to them the parable of the Prodigal Son? Princes and peers of the realm,
it is said, counted it a privilege to stand in those dismal corridors,
among felons and murderers, merely to share with them the privilege of
witnessing the marvellous pathos which genius, taste, and culture could
infuse into that simple story.

What a fascination there is in really good reading! What a power it
gives one! In the hospital, in the chamber of the invalid, in the
nursery, in the domestic and the social circle, among chosen friends and
companions, how it enables you to minister to the amusement, the
comfort, the pleasure of dear ones, as no other art or accomplishment
can. No instrument of man's devising can reach the heart, as does that
most wonderful instrument, the human voice. It is God's special gift and
endowment to his chosen creatures. Fold it not away in a napkin. If you
would double the value of all your other acquisitions; if you would add
immeasurably to your own enjoyment, and to your power of promoting the
enjoyment of others, cultivate with incessant care this Divine gift. No
music below the skies is equal to that of pure, silvery speech from the
lips of a man or woman of high culture.

       *       *       *       *       *

4. _To a Pupil on Entering a Normal School._

You have entered upon a new and untried path. As one having been often
over this way, and well acquainted with the features of the country
before you, its lights and shadows, its roses and its thorns, its safe
walks and its hidden pitfalls, I desire to talk with you a while before
you enter upon the untried scene.

1. First of all let me say to you, we give you a most hearty welcome. We
are glad to see you here, and we tender to you in advance a warm and
ready sympathy in the many little worries, annoyances, and
discouragements that surely await you. For myself I may truly say, that,
outside of my own home, I have no greater happiness than to be among my
pupils, and few things could pain me more than to believe that any one
who had been for any considerable time my pupil would not almost
unconsciously claim me as a friend; and it is an unceasing well-spring
of joy for me to know that among your companions are many who, in time
of trouble or difficulty or anxiety of any kind, would come to the
Principal of the School, as sure of sympathy as if going to their own

This freedom of intercourse between teachers and their pupils, this
mutual exchange of confidence on one side and of sympathy on the other,
is a source of good and a source of pleasure, which neither you nor we,
my young friend, can afford to forego; and if in the expression of this
thought I have indulged in a rather unseemly use of the first person
singular, it is not because I would claim for myself anything peculiar
in this matter, but because, from my years and my position, I can
perhaps, better than my associates, afford to speak out thus the inward
promptings of the heart. We _all_ give you the right hand of fellowship,
and trust it will not be many weeks, or days even, before you shall feel
that you have here a home as well as a school, friends as well as

2. A very common feeling at the beginning of a course of study, is a
feeling of discouragement. Nearly all the studies are new, and you enter
upon each with fresh eagerness. Now, it is in the nature of every study
while it is new, to seem boundless. Under the guiding hand of a skilful
teacher, its limits and capabilities are stretched out in one direction
and another, interminable vistas spread out in the distance, and
portentous difficulties rise up before the imagination, until the mind
is bewildered.

There is not one, of the formidable lists of studies before you, that
might not of itself, so great are its capabilities, occupy your whole
time. When you find yourself called to grapple at once with four or five
such studies, to measure yourself with competitors, many of whom have
had opportunities of preparation greatly superior to your own, and in
the presence of teachers to whom the whole subject is as familiar and as
plain as the alphabet, and when, in addition, the methods of recitation
are for the most part new and strange, you are very apt to become
discouraged, to feel that you shall never learn to recite in the manner
required, that you can never master the difficulties before you. This
feeling arises most frequently in the best class of minds, those most
conscientious in regard to duty and most capable of comprehending the
full length and breadth and depth of a subject. The shallow and the
trifling are never troubled with the kind of difficulties now under

I address myself to you, my young friend, because I know you have come
here with an earnest purpose, with a mind acute enough to see something
of the vast work before you, and I say to you, as one who has had large
experience in conducting other pilgrims over the same track, never lose
heart. Difficulties which now seem insurmountable, will gradually
disappear; subjects which now seem impenetrable, will soon lighten up.
Did you never enter a room in the dark? At first the apartment is a
universal blank. After a while, as your eyes become adjusted to the
place, one article after another of the furniture becomes outlined to
the vision, until at length, especially if approaching day lends some
additional rays of light, the whole scene stands out perfectly defined.
So it is in entering upon a new study. Many a passage in it will seem to
you at first a worse than Serbonian bog--a cave of impenetrable and
undistinguishable darkness. But draw not back. Look steadily on. Light
will come in time. Your power of seeing will, with every new trial,
receive adjustment and growth, and you will in the end see with full
and open vision where now you have only dim glimpses and guesses. Do not
be discouraged, therefore, if at first you fail, or seem to yourself to
fail, in almost every recitation you undertake. What seems impossible
to-day, will be only next to impossible to-morrow, and only very
difficult the day after. Your failures are often only the proofs that
you have a glimpse at least of something below the surface of things. A
discouraged pupil is never a source of anxiety to me. It is only the
self-confident and over-wearing that are hopeless.

3. I have spoken of recitations. Let me urge you to form some definite
idea of what a recitation is, and what kind of a recitation you, as a
pupil of a Normal School, should aim to make. And first of all, on this
point, let me say, the mere answering of questions, and especially, the
mere response of yes and no to questions, is not reciting,--assuredly
not such reciting as is to fit you for the office of a teacher. And, in
the next place, let me say, that repeating verbatim the words of the
book, is not the method of recitation at which you should aim. I do not
agree with those who would dissuade you entirely from cultivating the
faculty and enriching the stores of memory. Not only memory, in its
general exercise, but a purely verbal memory, is important. In your
lessons, are many things, rules, definitions, and so forth, that should
be learned with the most literal exactness, and should be so fixed in
the memory that they will come at your bidding, in any place, at any
moment. There are, too, in some of your books, passages from noble
authors, which furnish food and nourishment to the soul, and which the
mind craves in the very form and lineaments of their birth--passages
which are like nuggets of virgin gold, or coins from the mint of some
great sovereign in the realms of thought. They form a part of your
wealth, and you want them, neither clipped, nor defaced, nor alloyed,
but with every word and point exactly as it came from the hand of the
master. These precious gems of thought, the garnered wealth of the ages,
will not be neglected by any one who is wise. Treasure up in your
intellectual storehouse as many of them as you can possibly compass,
only with this proviso, be careful to select for this purpose the very
best out of the great abundance that is before you, and make thorough
work in what you do attempt to commit to memory. The act of memorizing
will at once strengthen the faculty of memory itself, and will enrich
you otherwise. By all means, therefore, learn by heart the leading
definitions and rules of your text-books, and choice passages from all
famous authors. But do not attempt in this way to commit to memory, or
to recite verbatim, the pages of your history, geography, rhetoric, and
so forth. Such a practice would be a most unwise waste of your time, and
would cause a weakening, rather than a strengthening, of your faculties.

Let me tell you exactly what I mean by reciting. Your teacher goes to
the board and, chalk in hand, explains to the class some point which
they seem not to have apprehended. That is my idea of reciting. First
get thorough possession of the thoughts or facts of the lesson, and
then, imagining the class and the teacher to be ignorant of the subject,
explain it to them, just as you will expect to do when the time comes
that you will have a class of your own to instruct. It will aid you in
preparing thus to recite a lesson, if in your rooms you will go over it
aloud to each other, you and your room-mate, taking alternate portions.
Such a method of preparation will doubtless require some time. But one
lesson so prepared will be worth more to you than a whole week of study
conducted in the ordinary manner. Remember, that in a Normal School your
object is, not merely to get knowledge, but to learn how to communicate
what you have learned. First then go over a topic till you are sure you
understand it. Then go over it again and again until you can recite
readily and perfectly every part of it, in its order. Then practise
yourself in telling it in your own words, aloud, if possible, to
somebody else, until you can make the narration or explanation
continuously, from beginning to end, and without the possibility of
being thrown out or confused by any amount of interruptions. Then at
length are you prepared to recite.

Is this standard of recitation too high? Is it not what every one of
your teachers does daily, and what you yourself will have to do the very
first time you take your position as a teacher of others?

4. This leads me by a natural transition to the subject of _study_. You
need to learn how to study, as much as you need to learn how to recite.
Endeavor then to get some definite idea in your mind of what it is
really to study. Mere reading is not study. Muttering the words over in
a low, gurgling tone, or letting them glide in a soft, half-audible
ripple upon your lips, is not study. Going over the lesson in a
listless, dreamy way, one eye on the book and one eye ready for whatever
is going on in other parts of the room, is not study. Study is work.
Study is agony. The whole soul must be roused, its every energy put
forth, with a fixed, rapt attention, like that of a man struggling with
a giant. Study, worthy of the name, forgets for the time every thing
else, excludes every thing else, is incapable of being diverted by any
thing else, the whole internal and external man being bent upon making
just one thing its own. Such study of course soon exhausts the energies.
It cannot be long protracted, nor need it be protracted. Take rest in
the season of rest; but, when you study, study with all your might.
Throw your whole soul into it. One hour of such study accomplishes more
than whole days of listless poring over books. And, remember, you cannot
study in this manner by merely willing to do it. It is an art, requiring
training and practice, and thorough mental discipline. You might as
well, on seeing the Writing-Master executing those marvels of
penmanship, or the Drawing-Teacher with deft fingers limning with ease
forms of grace and beauty, resolve to go forthwith to the board and do
the same thing, as expect, by a mere _sic volo_, to become a student.
You are here to learn how to study, and the art will come to you only by
slow progress, and after many trials.

Give up the illusion that absolute seclusion and silence are necessary
to study. I do not say that they are not at times desirable. But they do
not of themselves generate earnest thought. The vacant mind, that has
not yet learned to think, is when thus left to solitude and stillness,
quite as likely to go a wool-gathering, or to fall asleep, as to wrestle
with some hard uninviting train of thought. The appliances and the
invitations to mental application, if we have really learned to study,
must be mainly in ourselves, not in our surroundings. Besides, the
greater part of the actual thinking and study, that has to be done by
those in professional life, that will have to be done by you, when you
enter upon the practice of your profession as a teacher, must be done in
circumstances not of your own choosing, just as time and opportunity may
offer, by snatches, and at odd intervals, and often in the midst of
distracting sights and sounds. I venture to say that three fourths of
the graduates of this school, who are now teaching, have no opportunity
for daily study and preparation for the duties of the school-room,
except that afforded by a seat in the evening in the common sitting-room
of the family, surrounded by children that are not always models of
behavior, and within sight and hearing of all the petty details of
household life. It is not therefore in itself undesirable that a part at
least of your study at school should be performed in a common room,
where there are some temptations to be resisted, some distractions to be
ignored. Acquiring the ability to study without distraction in the
presence of others and in the midst even of confusion and noise, is as
important to you as is the learning how to think aloud, in the presence
of a class, which I have defined to be the true nature of a recitation.
The ability to study and the ability to recite are intimately
correlated, and the symptoms of both are unmistakable to the practised
eye and ear. I know just as well, by a glance of the eye on entering a
study-room, what pupils are making intellectual growth, as I do on
entering the class-room and listening to the recitations. One might as
well feign to be in a fever, as to feign study. Nothing but the thing
itself can assume its appearance.

5. I approach my next subject of remark with some hesitation. Yet on no
point, in the whole theory of mental action, have I a more fixed and
assured conviction. Perhaps I may explain my meaning better, if I
introduce it with one or two comparisons.

Action of every kind, mental or material, is to be aided or accelerated,
if at all, by forces of the same kind with the primary force. If a
certain amount of weight avoirdupois will not make the scale kick the
beam, we may produce the effect by laying on the requisite number of
additional pounds,--by adding force of the same kind with the original.
If the flame of one candle does not produce the illumination required
for a particular effort, the addition of a second or a third will. If we
wish to increase the speed of a locomotive, we do not whistle to it, or
whip it, or say "get up;" we add steam. If on the other hand we wish our
horse to travel faster, we use a motive addressed to his nature. We
appeal to his generosity, his pride, or his fear. So mental action is
influenced and induced by forces of the same nature with itself. One
mind influences powerfully another mind, working upon us often, too, by
mysterious influences that elude analysis. The influence of mind upon
mind, other things being equal, is in proportion to the degree of
perfection in which these three conditions exist, to wit, the fulness
of accord and sympathy between the minds that are brought into contact,
the closeness of the contact, and the greatness and power of the
influencing and controlling mind. These three points hardly need
explanation or argument. Nothing is more obvious than that a mind fully
in sympathy with another, does by that very circumstance exercise an
increased mental power on that other. In like manner we all feel daily
how our minds are lifted up, enlarged, enlightened, strengthened, by
intercourse with one of powerful intellect. And how often have we felt,
when ourselves wishing to influence any one, particularly when wishing
to influence one much younger and weaker than ourselves, that we might
accomplish our ends the better, if we could only know certainly and
exactly what he was thinking, if we could as it were actually get into
the chamber of his soul. This indeed we can never do. We think sometimes
that we come very near to each other. But after all we never touch.
Between my mind and yours, between yours and that of the most intimate
friend you have in the world, there is a barrier, high as heaven, deep
as hell, impenetrable as adamant. Thus far can we come and no farther.
We can never enter into the soul of any human being. No human being can
ever enter into ours. Yet, my dear pupil, did it never occur to you,
that there is One Mind, and that a mind of infinitely great and
transcendent power, to which there is no such barrier, and that this
transcendent, all-knowing, all-powerful mind, is continually in direct
contact with the very essence of your mind? Can I influence your
thinking faculties, and cannot the infinite God, who made those
faculties? Can He who gave our bodies all their power of growth and
strength, not give growth and strength to our minds? I do not profess to
understand how the divine mind acts upon the human mind. I cannot always
understand even how one human mind acts upon another. But of the fact I
make no more question, than I do of the powers of flame, of steam, or of
gravitation. And, as one set here to guide you in your mental progress,
in all sober earnestness, I exhort you devoutly to invoke the aid of the
Holy Ghost in the promotion of your studies--not merely to help you to
use your acquisitions rightly, for his honor and the good of your kind,
but to help you in making those acquisitions. If you would rise superior
to discouragement, if you would acquire that mental discipline which is
to enable you to study, and to recite and to teach in the very best and
highest manner, pray. Call mightily upon God the Holy Ghost, who is
after all the great educator and teacher of the human race. Carry your
feeble lamp to the great fountain of light and radiance. Put your heart
into full accord and sympathy with that of your dear elder Brother.
Wrestle mightily with God in secret, as one that feels the burden of a
great want. Thus, my dear pupil, will you best fit yourself for the
duties of a student and of a teacher. For, believe me, there is sound
philosophy as well as religion, in the utterance of the wise man, "The
fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." Surely that man is a
fool, who in cultivating mind, whether his own or that of another,
neglects to invoke the aid of the Infinite Mind.



The argument for popular education is familiar and trite, and yet it
needs to be occasionally re-stated and enforced. There is no community
in which there is not a considerable number of persons grossly and
dangerously ignorant, and there are many communities in which the
majority of the people are in this condition. There is no community in
which the importance of general education is over-estimated; there are
unfortunately many communities in which education is held to be the
least important of public interests. A brief discussion of the subject,
therefore, can never be entirely out of place.

Before proceeding to the direct argument, let me notice some of the most
common objections.

It is a not uncommon opinion, that the business of education should be
left, like other kinds of business, to the laws of trade. It is said if
a carpenter is wanted in any community, or a blacksmith, or a tailor, or
a lawyer, or a doctor, carpenters, blacksmiths, tailors, lawyers, and
doctors will make their appearance. If a store is wanted, a store will
spring up. Why not a school-house? Those who use this argument forget
the essential difference between the two classes of wants to be
supplied. All men equally feel the distress, if naked, or hungry, or
sick, or suffering from any material want. The poor man, no less than
the rich, feels the pinchings of hunger, and will exert himself to
remedy the evil. The sick man, even more than the well, appreciates the
value of medicine and the necessity of a physician. Not so in the matter
of knowledge. A man must himself be educated, to understand the value of
education. There are exceptions, of course. Yet it is substantially
true, that the want of education is not one of those felt and pinching
necessities that compel men's attention, and that consequently may be
left to shift for themselves. A man who has himself enjoyed the blessing
of a good education, expects to provide schools for his children, as
much as he expects to provide for them food and clothing. The wants of
their minds are to him pressing realities, as much as are the wants of
their bodies. Not so with the ignorant and debased neighbors, who live
within stone's throw of his dwelling. They, from their own experience,
know nothing better, and are quite content, both for themselves and
their children, to live on in the debased condition in which we see
them. If these wretched creatures are ever moved to seek a higher style
of living and being, the movement must originate outside of themselves.
It is a case in which the man of higher advantages must think and act
for those below him. It is a case in which people have a pressing need
without knowing it, and in which consequently the laws of supply and
demand do not meet the emergency.

Another common opinion on this subject is that private enterprise is
adequate to meet the want. Private enterprise in education is not
indeed to be discarded. Where the community as a whole, in its organized
capacity, will do nothing, let individuals do what they can. In such
cases, let those who appreciate the advantages of education, concert
measures for the establishment of schools and the employment of
teachers, and for inducing parents who are indifferent to send their
children. By these private efforts, the community may be gradually
awakened to the importance of the subject, and so be induced to take it
up on their own account. But private benevolence is not sufficient for
so great a work. Private benevolence besides is apt to be fitful. It is
at best subject to interruption by death and by reverses of fortune,
while the cause is one which especially demands steadiness and
continuity. The means for educating a community or a city should no more
be subject to interruption, than the means of lighting it, or of
supplying it with water.

The argument for depending upon private enterprise for devising and
providing the means for popular education, would apply equally well to
matters of police, and to the protection of property. The strong-armed
and the sagacious can take care of themselves. The stout-hearted and the
good, by due concert and combination, could keep criminals in some
check, even in a country where there were no courts of justice, or
prisons, or detective police. But this is not the ordinary or the best
mode of accomplishing the end, nor could it in any case be thoroughly
efficient. The restraint and punishment of crime belong to society as a
whole, in its sovereign capacity. To the same society belongs the duty
of seeing that its members do not fall into degrading ignorance and
vice. God, in ordaining human society, had something higher in view than
merely providing for the punishment of crime. Our Heavenly Father would
have his children raised to the full enjoyment of their privileges as
social and rational beings, and he seems to have established society for
this very end, among others, that there may be an agency and a machinery
adequate and fitted to drag even the unwilling out of the mire into
which they have fallen. Without such an interposition on the part of
society as a whole, the work will not be done. The mass of the people
will remain in ignorance in every community, in which the community as
such does not provide the means of education and general enlightenment.

It is often urged against common schools, that they tend to impair
parental obligation. Let us look this objection fairly in the face. The
argument is stated as follows. If the community, in its organic capacity
as a civil government, provides systematically for the instruction of
the young, the system, just so far as it is successful and complete,
does away with the necessity for any other provision. The parent,
finding this work done to his hands, feels no necessity of looking after
it himself, and so gradually loses all sense of obligation on the
subject. Such a result, it is contended, is in contravention of the
plainest dictates of nature and the most positive teachings of religion,
both nature and religion requiring it as a primary duty of every parent
to give his child a suitable education.

In meeting this objection, the friends of common schools agree with the
objector to the fullest extent in asserting the imperative, universal,
irrepealable duty of the parent to educate his own child. The duty is
not the less binding on the parent, because a like duty, covering the
same point, rests also on the community. The interests involved are so
momentous, that God in his wise ordination has given them a double
security. It is a case in which two distinct parties are both separately
required to see one and the same thing done. It is like taking two
indorsers to a note. The obligation of one indorser is not impaired,
because another man equally with himself is bound for payment If a child
grows up in ignorance and vice, while God will undoubtedly hold the
parent responsible, he will also not hold the community guiltless. Both
parties will be guilty before him, both parties will be punished. A man
is bound to maintain a certain amount of cleanliness about his
habitation. If he fails to do so, and if in consequence of this failure
the atmosphere around him becomes tainted and malarious, he and his will
suffer. Disease and death will visit his abode. But the consequences
will not end here. The infection will extend. The whole community will
be affected by it. The whole community, equally with the individual, are
bound to see that the cause of the infection is removed. The infection
will not spare the community because the individual has generated it,
nor will it spare the individual because the community has failed to
remove it. Each party has a duty and a peril of its own in regard to the
same matter.

The fact is, individuals and the community are so bound together, that
on many points their obligations lie in coincident lines. The matter of
education is one of these points. God has ordained the parental
relation, and has implanted the parental affections, for this very
reason, among others, that the faculties of the helpless young immortal
may have due training and development,--that this development may not be
left to chance, like that of a worthless weed, but may have the
protection and guardianship which are the necessary birthright of every
rational creature brought into being by the voluntary act of another.
But God has ordained society also for this same end, among others,
namely, that his rational creatures may have a competent agency, bound
by the laws and necessities of its own welfare to make adequate
provision for the instruction and education of every human being. The
one duty does not conflict with the other. The one obligation does not
impair the other. Both lie in coincident lines.

But, as a question of fact, is it true that common schools impair the
sense of obligation in the minds of parents in regard to the duty of
educating their children? I affirm the fact to be exactly the contrary.
Those communities in which there are no common schools, and in which the
people generally are in a state of deplorable ignorance, are precisely
those in which the sense of parental obligation on this point is at the
lowest ebb. Go to a region of country in which not one man in ten can
read and write, and you will find that not one man in ten will care
whether his children are taught to read and write. Those communities on
the contrary which have the best and most complete system of common
schools, and in which this system has prevailed longest and has taken
most complete hold of the public mind, are the very ones in which
individuals will be found most keenly alive to the importance of the
subject, and in which a parent will be regarded as a monster, if his
children are allowed to grow up uneducated.

The objection, therefore, has no foundation either in fact or in reason.
There is moreover another consideration not to be overlooked. In this
matter of education, it is after all but a small part which the school
does for a child. The main part of the child's education always takes
place at home. The teacher is at best only an aid to the parent,
supplementing the influences of the home and the street. The child is
taking lessons continually from the father and mother, whether they mean
it or not. Every teacher knows how much more rapidly a child improves at
school, whose parents are well educated, and how difficult it is to
teach a child who at home lives in an atmosphere of profound ignorance.
The mind of the one whose home is a region of darkness and intellectual
torpor, will be dwarfed and distorted, no matter what the efforts of its
teachers. The mind of the one, on the contrary, whose home is the abode
of intellectual light, warmth, and sunshine, will have a corresponding
growth and expansion at school. There is a continual unconscious
tuition, good or bad, received from the very atmosphere of the family.
Besides this, there is a great deal of direct, active duty to be
performed by the parent in the education of the child. No matter how
good the school, or how faithful the teacher, there always remains much
to be done by the parent, even in regard to the school duties. The
parent must see that lessons are prepared, that the child is properly
provided with books, that the meal times and the other arrangements of
the household are such as to help forward the child's studies. There are
a hundred things which the father and mother can do to help or to hinder
the work of the school. A child, whose parents give proper home
supervision over his studies, will, other things being equal, make twice
the progress of one whose parents give the matter no attention. The
community, therefore, in establishing common schools, does by no means
take the whole matter of education out of the hands of the parent. On
the contrary, it still leaves with him the most important and necessary
of the duties connected with the education of his children, while it
gives him aids for the performance of the remaining duties, which no
private means can ordinarily supply.

I come, however, to a much graver objection. It is urged against common
schools, as organized in this country, that religious instruction is
excluded from them, and that without this element they only tend to make
educated villains. Education, it is said, without the restraining and
sanctifying influences of religion, only puts into the hands of the
multitude greater power for evil. If this objection is valid, the most
enlightened and Christian communities of the world have made, and are
making, an enormous mistake. Yet the objection is urged with seriousness
by men whose purity of motive is above question, and whose personal
character gives great weight to their opinions. The objection originated
in England, where all attempts to make legislative provision for the
education of the common people have been steadily resisted by a
potential party in the established church. The arguments put forth in
the English religious journals have been reproduced in the journals
here, and have in many instances awakened the apprehensions of
serious-minded persons. It is worth while, therefore, to give the
subject some distinct consideration.

In the first place, the facts are not exactly as stated by those making
the objection. Though little direct religious instruction may be given
in the common school, there is usually a large amount of religious
influence. A great majority of the teachers of our common schools are
professing Christians. Very many of them are among our most active
Sabbath-school teachers. Now a truly godly man or woman, at the head of
a school, though never speaking a word directly on the subject of
religion, yet by the power of a silent, consistent example, exerts a
continual Christian influence. In the second place, as a matter of fact,
direct religious teaching is not entirely excluded from our public
schools. I think, it by no means holds that prominent position in the
course of study which it should hold. But it is not entirely excluded.
The Bible, with very rare exceptions, is read daily in all our common
schools. It is appealed to as ultimate authority in questions of history
and morals. It is quoted for illustration in questions of taste. It is
in many schools a text-book for direct study. In the third place, nine
out of ten of the children of the week-day school attend the
Sabbath-school. The Sabbath-school supplements the instructions of the
week-day school. The case, therefore, is not that of an education purely
intellectual. Moral and religious instruction accompanies the
instruction in worldly knowledge. The Sabbath-school, the church, and
the family, by their combined and ceaseless activities, infuse into our
course of elementary education a much larger religious ingredient than a
stranger might suppose, who should confine his examination to a mere
inspection of our common schools, or to the reading of the annual
reports of our educational boards.

But apart from all these considerations, taking the question in its
naked form, is it true that mere intellectual education has the tendency
alleged? I do not believe it. The constitution of the human mind gives
no warrant for such an inference. Recorded, indisputable facts,
overwhelmingly disprove it. So far is it from being true that the mere
diffusion of knowledge has a tendency to make men knaves and infidels, I
believe the very opposite to be true. Knowledge is the natural ally of
religion. To hold otherwise, is to disparage and dishonor religion--to
imply, if not to say, that ignorance is the mother of devotion.

There is an inborn antagonism between the intellectual and the sensual
nature of man. If you give to the intellect no development, you leave
the senses as the ruling power. We see this strikingly illustrated in
the idiotic, who are for the most part disgustingly sensual. Among a
population grossly ignorant and uneducated, sensualism prevails in its
most appalling forms. The man is a sensualist, simply because he knows
no higher pleasures. He is degraded, because he has no motives to be
otherwise. He is barely above a brute. The amount of crime, of the
coarsest and most debasing character, among the uneducated peasantry of
England, is almost incredible. Here is a description of an English
peasant of the present day, given by a competent unimpeached witness,
himself an Englishman. I quote from a work on "The Social Condition and
Education of the People of England," by Joseph Kay, Esq., of Trinity
College, Cambridge, who was commissioned by the Senate of the University
to travel for the purpose of examining into the social condition of the
poorer classes. Says Mr. Kay: "You cannot address an English peasant,
without being struck with the intellectual darkness which surrounds him.
There is neither speculation in his eye nor intelligence in his
countenance. His whole expression is more that of an animal than of a
man. He is wanting too in the erect and independent bearing of a man. As
a class, our peasants have no amusements beyond the indulgence of sense.
In nine cases out of ten, recreation is associated in their minds with
nothing higher than sensuality. About one half of our poor can neither
read nor write, have never been in any school, and know little, or
positively nothing, of the doctrines of the Christian religion, of moral
duties, or of any higher pleasures than beer-drinking and
spirit-drinking, and the grossest sensual indulgence. They live
precisely like brutes, to gratify, so far as their means allow, the
appetites of their uncultivated bodies, and then die, to go they have
never thought, cared, or wondered whither. Brought up in the darkness of
barbarism, they have no idea that it is possible for them to attain any
higher condition; they are not even sentient enough to desire, with any
strength of feeling, to change their situation; they are not intelligent
enough to be perseveringly discontented; they are not sensible to what
we call the voice of conscience; they do not understand the necessity of
avoiding crime, beyond the mere fear of the police and the jail; they
have unclear, indefinite, and undefinable ideas of all around them; they
eat, drink, breed, work, and die; and while they pass through their
brute-like existence here, the richer and more intelligent classes are
obliged to guard them with police and standing armies, and to cover the
land with prisons, cages, and all kinds of receptacles for the
perpetrators of crime."

Surely it must be some hallucination of mind, which leads men to suppose
that the diffusion of knowledge among such a population, even though it
be only scientific and intellectual knowledge, can have any natural or
general tendency adverse to religion and morals. Apart, however, from
speculation, and as a pure question of fact, the recorded statistics of
crime point unmistakably the other way. Criminal records the world over
prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that the overwhelming majority of crimes
are committed by persons deplorably ignorant. Intellectual education,
therefore, I contend, even when deprived of its natural ally and
adjunct, religious training, has no natural tendency to produce knaves
and villains. On the contrary, it is a most efficient corrective and
restraint of the evil and debasing tendencies of human nature. If the
intellect is not so high a region in man's constitution as the moral
powers, which I readily grant, it is at least above the mere sensual
part, in which vice and crime have their chief spring and aliment. The
question fortunately is one susceptible of a direct appeal to facts. Who
are the men and women that people our jails and prisons? Are they
persons of education, or are they in the main persons deplorably
ignorant? What is the record of criminal statistics on this point?

I will quote a few of these statistics, from a great mass of similar
evidence lying before me.

Out of 252,544 persons committed for crime in England and Wales, during
a series of years, 229,300, or more than 90 per cent., are reported as
uneducated, either entirely unable to read and write, or able to do so
only very imperfectly; 22,159 could read and write, but not fluently;
and only 1085 (_less than one half per cent. of the whole_) were what we
call educated persons.

In nine consecutive years, beginning with the year 1837, only 28
educated females were brought to the bar of criminal justice in England
and Wales, out of 7,673,633 females then living in that part of the
United Kingdom; and in the year 1841, out of the same population, not
one educated female was committed for trial.

In a special commission, held in 1842, to try those who had been guilty
of rioting and disturbance in the manufacturing districts, out of 567
thus tried, 154 could neither read nor write, 155 could read only, 184
could read and write imperfectly, 73 could read and write well, and only
one had received superior instruction.

In 1840, in 20 counties of England and Wales, with a population of
8,724,338, there were convicted of crime only 59 educated persons, or
one for every 147,870 inhabitants. In 32 other counties, with a
population of 7,182,491, the records furnished _not one convict_ who had
received more than the merest elements of instruction.

In 1841, in 15 English counties, with a population of 9,569,064, there
were convicted only 74 instructed persons, or one to every 129,311
inhabitants, while the 25 remaining counties and the whole of Wales,
with a population of 6,342,661, did not furnish one single conviction of
a person who had received more than the mere elements of education.

In 1845, out of a total of 59,123 persons taken into custody, 15,263
could neither read nor write, and 39,659 could barely read, and could
write very imperfectly.

In the four best taught counties of England, the number of schools being
one for every seven hundred inhabitants, the number of criminal
convictions was one a year for every 1108 inhabitants. In the four worst
taught counties, the number of schools being one for every 1501
inhabitants, the number of convictions was one a year for every 550
inhabitants. That is, in one set of counties, the people were about
twice as well educated as in the other, and one half as much addicted to
crime. In other words, in proportion as the people were educated, were
they free from crime.

Thrift and good morals usually keep pace with the spread of intelligence
among the people. This has been the result in all those countries of
Europe where good common schools are maintained, as in Iceland, Norway,
Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, and most of the German States.
Pauperism, with its attendant evils and crimes, is almost unknown in
those countries, while in England, where the common people are worse
educated than those of any Protestant nation in the world, pauperism has
become an evil which her wisest statesmen have given up as unmanageable.
In 1848, in addition to hundreds of persons assisted by charitable
individuals, no less than 1,876,541 paupers (_one out of every eight of
the population!_) were relieved by the boards of guardians of the poor,
at an expense from the public purse of nearly thirty millions of

In our own country, the same pains have not been taken to collect
statistics on this subject, because comparatively little controversy
about it has existed here to call forth inquiry. We as a people have
generally taken it for granted that popular education lessens crime and
pauperism. Still, facts enough have been recorded to show the same
results here as elsewhere. When an educated villain is convicted, like
Monroe Edwards or Professor Webster, the fact becomes so notorious by
means of the press, that it is unconsciously multiplied in our
imagination, and we think the instances more numerous than they really
are. We never think of the scores of obscure villains that are convicted
every week all the year round. A quotation or two from the facts which
have been recorded, will be sufficient to satisfy us on this point.

In the Ohio penitentiary, out of 276 inmates, nearly all were reported
as ignorant, and 175 as grossly so.

In the Auburn prison, New York, out of 244 inmates, only 39 could read
and write.

In the Sing Sing prison, no official record has been made on this
point. But the Rev. Mr. Luckey, for more than twenty years chaplain of
the prison, is obliged by the prison regulations to superintend and read
all the letters between the prisoners and their friends. In this manner
he becomes personally acquainted with the condition of the convicts in
regard to education. He reported a few months since to the writer of
these pages, that while there are always some among the convicts who
have been educated, yet the great mass of them are stolidly ignorant.
There are usually between one and two hundred learning to read, and this
does not include the half of those who are unable to read, as the
attendance upon the class is voluntary, the accommodations are meagre,
and most of the prisoners are indifferent to their own improvement. Not
five in a hundred can write otherwise than in the most clumsy and
awkward manner, and with the grossest blunders in orthography, and not
more than two in a hundred can write a sentence grammatically. Out of
the 700 then in prison, only three were liberally educated, and two of
these were foreigners.

Throughout the State of New York, in 1841, the ratio of uneducated
criminals to the whole number of uneducated persons was twenty-eight
times as great as the ratio of educated inhabitants.

In view of the facts which have been given, and which might be
multiplied to almost any extent, it is not easy to avoid the conclusion
that mere intellectual education has some power to restrain men from the
commission of crime. Assuredly, ignorance and sin are natural adjuncts
and allies.

Schools undoubtedly cost something. The community that undertakes to
educate the masses, or the individual that undertakes to educate his
children, must expect to have a serious bill to pay. It is a pernicious
folly to inculcate the contrary. The advocate of popular education, who
tries to persuade people into the experiment, under the assurance that
the expense will be trifling, misleads his readers, and puts back the
cause which he would fain put forward. But there is a most significant
_per contra_ in the account, and on this there is no danger of dwelling
too much. Nothing is so costly as crime, and no preventive of crime is
more efficient than education. Schoolhouses are cheaper than jails,
teachers and books are a better security than handcuffs and policemen.
There are educated villains, it is true. But they are rare, and they
attract the greater attention by the very fact of their rarity. But go
into a prison, or a criminal court, or a police court, and see who they
are that mainly occupy the proceedings of our expensive machinery of
criminal justice. Nine-tenths of those miserable creatures are in a
state of most deplorable ignorance. Degraded, sensual, with no knowledge
of anything better than the indulgence of the lowest passions, without
mental resources, or any avenue to intellectual enjoyment, they often
resort to crime from sheer want of something better to do. When Dr.
Johnson was asked, "Who is the most miserable man?" his reply was, "The
man who cannot read on a rainy day." There is profound meaning in the
answer. The man who has been educated, who not only can read, but has
acquired a taste for reading, and for reading of a proper kind, is
rarely driven into low and debasing crime. He has resources within
himself, which are a counterpoise to the incitements of his animal
nature. His awakened intellect and conscience also make him understand
more clearly the danger and guilt of a life of crime. Many of the deeds
which swell the records of our criminal courts spring from poverty, as
every criminal lawyer well knows, and there is no remedy against extreme
poverty so sure as education. The old adage says that knowledge is
power. It is also wealth. A man with even an ordinary, common school
education, can turn himself in a hundred ways, where a mere ignorant
boor would be utterly helpless. The faculties are developed, ingenuity
is quickened, the man's resources are enlarged. An educated man may be
tempted to crime, but he is not driven into it, as hundreds are daily,
by mere poverty, or by an intolerable hunger of the mind for enjoyment
of some kind.

Schools, then, especially schools in which moral and religious truth is
inculcated, are the most powerful means of lessening crime, and of
lessening the costly and frightful apparatus of criminal administration.
As schoolhouses and churches increase in the land, jails and prisons
diminish. As knowledge is diffused, property becomes secure, and rises
in value. A community, therefore, is bound to see that its members are
properly educated, if for no other reason, in mere self-defence. The
many must be educated, in order that the many may be protected. A great
city is just as sacredly bound to provide for its teeming population the
light of knowledge, as it is to provide material light for its streets.
The one kind of illumination, equally with the other, is an essential
part of its police. No matter what the cost, the dark holes and alleys
must be flooded with the light of truth, before which the owls and bats
and vampyres of society will be scattered to the winds. A great city
without schools would be a hell,--a seething caldron of vice, impurity,
and crime. No man of sound mind would choose such a place for the
residence of himself and family, who had the means of living in any
other place. If we could suppose two cities entirely equal in other
respects, but in one of them a superior and costly system of free
schools, while the other spent not a dollar upon schools, but depended
solely upon the rigors of the law and the strong arm of avenging justice
for restraining the ignorant and corrupt masses, can there be any doubt
which city would be the safest and most desirable place of residence?

Whatever view of this subject may be taken in other countries, we in
this country are shut up to the necessity of popular education. We at
least have no choice. Universal suffrage necessitates universal
education. If we do not educate our people, educate universally, educate
wisely and liberally, we can hardly expect to maintain permanently our
popular institutions. The man's vote, who cannot read the names on the
ballot which he throws into the box, counts just as much in deciding
public affairs as yours, who are versed in statesmanship and political
economy. He is a partner in the political firm. You can neither withdraw
from the firm yourself, nor can you throw him out. In the absence of
general education, this tremendous power of suffrage is something
frightful to contemplate. "The greatest despotism on earth," says De
Tocqueville, "is an excited, untaught public sentiment; and we should
hate not only despots, but despotism. When I feel the hand of power lie
heavy on my brow, I care not to know who oppresses me; the yoke is not
the easier, because it is held out to me by a million of men."

The danger from this source is intensified by the immense immigration
from abroad which is going on, and which bids fair very greatly to
increase. The great majority of those who seek our shores, come here
ignorant. With little knowledge of any kind, and with no knowledge
whatever of the nature of republican institutions, these men, almost at
once, are made sharers of the popular sovereignty, with all its
tremendous powers of peace and war, order and anarchy, life and death.
Not to have a system of public education, by which these ignorant and
dangerous masses shall be enlightened, and shall be assimilated to the
rest, and to the better part, of the population, is simply suicidal. Our
national life hangs upon our common schools.

Besides this grave political consideration, affecting the interests of
the entire body politic, and the question of the success and stability
of our national institutions, there is another consideration coming home
closely and individually to each man's personal interests. Where the law
of trial by jury prevails, every citizen, whether educated or ignorant,
takes part in the administration of justice. Twelve men, taken
indiscriminately from the mass of the people, or if with any
discrimination, taken more frequently from the lower walks of life than
from the higher, are placed in a jury box to decide upon almost every
possible question of human interests. The jury decides your fortune,
your reputation. The jury says whether you live or die. Go into a court
of justice. Are they light matters which those twelve men are to
determine? Look at the anxious faces of those whose estates, whose good
name, whose worldly all hangs upon the intelligence of those twelve men,
or of any one of them. What assurance have you, save that which comes
from popular education, that these men will understand and do their
duty? Who would like to trust his legal rights or his personal safety to
the verdict of a jury of Neapolitan lazzaroni?

In a few short years, the idle boys who are now prowling about the
streets and alleys of our towns, the wharf-rats of our cities, will be a
part of our jurymen. Is it of no consequence to me, whether their minds
shall be early trained and disciplined, so that they will be capable of
following a train of argument, or of comprehending a statement of facts?
How is it possible to administer justice with any degree of fairness and
efficiency, where the majority of those who are to constitute the
jurymen and the witnesses are stolidly ignorant? By common law, every
man has a right to be tried by his peers. Let law then provide that
those shall, in some substantial sense, be my peers, on whose voice my
all in life may depend.

But let us recur once more to the economical part of the argument. When
a community is taxed for the support of common schools, the question
naturally rises among the taxpayers, Is the system worth the cost? Does
the community, by the diffusion of knowledge and education, gain enough
to counterbalance the large expense which such education involves? Even
if this question could not be answered in the affirmative, it would not
follow that common schools should be dispensed with. Common schools are
needed as the best and cheapest protection against the crimes incident
to an ignorant and degraded population. Common schools are right and
proper, because without them the majority of those created in the image
of God will never attain to that noble manhood which is their rightful
inheritance. But the argument will receive additional force, if it can
be shown that general education increases the wealth of the community.

That education does have this effect is evident, I think, from two
independent lines of argument. First, an intelligent, educated man is
capable individually of achieving greater material results than one who
is ignorant. Secondly, the general diffusion of intelligence through a
community leads to labor-saving inventions, and thus increases its
producing power.

In regard to the first line of argument, some curious and instructive
facts were collected a few years since by the late Horace Mann. His
inquiries were directed to the efficiency of operatives in factories, a
class of men who would seem to require as little general intelligence as
any kind of laborers. It was found that, as a general rule, those
operatives who could sign their names to their weekly receipts for
money, were able to do one-third more work, and to do it better, than
those who made their mark. Nor is this at all to be wondered at. There
is no kind of work, done by the aid of human muscle, that is purely
mechanical. Mind is partner in all that the body does. Mind directs and
controls muscle, and even in emergency gives it additional energy and
power. No matter how simple the process in which an operative may be
engaged, some cultivation of his mental powers is needed. Without it he
misdirects his own movements, and mistakes continually the orders of his
superintending workman. A boy who has been to a good common school, and
has had his mental activities quickened, and whose mind has been
stimulated and roused by worthy motives, not only will be more
industrious for it when he becomes a man, but his industry will be more
effective. He will accomplish more, even as a day laborer, than the mere
ignorant boor. When we come to any kind of skilled labor, the difference
between the educated and the ignorant is still more apparent. An
intelligent mechanic is worth twice as much as one ignorant and stupid.

Many years ago a very instructive fact on this point came under my own
personal observation. A gentleman of my acquaintance had frequent need
of the aid of a carpenter. The work to be done was not regular
carpentry, but various odd jobs, alterations and adaptations to suit
special wants, and no little time and materials were wasted in the
perpetual misconceptions and mistakes of the successive workmen
employed. At length a workman was sent who was a German, from the
kingdom of Prussia. After listening attentively to the orders given, and
doing what he could to understand what his employer wanted, Michael
would whip out his pencil, and in two or three minutes, with a few rapid
lines, would present a sketch of the article, so clear that any one
could recognize it at a glance. It could be seen at once, also, whether
the intention of his employer had been rightly conceived, and whether it
was practicable. The consequence was, that so long as Michael was
employed, there was no more waste of materials and time, to say nothing
of the vexation of continued failures. Michael was not really more
skilful as a carpenter than the many others who had preceded him. But
his knowledge of drawing, gained in a common school in his native
country, made his services worth from fifty cents to a dollar a day more
than those of any other workman in the shop, and he actually received
two dollars a day, when others in the same shop were receiving only a
dollar and a quarter. He was always in demand, and he always received
extra wages, and his work even at that rate was considered cheap.

What was true of Michael in carpentry, would be true of any other
department of mechanical industry. In cabinet-making, in shoe-making, in
tailoring, in masonry, in upholstery, in the various contrivances of tin
and sheet iron with which our houses are made comfortable, in
gas-fitting and plumbing, in the thousand-and-one necessities of the
farm, the garden, and the kitchen, a workman who is ready and expert
with his pencil, who has learned to put his own ideas, or those of
another, rapidly on paper, is worth fifty per cent. more than his
fellows who have not this skill.

The example of this man was brought vividly to my mind at a later day,
in Philadelphia, when an important educational question was under
discussion. Rembrandt Peale had two dreams, each worthy of his genius.
One was to paint a Washington which should go down to posterity; the
other was so to simplify the elements of the art of drawing that young
boys and girls might learn it as universally as they learn to read and
write. He spent long years in maturing a little work for this purpose,
no bigger than a primer or a spelling-book, and a determined effort was
made on the part of some of the friends of popular education to
introduce the study into the primary public schools of Philadelphia. It
was introduced into the High Schools. But its benefits were limited to a
comparatively small number. The hope and the aim of the friends of Mr.
Peale's project were to make the study an elementary one--to make a
certain amount of proficiency in drawing a test of promotion from the
lower schools to the schools above it. This would have placed "Graphics"
alongside of the copy-book and the spelling-book. After struggling for
several years with popular prejudice, the friends of the scheme were
obliged to abandon it as hopeless. The idea was too much in advance of
the times. Could the plan have succeeded, and could the entire youthful
population of that great city, which is preëminently a mechanical and
manufacturing centre, have grown up with a familiar practised skill in
the use of the pencil, in ordinary, off-hand drawing, such as our friend
Michael had, there can be no question that it would have added untold
millions to the general wealth. If every boy and girl in that great
metropolitan city were now obliged to spend as much time in learning to
draw as is spent in learning to spell, and at the same age that they
learn to spell, I do soberly believe that the addition to the wealth of
the city, by the increased mechanical skill that would be developed,
would be worth more than the entire cost of her public schools, although
they do cost well-nigh a million of dollars annually.

What is true of drawing, is true of every branch and accomplishment
necessary to a complete education. A man is educated when all his
capacities bodily and mental are developed, and a community is educated
when all its members are. Now if we could imagine two communities, of
exactly equal numbers, and in physical circumstances exactly equal as to
climate, soil, access to markets, and so forth, and if one of these
communities should tax itself to the extent of even one-fourth of its
income in promoting popular education, while the other spent not a
dollar in this way, there can be little doubt as to which community
would make the most rapid advances in wealth and in every other
desirable social good.

We happen to have on this subject one most striking and significant
record. In 1670, the English Commissioners for Foreign Plantations
addressed to the Governors of the several colonies a series of questions
concerning the condition of the settlements under their charge. One of
these questions related to the means of popular education. The answers
of two of the Governors are preserved. One of them, the Governor of
Connecticut, ruled a territory to which nature had not been specially
propitious. Its climate was bleak, its coast rockbound, its soil blest
with only ordinary fertility. The other territory, Virginia, had an
extraordinary amount of natural advantages. It had fine harbors,
numerous navigable streams, a climate more temperate by several degrees
than its rival, the soil in its lowlands and valleys unsurpassed in any
of the Plantations for its capacity to produce wheat, corn, and tobacco,
its mountains filled with untold treasures of lime, iron, and coal,
(and, it now seems, with petroleum also,) and withal that wonderful
variety of natural resources, which seems best suited to stimulate and
reward the productive industry of its inhabitants.

The Governor of the less favored colony replied to the Royal
Commissioners, as follows: "_One-fourth_ of the annual revenue of the
Colony is laid out in maintaining free schools for the education of our
children." The policy thus early impressed upon the colony has been
maintained with steadfast and almost proverbial consistency to this day,
that region being known the world over as the land of schoolmasters. The
Governor of the other colony replied, "I thank God, there are no free
schools, nor printing, and I hope we shall not have, these hundred
years." To this policy she also has until lately only too faithfully
adhered. Now what is the result?

By referring to the tables accompanying the Census of 1860, we find the
following significant facts.

1. The average cash value of land was not quite $12 an acre in one
commonwealth (Virginia), and a little over $30 an acre in the other.

2. One commonwealth sustained only five inhabitants to every hundred
acres of her soil, the other sustained eighteen inhabitants to every
hundred acres.

3. The value of all property, real and personal, averaged by the
population, was in one commonwealth $496 to every inhabitant, in the
other $965 to every inhabitant.

4. The value of all property, real and personal, averaged by the acre,
was in one commonwealth less than $26 to the acre, in the other more
than $177 to the acre.

To which facts I may add, what is true, though not in the Census, it was
the invention of Eli Whitney, a travelling schoolmaster from
Connecticut, that has trebled the value of land in nearly every Southern

I have been endeavoring to show that popular education, though it is
expensive, tends to national wealth. The argument is that an educated
population is capable of producing greater material results than a
population uneducated can produce. The example of Eli Whitney, just
referred to, suggests the other line of argument, which I shall now
notice briefly in conclusion. This second argument is, that the general
diffusion of intelligence in a community tends to quicken invention, and
leads to the discovery of those scientific principles and of those
ingenious labor-saving machines, by which the productive power of the
community is so greatly multiplied. The cotton-gin, the steam-engine,
the sewing-machine, and the reaping-machine would never have been
invented in a nation of boors. It is not asserted that every boy who
goes to school will become an inventor. But it is as certain as the laws
of mind and matter can make it, that inventions abound in a nation in
proportion to its progress in science and the general spread of
intelligence among the masses. Multiply common schools and you multiply
inventions. How much these latter increase man's producing power, and
so add to the aggregate of human wealth, it is needless to say. The
invention of Watt alone has quadrupled the productive power of the whole
human race. The aggregate steam-power of one single country, Great
Britain, equals the muscular capacity for labor of four hundred millions
of men--more than twice the number of adult males capable of labor on
our planet. Its aggregate power throughout the earth is equal to the
male capacity for manual work of four or five worlds like ours. The
commerce, the navigation, the maritime warfare, the agriculture, the
mechanic arts of the human race, have been revolutionized by this single
invention not yet a century old.

The application of scientific truths to the common industries of life is
becoming every day more and more a necessity. The village carpenter, no
less than the builder of the Niagara Suspension Bridge, makes hourly
reference to scientific laws. The carpenter who misapplies his formulæ
for the strength of materials, builds a house which falls down. The
properties of the various mechanical powers are involved in every
machine. Every machine, indeed, it has been well said, is a solidified
mechanical theorem. The surveyor in determining the limits of one's
farm, the architect in planning a house, the builder in planning his
estimates, and the several master workmen who do the carpentry, masonry,
and finishing, are all dependent upon geometric truths. Bleaching,
dyeing, calico-printing, gas-making, soap-making, sugar-refining, the
reduction of metals from their ores, with innumerable other productive
industries, are dependent upon chemistry. Agriculture, the basis of all
the other arts, is in the same condition. Chemical knowledge, indeed, is
doing for the productive powers of the soil what the application of
steam has done for the increase of mechanical power. The farmer who
wishes to double his crops, finds the means of doing so, not in
multiplying his acres, but in applying a knowledge of the laws of
chemistry to the cultivation of the soil already possessed. Even
physiology is adding to the wealth of the farming interest. The truth
that the production of animal heat implies waste of substance, and that
therefore preventing the loss of heat prevents the need for extra
food--which is a purely theoretical conclusion--now guides the fattening
of cattle. By keeping cattle warm, fodder is saved. Experiments of
physiologists have proved, not only that change of diet is beneficial,
but that digestion is facilitated by a mixture of ingredients in each
meal. Both these truths are now influencing cattle-feeding. In the keen
race of competition, the farmer who has a competent knowledge of the
laws of animal and vegetable physiology and of agricultural chemistry,
will surely distance the one who gropes along by guess and by tradition.
A general diffusion of scientific knowledge saves the community from
innumerable wasteful and foolish mistakes. In England, not many years
ago, the partners in a large mining company were ruined from not knowing
that a certain fossil belonged to the old red sandstone, below which
coal is never found. In another enterprise, £20,000 were lost in the
prosecution of a scheme for collecting the alcohol that distils from
bread in baking, all of which might have been saved, had the parties
known that less than one hundredth part by weight of the flour is
changed in fermentation.

But it is not necessary to multiply illustrations. Suffice it to say, in
conclusion, I hold it to be a most manifest truth, that the general
education of a community increases largely its material wealth, both by
the direct effect which knowledge has upon individuals in making them
individually more productive, and by the increased control which the
diffusion of knowledge gives to mankind over the powers of nature. A
nation or a state is wisely economical which spends largely and even
lavishly upon popular education.



My last chapter, like the first, begins with a question. Strange to say,
no satisfactory definition of education has yet been given, nor has a
definition of it often been even attempted. The literature of the
subject is copious enough. But writers have busied themselves mainly
with details, with methods of teaching, and so forth. A few, of a more
philosophical turn of mind, have discussed the principles of the
subject, and among these some have undertaken to develop their theories
from the true starting-point of a definition. But among all these, from
Plato, who was the earliest systematic writer on the subject, to Herbert
Spencer, the latest and the most pretentious, not one has given a
definition of it which is not open to objection.

It may seem presumptuous, perhaps, to undertake again that in which so
many have failed. But there can be no harm in making at least an
endeavor. What then are some of the elements which enter into our idea
of education?

To educate is, in the first place, to develop. It is to draw out and
strengthen the powers and give them right direction. It is, therefore,
something more than merely imparting knowledge. Knowledge is to the
child's mind what food is to the body. Each is a means to an end. It is
to cause growth. As by the proper use of food and exercise the limbs and
muscles expand, and acquire their full and appointed size, symmetry, and
strength, so by acquiring and using knowledge of various kinds, the
various faculties of the mind attain their full power and proportion.
For this reason mainly the pure mathematics and the ancient languages,
Latin and Greek, have held their place in almost every course of liberal
study, not because the knowledge of these branches is likely to be
called for in ordinary professional business, but because the study of
these branches is supposed to be particularly adapted to develop and
invigorate certain important qualities of the mind. This development of
the powers, then, is the first element involved in a just idea of

But, secondly, nature plainly indicates a certain order to be observed
in the development of the faculties. "First the blade, then the ear,
after that the full corn in the ear." So in the human plant. The time
for the efflorescence of some of the faculties is in early youth. Other
faculties make little growth till near the age of manhood. A wise
educator will carefully observe these facts, and not waste his energies
and mar his work, either by attempting a premature development of those
faculties which God seems to have meant to ripen later, or by neglecting
to draw out and train in childhood those faculties which then most
naturally and aptly spring into vigorous growth. Youth, for instance, is
the season, of all others, when the memory is to be cultivated; the
season of all others, when the instinctive principle of faith is to have
free play. So, too, the moral and emotional faculties may receive the
first germs of their development at a very early stage in the history of
the human being. The education of this part of our nature begins,
indeed, with the first smile of recognition that passes between the
infant and its mother. Other faculties and powers, as the reason and the
judgment, for instance, come to maturity nearer the age of manhood, and
the normal period for their cultivation is accordingly near the end,
rather than near the beginning, of an educational course. It is not,
however, my object here to mark out an order for the development of the
faculties, but only to note that there is such an order, and that the
observance of this order is a most important element in our idea of what
education is.

The next element in this idea is that a certain proportion and symmetry
be observed in the development of the powers. Perhaps it might not be
strictly accurate to say that any faculty may be cultivated too highly.
Yet there certainly is an excess whenever one faculty or power is
cultivated quite out of proportion to the other faculties and powers. A
man in Boston a few years ago, by directing his attention exclusively
for a long time to the single act of lifting, educated his body to the
power of lifting enormous weights. But this power was gained at the
expense of agility, grace, and many other bodily qualities quite as
important as that of lifting weights. So the mental faculties may become
one-sided by injudicious training. The memory may be inordinately
developed at the expense of the reasoning power, the reason at the
expense of the imagination, the feelings at the expense of the judgment,
the mind at the expense of the body, the body at the expense of the
mind. In all right education, therefore, the faculties are to be
developed, not only in due order, but in due proportion.

The next element that enters into our idea is that of a proper
comprehensiveness. The educator must bear in mind that the being
committed to his care is one of a complex nature, and that every part of
this complex nature is to receive its due attention. Physical education
is included in his duties as well as mental, mental as well as moral and
religious. No part is to be neglected. He should aim to secure for his
subject full bodily health, agility, strength, symmetry, and power of
endurance. The bodily senses are capable of a degree of cultivation that
few seem to be aware of. Perhaps, in our ordinary schemes of education,
no part of our complex nature is so inadequately provided for, so almost
ignored, as the physical. But, as in regard to the other points that
have been raised, so here, it is not my object so much to particularize
the several parts of human nature that require attention, as to
recognize distinctly the fact that we are thus complex, and that the
business of the educator is necessarily a many-sided one, requiring most
varied knowledge and experience.

But there is one important limitation to be observed here, otherwise our
definition would be seriously amiss. In many works on education, it is
stated, without qualification, that we ought to give to all our powers
the fullest development of which they are capable. If we were unfallen
angels, the rule might perhaps be a safe one. But for fallen human
beings, it certainly needs some limitation. We have faculties and
powers, not a few, which we need to repress rather than to cultivate.
Are we to give the fullest development of which they are capable, to
anger, envy, jealousy, cunning, avarice, and lust? To state the question
is to answer it. It is not every faculty of the child, therefore, that
is to be developed, but only those parts of his nature which are good
and desirable, those by which he can best discharge his duties to God
and attain his highest excellence as a man.

Let us now gather up the several ideas which have been suggested, and
see if we cannot compress them into some brief formula, as a definition
of education, which, if not perfect and exhaustive of the subject, shall
be both more comprehensive and more precise than those now afloat.

Definition.--Education is developing, in due order and proportion,
whatever is good and desirable in human nature.



       *       *       *       *       *



  _Haverford College_,

  _Central High School_,

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

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  A Psalm of Life.
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For the Use of Schools. Containing a Record of Attendance, Punctuality,
Deportment, Orthography, Reading, Penmanship, Intellectual Arithmetic,
Practical Arithmetic, Geography, Grammar. Parsing, and History, and
several blanks for special studies not enumerated. Price, $3.50, by


For the Use of High Schools, Academies, and Seminaries. Containing a
Record of all the Studies mentioned in Roll-Book, No. 1, together with
Elocution, Algebra, Geometry, Composition, French, Latin, Philosophy,
Physiology, and several blanks for special studies not enumerated.
Price, $3.50, by express.

These Roll-Books are in use in the leading Schools of Boston, New York,
Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis, and very extensively
in Select and High Schools throughout the country. They will, on
examination, be found to be the most complete and practical yet
published. All teachers who use them speak of them with unqualified
approval; once used, they will never be relinquished.


A Roll-Book, Register and Record combined.

Adapted to any grade of School, from Primary to College. Handsomely and
durably bound in fine Cloth. Price by mail, postpaid, 60 cents. Per
dozen, by express, $6.00.

Prof. E. A. Sheldon, of the New York State Normal School, and author of
"Lessons on Objects," and "Elementary Instruction," says of this book:

"Your Model Pocket Register is just the thing every teacher needs. I
shall never again be without one."


Designed as an aid in securing the co-operation of parents. It consists
of a Record of the Attendance, Deportment, Recitations, &c., of a
Scholar, for every day in the week. At the close of the week it is to be
sent to the parent or guardian, for his examination and signature.
Teachers will find in this Diary an article that has long been needed.
Its low cost will insure its general use. Copies will be mailed to
teachers for examination, postpaid, on receipt of ten cents. Price per
dozen, by mail, postpaid, $1.00. Per dozen, by express, 84 cents.


As there are many teachers who make use of these incentives to study, we
have endeavored to meet the demand, with what success the teacher can
judge after seeing our specimens. They are printed on the best quality
of Bristol card, colored in gold, silver, crimson, ultra-marine, and
emerald, and are executed in the highest style of the lithographic art.
They are chaste, ornate, and beautiful, and need but be seen to be
appreciated. The teacher will, of course, not connect these gems of art
with the common colored cards in vogue. Price per set by mail, postpaid,
35 cents.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Please address the Publishers_,

  17 & 19 South Sixth Street,

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