Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

PISQUISITION ON PUBLIC AND PRIVATE EDUCATION,

Could mankind lead their lives in that solitude wbich is so favourable to many of our most virtuous affections, I should be clearly on the side of a private education. But most of us, when we go into the world, find diffi. culties in our way, which good principles and innocence alone will not qualify us to encounter; we must have some address and knowledge of the world different from what is to be learned in books, or we shall soon be puzzled, disheartened, or disgusted. The foundation of this knowledge is laid in the intercourse of schoolboys, or at least of young men of the same age. When a boy is always under the direction of a parent or tutor, he acquires such a habit of looking up to them for advice, that he never learns to think or act for himself; his memory is exercised, indeed, in retainiug their advice,

but his invention is suffered to languish, till at last it · becomes totally inactive. He knows, perhaps, a great deal of history or science; but he knows not how to cons duct himself on those ever-changing emergencies, which are too minute and too numerous to be comprehended in any system of advice, He is astonished at the most common appearances, and discouraged with the most trifling (because unexpected) obstacles, and he is often at his wit's end, where a boy of much less knowledge, but more experience, would instantly devise a thousand expedients.

Another inconvenience attending private education, is the suppressing of the principle of emulation, without which it rarely happens that a boy prssecutes his studies with alacrity or success. I have heard private tutors complain that they were obliged to have recourse to flattery or bribery to engage the attention of their pupil; and I need not observe, how improper it is to set examples of such practices before children. True emulation, especially in young and ingenious minds, is a noble principle; I have known the happiest effects produced by it; I never knew it to be productive of any vice. In all public schools it is, or ought to be, carefully cherished.--I shall only observe further, that when boys pursue their studies at home, they are apt to contract either a habit of idleness, or too close an attachiment to reading : the former breeds innumerable diseases, both in body and soul: the latter, by filling young and tender minds with more knowledge than they can either retain or arrange properly, is apt to make them superficial and inattentive, or what is worse, to strain, and consequently impair, the faculties, by overstretching them. I have known several instances of both.

Toe great inconvenience of public education arises from its being dangerous to morals. And indeed every condition and period of human life is liable to temptation. Nor will I deny, that our innocence, during the first part of life, is much more secure at home, than any where else; yet even at home, when we reach a certain age, it is not perfectly secure, Let young men be kept at the greatest distance from bad company, it will not be easy to keep them from bad books, to which, in these days, ail persons may have easy access at all times. Let us, however, suppose the best; that both bad books and bad company keep away, and that the young man never leaves his parents or tutor's side, till his mind be well · furnished with good principles, and himself arrived at the age of reflection and caution; yet temptations must come at last; and when they come, will they have the less strength, because they are new, unexpected, and surprising? I fear not. The more the young man is surprised, the more apt will he be to lose his presence of mind, and consequently the less capable of self-government. Besides, if his passions are strong, he will be disposed to form comparisons between his past state of restraint, and his present of liberty, very much to the disadvantage of the former. His new associates will laugh at him for his reserve and preciseness ; and his unacquaintance with their manners, and with the world, as it will render him more obnoxious to their ridicule, will also disqualify him the more, both for supporting it with dignity, aud also for defending himself against it.”A young man, kept by himself at home, is never well known, even by his parents; because he is never placed in those circumstances which alone are able effectually to rouse and interest bis passions, and consequently to make his character appear. His parents, therefore, or tutors, never know his weak side, nor what particular advices or cautions he stands most in need of; whereas, if he had attended a public school, and mingled in the amusements and pursuits of bis equals, bis virtues and his vices would have been disclosing themselves every day; and his teachers would have knows what particular

precepts and examples it was most expedient to inculcate upon him. Compare those who have had a public edua cation with those who have been educated at home; and it wiil be found, in fact, that the latter are, either in virtue or in talents, superior to the former.

SPAIN. The following sketch of the characters of the inhabitants of the principal provinces of Spain will be found interesting at the present juncture :

Each province of Spain has its peculiar character, and there seeins to exist between them a moral as well as a physical division. The provinces, which were formerly almost as many kingdoms, appear to have preserved the spirit of hatred to a greater or lesser degree, in proportion to the distance they are from each other.

The Austurians, amongst whom the patriotic flame first broke forth, have not the character of particular intelligenre. Most of the servants in Spain are from that province, and are fuithful and exact in the preformance of their duty.

The Biscayans are brave, animated, and industrious, and are considered the best soldiers and the best mariners in the kingdom; their language is peculiar to themselves, as are many of the privileges they enjoy.

The Catalans are the most industrious, active, and laborious, amongst the Spaniards; they consider themselves as a distinct people,-are always ready to revolt, and have more than once formed the project of erecting their country, into a republic. For some centuries past, Catalonia has been the nursery of the arts and the trades of Spain. The Catalan is, however, rude, vulgar, jealous, and selfinterested; but he is open and friendly.

The Valencian is subtile, false, and milder in his man. ners; he is the most idle, and at the same time, the most supple being that exists.

The Andalusian may be compared to the Gascon for extravagant expression, vivacity, and vain boasting; he is a bully, an idler, lively, jovial, and attached to the cus torns of his country.

TheCastilian is haughty, grave in his deportment and conversation : his politeness is cold, but free from affectation ; he is mistrustful, yet decided in his friendship; he pogo sesses genius, strength of mind, and sound judgment. · The inhabitant of Gallicia quits his country, and is employed in the rest of Spain, in sweeping chinuies, cleaning shoes, &c.

Among so vast and incongruous a mass, we fear we are not to expect that unanimity that is necessary to oppose the concentrated power of France. The Spaniards, however, can endure greater privations and hardships than perhaps any other people; their patience in the wars of Italy, Portugal, and before Gibraltar, was matter of general astonishment; they were whole days without bread, water, or beds, yet not the least murmur was - heard in their camp, neither was there the slightest symptom of disobedience or mutiny. ; · The nationality of the Spaniards may counterpoise their provincial antipathies, for they all concur in the sentiment, that their country is the first in the world ; they have a proverb which says, “ Donde esta Madrid calle el mundo.Where Madrid is, let the world be silent; and another, Solo Madrid es corte.” There is no other court than Madrid : while a thousand other laws flatter and perpetuate the national vanity of the people. One of their Bishops, as Feyron tells us, in a sermon on the temptation of Christ, informed his audience, “ that the devil took the Saviour to the top of a high mountain, whence all the kingdoms of the earth were discovered ; he shewed him France, England, and Italy, but hap

pily,” added the prelate, “ for the Son of God, Spain ** was hidden from his sight by the Pyrenees.”

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

THE UTILITY OF PHYSICIANS.-A cardinal, in the cone fidence of Pope Alexander VI. told him one day, that it would be expedient to banish the Physicians out of

Rome, for they were entirely useless." Not so, (replied the pope) they are quite the reverse; for without them the world would increase so fast, that one could not live by another."

A DIALOGUE BETWEEN AN IRISH INNKEEPER AND

AN ENGLISHMAN.

Englishman. Holloa, house!
Innkeeper. I don't know any one of that name.
Eng. Are you the master of the ino?

Inn. Yes, sir, please your honour, when my wife's from home.

Eng. Have you a bill of fare?

Inn. Yes, Sir, the fair of Mullingar and Ballinasloeare next week.

Eng. I see.--How are your beds:
Inn. Very well, I thank you, Sir.
Eng. Have you any mountain ?
Inn. Yes, Sir, this country is full of mountains.
Eng. I mean a kind of wine.

Inn. Yes, Sir, all kinds, froin Irish white wine (but. ter-milk) to burgundy.

Eny. Have you any porter?

Inn. Yes, Sir, Pat is an excellent porter; he'll ge any where.

Eng. No, I mean porter to drink.

Inn. Oh, Sir, he'd drink the ocean, never fear him for that.

Eng. Have you any fish ?
Inn. They call me an odd fish.
Eng. I think so. I hope you are not a shark.
Inn. No, Sir, indeed I am not a lawyer.
.Eng. But! Have you any soals ?
Inn. For your boots or shoes, Sir ?
Eng. Have you any plaice?

Inn. No, Sir, but I was promised one if I would vote for Mr. B.

Eng. Have you any wild fowl ?

Inn. They are tame enough now, for they have been killed these three days.

Eng. I must see myself.

Inn. And welcome, Sir, I'll fetch you the looking glass.

« AnteriorContinuar »