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when this room is used, as it frequently is, either as a lecture-room or place of worship.
"The other apartment, on the second floor, is of the same width and height as that just mentioned, but only forty-nine feet long. walls are hung round with representations of the most striking zoolo. gical and mineralogical specimens; including quadrupeds, birds, fishes, reptiles, insects, shells, minerals, &c. At one end there is a gallery adapted for the purpose of an orchestra, and at the other are hung very large representations of the two hemispheres; each separate country, as well as the various seas, islands, &c. being differently coloured, but without any names attached to either of them. This room is used as a lecture and ball-room, and it is here that the dancing and singing lessons are daily given. It is likewise occasionally used as a reading-room for some of the classes.
"The lower story is divided into three apartments of nearly equal dimensions, twelve feet high, and supported by hollow iron pillars, serving, at the same time, as conductors, in winter, for heated air, which issues through the floor of the upper story, and by which means the whole building may, with ease, be kept at any required temperature. It is in these three apartments that the younger classes are taught reading, natural history, and geography."
We by no means approve of such immense assemblies of children in one establishment, yet we are aware that such is the prevailing parsimony in all that relates to education, that it is absolutely needful in schools for the poor, in order to extend educational advantages,-and in private seminaries, in order to enable the principal to provide for his family, and elevate himself to a becoming rank in society.
The hours of attendance are judiciously arranged. The propriety of the infant schools we consider to depend on the situation and character of the parents, particularly the mother, for the reasons we have named.
"The dress worn by the children in the day-school, both boys and girls, is composed of strong white cotton cloth, of the best quality that can be procured. It is formed in the shape of the Roman tunic, and reaches, in the boys' dresses, to the knee; and, in the girls', to the ancle. These dresses are changed three times a week, that they may be kept perfectly clean and neat."
The great recommendation of this dress seems its adaptedness to promote cleanliness, and the attention which is paid to this important duty cannot be too warmly eulogized.
It appears that it is intended hereafter to defer teaching the children to read until the age of seven or eight, preceding the useful art by a course of "natural history, chemistry, astronomy, &c. on the principle, that it is following the plan prescribed by nature, to give a child such particulars as he can easily be made to understand, concerning the nature and properties of the different objects around him, before we proceed
to teach him the artificial signs which have been adopted tó represent these objects." This plan has not yet been adopted, out of deference to the parents' wishes to the contrary. We anticipate no benefit from the proposed alteration. It appears to us, the longer the art of reading is deferred, the more difficult is its acquirement; and it will be the teacher's fault if it is so taught as to disgust the pupil. Long before the age of seven or eight, are children able to amuse and instruct themselves by books; and, since we began to read Mr. Owen's Outline, we have seen in the nursery some sweet little creatures of not more than half that age, voluntarily hearing each other read their little lessons. The information proposed to be given needs not be deferred, because the amount of an hour is employed at different parts of the day in learning to read; indeed its acquirement would be facilitated by this very means. At this institution are taught reading, writing, arithmetic, and sewing, natural history, geography, ancient and modern history, religion, singing, and dancing.
We were much surprised, when perusing the remarks on 66 reading," to find "great difficulty has been experienced in procuring proper school-books for the different classes." Seeing that the age is so characterized by appropriate publications for children, that "juvenile libraries," where such books are almost exclusively sold, are numerous. "Miss Edgeworth's little works" alone would do, "but even these contain too much of praise and blame, to admit of being regarded as unexceptionable." This remark explains the ground of the difficulty, and really if these little creatures could be confined within the precincts of this new institution with elementary books, written on purpose for them, if they could hear neither an accent of praise nor a word of blame, during the period of their education, they should afterwards be excluded from all intercourse with society in general, lest the contagion of this mental poison should undo all their teachers had attempted.
But it appears to us that a more satisfactory reason is afterwards given why popular school-books are not used at New Lanark. We learn, "that, but for the wishes of the parents, and of parties connected with the establishment, the Scriptures and Church Catechism would not be put into the hands of children at so early an age as that of the day-scholars." Now the generality of juvenile books are happily written on scriptural principles, and those principles include both praise and
In teaching writing, the children are, very properly, early taught a "current hand-writing," without lines, as in many schools; and the "copies consist of short sentences, generally
illustrative of some subject connected with history and geography; we prefer the old mode of copying moral exhortations and wise maxims, many of which we have often heard quoted with effect by persons of mature age,—so deep and useful were the impressions.
Arithmetic is taught after the manner of M. Pestalozzi. In teaching needle-work, there is this admirable regulation:
"One day of the week is appointed, when they (the girls) are desired to bring to school any of their garments (which must previously have been washed,) that may require mending, and these they are taught to repair as neatly as possible."
Natural History, Geography, and Ancient and Modern History, are taught in familiar extemporaneous lectures, in which the children are afterwards examined. The lecturer's "details are illustrated by representations of the objects, drawn on a large scale, and as correctly as possible;" and, in teaching history, Miss Whitwell's "Maps or Tables laid out on the principle of the Stream of Time," are employed.
Sixteen pages of the Outline are devoted to remarks on religion, as one of the branches of instruction taught, and the author attempts to free himself from the charge of “bringing up the children without religion," but, it appears to us, most unsuccessfully. The constitution of the Philomathic Institution precludes our following this writer through the windings of his argument. Mr. Owen evidently disapproves of religious catechisms, and early reading the Holy Scriptures. He is desirous "that a child, at an early age, should become acquainted with facts, instead of being instructed in abstruse doctrinal points." He rightly judges that religion is founded on facts, but denies one of the most palpable facts, which Sacred and profane history alike confirm, "the original corruption of the human heart." His reasoning on the probability and rationality of this belief, his inability to distinguish between what the Deity has "formed," and what he has "permitted," go for nothing; for, as an old friend of ours used to say, "Do what you will, fact will be your master.”
Let it be remembered, by original depravity is not meant the state of the human mind as it was first breathed into the human frame, but the condition in which our first parent felt himself after the first act of disobedience, and in which condition he propagated his species. If we discredit this statement, we deny the veracity of the Mosaic history; and, if we deny this incomparable narrative, we give up the veracity of the Sacred Scriptures; and, if we resign these, religion with us is
but a name.
The Outline cannot but admit existing depravity, but refers
it to erroneous education ; but, how are we to account for the first example of this depravity, if we reject the scriptural account? There never existed but one perfect character in the world, on whom evil example and erroneous associations. had no influence, and the same must take place with every undepraved mind. It is, however, not surprising that the depravity of the human heart should be questioned, seeing such is the transforming influence of this new system, although quite in its infancy, and hitherto contending with every disadvantage, "that experience seems completely to warrant the opinion, that our nature is a delightful compound, capable, no doubt, of being formed to deceit and to wickedness, but inherently imbued neither with the one nor the other," &c.
It is certainly a peculiarity in this system, that singing and dancing should be generally taught to young children. We know, in the parochial schools, which we admire, children are taught to sing their Maker's praise, and admirably join in public worship; but, enthusiasts as we feel for music, we cannot admire the plan of teaching them to sing "spirited songs," although in the "bravura style;" nor do we see what good purpose it can answer either to teach the children of the poor music or dancing, seeing the opportunities for practice can scarcely occur, except in scenes which it would be better for them to avoid than frequent.
"Besides dancing, the children, boys and girls, now and then go through a few military evolutions, as well to give them the habit of marching regularly from place to place, as to improve their carriage and manner of walking."
Such is our hatred of war, that we can hardly trust ourselves to express our dislike to this novelty; but, surely, if it be de sirable for boys to practise military evolutions, it is too revolting, (seeing early impressions are confessedly the strongest,) to approve of this confounding of the sexes, this neglect of the characteristic modesty and delicacy of the female character, which, from infancy to maturity, should be carefully encouraged.
These details conclude with a short reply to the anticipated objections of such as may consider the system of education unadapted to the lower or working classes."
The Appendix is to us the least objectionable part of the work. It consists of specimens of the general information given to the classes, by way of lecture, on the Earth, Astronomy, Geography, Mathematics, Zoology, Botany, Mineralogy, &c., and is written with neatness, familiarity, and simplicity.
We have animadverted freely on this Outline, from the impression we feel that every thing relating to education is
indescribably important. We are aware that every philanthropist, who aims to benefit his country and the world by improvements in the modes of instruction, is to be respected for his motive. It is matter of regret that so little encouragement should have been given, generally speaking, to the instructors of youth, that persons of education and talent should therefore have so little inducement to embark in so laborious and responsible a profession; but for which, there may have been much improvement in the prevailing modes of instruction.
We would by no means discourage improvement nor experiment; but we feel decidedly inimical to such extremes in education, and such extravagant, and therefore delusive, prospects, as are held out in the work before us. We disapprove the denunciation of those stimuli, long found so successful, and, in our view, perfectly consistent with virtue and piety.
A Diagram, illustrative of the Formation of the Human Character, suggested by Mr. Owen's Development of a New View of Society.—8vo. pp. 15. Wheatley and Adlard, 1824.
OUR limits will not allow us fully to expose the enthusiastic expectations of this neatly printed pamphlet; and it is less necessary, after what we have said concerning Mr. Owen's Outline of Education.
This Diagram consists of a circular centre, of one-eighth of an inch in diameter, around which are drawn six concentric circles of increasing widths as we proceed from the centre, and they are variously coloured, allowing a small uncoloured space between each. Its design is thus explained :
"The centre of the circles represents the individual*, the circles themselves denote the different classes of objects and circumstances by which he is surrounded and influenced from birth to death; the colour of the centre is, therefore, a compound of all the other colours."
"The all-important inference to be drawn from the diagram is the following:-That the cause of every crime will be found in one or more of the classes of circumstances described by the circles; and that those causes, without a single exception, may be removed by society, and others substituted of an opposite tendency; for, whatever may be the natural disposition of the individual, his overt acts, be they good or evil, result from a careful attention to, or neglect of, the early culture of his mind, or from the external circumstances of * "It is considered that the primitive state of the mind is 'free from all impressions,' and perfectly innocent."