Imágenes de páginas

both parties, mutual resentment and animosity are carried to such a height, that the patriotism of the sagacious and prudent counsellor is suspected; and the still small voice of reason is drowned amid the clangor of arms. Nations, like individuals, are continually blind to their own interests, and are better pleased with those who foster their pride and their passions, than with those who exhort them to be wise. Should Mr. P. fail, from the prejudices of the moment, of subserving the interests of beneficence and humanity to the extent which he desires, it must be allowed that he has added to the mass of our information respecting Paris; and that, by long residence and intimate intercourse with the native inhabitants, he is enabled to exhibit views of manners which occur not to the fugitive rambler.

Many of the objects here noticed are such as have been mentioned in recent accounts of the French capital. We have descriptions of the Boulevards, National Library, Louvre, Garden of Plants, Palace of the Luxembourg, Garden of the Tuileries, Museum of National Monuments, Bridges, Baths, Streets, Taverns, Churches, &c. To these common topics, however, are added several that are new, and which merit particular notice. Mr. Pinkerton presents to us the state of Literature, Medicine, and Education, gives us a view of the Revenue, Taxes, new civil code, of the Police, &c with distinct chapters intitled Moral Considerations and General Reflections.

Having so repeatedly accompanied the visitors of the Modern French capital to palaces, gardens, statues, pictures, &c. we shall not, on the present occasion, quote the author's remarks on these matters of general observation, though in these he has not always followed the opinions of others * : confining our extracts to matters which are less trivial.

In the chapter on Learning and Literary Societies, Mr. P. adverts to the different treatment of the members of the latter on the different sides of the channel :

While in England the members of learned societies pay annual sums towards their expence; in France, on the contrary, these members were, and are, paid by the government. The consultation of geographers, chemists, and other scientific characters, on the arrangeinent of public measures, was also olten productive of great and lasting effecis; while in some other countries Generals are sent out without maps or plans; and operations depending on chemistry or other sciences, are all projected and arranged by an omniscient minister.

* For instance, he does not greatly admire the Venus de Medici; he thinks that it was classed by the antients among the third or fourth• sate productions of the art.


The astonishing successes that have recently followed the French at ms may in a great degree be ascribed to this cause ; not to mention that the leaders themselves are often not only deeply versed in their own profession, but considerably tinctured with other sciences.'

To this statement, we subjoin his account of the Institute :

• The chief literary society in France is the Institute, which has been recently modelled in imitation of the former academies, one class representing the academy of sciences, another that of inscriptions, a third that of the French language, while a fourth replaces the aca. demy of painting and sculpture. In all these classes, as happens in such institutions, men of superior talents are mingled with one half or one third part mere quacks, who have usurped a ridiculous reputa. tion by low intrigues, and by taking advantage of particular times and circumstances. Still the mass of science and the freedom of inquiry are so preponderant, that the Institute may be regarded as a grand focus of illumination, particularly in natural philosophy and chemistry. The members wear a particular dress, black, embroidered with green silk. I know not how it has happened that these distinctive dresses have become in vogue since the revolution, for they are certainly very remote from republican forms or equality, rarely appearing, on the contrary, except in despotic governments. But this conspires with many other circumstances to evince that the French character can never become truly republican, as these petry distinctions, arising from vanity, form the antipodes of republican modesty. That magistrates, while exercising their functions, should wear a solemn dress, is natural and rational; but that counsellors of state, senators, members of the legislative body, of the tribunate, of the Institute, &c., should be distinguished by their costuine, seems a novelty in European history, certainly not indicative of the progress of rational liberty or solid knowledge.

• The secretaries of the Institute are now nominated during their lives, but the presidents during a short period. In this plan there is the advantage that the president cannot influence the society in favour of any particular branch of science to which he may chance to give the preference; far less can he arrange it like a machine to serva particular objects of his own ambition. But, on the other hand, he is not so deeply interested in the welfare of the society, nor can he form such durable plans for its progressive advantage.

• The secretaries have been nominated during their lives, apparently because the situation demandò practical skill. But in general it is a subject of astonishment and regret that many literary situations in France are only held during the good health of the possessor. Thus if any of the masters of the lycées or public schools, should be afAicted with a lasting infirmity, he totally loses his appointments, and is reduced to a state of beggary. A bare recital of such cruelty is sufficient to excite indignation in every beneficent busom ; to su • peradd poverty to disease being a truly tyrannic refinement.'

Among the exhibitions of the works of living artists in the year 1802, we are informed of a large picture by Gros, (a to



disciple of David,) representing · Bonaparte, commander in chief of the army of the East, at the moment that he touches a pestilential tumour, on his visit to the hospital at Jaffa.' This singular piece introduces the notice of the heinous charge produced against Bonaparte, of having ordered his own sick soldiers to be poisoned. Instead of fulminating anathemas against the French Chief, as having unquestionably perpetrated this atrocious deed, the present writer is inclined to question the fact

• It was said (he observes) that Desgenettes, a physician who appears in this picture with Bonaparte, (and the strict resemblance was acknowledged by all Paris), was the very person who had reported that the general of the East had beca guilty of this cruelty. It seems, however, little probable that in such a case the subject should have been permitted to be thus exposed to public observation and inquiry : and this respectable physician bas certainly not been rewarded for his silence, having no office nor emolument that can bespeak the consciousness of such an action. I lave also conversed with many literary men who went with the army of the East, and who spoke with great freedom and clislike of the Syrian campaign, as an enter. prise equally rash and useless, but never heard any charge upon this accommt. It may be said that the honour of the French name in. duced them to this silence ; but no Frenchman forgets that Bonaparte is an Italian and a Corsican. The reader will, however, judge for himself; but those who have the best hearts will be the last to be persuaded of the truth of the accusation.'

Those who are inclined to believe any thing against Bonaparte will not thank Mr. P. for this side wind in his favour.

Though the view of the state of medicine be short, it is not unworthy of notice ; and the same may be observed of the account of the French method of bathing. The hints relative to the improvement of the streets of Paris more concern the inhabitants of that city than those of London.

From the chapter on the modern Education of the French, the interesting nature of its contents induces us to make a long extract:

It was under the administration of François de Neufchâteau, that the new name of Prytaneum was adopted ; and when Chaptal became minister of the interior, one hundred and eighty scholarships were 'granted at the public expence, and soon after one hundred others, all to be named by the first consul. It was at the same time permitted that other children might share the advantage of the careful education proposed, on paying a moderate salary. This institution is immediately under the care of the minister of the interior, who names the directors and professors. Mass is celebrated every morning, but Bo blame is attached to those who do not attend: gymnastic exercises are also mingled with instructions in the moral duties towards

their parents, their country, and the Supreme Being ; but each scholar is at perfect liberty to follow his own mode of worship.

• Instead of the old pedantic routine, simple and practical methods have been adopted. Instead of a general tinge of superficial knowledge, the talents and inclination of the scholars are carefully observed, and directed to such studies as they may pursue with most advantage.

• The course of study is divided into three distinct parts. Chil. dren are first taught the French language and grammar, a first and indispensable branch, which is never neglected during the whole period of instruction. The Latin tongue is carefully taught by the methods of Condillac and Dumarsais, which spare the time, and sometimes prevent the disgust of the scholars. In this first course, all are taught the elements of arithmetic.

• To this course, merely elemental and grammatical, succeeds another, in which the scholars are taught composition ; and instituted in the elements of literature, French, Latin, and Greek.

* In the third course, the education is completed by that kind of instruction which is adapted to their talents and inclinations : rhetoric, philosophy, and the mathematics, with mechanics, surveying, and the first principles of astronomy and chemistry, are laid before the students. Geography is not only studied, but accompanied with the practical art of drawing maps and plans. In history, the scholars write down the lessons, so as to form a little collection of their own composition. In the second and third course, all are taught the German and English languages; and the study of drawing is alike universal. A fencing master and a dancing master are each charged with a class of twenty five scholars, chosen for their good behaviour; but any may be taught these arts, and music, at the expence of their parents. Gymnastic and military exercises and swimming are practised by all, on the days of vacation. The instruction is not uniform, a plan rather calculated to enchain than to develope the faculties, but is varied according to the talents, dispositions, and future views. A select and ample library is open to the scholars.

• They are divided, according to their age and studies, into classes of twenty-five ; each forming a separate habitation, with a school and sleeping rooms, under the care of an experienced teacher, who watches over their manners and conduct, assists their inexperience in literary toil, forms their character by remonstrating on their faults and teaching them their duties, sees that they read no improper books, and that they write regularly to their friends. He presides over their repasts, attends when they rise and go to bed, in short, never quita them except when he brings them to the proessors, adopting every care of a good master and father of a family. A careful servant, confined to each class or division, is charged with the physical care of the children, their dress and personal cleanliness. It may not be improper to add, that they sleep alone, and are carefully watched by the teacher, who is placed in the centre of the division ; and that the domestic and a night watcher walk through the sleeping rooms, to guard against the smallest accident or impropriety. Rev. FEB. 1807.


• The

games and recreations of the children are always superintended by the masters, and their walks, in particular, are well watched. A regulation, approved by the government, forbids them to leave the house upon any pretence, except during the vacations, when they may visit their families. They are, however, indemnified by the extent of their own domains, even those at Paris passing the summer days of vacation at the large house and park of Vanvres, in gym. nastic exercises, swimming, and such little exercises in gardening and agriculture, as they may choose.

* Although sickness be rare, a physician and surgeon constantly reside in the house; and there is an infirmary where the sick children are attended with the same care as if they were in their own families. At the same time, every attention is paid to the general health. The halls and rooms are well aired, a regular warmth distributed in winter, the food of a salutary nature, and the beginning of any disease carefully marked and opposed.

• Such is the general plan of this institution, in which there is doubtless much to be praised; but in the division of the courses, it may be doubted whether the Latin should enter into the first course, where writing might supply its place ; and, in fact, this first course ought wholly to belong to the primary schools. Yet, upon the whole, the education is excellent, and the distribution of the prizes, which takes place before the summer vacation, forms a very interesting and crowded spectacle. After discourses by the director, and by the minister of the interior, or any other member if the administra. tion named to dignify the ceremony by his presence, the names of the boys who have distinguished themselves in each branch are solemnly proclaimed, with flourishes of music, and the plaudits of the audience. The boy advances, is embraced by the minister, who places on his head a wreath of laurel, and gives him some valuable book. The catalogue of the victors and prizes is afterwards published, to the great satisfaction of parents and friends.

Let me not be accused of being tidious on a subject of such in. finite importance as practical education, the subject of innumerable books, but of difficult execution, as what seems true and salutary in theory, often, in practice, proves false and detrimental. Nor shalí an apology be offered for some further illustrations of this interesting topic, and which, though sometimes minute, may be of lasting consequence to the community.

The board at the Prytanée, now the Lyceum of Paris, is nine hundred francs a year, (not thirty eight pounds sterling), but cach boarder must pay quarterly, and by advance. Each boarder must bring a trunk, containing the following articles :

A great coat of broad cloth, colour, iron grey-the uniform of the school. An uniform coat of iron grey, with blue collar and sleeves. Two waistcoats, &c., of the same. Two white waistcoats, one of cloth, the other of dimily. Two pair of sheets, of ten ells.

One dozen napkins. One dozen of shirts. Two bed. gowns.

Twelve handkerchiefs. Six cravats of double muslin, and two of black silk. Six pair of cotton stockings, of mixed blues,


« AnteriorContinuar »