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tory, including the animal and vegetable realms, have been directed to be explored, and the duty has been confided to several scientific gentlemen, from whom may be expected full and interesting accounts of the quadrupeds, birds, fishes, reptiles, insects, and plants, which are peculiar to the State.
These works will be honorable monuments of the enlightened and expanded views of the legislature, reflect lasting honor upon the chief magistrates, under whose direction they have been so successfully prosecuted, and entitle the enlightened and meritorious gentlemen, who have participated in the very responsible labors, to the respect and gratitude of the present and all future generations.
We have indulged so far in the general remarks, which the very interesting subject of agriculture has suggested, that there is left only sufficient space to commend to the real friends of the country the instructive Address, which the Agricultural Commissioner delivered, before the assembled yeomanry of several of the interior counties, during the last autumn. It is an impressive appeal to the farmers, urging them strenuously to endeavour to render their condition as prosperous and happy as their pursuits are respectable and important, by renewed efforts in the acquisition of intelligence, and to illustrate, by example, how independent and deserving of the highest consideration are those, who zealously emulate the hardy virtues and rural industry of their adventurous Anglo-Saxon ancestors.
2. – The Law Reporter. Edited by P. W. CHANDLER. Bos
ton : Weeks, Jordan, & Company. 1839. Vol. I. Nos. 1-12. pp. 370.
The main object of this work, as originally announced, is to give to the legal profession a monthly condensed report of the most important cases decided in the Superior Courts of civil and criminal jurisdiction in the United States, whether in bank, or at nisi prius. To these are added digests of such contemporary English cases as are deemed interesting to American lawyers ; brief accounts of the principal legislative acts in the several States ; critical notices of new legal publications ; obituary notices of distinguished jurists ; and a miscellaneous head of essays and intelligence on legal subjects.
The plan, thus sketched, has been executed, in all its departments, with much ability and tact, by the industrious editor, in the twelve numbers composing his first volume ; and, as we judge, in a manner completely successful. Such a work had long been called for by the profession in this country ; and may well be supposed as essential here as in England, where “ The Legal Observer,” a periodical on a similar plan, has already reached its seventeenth volume. The volume before us is said to contain upwards of one hundred cases not before published; and the editor numbers among his correspondents some of the most eminent of our judges and lawyers, of whose articles it has been remarked, that, while they add greatly to the value of the work, they prove the sense which these gentlemen entertain of its merits and character. We deem this a valuable aid to the cause of legal science ; which seems at present to be cultivated in this country with a freedom, liberality, and zeal, not surpassed in that from which the elements of our jurisprudence are derived.
The Teacher, or Moral Influence employed in the Instruction and Government of the Young. New Stereotype Edition, with an Additional Chapter on the First Day in School." By JACOB ABBOTT, Late Principal of the Mt. Vernon Female School, Boston, Mass. Boston : Published by Whipple & Damrell. 1839.
AMONG the endless variety of systems and plans for education, it is comfortable to think, that bright scholars and excellent men have come out from under the most unpromising regimen, and have often formed themselves without any rule or system whatever. This is not saying, however, that all systems are equally good, or that it is matter of no consequence what system is pursued. And, whatever plan is determined on, it ought to propose, as the most important preparatory step, to teach a child the habit of fixing his attention for a certain time upon a certain thing; and this, not because it is particularly pleasant, or attractive in itself, though care should be taken that it should not be made unnecessarily otherwise. When a child finds, that, by giving his attention for a very short time to a given subject, either the letters which make a word, or any thing else, he conquers a difficulty, and fixes the word or the number in his mind, he enjoys the pleasure of successful labor, and has learned a lesson he will not forget. He will be willing to make a similar effort the next day; and, by patiently going on in this way, a good habit of study will be formed, with very little time spent at each separate trial. This of course can be done best at home, where the hours and moments are under the teacher's control, and where, the moment the point is gained, the child can be set at entire liberty. It forms a most excellent preparation for school; as the pupil, having learned the art of application, and having been taught in this way to study, will be able to enter with pleasure into the routine of the school, the operations of which, however, should be varied as much as possible, since young children so soon weary of real application.
Even at school, however, something like this sort of training would not be impracticable. If the teacher could devote the time which he spends in bearing a class spell, for instance, to hearing the pupils which compose it, each in succession, spell the words from the book, two or three times, (and it would hardly take longer to do this, than to hear the words boggled over and passed down the class as is often the ease,) the time would be better spent, and the children would know more about the words, than if they had sat in the usual listless way over their books for an hour. After this exercise, the books might be put away, and the attention of the children turned to something else ; and they would thus escape the danger of getting listless, idle habits, which are so apt to follow the usual methods of studying in school. They know that they must stay there a certain time, whether they are idle or not, and they know that they must hold the book and try to study till the time comes to recite ; and they learn to make the best of the matter, and amuse themselves as well as they can in looking round the school, and taking notice how others are occupied.
When this habit of fixing the attention is formed and forming, a good exercise for it is, to strengthen the memory by getting things by heart, as we say. This practice has been abused, and it is not uncommon, at the present time, to hear the attempt to store the memory with words and facts spoken of with disapprobation. But the great facility children have in committing things to memory seems to show, that nature has intended some use should be made of this power in early life. There are many things of a mechanical and technical kind, which it is very important to have fixed in the mind, which, learned in childhood, are never forgotten, and which are acquired much easier in early childhood than in after life. And this very acquisition strengthens the memory. A person, who expects to have a great treasure poured in upon him, is not thought unwise to prepare a commodious receptacle for it, and to strengthen it by every means in his power, that he may be able to receive and retain his treasure as it comes to him ; and a well-trained memory, filled in early youth, when acquisitions are easily made, with a valuable store of words and facts, will not be found a bad foundation for almost any superstructure which it may be desirable to raise upon it.
Mr. Abbott's work will be found a very valuable aid in the great work of education. It contains a record of the experience of a careful, conscientious, and highly successful teacher of youth. His views are illustrated by real and imaginary examples, showing the effects of his system. The book contains a description of the method of conducting the Mount Vernon Street school, from which much assistance, and many valuable hints on the subject of education may be drawn. Mr. Abbott says ;
“ There is perhaps no way, by which a writer can more effectually explain his views on the subject of education, than by presenting a great variety of actual cases, whether real or imaginary, and describing particularly the treatment he would recommend in each. This method of communicating knowledge is very extensively resorted to in the medical profession, where writers detail particular cases, and report the symptoms and the treatment for each succeeding day, so that the reader may almost fancy himself actually a visiter at the sick bed, and the nature and effects of the various prescriptions become fixed in the mind, with almost as much distinctness and permanency as actual experience would give." - p. 242.
Mr. Abbott's plan of giving, every hour or half hour, a recess in the school from labor, in which speaking, and moving about the room for two or three minutes are permitted, is an arrangement which must prove highly useful both to the teacher and pupils, by sparing the former the annoyance of individual applications, and refreshing the latter by changing the positions of the body and the operations of the mind. He describes at length the operation of this rule, and the apparatus by which it was regulated.
The advice in the following quotation is truly admirable. “ Never get out of patience with dulness. Perhaps I ought to say, never get out of patience with any thing. That would perhaps be the wisest rule. But, above all things, remember that dulness and stupidity, and you will certainly find them in every school, are the very last things to get out of patience with. If the Creator has so formed the mind of a boy, that he must go through life slowly and with difficulty, impeded by obstructions which others do not feel, and depressed by discouragements which others never know, his lot is surely bard enough, without having you to add to it the trials and sufferings, wbich sarcasm and reproach from you, can heap upon him. Look over your schoolroom, therefore, and, wherever you find one whom you perceive the Creator to have endued with less intellectual power than others, fix your eye upon him with an expression of kindness and sympathy. Such a boy will have suffering enough from the selfish tyranny of his companions; he ought to find in you a pro
tector and friend. One of the greatest pleasures which a teacher's life affords, is the interest of seeking out such an one, bowed down with burdens of depression and discouragement, unaccustomed to sympathy and kindness, and expecting nothing for the future but a weary continuation of the cheerless toils, which have embittered the past; and the pleasure of taking off the burden, of surprising the timid, disheartened sufferer by kind words and cheering looks, and of seeing in his countenance the expression of ease, and even of happiness, gradually returning." - pp. 98, 99.
The whole tone and spirit of the book is excellent, and it hardly seems possible, that any one engaged in the work of education, either publicly or privately, can read it without pleasure and advantage.
4. — The Moral Teacher ; designed as a Class Book for the
Common Schools in the United States of America. By a Clergyman. New York : Robinson & Franklin. 1839. 12mo. pp. 196.
We are no great friends to the practice of writing down to the capacities of children. The usual success of such an attempt is, that the author writes himself down, to all intents and purposes. The truth is, that, if a subject is within the reach of a child's intellect, he will understand it, if treated in the ordinary language used by people of good sense, who have passed the age of legal majority. If the matter in itself is too deep for him, he will comprehend it not a whit the better, though it be discussed in terms which savor strongly of the pap-spoon and nursing-bottle. And, as an affair merely of taste, we object decidedly to the use of baby-talk in the higher walks of philosophy. If it be absolutely necessary to enlighten the minds of children on such profound topics, - to teach them how to eat meat before they have cut their first teeth, - better proceed per saltum, and give them solid nutriment at once ; put the standard treatises on ethics and metaphysics into their hands, and let the unbreeched philosophers run their chance for comprehending what they may, and acquiring an early taste for grave and substantial reading. Cowley and Pope wrote good verses before they were ten years old ; why, ask our modern reformers, should not the precocious intellects of the present day study moral philosophy and political economy at a still earlier period ? Miss Martineau will lend them a helping hand in the latter science, if they meet with difficulties, and