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with fresh complexions quickly become early taxed by presenting an order of knowlblanched. Illness is frequent: there are al- edge more complex and abstract than can be ways some on the sick-list. Failure of appe- readily assimilated; or if, by excess of culttite and indigestion are very common. Diar- ure, the intellect in general is developed to a rhea is a prevalent disorder: not uncom- degree beyond that which is natural to the monly a third of the whole number of stu- age; the abnormal result so produced will indents suffering under it at the same time. evitably be accompanied by some equivalent, Headache is generally complained of; and by or more than equivalent, evil. some is borne almost daily for months. For Nature is a strict accountant; and if While a certain percentage break down en- you demand of her in one direction more than tirely and go away."
she is prepared to lay out, she balances the That this should be the regimen of what is account by making a deduction elsewhere. If in some sort a model institution, established you will let her follow her own course, taking and superintended by the embodied enlight- care to supply, in right quantities and kinds, enment of the age, is a startling fact. That the raw materials of bodily and mental the severe examinations, joined with the growth required at each age, she will eventshort period assigned for preparation, should ually produce an individual more or less practically compel recourse to a system which evenly developed. If, however, you insist on inevitably undermines the health of all who premature or undue growth of any one part, pass through it, is proof, if not of cruelty, she will, with more or less protest, concede then of woful ignorance.
the point; but that she may do your extra Doubtless the case is in a great degree ex- work, she must leave some of her more imceptional-perhaps to be paralleled only in portant work undone. Let it never be forother institutions of the same class. But that gotten that the amount of vital energy which cases so extreme should exist at all, indicates the body at any moment possesses is limited; pretty clearly how great is the extent to and that, being limited, it is impossible to get which the minds of the rising generation are from it more than a fixed quantity of results. overtasked. Expressing as they do the ideas In a child or youth the demands upon this of the educated community, these training vital energy are various and urgent. As becolleges, even in the absence of all other evi- fore pointed out, the waste consequent on the dence, would conclusively imply a prevailing day's bodily exercise has to be repaired; the tendency to an unduly urgent system of cult- wear of brain entailed by the day's study has ure.
to be made good; a certain additional growth It seems strange that there should be so lit- of body has to be provided for; and also a tle consciousness of the dangers of over-edu- certain additional growth of brain: add to cation during youth, when there is so gen- which the amount of energy absorbed in the eral a consciousness of the dangers of over- digestion of the large quantity of food reeducation during childhood. Most parents quired for meeting these many demands. are more or less aware of the evil conse- Now, that to divert an excess of energy into quences that follow infant precocity. In any one of these channels is to abstract it every society may be heard reprobation of from the others, is not only manifest à priori; those who too early stimulate the minds of but may be shown à posteriori from the extheir little ones. And the dread of this early perience of every one. Every one knows, for stimulation is great in proportion as there is instance, that the digestion of a heavy meal adequate knowledge of the effects: witness the makes such a demand on the system as to implied opinion of one of our most distin- produce lassitude of mind and body, ending guished professors of physiology, who told us not unfrequently in sleep. Every one knows that he did not intend his little boy to learn too, that excess of bodily exercise diminishes any lessons until he was eight years old. But the power of thought-that the temporary while to all it is a familiar truth that a forced prostration following any sudden exertion, or development of intelligence in childhood the fatigue produced by a thirty miles' walk, entails disastrous results-either physical is accompanied by a disinclination to mental feebleness, or ultimate stupidity, or early effort; that, after a month's pedestrian tour, death-it appears not to be perceived that the mental inertia is such that some days are throughout youth the same truth holds. Yet required to overcome it; and that in peasants it is certain that it must do so. There is a who spend their lives in muscular labor the given order in which, and a given rate at activity of mind is very small. Again, it is a which, the faculties unfold. If the course of truth familiar to all that during those fits of education conforms itself to that order and extreme rapid growth which sometimes oc rate, well. If not-if the higher faculties are cur in childhood, the great abstraction of en
ergy is shown in the attendant prostration, the cases of the caterpillar and the chrysalis. bodily and mental. Once more, the facts In the caterpillar there is extremely rapid that violent muscular exertion after eating augmentation of bulk; but the structure is will stop digestion, and that children who are scarcely at all more complex when the caterearly put to hard labor become stunted, sim- pillar is full-grown than when it is small. In ilarly exhibit the antagonism-similarly im- the chrysalis the bulk does not increase; on ply that excess of activity in one direction in the contrary, weight is lost during this stage volves deficiency of it in other directions. of the creature's life; but the elaboration of a Now, the law which is thus manifest in ex. more complex structure goes on with great treme cases holds in all cases. These inju- activity. The antagonism, here so clear, is rious abstractions of energy as certainly take less traceable in higher creatures, because the place when the undue demands are slight and two processes are carried on together. But constant, as when they are great and sudden. we see it pretty well illustrated among ourHence, if in youth, the expenditure in mental selves by contrasting the sexes. A girl delabor exceeds that which nature had provided velops in body and mind rapidly, and ceases for; the expenditure for other purposes falls to grow comparatively early. A boy's bodily below what it should have been: and evils of and mental development is slower, and his one kind or other are inevitably entailed growth greater. At the age when the one is Let us briefly consider these evils.
mature, finished, and having all faculties in Supposing the over-activity of brain not to full play, the other, whose vital energies be extreme, but to exceed the normal activity have been more directed towards increase of only in a moderate degree, there will be size, is relatively incomplete in structure; nothing more than some slight reaction on and shows it in a comparative awkwardness, the development of the body: the stature bodily and mental. Now this law is true not falling a little below that which it would else only of the organism as a whole, but of each have reached; or the bulk being less than it separate part. The abnormally rapid adwould have been; or the quality of tissue vance of any part in respect of structure inbeing not so good. One or more of these volves premature arrest of its growth; and effects must necessarily occur. The extra this happens with the organ of the mind as quantity of blood supplied to the brain, not certainly as with any other organ. The brain, only during the period of mental exertion, which during early years is relatively large but during the subsequent period in which in mass but imperfect in structure will, if the waste of cerebral substance is being required to perform its functions with unmade good, is blood that would else have due activity, undergo a structural advance been circulating through the limbs and greater than is appropriate to the age; but viscera; and the amount of growth or repair the ultimate effect will be a falling short of for which that blood would have supplied the size and power that would else have been materials, is lost. This physical reaction attained. And this is a part cause-probabeing certain, the question is, whether the bly the chief cause—why precocious children, gain resulting from the extra culture is equiv- and youths who up to a certain time were alent to the loss whether defect of bodily carrying all before them, so often stop short growth, or the want of that structural perfec- and disappoint the high hopes of their partion which gives high vigor and endurance, ents. is compensated for by the additional knowl-| But these results of over-education, disas| edge gained ?
trous as they are, are perhaps less disastrous When the excess of mental exertion is than the results produced upon the health greater, there follow results far more serious; the undermined constitution, the enfeebled telling not only against bodily perfection, energies, the morbid feelings. Recent disbut against the perfection of the brain itself. coveries in physiology have shown how imIt is a physiological law, first pointed out by mense is the influence of the brain over the
M. Isidore St. Hilaire, and to which attention functions of the body. The digestion of the | has been drawn by Mr. Lewes in his essay on food, the circulation of the blood, and through **Dwarfs and Giants," that there is an antag- these all other organic processes, are proonism between growth and development. By foundly affected by cerebral excitement. growth, as used in this antithetical sense, is to Whoever has seen repeated, as we have, the
be understood increase of size; by develop-experiment first performed by Weber, show.. * ment, increase of structure. And the law is, ing the consequence of irritating the vagus that great activity in either of these proc-nerve which connects the brain with the visesses involves retardation or arrest of the cera-whoever has seen the action of the other. A familiar illustration is furnished by heart suddenly arrested by the irritation of this nerve; slowly recommencing when the constitutional disturbance will inevitably fol. irritation is suspended; and again arrested low an exertion of brain beyond that which the moment it is renewed; will have a vivid nature had provided for; and when not so exconception of the depressing influence which cessive as to produce absolute illness, is sure an over-wrought brain exercises on the body. to entail a slowly accumulating degeneracy The effects thus physiologically explained, of physique. With a small and fastidious are indeed exemplified in ordinary experience. appetite, an imperfect digestion, and an enThere is no one but has felt the palpitation feebled circulation, how can the developing accompanying hope, fear, anger, joy-no one body flourish? The due performance of every but has observed how labored becomes the vital process depends on the adequate supply action of the heart when these feelings are of good blood. Without enough good blood, very violent. And though there are many no gland can secrete properly, no viscus can who have never themselves suffered that ex- fully discharge its office. Without enough treme emotional excitement which is follow- good blood, no nerve, muscle, membrane, or ed by arrest of the heart's action and fainting; other tissue can be efficiently repaired. Withyet every one knows them to be cause and out enough good blood, growth will neither be effect. It is a familiar fact, too, that disturb- sound nor sufficient. Judge then, how bad ance of the stomach is entailed by mental must be the consequences when to a growing excitement exceeding a certain intensity. body the weakened stomach supplies blood Loss of appetite is a common result alike of that is deficient in quantity and poor in qualvery pleasurable and very painful states of ity; while the debilitated heart propels this mind. When the event producing a pleas- poor and scanty blood with unnatural slowurable or painful state of mind occurs shortly ness. after a meal, it not unfrequently happens And if, as all who candidly investigate the either that the stomach rejects what has matter must admit, physical degeneracy is a been eaten, or digests it with great difficulty consequence of excessive study, how grave is and under prolonged protest. And as every the condemnation to be passed upon this cramone who taxes his brain much can testify, ming system above exemplified. It is a terrieven purely intellectual action will, when ex- ble mistake, from whatever point of view recessive, produce analogous effects. Now the garded. It is a mistake in so far as the mere relation between brain and body which is so acquirement of knowledge is concerned: for manifest in these extreme cases, holds equal- it is notorious that the mind, like the body, ly in ordinary, less-marked cases. Just as cannot assimilate beyond a certain rate; and if these violent but temporary cerebral excite- you ply it with facts faster than it can assimiments produce violent but temporary disturb-late them, they are very soon rejected again: ances of the viscera; so do the less violent they do not become permanently built into the but chronic cerebral excitements, produce intellectual fabric; but fall out of recollection less violent but chronic visceral disturbances. after the passing of the examination for which This is not simply an inference it is a truth they were got up. It is a mistake, too, beto which every medical man can bear wit-1 cause it tends to make study distasteful. ness; and it is one to which a long and sad Either through the painful associations proexperience enables us to give personal testi- duced by ceaseless mental toil, or through the mony. Various degrees and forms of bodily abnormal state of brain it leaves behind, it derangement, often taking years of enforced often generates an aversion to books; and, inidleness to set partially right, result from stead of that subsequent self-culture induced this prolonged over-exertion of mind. Some- by a rational education, there comes a contintimes the heart is chiefly affected: habitual ued retrogression. It is a mistake, also, inaspalpitations; a pulse much enfeebled; and much as it assumes that the acquisition of very generally a diminution in the number knowledge is everything: and forgets that a of beats from seventy-two to sixty, or even much more important matter is the organizafewer. Sometimes the conspicuous disorder tion of knowledge, for which time and sponis of the stomach; a dyspepsia which makes taneous thinking are requisite. Just as Hun life a burden , and is amenable to no remedy boldt remarks respecting the progress of intel but time. In many cases both heart and ligence in general, that "the interpretation of stomach are implicated. Mostly the sleep is nature is obscured when the description lan short and broken. And very generally there guishes under too great an accumulation of is more or less mental depression.
insulated facts; " so it may be remarked, re Consider, then, how great must be the dam- specting the progress of individual intelli age inflicted by undue mental excitement on gence, that the mind is overburdened and children and youths. More or less of this hampered by an excess of ill-digested informa tion. It is not the knowledge stored up as by which boys mitigate the evils of excessive intellectual fat which is of value; but that study, girls feed these evils in their full intensiwhich is turned into intellectual muscle. But ty. Hence, the much smaller proportion of the mistake is still deeper. Even were the them who grow up well made and healthy. In system good as a system of intellectual train the pale, angular, flat-chested young ladies, so ing, which it is not, it would still be bad, be- abundant in London drawing-rooms, we see cause, as we have shown, it is fatal to that the effect of merciless application, unrelieved vigor of physique which is needful to make by youthful sports; and this physical degenintellectual training available in the struggle eracy exhibited by them, hinders their welfare of life. Those who, in eagerness to cultivate far more than their many accomplishments their pupils' minds, are reckless of their bodies, aid it. Mammas anxious to make their daughdo not remember that success in the world ters attractive, could scarcely choose a course depends much more upon energy than upon more fatal than this, which sacrifices the body information; and that a policy which in cram- to the mind. Either they disregard the tastes ming with information undermines energy, is of the opposite sex, or else their conception of self-defeating. The strong will and untiring those tastes is erroneous. Men care comparaactivity which result from abundant animal tively little for erudition in women; but very vigor, go far to compensate even for great de much for physical beauty, and good-nature, fects of education; and when joined with that and sound sense. How many conquests does quite adequate education which may be ob- the blue-stocking make through her extensive tained without sacrificing health, they ensure knowledge of history? What man ever fell an easy victory over competitors enfeebled by in love with a woman because she understood excessive study: prodigies of learning though Italian? Where is the Edwin who was brought they may be. A comparatively small and ill-to Angelina's feet by her German? But rosy nade engine, worked at high-pressure, will cheeks and laughing eyes are great attracdo more than a larger and well-finished one tions. A finely rounded figure draws admirworked at low-pressure. What folly is it, ing glances. The liveliness and good humor then, while finishing the engine, so to damage that overflowing health produces, go a the boiler that it will not generate steam! great way towards establishing attachments. Once more, the system is a mistake, as involv- Every one knows cases where bodily perfecing a false estimate of welfare in life. Eventions, in the absence of all other recommendasupposing it were a means to worldly success, tions, have incited a passion that carried all instead of a means to worldly failure, yet, in before it; but scarcely any one can point to a the entailed ill-health, it would inflict a more case where mere intellectual acquirements, than equivalent curse. What boots it to have apart from moral or physical attributes, have attained wealth, if the wealth is accompanied aroused such a feeling. The truth is that, out by ceaseless ailments? What is the worth of of the many elements uniting in various prodistinction, if it has brought hypochondria portions to produce in a man's breast that with it? Surely none needs telling that a complex emotion which we call love, the good digestion, a bounding pulse, and high strongest are those produced by physical atspirits are elements of happiness which no ex-tractions; the next in order of strength are ternal advantages can outbalance. Chronic those produced by moral attractions; the bodily disorder casts a gloom over the bright-weakest are those produced by intellectual atest prospects; while the vivacity of strong tractions; and even these are dependent much health gilds even misfortune. We contend, less upon acquired knowledge than on natural then, that this over-education is vicious in faculty-quickness, wit, insight. If any think Every way-vicious, as giving knowledge that the assertion a derogatory one, and inveigh will soon be forgotten; vicious, as producing against the masculine character for being thus a disgust for knowledge; vicious, as neglecting swayed; we reply that they little know what that organization of knowledge which is more they say when they thus call in question the important than its acquisition; vicious, as Divine ordinations. Even were there no obweakening or destroying that energy, without vious meaning in the arrangement, we might which a trained intellect is useless; vicious, be sure that some important end was subas entailing that ill-health for which even suc- served. But the meaning is quite obvious to cess would not compensate, and which makes those who examine. It needs but to rememfailure doubly bitter.
ber that one of Nature's ends, or rather her suOn women the effects of this forcing system preme end, is the welfare of posterity-it needs are, if possible, even more injurious than on but to remember that, in so far as posterity men. Being in great measure debarred from are concerned, a cultivated intelligence based those vigorous and enjoyable exercises of body I upon a bad physique is of little worth, seeing that its descendants will die out in a genera- | the rapidity of growth-a requirement which tion or two-it needs but to bear in mind that permits the mental and physical activities to a good physique, however poor the accompa- increase only as fast as the rate of growth nying mental endowments, is worth preserv- diminishes. ing, because, throughout future generations, Regarded from another point of view, this the mental endowments may be indefinitely high-pressure education manifestly results developed-it needs but to contemplate these from our passing phase of civilization. In truths, to see how important is the balance of primitive times, when aggression and de instincts above described. But, purpose apart, fence were the leading social activities, bodily the instincts being thus balanced, it is a fatal vigor with its accompanying courage were folly to persist in a system which undermines the desiderata; and then education was ala girl's constitution that it may overload her most wholly physical: mental cultivation was memory. Educate as highly as possible—the little cared for, and indeed, as in our own feuhigher the better-providing no bodily injury dal ages, was often treated with contempt. is entailed (and we may remark, in passing, But now that our state is relatively peaceful that a high standard might be so reached were -now that muscular power is of use for little the parrot-faculty cultivated less, and the hu- else than manual labor, while social success man faculty more, and were the discipline ex- of nearly every kind depends very much on tended over that now wasted period between mental power; our education has become alleaving school and being married). But to most exclusively mental. Instead of respecteducate in such manner, or to such extent, as ing the body and ignoring the mind, we now to produce physical degeneracy, is to defeat respect the mind and ignore the body. Both the chief end for which the toil and cost and these attitudes are wrong. We do not yet anxiety are submitted to. By subjecting sufficiently realize the truth that as, in this their daughters to this high-pressure system, life of ours, the physical underlies the menparents frequently ruin their prospects in life. tal, the mental must not be developed at the Not only do they inflict on them enfeebled expense of the physical. The ancient and health, with all its pains and disabilities and modern conceptions must be combined. gloom; but very often they actually doom Perhaps nothing will so much hasten the them to celibacy.
time when body and mind will both be ade
quately cared for, as a diffusion of the belief Our general conclusion is, then, that the that the preservation of health is a duty. ordinary treatment of children is, in various Few seem conscious that there is such a thing ways, seriously prejudicial. It errs in defi- as physical morality. Men's habitual words cient feeding; in deficient clothing; in defi- and acts imply the idea that they are at libcient exercise (among girls at least); and in erty to treat their bodies as they please. Disexcessive mental application. Considering orders entailed by disobedience to Nature's the régime as a whole, its tendency is too ex-dictates, they regard simply as grievances: acting: it asks too much and gives too little. not as the effects of a conduct more or less In the extent to which it taxes the vital ener- flagitious. Though the evil consequences gies, it makes the juvenile life much more inflicted on their dependents, and on future like the adult life than it should be. It over-generations, are often as great as those caused looks the truth that, as in the fætus the en- by crime; yet they do not think themselves tire vitality is expended in the direction of in any degree criminal. It is true, that, in growth--as in the infant, the expenditure of the case of drunkenness, the viciousness of a vitality in growth is so great as to leave ex- purely bodily transgression is recognized; but tremely little for either physical or mental none appear to infér that, if this bodily transaction; so throughout childhood and youth gression is vicious, so too is every bodily growth is the dominant requirement to which transgression. The fact is, that all breaches all others must be subordinated : a require of the laws of health are physical sins. When ment which dictates the giving of much and this is generally seen, then, and perhaps the taking away of little—a requirement not till then, will the physical training of which, therefore, restricts the exertion of the young receive all the attention it de body and mind to a degree proportionate to serves.