페이지 이미지

or instruction totally ineffectual. Obstinacy, therefore, must never be victorious. Yet it is well known, that there sometimes occurs a sullen and hardy resolution, that laughs at all common punishment, and bids defiance to all common degrees of pain. Correction must be proportioned to occasions. The flexible will be reformed by gentle discipline, and the refractory must be subdued by harsher methods. The degrees of scholastic, as of military punishment, no stated rules can ascertain. It must be enforced till it overpowers temptation ; till stubborpness becomes flexible, and perverseness regular. Custom and reason have, indeed, set some bounds to scholastic penalties. The schoolmaster inflicts no capital punishments, nor enforces his edicts by either death or mutilation. The civil law has wisely determined, that a master who strikes at a scholar's eye shall be considered as criminal. But punishments, however severe, that produce no lasting evil, may be just and reasonable, because they may be necessary. Such have been the punishments used by the respondent. No scholar has gone from him either blind or lame, or with any of his limbs or powers injured or impaired. They were irregu. lar, and he punished them : they were obstinate, and he enforced his punishment. But however provoked, he never exceeded the limits of moderation, for he inflicted nothing beyond present pain : and how much of that was required, no man is so little able to determine as those who have determined against him—the parents of the offenders. It has been said, that he used unprecedented and improper instruments of correction. Of this accusation the meaning is not very easy to be found. No instru

ment of correction is more proper than another, but as it is better adapted to produce present pain without lasting inischief. Whatever were his instruments, no lasting mischief has ensued; and therefore, however unusual, in hands so cautious they were proper. It has been objected, that the respondent admits the charge of cruelty, by producing no evidence to confute it. Let it be considered, that his scholars are either dispersed at large in the world, or continue to inhabit the place in which they were bred. Those who are dispersed cannot be found; those who remain are the sons of his prosecutors, and are not likely to support a man to whom their fathers are enemies. If it be sup. posed that the enmity of their fathers proves the justness of the charge, it must be considered how often experience shows us that men who are angry on one ground will accuse on another ; with how little kindness, in a town of low trade, a man who lives by learning is regarded ; and how implicitly, where the inhabitants are not very rich, a rich man is hearkened to and followed. In a place like Campbelltown, it is easy for one of the principal inhabitants to make a party. It is easy for that party to heat themselves with imaginary grievances. It is easy for them to oppress a man poorer than themselves ; aud natural to assert the dignity of riches, by persisting in oppression. The argument which attempts to prove the impropriety of restoring him to the school, by alleging that he has lost the con. fidence of the people, is not the subject of juridical consideratiou ; for he is to suffer, if he must suffer, not for their judgment, but for his own actions. It may be convenient for them to have another ma

ster; but it is a convenience of their own making. It would be likewise convenient for him to find another school; but this convenience he cannot obo tain. The question is not what is now convenient, but what is generally right. If the people of Campbelltown be distressed by the restoration of the respondent, they are distressed only by their own fault; by turbulent passions and unreasonable desires; by tyranny, which law has defeated, and by malice, which virtue has surmounted.

This, sir, you are to turn in your mind, and make the best use of it you can in your speech.”

The decree of the court of session however was reversed in the house of lords, after a very eloquent speech by lord Mansfield, who showed himself an adept in school discipline.

Johnson was partial to public schools and old modes. He observed, “ more is learned in public than in private schools, from emulation : there is the collision of mind with mind, or the radiation of many minds pointing to one centre. Though few boys make their own exercises, yet if a good exercise is given up, out of a great number of boys, it is made by somebody."

“ I hate by-roads in education. Education is as well known, and has long been as well known, as ever it can be. Endeavouring to make children prematurely wise is useless labour. Suppose they have more knowledge at five or six years old than other children, what use can be made of it ? It will be lost before it is wanted, and the waste of so much time and labour of the teacher can never be repaid. Too much is expected from precocity, and too little performed. Miss * * * was an instance of

early cultivation; but in what did it terminate ? In marrying a little Presbyterian parson who keeps an ierfant boarding-school; so that all her employment

now is

" To suckle fools, and chronicle small-beer.'

She tells the children,' This is a cat, and that is a dog, with four legs and a tail; see there! you are much better than a cat or a dog, for you can speak. If I had bestowed such an education on a daughter, and had discovered that she thought of marrying such a fellow, I would have sent her to the Congress.

He advised not to refine in the education of chil. dren, “ Life," said he,“ will not bear refinement; you must do as other people do."

He allowed very great infiuence to education. “I do not deny, sir, but there is some original difference in minds; but it is nothing in comparison of what is formed by education. We may instance the science of numbers, which all minds are equally capable of attaining: yet we find a prodigious dif. ference in the powers of different men, in that respect, after they are grown up, because their minds have been more or less exercised in it: and I think the same cause will explain the difference of excellence in other things, gradations admit. ting always some difference in the first principles."

Mr. Langton said, he was about to establish a school upon his estate, but it had been suggested to him, that it might have a tendency to make the people less industrious. JOHNSON. “ No, sir :

while.learuing to read and write is a distinction, the few who have that distinction may be the less inclined to work; but when every body learns to read and write, it is no longer a distinction. A man who has a laced waistcoat is too fine a man to work; but if every body had laced waistcoats, we should have people working in laced waistcoats. There are no people whatever more industrious, none who work more, than our manufacturers; yet they have all learned to read and write. Sir, you must not neglect doing a thing immediately good, from fear of remote evil; from fear of its being abused. A man who has candles may sit up too late, which he would not do if he had not candles; but nobody will deny that the art of making candles, by which light is continued to us beyond the time that the sun gives us light, is a valuable art, and ought to be preserved.” BOSWELL.“ But, sir, would it not be better to follow nature, and go to bed and rise just as nature gives us light or withholds it?” Johnson. “ No, sir; for then we should have no kind of equality in the partition of our time between sleeping and waking. It would be very different in different seasons and in different places. In some of the northern parts of Scotland how little light is there in the depth of winter !"

« 이전계속 »