תמונות בעמוד

• After all the confinement and trouble of a domestic education; it is probable that the boy will at last be sent to the university. There he will find the greater part of his associates to confift of young men who have been educated at schools; and if they have any vices, he will now be in much greater danger of moral infection; and will suffer worse consequences from it, than if he had not been secluded from boys at a boyish age. He will appear aukward, and unacquainted with their manners. He will be neglected, if not despised. His fpisit, if he possesses any, will not submit to contempo; and the final result will be, that he will imitate, and at length surpass, their irre. gularities, in order to gain a welcome reception. From actual observation I am convinced, that this voluntary degeneracy does often take place under these, or under similar circumstances. That happy conduct which can preserve dignity and esteem at the univerfity, without any blameable compliances, muft arise from a degree of worldly wisdom, as well as moral re&titude, rarely possessed by him who has been educated in a closet. It is not enough, that the mind has been furnithed with prudent maxims, nor that the purest principles have been instilled into the heart, unless the understanding has itself cola lected some practical roles, which can only be gained by actual intercourse, and unless that degree of fortitude is acquired, which perhaps can only arise from frequent conflicts terminating in viaory.

• With respe&t to literary improvement, I think that a boy of parts will be a better fcholar, if educated at a school, than at home. "The reason is, that in a school many circumstances co-operate to force his own personal exertion, on which depends the increase of meatal strength and of course improvement, infinitely more than on che instruction of any preceptor whatsoever.

• Many of the arguments in support of this opinion must be common, for their truth is obvious. Emulation cannot be excited without rivals; and without emulation, instruction will be always a tedious, and often a fruitless, labour. It is this which warms the paflions on the fide of all that is excellent, and more than counterbalances the weight of temptations to vice and idleness. The boy of an ingenuous mind, who itands at the head of his class, ranks, in the microcosom of a school, as a hero, and his feelings are scarcely less elevated. He will.fpare no pains to maintain his honourable poft ; and his competitors, if they have spirit, will be no less affiduous to supplant him, No severity, no painful confinement, no barsh menaces will be neces. sary. Emulation will effect in the best manner the moft valuable purposes; and at the fame time will cause, in the bosom of the scholar, a pleasure truly enviable.' View him in his feat, turning his Lexicon with the greatest alacrity; and then turn to the pupil in the closet, who with languid eye is poring, in folitude, over a lesson which he naturally considers as the bane of his enjoyment, and consequently feels no other with than to get it over as soon as he can with imponity. It is true, a private tutor may do good by praise; but what is folitary praise, to the glory of standing in a diftinguilhed poft of hopour, the envy and admiration of a whole school?

9. Ducere vero classem pulcherrimum. QUINTILIAN.
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• The "The school-boy has the best chance of acquiring that corfidence and spirit which is necessary to display valuable attainments. Exceflive diffidence, bashfulness, and indolence retard the acquisition of knowledge, and deftroy its due effect when acquired. They are the cause of pain to their poffeffors, and commonly do injustice to their seal abilities, and hurt their interest. It is one circumitance in public schools, which tends to give the scholars a due degree of confidence, that public examination or election days are usually established in them ; when, besides the examination, which, if undergone with credit, inspires courage, oracions are spoken before numerous audi. tors. This must greatly contribute to take off that timidity, which has filenced many able persons brought up to the bar, and to the pulpit. The necessity of making a good appearance on public days, causes a great degree of attention to be paid to the art of speaking; an art, which, from the defeat of early culture, has been totally wania ing in some of our best divines; many of whom never gave fauisfaction to a common audience in preaching those compofitions, which, when published, have been admired in the closet.

. The formation of connexions which may contribute to future advancement, and of friendships which cannot eally be dissolved, has always been a powerful argument in support of the preference of public schools. Such connexions and such friendships have been, and may be formed. The opportunity which public schools afford, is cer. tainly an additional circumstance in recommendation of them. But I, cannot omit expressing my disapprobation of the practice which has sometimes prevailed, of sending a son to school merely to form con. nexions. One reason is, that a fon, in such cafes, has been usually inftrudled at home, to pay a servile deference to those of his schoolfellows who are likely to be distinguished by future rank or fortune. By this submission, he has acquired a meanness of mind highly disgraceful to a man of liberal education. He bas entered into a volun. tary slavery, for the self-abasement and inconveniences of which, no emolument can compensare; and he has not unfrequently been fruf. trated in his expectation even of proft; for it so happens, that the servility which accommodates the great man, often renders the vo. luntary dependent contemptible in his fight. Afier many years servitude, the greedy expectant is often dismissed, as he deserves, unrewarded. But let him gain what he may, it will in my opinion, be dearly purchased at the price of the conscious dignity of a manly independence. Those disinterested friendships which are formed at public schools, from a real congeniality of sentiments and taste, will certainly contribute much to comfort, and perhaps to advancement. Experience proves, that they are more durable than those formed at any subsequent period.

. A great degree of bodily exercise is necessary for boys. Nature has taken care to provide for this necessity, by giving them a propen. hty to play. But they never enter into the puerile diverfions with proper spirit, but with boye. He then who is placed at a school, has The belt opportunity of answering the intentions of nature, in taking that constant exercise which contributes equaily to Arengh of body and vigour of mind.

• I may add to the many arguments in favour of school-education, the pleasure and enjoyment of the pupil. Placed in a little society of members like himself, he finds ample scope for the exertion of his various powers and propensities. He has friends and play-fellows cnltantly at hand; and the busy scene paffing before him, is a nererfailing source of amusement.

• The private pupil languilles in solitude, deprived of many of these advantages, or enjoying them imperfectly. He feels but little emulation ; he contracts a diffidence; he makes few friendships, for want of opportunity; he is secluded from the most healthy exercises ; and his early youth, the pleasant spring of life, is (pent in a painful confinement,

"But yet there are a few circumstances which will render private education che molt proper. These are, uncommon meekness of dir. polition, natural weakness of understanding, bodily infirmity, any remarkable defect of the senses, and any fingular deformity, Boys in these circuinitances should be treated like those tender plants, which, unable to bear the weather, are placed under glasses, and in the thel. ter of the green-house. The oak will flourish best in an open expo. fure *'

It must be confeffed that Mr. Knox's arguments in favour of the opinion he maintains are, many of them, plausible and in. genious : nevertheless, we cannot altogether concur with him in his sentiments on this subject.

That a greater proportion of good scholars is educated in publick than in private schools is not to be denied; but then we must take this consideration along with us, that for one pupil who is educated privately, hundreds go through the discipline of a public school. Add to this, that when children, who have their fortunes to make, discover any striking superiority of parts or understanding, it is usual for parents to place them at some of the great public schools, not only with a view to college preferments, but also for the opportunity of making connexions which may promote their future advancement in the world. Impolitic as this last motive will presently appear to be, it sends many a boy of genius to a public school, who would otherwise bave been educated privately. It is contended, that in public schools

1. The principal objetion offered against the education of schools, when compared with private tuition, has always been, that the morals are in greater danger ai school than a: bome, 'But let ps hear a renGble poet of antiquity on the subject :

Plurima funt- Fama digna finiftrâ.
Quæ mouffrant ipfi pueris traduntque PARENTES. .
Sic Natura jubet : velociùs et citiùs nos

Corrumpunt VITIORUM EXEMPLA DOMESTICA. JUVENAL. .' Add to this, shat Lycurgus, Plato, and many other wife men of antiquity, as well as of modern times, have preferred public edy(2:10n.'


emulation acts as a stimulus to industry; this, it muft be acknowledged, is a material advantage: yet, surely, it may be introduced, in some degree at least, into a scheme of private education. There seems to be no necessity that the private tutor Thould have but one solitary pupil; any number of pupils, not interfering with the economy of a private family, seems sufficiently compatible with the idea of private pupilage. If there be but two, emulation will not fail to operate. The argument drawn from the advantages of making connexions at school with those who are born to the expectation of rank or fortune is cer. tainly a feeble one. Connexions of that kind are frequently as fatal to worldly interest, as they are to morals, pernicious and destructive. They are, in short, tickets in a lottery, in which there are more than a hundred blanks to a prize, it is possible that one boy in a hundred may avail himself of them, but what will be the fate of the ninety and nine? If their dispositions be paffive and complying, they are in great danger of becoming servile and dependent; if spirited and generous, they will in subsequent life endeavour to associate with their former schoolfellows on terms of equality with respect to expence, they will affect their manner of living, and adopt their extravagance. It is needless to point out the consequence. The debt and ruin in which so many young men of small fortunes, especially at the universities, are every day involving themselves, are too certain proofs of what we have advanced.

But the most powerful argument, and that which supercedes every other in favour of private education, is, that the morals of the pupil are in less danger from the contagion of vicious example, and from the opportunities of gratification. In a public school, where numbers are in confederacy, Argus himself could not have his eyes upon them all. Opportunities will offer, of which they will certainly avail themselves, and which no vigilance can on every occasion guard against. It is not, indeed, to be denied that vice will insinuate itself even into the most private seminaries ; yet, surely its inroads may be more effectu. ally opposed by him who has but one or two to attend to, than by the preceptor whose attention is distracted by, and divided among, a multitude, daily diverging from the moral line in every direction.

With respect to that part of the argument which supposes, that when a boy, who has been under the restraint of a wellconducted domestic education, is sent to the university, he will become more vicious than his vicious associates, who have been educated publicly, we muft totally diffent from it. In this in{tance we shall not oppose argument to argument, but observa, tion to observation. We have ever remarked that they whose minds were, on entering at the university, beft, stored with principles of virtue, have generally carried away with them when they left it, a proportionable share of the principles they brought along with them. We must further declare, and from actual observation too, that they, of whom this has been remarked, have moft frequently been (allowing for the disparity of num: bers) those who were educated privately.

It must not, however, be inferred that we are blind to the advantages of public education, or that we are not convinced of its necessity. Without public schools, education would be confined to few, or at the beft but imperfectly conducted. It is but a small part of the community that can afford the expence of private education ; but few men, properly qualified for the task, can be prevailed upon to undertake it; and lastly, it is not every parent who is capable, even if they were so disposed, of concurring with the preceptor in his arduous employment; and with out such concurrence, the preceptor's labour would be in danger of being perpetually counteracted. All that we contend for is, that private education, when -properly conducted, possesses, in the present state of things, advantages which are rather to be wilhed for than expected from any fyftem of public education that has yet been adopted. · Mr. Knox is of opinion, that boys ought to be kept at school till nineteen. In this, it is probable, he may be right; yet, surely, it is not necessary, as he seems to think, that claffical Studies should in a manner occupy their whole time till that period. The elementary parts, at least, of much useful knowledge might before that age be acquired, without retarding their progress in letters. The portion of human life which he would affign to the acquisition of languages, seems too much to devote to a single pursuit. Milton, who was not without experience on this subject, entertained very different sentiments. He, it must be confeffed, runs into a contrary extreme ; expecting from the generality of boys the performance of what nothing but the capacity of such a one as he was could bave been equal

Mr. Knox's work is divided into forty sections, befides an Introductory Essay, and another at the conclusion. By this methodical division, which, in a didactical work of this kind, is of fingular utility; nothing is omitted that has any relation to his subject.

Our limits not permitting us to give a regular analysis of this performance, we lball content ourlelves with laying before our Readers the two following sections,- the importance of the subjects discussed in them will sufficiently apologise for their length. The first is on the Passions and Vices of Boys :

• Whoever has had experience among young people, will have re. marked, how early, and with what violence, the vicious propenfities


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