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for the education of schoolmasters, the bappiest results would soon be perceived. In such an institution, the young men would not only learn every thing connected with the usual subjects taught in our elementary schools, but might easily acquire that knowledge of theoretical agriculture, mineralogy, botany, statistics, and political economy, which would enable them greatly to enlarge the boundaries of knowledge in the villages where they reside. Persons thus instructed, would easily become the prominent men of the villages where they resided. They would be enabled to direct the minds of not a small number of the villagers, as well as of their pupils, to subjects which would otherwise never have arrested their attention.
“Every clergyman in Prussia is required to visit the school or schools of his parish, and to ascertain whether the teacher fulfils his duties. He must confer with bim often, must point out any defects which may exist in his mode of discipline or instruction, and see generally that he adopts the course which will best promote the interests of the school. Should the instructor not approve of the plans proposed, the question is referred to the superintendent of the district, who decides, and from whose decision there is no appeal. The clergyman of each parish makes an annual report to this officer, and the general report of the latter is sent to the Minister of Public Instruction once a year. A committee, consisting of one or more inspectors appointed by government, with the superintendent, or some person whom he may appoint, examine all the schools within their district, once or twice a year, to ascertain whether the reports made by the clergy are correct, as well as to form a general view of the state of education in their provinces. The existing defects and the necessary improvements are thus made known to the government, and such alterations are then made as are requisite.
Every parent is required to send his children to school as soon as they have reached a certain age, which, if I mistake not, is six years. It is the duty of the clergyman to visit his people annually, to ascertain if there are any parents who do not comply with this regulation. Should such parents, after having been notified by bim, refuse to send their children, they are arraigned before a public tribunal, where they are punished by a fine. For the first week's absence of each child, the fine is one-thirtieth part of a rix dollar; for the second, one-fourth; for the third, two-thirds; and for the fourth, a rix dollar. Should he still continue to refuse to send his child, he is compelled to pay thirty fold. This penalty is imposed between the first of October and the first of April. From the first of April to the first of July, the child is not required to attend school but half of the time; and after the last men. tioned period, until the first of October, parents are not required to send their children, as they need their assistance during the harvest months. T'he children must remain at school until they are confirmed, which usually takes place at fifteen years of age, though it is sometimes delayed by the parents until sixteen.
“ The school-house is erected at the expense of the parish, and must be sufficiently large to accommodate the scholars and the family of the
instructor, who receives the use of it gratis. In the vicinity of this edi. fice is a small garden, and sometimes a few acres of land; of which he has the use so long as he remains the instructor of the parish. This building is not very elegant, as it usually contains but four or five chạmbers, but it is suitable for one whose income is so moderate as that of most of the instructors. Every parish has a treasury, from the funds of which the instructor is paid from seventy to eighty dollars per annum. Besides this amount, each parent pays to him six pfennings a week, or about six cents per month, for the instruction of each of his children. In some cases he receives also a small quantity of butter and flax from the parents. His whole income, exclusive of the rent of the schoolhouse and the ground connected with it, rarely amounts to more than one hundred Spanish dollars, if he teaches one of the village schools. Tbose who live in the towns receive about one hundred and fifty dollars.
“All the books which are studied are selected by the consistory, and no new one can be introduced without its permission. The Bible is universally read by the children, and forms, as in our own country, the foundation of education for the youth of Prussia.
“From this statement you will perceive how much this government has done for the people. In no country in Europe, except Saxony and the south of Scotland, and possibly in one or two of the smaller states of Germany, is education so universally diffused as in the central part of this kingdom. These schools are established in every village. It may be said with truth of Prussia, that it is one of the most enlightened countries in the world; for among the younger class of the population, it is rare to see an individual who cannot both read and write. I make use of the word younger, because many of the laws relating to education, were enacted during the reign of the present monarch, before whose accession the schools were in a much lower state than at present. No one can help respecting Frederick William for the wisdom he has exhibited, in thus improving the character of his subjects. This emotion will be stronger, when it is recollected that he is one of the most active members of the Holy Alliance, and that he is still not afraid of the general diffusion of intelligence among his subjects. He is here laying a broad foundation for the future prosperity of Prussia, and it is to be hoped also, for the future liberty of the nation. This event will not probably happen in many years, but it must come should these institutions continue for a century." pp. 245–252.
The small compensation received by the instructors in these schools will appear to us very extraordinary, but this scanty allowance extends in a proportional degree through all grades of the profession, and to all the occupations of life. It shews the comparative poverty of Germany, wasted as its resources have been, by almost unceasing wars, and by the restrictive system which each petty potentate thinks it patriotic to impose on commerce, and which is most rigorously enforced; but it is likewise a proof of the great number of literary men, when applicants of high qualifications are always found solicitous to
obtain every station, except, perhaps, those of the very lowest degree.
In Saxony, Saxe-Weimar and several other states, provision equally ample is made for the education of the people; in none are the means and opportunities greatly deficient. In Leipsic, a city containing about forty thousand inhabitants, schools which educate between two and three thousand children, and superintended by more than forty instructors, are supported from the funds of the city.* While, besides many private establishments, the great “Burgerschule," or school for the children of the wealthier citizens, is alone provided with twenty-five teachers.
Nothing marks more strikingly the character of the German system of education, than the subdivision of labour and of duties. Of this we shall have to notice many instances as we advance. Instead of employing, as with us, one man to teach every thing, they are satisfied that one person shall teach but one branch of knowledge, but then they require that he shall understand what he professes to teach, and shall teach it accurately and thoroughly. Thus, in the Gymnasia and the Universities, while one professor teaches the grammatical construction of the Greek language, another is employed to lecture on the literature of Greece. This is done from the persuasion that these tasks require different qualifications, one demanding nothing but a critical knowledge of the language to be taught, the other, powers of an higher order, taste, judgment, general literature, and an acquaintance with the history, manners, opinions and writings of the Greeks.
The Gymnasia are the essential features in the literary establishments of Germany. They are the nurseries in which those who aspire to a liberal education are trained and disciplined, and in which all the germs of future eminence are nurtured and expanded. Their constitution, their form, their daily exercises, their discipline, are all worthy of our consideration. We wish we could extract from Mr. Dwight, the whole letter (220) which he has devoted to this subject. We must, however, be satisfied with a few details, and refer those who wish for more information to the work itself.
“The Gymnasia of the north of Germany, are among the most interesting features of the literature of this country. They have long been considered superior to those of any other part of Europe ; and at no period within the last century, have they enjoyed a higher reputation, than at the present time. It is at these institutions that the foundation
* Between forty and fifty, (says Mr. D.) A few of these, however, are attached to Windler's Free School, which educates about two hundred children, and is sup. ported by funds provided by its founder, whose name it bears.
has been laid for that fame, which so many of the savans of this country have acquired ; and it is to them that the universities are indebted for their extensive reputation.
The gymnasia of this country are divided into two classes : those which are private, where the boys are constantly under the eyes of the instructors, who live with them in the same edifice; and those which are public, and which are established in the large towns, where the youth reside in the city, and recite and attend lectures at the gymnasium. The last class are frequently called schools, with an appropriate name, sometimes still retaining that of the patron saint of the church near which they are situated. The instruction, however, corresponds so nearly with that of the more private institutions, that they will here be included under the same name.
“At the head of these schools is a Rector, or President, and a Conrector,
Vice-President. The instructors are divided into two classes, Ober und Unter Lehren, literally, upper and under teachers. Before an instructor is permitted to occupy a vacant place, he is examined by the Prüfungs Commission, which consists of the professors of the university who lecture on those subjects which are taught in the gymnasium, and of the directors of the gymnasium. The first class of teachers must have made such progress in the department in which they desire to teach, as to be qualified to give lectures at one of the universities. The second class must have a thorough knowledge of their particular province. If to instruct in Greek or Latin, for example, they are required to be familiar with the principal writers, and to possess a critical knowledge of these languages. The same minute acquaintance with their departments, is necessary in the other branches of instruction. The examination lasts five or six bours, and if found qualified, they are permitted to fill the vacant place of Unter Lehrer in any of the gymnasia which is offered to them. The salaries of the Rectors in Prussia, vary from one thousand to twelve hundred dollars; those of the Coprectors are somewhat smaller. The first class of teachers receive from seven to nine hundred, the second from three to six hundred, though this varies much with the funds of the institution, as well as with the size of the city in which the gymnasia are situated. The former class are required to instruct the students twelve, the latter twenty-four hours per week. They also increase their income, by giving private instruction to those children whose parents desire it. “The boys usually enter these institutions from nine to thirteen
years of age, and remain from five to seven years, in proportion to the improvement they have made. The first two or three years are devoted to acquiring a knowledge of Greek, Latin, and mathematics; in which they are drilled with a minuteness of intellectual discipline, which I have never seen in the other schools of Europe. The succeeding years are passed in pursuing history, ancient and modern geography, French literature, Latin and Greek exegesis, &c. To acquire a thorough knowledge of these languages, they are taught to write and speak Latin, and in some of the institutions to write Greek. Subsequently, they translate from Greek into Latin, and sometimes from Latin into Greek.
All the conversation, when the recitation is classical, is then held in Latin. The boys write Latin prolegomena to the ode or book they are reciting, which is first criticised by their companions, and then by the professor. The desire of victory that you often see in the objections which the rival scholars bring against the individual to whose dissertation they have listened, as well as the ingenious defence which he makes, calls forth a literary enthusiasm in these combats, which would excite the admiration of any one, who had seen only the grammar schools of our country. In some cases, they write Latin poetry, by translating an ode of Klopstock or Schiller, or if they are the favourites of Apollo, they present their own effusions in Latin verse. These are publicly read by the authors, and criticised by their companions, and then by the instructor. Those who do not possess this talent, write Latin prose, which is read and examined minutely by their companions. The instructors often dictate to them passages from the poetical and prosaic works of the German classics, which they translate into Latin. They are then required to read it, and one after another is called upon to point out the defects which exist in the translation, giving his reasons in Latin. By pursuing this course for several years, you will easily perceive that they must attain a knowledge of the grammatical structure of thai language, unknown in most countries. Accordingly, you discover that most German students speak it with great fluency and correctness.
“The same severe discipline is pursued in other languages, though in none excepting the French, do they arrive at a similar degree of excellence, it not being thought necessary to speak either Greek or Hebrew.
“ The great superiority of these institutions, results first from the exegetical mode of instruction. The remarks I have made on this subject in reference to the universities, are equally applicable to the gymnasia. It is true that exegesis is not pursued here with the same ardour as in those institutions, for this is impossible while laying the foundation of an education. It is pursued, however, to a greater degree than in most universities of other countries, even of Europe. This mode of studying throws a charm around classic literature, which makes it almost a fairy land to a student.
the dull, hard lesson is crammed down word by word,” until the student often hates bis Horace, as much as ever Byron did. In the mere dull translations which we make in our grammar schools and colleges, all the “ lyric flow" of the poet is lost. We read the language, and often translate it into words corresponding with those of the original, but the impression made on the mind of the student in usually so indistinct, that he wonders how any one can compare ancient with modern poetry. Why is this? It is because his previous education has not qualified him for feeling the beauties of the author he is perusing. He lives in a country whose religion, laws, government, state of society, customs, philosophy, language, natural features, in one word, almost every thing but the heavenly bodies which illumine it, present a different aspect from those of Greece and Rome. How could one of Napoleon's guard have understood the retreat of the ten thousand, if he had not previously become acquainted with the armour, marches, mode of fighting, and evolutions of the ancient world :