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with white spots. " Of easy, quiet flight when undis-
turbed, often sailing smoothly with widespread
wings, yet ever ready to do battle with a tempestu-
ous wind, a reckless adventurer in its contrasted
livery of orange and black, it seems the very beau-
ideal of the contented, happy-go-lucky butterfly."

The organs of the butterfly worthy of special
study are the wings, the eyes, the tongue, the scales,
and the legs. A close examination of the delicately
formed and beautiful wings gives us a striking view
of nature's handiwork. An interesting question has
arisen whether the butterfly can see clearly, and
whether it does not direct its movements more by
smell and touch than by sight. The tongue, coiled
up like a delicate watchspring, is formed by fasten-
ing together two long, hairlike half-tubes. These,
when uncoiled and properly joined, form a long,
slender, tubelike tongue, with which the butterfly
reaches down into the cups of clover, milkweed, and
thistle blossom, and draws up honey for its food. The
scent scales are of peculiar importance, and the pro-
tective coloring of caterpillars, chrysalides, and butter-
flies, by which they manage to escape their enemies,
has been studied with much interest by entomologists.



ILLUSTRATIVE LESSONS 33

At all the three stages, of egg, caterpillar, and
chrysalis, the insect is in danger from open and se-
cret enemies. The great majority of eggs are proba-
bly eaten before hatching out, by spiders and large
insects, and by small parasites. The caterpillars are
in constant danger from spiders, crickets, and bugs,
from birds and reptiles, and from the parasitic flies
that lay their eggs in the grubs and destroy many.

The milkweed butterfly is found in summer as far
north as Hudson Bay, and throughout all parts of
the United States where the milkweed grows. It is
supposed to be properly a tropical insect. In sum-
mer it is believed to migrate northward with the sea-
son, and in some cases south of parallel thirty-one,
to come out again in the spring to lay eggs, while
many probably migrate southward to warmer regions
to continue their butterfly life. It is claimed that
the insect may pass the winter in the egg state, as a
caterpillar, a chrysalis, or as a full-grown butterfly.

During the same season what other butterflies do other
you see commonly along the roads and fields ? Find uttei
in the garden some of the cabbage butterflies. Try
to find the eggs and caterpillars. Watch their devel-
opment and see if they go into the chrysalis state.
Watch any of the common caterpillars and notice the
plant on which they feed, the moulting, and the suc-
cessive changes till maturity is reached. See if differ-
ent butterflies get their food in the same way.

In comparing the different common caterpillars

D



34 METHOD OF RECITATION

and butterflies observe the different plants and flow-
ers on which they feed, the varying localities in which
they are found, the differences in size, coloring, and
mode of flight. Compare the whole period of devel-
opment in one butterfly with the similar period in
another species. Can we mark distinct correspond-
ing stages in all the butterflies observed ? Do we
find corresponding organs and modes of feeding in
the different caterpillars and also in the butterflies r

What is the outcome of this comparison of the full
life history of different species of butterflies ? Briefly
stated, it is that four distinct stages are clearly marked
in the life of all the specimens observed and studied :

I. The egg. 2. The caterpillar with its moultings.
3. The chrysalis or quiescent condition. 4. The full-
winged butterfly. The mode of life in each of the;
two active stages is very similar in different cater-
pillars and butterflies.

We have examined, however, only a few different
species of butterflies. In your future excursions ob-
serve the caterpillars, chrysalides, and butterflies,
with their life habits and changes, and see if your
previous conclusions are correct. Notice also the life
and metamorphosis of other insects, as moths and
flies, and discover whether similar changes occur.

In Unity is Strength

This is one of the most important truths taught in
history. A deep conviction as to its value led to the



ILLUSTRATIVE LESSONS 35

confederation of the colonies during the Revolution-
ary War, to the adoption of the Constitution soon after,
and to the Civil War. As a political doctrine it has
always been bitterly opposed by extremists in favor
of states' rights. But the future security of our gov-
ernment and the welfare of our people are so greatly
dependent upon its universal acceptance and practi-
cal realization in our laws, that it should be as care-
fully taught in history as are the laws of gravitation
in physics. The portion of our history that, by con-
trast, most forcibly teaches this proverb is the period
immediately following the peace of 1783. Barnes 1
devotes to it not quite one page, under the head-
ing, "Weakness of the Government." He states that
under the Articles of Confederation Congress could
recommend, but not enforce; that bitter jealousies
existed among the several states; that there was a
popular desire to let each state remain independent ;
that a heavy debt had been contracted, which
Congress was unable to pay; that people rebelled
against payment of taxes ; and that in these
circumstances many of the best men of the land
felt the need of a stronger national government.
This is a typical text-book treatment of the mat-
ter. No direct reference is made to the above
proverb, but the same general truth is inferred
from a brief statement of several important
facts.

i " Brief History of United States," p. 142.



$6 METHOD OF RECITATION

Following is the more detailed and more inductive
treatment of this idea of unity :

Let us consider what prevented the union of the
thirteen colonies from breaking to pieces shortly af-
ter the close of the Revolutionary War.

What had caused their union in the first place?
How long had it lasted ? Was it effective ? In what
respects was it defective ?

Even during the Revolutionary War, when there
were the weightiest reasons for close union, the colo-
nists were not fully united. Congress had failed to
raise sufficient money, to levy sufficient troops, to act
with decision, etc. What was the cause of these de-
fects ? Congress was not endowed with large powers.
But why not? Because the individual states were
unwilling to surrender important rights to any cen-
tral authority. What reasons, then, can be given for
dissolving the Union at the close of the war ? The
war was finished on account of which the Union was
formed. Also, each state wished to secure to itself
all power possible.

Let us see what facts changed this feeling :

i. According to the conditions of the treaty the
states were to protect loyalists, restore to them prop-
erty confiscated, destroyed, etc. Who was to attend
to this ? Congress. But Congress did not have suffi-
cient power. What must have been the result ? The
conditions of the treaty would not be fulfilled. Would
England, then, be bound to observe the treaty ? What



ILLUSTRATIVE LESSONS 37

effect would this weakness of Congress have upon
the general opinion entertained in foreign countries
in regard to our own country ?

2. At the close of the war most of the European
nations were anxious to enter into commercial agree-
ments with the United States. But when they saw
the weakness of Congress, what assurance could they
feel that such agreements would be fulfilled on our
part ? Effect ?

3. The states together had contracted a war debt
of about $150,000,000. They were already poor, and
little inclined to levy taxes in order to pay it. Con-
gress, too, had no power to force payment from them.
What effect would that have upon our credit at home
and abroad ?

4. When the Massachusetts legislature, in spite of
much opposition, attempted to levy taxes for the
general government, a serious rebellion was kindled,
known as Shays's Rebellion. Congress did not inter-
fere. Can you imagine the reason ? It was afraid
to.

5. American citizens were seized and sold into
slavery in the markets of Algiers and Tripoli with
little hope of energetic attempts at rescue by our
government.

6. Congress was even unable to defend itself against
violence. In 1783 it was driven out of Philadelphia
by eighty mutinous and drunken soldiers. Did such
facts bring honor or dishonor to those persons who



38 METHOD OF RECITATION

were unwilling to grant important powers to the
central government ? Why ?

7. Since there was no national coinage, what kind
of coins would be in use ? If English, French, Ger-
man, and Spanish coins of various and uncertain
values were the only coins in circulation, what would
be the effect upon trade ? What would prevent
clipping and counterfeiting ? How would a cautious
merchant protect himself from deception ?

8. What authority would settle disputes that
might arise among the thirteen states ? If there
was no authority to do this, what might easily
result ?

(a) There were such disputes in abundance.
The larger states wished to become rich at the
expense of their weaker neighbors. New York
levied tariff duties on firewood from Connecticut,
and upon butter, cheese, chickens, and vegetables
from New Jersey. The New Jersey legislature in
defence levied a tax of $1800 a year on the light-
house off Sandy Hook, belonging to New York.
The Connecticut merchants pledged themselves to
suspend all commercial relations with New York
for twelve months. Pennsylvania discriminated
against Delaware. Thus fuel for war was being
collected.

(#) Differing policies in regard to importation of
European goods widened the breach between the
states. When the other New England states had



ILLUSTRATIVE LESSONS 39

virtually closed their ports to British merchandise,
Connecticut, catching at an advantage, threw hers
wide open.

(c) There were territorial as well as commercial
disputes.

Connecticut and Pennsylvania had each claimed
the Wyoming valley. It had been adjudged to
Pennsylvania by a special federal court, although
largely settled by the hated Yankees. In 1784
great suffering was produced in the valley by
floods and cold. Then the Pennsylvanians, instead
of furnishing prompt assistance, sent militia into
the region, who plundered and burned the prop-
erty of the Yankees and drove them into the wil-
derness. War between Connecticut and Pennsylvania
was narrowly averted after some fighting had taken
place.

The territory now known as Vermont was claimed
by New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
Troops were collected for the support of these claims,
but war was temporarily prevented through Washing-
ton's intervention.

From these data we see that our country was un-
able to command the respect of foreign nations, and
even of its own citizens ; Congress could not carry out
its agreements, pay its debts, protect its citizens, or
even itself ; trade was greatly hindered because there
was no central power with authority to control coin-
age. The jealousy among the states was leading to



4O METHOD OF RECITATION

hostile legislation that threatened civil war ; civil war
was further kindled by commercial and territorial
disputes.

The only remedy for the evil in each case was a
strong central authority; only through such an au-
thority could the individual states be forced to abide
by the conditions of the treaty; it only could levy
taxes, quell insurrection, pay the national debt, pro-
tect its citizens, and thus command general respect.
Only by means of this authority could the jealousy
among the states be kept within bounds, the com-
mercial and territorial disputes be properly adjusted,
and frequent civil war be avoided.

In consequence of these faqts union became a
necessity ; wise men came more and more to feel the
force of the proverb that, " United we stand, divided
we fall," or " In unity is strength."

After long discussion by representatives from the
states and many exciting scenes in their convention,
the final outcome was the adoption of the Constitu-
tion, establishing a strong central government

Questions

1. Why is the period immediately following the
Revolution called the critical period of American
History ?

2. Is the union of our states permanently estab-
lished ? If so, when was it accomplished ? If not,



ILLUSTRATIVE LESSONS 41

when will it probably be accomplished? Give
proofs.

3. What great orations have been delivered bear-
ing upon this question ? What was the occasion of
their delivery ?

4. There are already three different governments
upon this continent, Mexico, the United States,
and Canada. They are fairly prosperous and liv-
ing in harmony. Would you risk being shot at
and killed in order to prevent the establishment
of a fourth government ? Why ? Have our citi-
zens ever had to answer that question in a practi-
cal way ?

5. On what other occasions has our Union been
threatened ? State the circumstances.

6. What European nations have suffered particu-
larly from lack of a strong central government?
What was the nature of their suffering, and how
long did it last? (Germany and Italy.)

7. What modern inventions have greatly aided in
making a close union of our states possible ? How ?



CHAPTER III

HOW INDIVIDUAL AND GENERAL NOTIONS ARE DIS-
TINGUISHED FROM EACH OTHER

ALL knowledge is built up from individual and
general realities, so that instruction is always occu-
pied with one or the other. It has been seen that
differences in method are due first of all to the order
in which these two are presented ; some teachers
would begin with the general notion or rule, and
furnish the individual instances later, as the rule
for the plural of nouns ending in s, x, sk, etc., while
others would take the opposite course. Since these
two kinds of notions are of vital importance it is well
to have a clear understanding of the meaning of each.
Sources of The notions that are furnished apparently through

individual - . .,..,., _,

notions. the senses alone are individual notions. For in-
stance, the images of the many things about us
gained through the sense of sight belong to this
class. I have an individual notion of the pen-
holder with which I am now writing, of the room
in which I am sitting, and of the meadow that I
see from my window. Touch, without the aid of
sight, gives a similar kind of notion ; blind men get

42



HOW NOTIONS ARE DISTINGUISHED 43

definite mental pictures of the objects about them
by the use of their hands. It is an individual notion
that one receives when he perceives the color of a
flower, the odor of an apple, or the chirp of a bird.
Thus each sense may be the source of individual
notions or percepts, without the aid of the others.
Usually, however, they work together, giving a com'
bined result, as when one determines through the
senses of sight, smell, touch, and taste that a certain
object is an apple. In this case the idea is certainly
very complex, but since it must be referred to one
definite object it is called an individual notion.

Further than that, individual facts and relation-
ships, as well as material things, are a source of
particular notions. For example, when we read
in history that Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up
the English Parliament with gunpowder in 1605,
we picture an individual fact or notion. Again,
when we say in grammar that the word Parliament
in this sentence is the direct object of the verb blow
up, and is, hence, in the objective case, we speak of
the individual relation existing between a particular
word and another expression ; in other words, we
have a fact in mind which is as individual or con-
crete in its nature as is the color of a particular
flower.

The nature of general notions is best seen by origin and
directing attention to the way in which they arise. 1^*
If one has seen but one chair, he has, then, only an notions.



44 METHOD OF RECITATION

individual notion of chair ; he has an object in mind
of a certain size, color, material, weight, shape, etc.
On seeing a second one, differing only in material
from the first, the material of which it is made be-
gins to be recognized as a subordinate matter. Let
a dozen different kinds be seen, and more of those
properties that are variable or individual come to be
recognized as such ; as, for instance, the color, weight,
shape, etc. But some characteristics remain ever the
same, though they be few in number. Each chair
would be found to have a back and to be intended
for a seat. If one hundred of them were perceived,
these common qualities would appear one hundred
times, while others would appear only once, or sev-
eral times, but not all of the time. These common
or general properties compose the general notion, so
far as it has been found. There is one important
limitation, however. It could easily happen that each
of the hundred chairs seen has not three or five legs,
but just four. In that case, according to the state-
ment just made, the general notion chair might sig-
nify an object with a back and four legs, that was
intended for a seat. But although all chairs thus far
made were made with four legs, we know that it is
not a necessary or essential property of chairs ; they
can have a larger or smaller number. Hence the
word chair should signify an object with a back and
intended for a seat. The idea expressed by this defi-
nition is what is meant by the general notion chair;



HOW NOTIONS ARE DISTINGUISHED 45

it is the sum of those characteristics that are both
common and essential to chairs.

It is by no means easy to distinguish the essential Difficulty of

fifcttincf

qualities of an object from those that are common accurate
or usually present, but accidental. Every individual g eneral

J f J notions,

thing has very many characteristics, most of which

are entirely peculiar to itself. .But it requires much
study to determine whether some of the more com-
mon ones are essential or not. For example, is it a
necessary property of chairs that they be movable,
that they be intended for one person, and that they
approximate a certain size? Webster's dictionary
includes the first two of these three limitations in the
first definition of chair; it states that a "chair is a
movable single seat with a back." Evidently the
third is not considered a necessary property. Owing
to the great difficulty in distinguishing what qualities
are absolutely essential to a given object, it is seldom
that really correct general notions even about com-
mon things are reached. Few educated men can
correctly define table or knife, or house on the spur
of the moment, or even after reflection. Likewise,
their conceptions of trade-centres and of social laws
presented through literature and history (as suggested
in the preceding chapter) are often quite undefined.

Still, children have a vague general notion of these
things. Wherein, then, are their generalizations dif-
ferent from those of educated people ? The difference
lies in the degree to which accidental qualities are



METHOD OF RECITATION



Psychical
and logical
general
notions.



distinguished from essential ones. For a clear under
standing of general notions it is necessary to realize
that there are two kinds ; namely, the crude and the
pure.

As soon as children begin to use the plural num-
ber, to say even two intelligently, they are beginning
to generalize. Of course, the individual character-
istics of things are entirely confused with those that
are common and necessary, and this confused state
of mind exists throughout childhood. It is the only
state reached by uneducated people in regard to
most things. Such crude concepts are technically
named psychical notions.

As already stated, even carefully educated men
do not entirely escape this confusion. But their
concepts are so much more nearly correct that they
are often given a separate name, i.e. logical notions.
A really logical notion is one that is absolutely cor-
rect, or one that is entirely free from accidental
properties ; it is, therefore, a pure notion, in distinc-
tion from the crude (or mixed) ones held by the
uneducated. It is rather the ideal toward which peo-
ple work than the goal which they actually attain,
although in certain studies, as mathematics arid gram-
mar, logical notions are probably reached. It is one
of the chief aims of instruction to develop psychical
into logical notions; progress in education means a
clearing up of crude notions. Children should be
gradually led to set aside, as unimportant, many of



HOW NOTIONS ARE DISTINGUISHED 47

the qualities of things that they have been accus-

tomed to consider as essential, and to recognize as

necessary some that they have heretofore overlooked,

so that they may perceive the general notion or law

involved. It is very important to realize that, though

logical notions can never be fully reached, instruction

is always striving to attain them as nearly as possi-

ble ; they are really the goal of instruction. A gen-

eral notion, as its name implies, does not refer to one Distinguish-

particular object and to no other, but to many of the I



same sort, as the word river to a whole class of ob- and g eneral

notions.

jects. It differs from individual notions just as com-
mon nouns differ from proper names. The latter
apply, in each case, to only one certain object, as
Illinois to one of the Central states, while the former
refer to any one of a class, as child to any one of
millions of persons. Proper names compose a rela-
tively small class of words; almost all other words
stand for generalizations; for instance, the verb run
signifies a certain class of actions ; sweet, a quality
common to a great number of objects; the preposition
underneath, a kind of relationship that may frequently
exist between objects. Each of these notions, instead
of applying to a single case and to no other, covers a
multitude of individual cases or classes.

Knowing now the nature of individual and general
notions, it is comparatively easy to recognize each in
its various forms. Numerous examples of the former
have been given. As to the latter, not only do al-



48 METHOD OF RECITATION

most all words signify generalizations, but the rules
of grammar and arithnletic do the same. The defini-
tions of mathematics, as of triangle, plane, etc. ; the
laws of physics, as the laws of pulleys and of gravi-
tation; the principles of science, as the economical
principle that man is by nature lazy, and moral max-
ims, as that we should do unto others as we would
have them do unto us, are all general notions : they
are all reached by the same process, by the separa-
tion of non-essential characteristics from those that
are essential. Definitions, rules, laws, proverbs, prin-
ciples, and maxims are general truths or notions : the
individual instances illustrating them are individual
truths or notions. In the second place, general no-
tions distinguish themselves from individuals by the
fact that the latter can be imaged or pictured con-
cretely, while the former cannot.

Any particular chair presents a certain appear-
ance; it has definite form, weight, color, etc., and
the mental picture of it contains these particular
characteristics. Any historical event has a peculiar
setting; it was performed at a certain time and
place, by a certain person or persons, under particu-
lar conditions, in a definite manner, etc. When it
is reproduced mentally it must be accompanied with
its peculiar environment. Objects and events that
have never been actually witnessed, but only imag-
ined, must also be pictured in detail in the same
way. But general notions and laws cannot be thus



HOW NOTIONS ARE DISTINGUISHED 49

clearly imaged or seen concretely. They do not
apply to just one object, event, or relation, but to
any and all of a class ; in fact, they have no exter-
nal objective existence, hence they cannot be limited
to any certain form, color, time, place, setting, etc.
The word chair signifies the common essential char-
acteristics of chair without reference to any particular
example; the preposition underneath, a relationship
that may frequently exist between nouns or pronouns
and other words without naming any specific case;
the moral maxim, honesty is the best policy, calls to
mind a general truth without mentioning any in-
stances that illustrate it. Frequently, however, these
instances are so close at hand that, when the general


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Online LibraryCharles Alexander McMurryThe method of the recitation → online text (page 3 of 21)