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"FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF ENGLAND AND ITS PEOPLE,” ETC.
“Love had he found in huts where poor men lie ;
His daily teachers had been woods and rills, –
71856, Nov. 14.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854, by
GOULD & LINCOLN, In the Clerk's Office of the District court of the District of Massachusetts.
THE R E A D E R.
It is now nearly a hundred years since Goldsmith remarked, in his little educational treatise, that “few subjects have been more frequently written upon than the education of youth.” And during the century which has well nigh elapsed since he said so, there have been so many more additional works given to the world on this fertile topic, that their number has been at least doubled. Almost all the men who ever taught a few pupils, with a great many more who never taught any, deem themselves qualified to say something original on education; and perhaps few books of the kind have yet appeared, however mediocre their general tone, in which something worthy of being attended to has not actually been said. And yet, though I have read not a few volumes on the subject, and have dipped into a great many more, I never yet found in them the sort of direction or encouragement which, in working out my own education, I most needed. They insisted much on the various
modes of teaching others, but said nothing—or, what amounted to the same thing, nothing to the purpose on the best mode of teaching one's self. And as my circumstances and position, at the time when I had most occasion to consult them, were those of by much the largest class of the people of this and every other civilized country,—for I was one of the many millions who need to learn, and yet have no one to teach them, -I could not help deeming the omission a serious one. I have since come to think, however, that a formal treatise on self-culture might fail to supply the want. Curiosity must be awakened ere it can be satisfied ; nay, once awakened, it never fails in the end fully to satisfy itself; and it has occurred to me, that by simply laying before the working men of the country the “Story of my Education,” I may succeed in first exciting their curiosity, and next, occasionally at least, in gratifying it also. They will find that by far the best schools I ever attended are schools open to them all,—that the best teachers I ever had are (though severe in their discipline) always easy of access, -and that the special form at which I was, if I may say so, most successful as a pupil, was a form to which I was drawn by a strong inclination, but at which I had less assistance from my brother men, or even from books, than at any of the others. There are few of the natural sciences which do not lie quite as open to the working men of Britain and America as geology did to me.
My work, then, if I have not wholly failed in it, o