ePub 版

bread-making, washing, and every thing requisite to make the poor man's house comfortable, and to economise to the utmost his gains. This is a knowledge most deplorably deficient in the mind of working men in these countries, and the introduction of it into the people's schools in England is a most important step forwards. Miss Coutts has published the results of her first prizes.

Such is the brief outline of our educational position and prospects. Who shall not say that it is a most cheering one? Without the state assuming a high tone, and enforcing a universal and compulsory system, it extends a hand of annually increasing liberality. Only in one instance, we believe, and a most singular and unaccountable one, does it withhold its generous aid, and that is to the Ragged School Society, to which, we are assured by the highest authority, it gives no grant whatever, nor the prospect of any. Is this just or generous towards an association that, besides its arduous labours, expends £25,000 per annum to diminish the costs of our administrative system, at the same time that it creates valuable subjects out of the refuse of our population? But, with this exception, our government, the church, dissenters of all classes, are in full activity, and without sparing expenditure. On all hands Sunday schools, day schools, evening schools, ragged schools, infant schools, industrial and agricultural schools,-peoples' colleges, where men of the highest eminence exert themselves to give an efficient education in design, mensuration, calculation, history, and economical philosophy, all are busily at work, with the mechanics' institutes, reading rooms, and libraries, in diffusing education and general knowledge. We certainly have no cause to despair or even to despond; on the contrary, we cannot behold all this active and varied machinery in motion, spurred on by the emulative spirit of rival parties and opinions, without feeling that a very few years must place us as a nation, in point of education, behind none in the world.

The question here occurs, with all this array of schools, with all this extension of the field of our mental discipline, and these vast numbers of youthful individuals which we em

brace in it, how do we keep pace in the supply of the necessary trained teachers, school apparatus and school books? It was our intention to have said a good deal on each of these subjects; but the topics on this great question are so numerous, that we have already exceeded our limits. In training teachers, great as has been the progress of late years, and more clearly as is daily seen the importance of this department, there is yet ample room for advance. A whole volume might be written on school apparatus; but we can only congratulate teachers on the many excellent diagrams published by Reynolds, in the Strand; by Johnston, Edinburgh; and Darton, on Holborn Hill. At the same time, we would suggest the great want of other diagrains, such as bold diagrams of the hand and power-looms, of the old spinning-wheel, the spinning-jenny, spinning mule, cotton gin, carding engine, in fact, diagrams for illustrating the whole process of carding, drawing, spinning, weaving, and dyeing all our textile fabrics; diagrams also of different machines and processes for smelting, casting, forging, rolling, drawing, punching, planing, and stamping metals of various kinds. These are greatly desired by all schoolmasters of progress.

And, finally, as to school books. The answer here is, legion! We may safely assert that there is no country in the world which ean equal us in the number or the excellence of its school books. When we take a moment's mental survey of those works, we are bewildered by their multitude. Every publisher's list abounds with them; and let government or the public go-a-head as fast as possible, they will find no difficulty in selecting, from the abundant material prepared, the most perfect cycle of elementary knowledge. If there should appear a link or two wanting in the chain, we have a host of able and spirited authors and publishers ready to fill up the hiatus. We have already spoken of the excellent school books of Mr. Tate. These are chiefly scientific, as are the Principles of Mechanical Philosophy, Elements of Mechanism, Principles of Geometry, Mensuration, TrigoLometry, &c., &c.; Principles of the

Differential and Integral Calculus, Algebra made easy, Euclid, Outlines of Experimental Chemistry, &c.; but they also include more elementary treatises. To these the Congregational Board of Education offer you Mr. Tilleard's Training School Singing, Music for the use of Schools; and the publishers, his Church Music, People's Chant Book, &c. The Rev. C. H. Bennby's Teacher's History and Grammar of the English Language ought to be in every school. The Reading Lesson Books, by Mr. Hughes, of which we have spoken in a former number, are excellent books, as might be


pected from the successful labours of the author in his own classes in Greenwich Naval School. The Drawing Book by Mr. J. Browne, and the Training School Singing Method by Mr. Unwin, of Homerton College, are of the first class. But Charles Bean's School List of 1856, the lists by Griffin of Glasgow, of Oliver and Boyd, &c., present us with a whole library of elementary works, which need only be referred to, to save us specific enumeration. Charles Knight has published a very useful Course of Instruction for Young Children. "Lessons on the Phenomena of Industrial Life," edited by the Dean of Hereford, ought not to be forgotten; and we should like to see a cheaper and more school-form edition of Lovett's admirable School Anatomy and Physiology. Black's Etymological Dictionary is a most valuable work for teachers; and Dr. Bremer's Guide to Science, in question and answer, has done good service, though he does give us this query and reply at p. 22.


Q. What is the safest thing a person can do to avoid injury from lightning?

[ocr errors]

A. He should draw his bedstead into the middle of his room, commit himself to the care of God, and go to bed!"

The idea of the whole world, on the approach of a thunder-storm, hurrying into their bed-rooms, dragging their beds into the middle of the rooms, and going to bed, is sufficiently ludicrous, and more than sufficiently absurd for a school lesson.

But the Messrs. Chambers, with their usual spirit, have not merely given us a set of school-books; they

have given us a whole system. We have before us not merely a list of their "Educational Course," but the books themselves, presenting the aspect of an actual library. They have already published no less than a hundred volumes, including atlases, copy-books, forms of book-keeping, drawing-books, mechanical, architectural, and isometrical; school diagrams and school maps. This splendid Educational Course includes carefullycompiled introductory reading-books, progressional reading-books, grammars English, German, and Latin; elocution, history, geography, every system of calculation, arithmetic, algebra, mathematics; the natural and mechanical sciences; natural philosophy, geology, animal and vegetable philosophy; a manual of music; welledited editions of the Latin classics, &c., &c. The whole course already costs upwards of £20, and therefore, as a set, is rather calculated for the higher class of schools and wealthy families; but individually the volumes may be pronounced cheap, and each student may select the works he requires. The publication of this invaluable course, which is not yet completed, may be pronounced one of the boldest in educational history.

At the same time, we know no set of school-books which present so plain and practical a course of instruction calculated for people's schools, as those published by the Commissioners of National Education in this country, commonly called "The Irish Schoolbooks." These, consisting of thirtyseven volumes, cost altogether only £2 6s. 101d. They range, for the most part, from threepence to a shilling per volume, and include readingbooks, Scripture readings, geography, arithmetic, grammar, an excellent agricultural class book, and all the plain elementary manuals of education. They are at once simple, lucid, and attractive. In fact, their homely canvass bindings give no idea of the richness of their interiors. They are instinct with that spirit which schoolbooks too commonly are lamentably deficient in. The minds of children and young people beginning to instruct themselves require food for the imagination and the affections as well as for the intellect; and here it is given them in selections, both in prose and poetry,from a host of our most

fascinating writers. We no longer wonder, on examining them, that they have been adopted abroad, in America, and our own colonies, and translated into various languages, or that the Commissioners in 1854 sold them to the amount £16,318!

To these Irish School-books, Dr. Sullivan may be said to have made a most valuable addition or accompaniment. His books, seven in number, are distinguished by one great principle-that of simplifying the subject taught, and of bringing out in a few plain and striking rules the great leading ideas of the science in hand. Such are his Geography Generalised, his Spelling-book Superseded; his Attempt to simplify English Grammar; and his Literary Class Book. In the introduction to this last book, Dr. Sullivan has rendered an inestimable service to the students of elocution. Most of our school-books on the subject are loaded with artificial rules, which will sufficiently bother a child's brain, and end in making a very formal reader or speaker of him. Dr. Sullivan gives you, in three rules, the whole of the matter. First learn to enunciate clearly, then to pronounce correctly, and then read or speak as NATURE dictates to you. On this subject he quotes Archbishop Whateley's admirable remarks, which result in this: "The practical rule is not only to pay no studied attention to the voice, but studiously to withdraw the thoughts from it, and to dwell as intently as possible on the senses, trusting to nature to suggest spontaneously the proper emphasis and tones.” If these

simple rules were only followed by teachers, what heaps of dry treatises might be spared, what pangs to the learner, and what a much more natural and attractive style we should have in our public speakers!

With Dr. Sullivan's Dictionary of Derivations we are, however, at issue. While admitting the service he has rendered by tracing our Latin and Greck derivations, we totally dissent from his theory that those languages are the foundation of our own, or that they furnish us with the majority of our words. We stand confidently on the ground opened by Selden, by Dr. Bosworth, and Mr. Trench, that the foundation and superstructure of our language are Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian. The fittings, orna

[blocks in formation]

mends him now to turn his attention to the Anglo-Saxon and Teutonic part of our language. We trust Dr. Sullivan will adopt the suggestion, and render his dictionary complete. We are sure he feels the importance of teaching only what is true; and nothing can be more delusive than his present theory. A little investigation would prove the correctness of Professor Trench's assertion, that of a hundred parts of the English language, sixty are Saxon, thirty Latin, including the Latin derived through the French; five Greek, and five from other sources. It is the great defect of English education, that while Latin and Greek are made essential, there is an almost total ignorance of the very languages on which our own are based. A dictionary of Anglo-Saxon derivations is absolutely necessary for our schools of all kinds, and we should rejoice to see Dr. Sullivan produce it, in as masterly a style as he had done the classical one. He has got on the right track in the geographical derivations, and has only to go on.

There is another set of educational works in progress which cannot be omitted in this article, though they are not got up for the million, but for schools and universities. These are the Scientific Manuals of Messrs. Galbraith and Haughton, of our University, Mr. Galbraith being Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy, and Mr. Haughton, of Geology. They have already issued seven of these admirable class-books, some of which are already in second and third editions. Those published are the manuals of mechanics, optics, hydrostatics, astronomy, arithmetic, plane trigonometry, and the first and second books of Euclid. They have also announced manuals of algebra, heat, electricity, magnetism, phy

sical geology and stratigraphic geology. It would be difficult to speak in too high terms of these works. -They display throughout the hand of the master. Science is not attempted to be popularized, but it is presented in that succinct, lucid, yet accurate style which is necessary for the students of schools, where able professors are at hand to add those illustrations and amplifications which belong to a course of study of the pure sciences. Yet such is the perspicuous completeness of the elementary corpus in these manuals, that some of them might be adopted without any difficulty by the solitary student and aspiring artizan. So far as they go, they are unrivalled by any university course of natural philosophy in existence; and the uniformity of their excellence throughout guarantees their successful completion. They cannot be too widely adopted in popular schools.

And now, before closing this article, we must say a few words on the - works of one who has most meritoriously exerted himself to supply a very numerous class with the means of self-education, which has been hitherto almost wholly overlooked. Notwithstanding the bountiful supply of schools, apparatus and books which we have enumerated, there yet remained a vast amount of the young who were placed beyond the reach of these influences. We mean those who had acquired the mere art of reading, and yet were already gone beyond their schooldays, and were absorbed in daily labour, or were remote from schools and living aid. In districts which have become largely populated populated through the introduction and rapid growth of manufactures, as in Lancashire and Yorkshire, the iron districts of Wales, Staffordshire Potteries, &c. there existed an awful mass of vice and ignorance. Multitudes of rude men, suddenly thrown together, as in the Australian diggings, contaminated each other with fearful rapidity. Children, through the extreme demand for labour, were early plunged into this vortex of darkness and crime. In vain for them existed all the grand machinery of schools and books. It was for one who had, like thousands of those pitiable beings, acquired the mere power of reading, and who had risen

by his own exertions from that very class to case and fortune, and had sedulously cultivated his own intellect, to perceive and to sympathise with their condition. This man was John Cassell. The moment that his mind was fully cognizant of the whole mischief, he set energetically about remedying it. He had felt all the wants, the temptations, and the intellectual privations of these multitudes of thriving but bewildered human beings; he knew their needs, and therefore could supply them. For eight or nine years he has now laboured with all the energies of his nature, and they are of no ordinary kind, to diffuse knowledge and sound principle amongst the working classes. It is not only to ignorance but to scepticism that he has directed his remedial efforts. In a powerful address to the working classes, prefixed to his edition of Dr. Beecher's Lectures on Atheism, he says, "The doctrines to which my ears were accustomed long before I had reached my teens, while sitting round the work-shop stove, were dogmas of atheistical propagandists." It occurred to him that it was possible to present the means of self-culture, and thus open the way to higher tastes and sounder views, to those of the humblest means. With this idea he started his Working Men's Friend; and a series of French lessons given in it, which were afterwards reprinted as a sixpenny volume, at once showed that there was a vast and thirsty field ready to imbibe all the sound practical information he could throw into it. The success was immense, and he proceeded confidently to the publication of his Popular Educator. In this work, issued in penny numbers, and illustrated with diagrams and engravings, he called into action the services of men of first rate accomplishments and talents in art, science, and literature. Lessons were given in French, Latin, Greek, German, Italian, Spanish, English; in Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Geology, Botany, Architecture, Music, Natural History, Bookkeeping, Chemistry, Physical Education, &c., &c.

The sensation excited amongst the working classes was immense, and the sale of the work was in proportion, something almost unexampled. We have gone over the pages of this

great work with sentiments of real wonder. The execution of every portion of it is masterly. It is not possible for any but vivá voce instructions to give the true living pronunciation of any language, but it is quite surprising how far even the attempt to do this on paper has succeeded. The lessons by Dr. Beard of Manchester, in Latin and English, are most admirable, and of all the systems of Geology that we have seen, there is none that can bear any comparison with that of Dr. Jenkin in the Popular Educator, in point of fascination for the student. Instead of opening with a dry detail of stones and strata, it describes the first glowing mass of our planet, the formation of its crust in cooling; the process of the formation of mountains, seas, and volcanoes; then, the deposition of the sedimentary strata, the successive appearance of vegetable and animal life; and, finally, the present condition of the earth, with all its myriads of humanity. The whole of this quarto encyclopædia of elementary knowledge, (for such it is), in six volumes, is placed at the command of the young workman, or the solitary peasant, desirous of cultivating his faculties, for seven and twenty shillings; and to make it universally attainable, Mr. Cassell makes successive penny issues of it. We know no work like it; we confidently assert that there never was one like it in importance to the working man. By its aid, any one desirous to acquire the keys of a vast world of knowledge may, in his own room, do so. The artizan, by his evening fire, may become the teacher of his children, and give them an education such as

few of his employers have received; such, as a few years ago, was as impossible to one of his class, as it was to travel at fifty miles an hour, or receive a telegraphic message from his son at Constantinople, in a few minutes. The success has been enormous; it has occupied and filled up a field of education vast and most important to the community. Not only has it stimulated and informed the working class on the subject of their peculiar arts and trades, but several young men, self-educated through the Popular Educator, have been allowed to matriculate at the London University.


Besides this extraordinary work, Mr. Cassell has published a little library of others, all bearing on the same object--the cultivation and elevation of the working classes. has offered premiums on literary execution to those classes, and published two volumes of the productions of working men, which would do honour to men of any class. He has added to his Popular Educator an Historical Educator and a Biblical Educator; a shilling edition of Euclid, which has been extensively taken up by the Council of Education; and a number of other works too well known to require mention. He is now engaged on an Educational Course, which bids fair to be invaluable. It is a significant fact in popular educacation, and one full of promise, that we can close our article on the subject with a striking example of one who, having himself had education, though in an imperfect manner, afforded him, has become in his turn a popular teacher of the most effective and extensive kind.

« 上一頁繼續 »