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the faults laid to his charge, and to attribute our admoni-
tions to our prejudice. Neither must there be any room left
for him to believe that they are occasioned by any interest
or particular passion, or indeed any other motive than that
of his good.

ARTICLE VII. To Reason with Children; to Prompt Them
by the Sense of Honor; to Make Use of Praises, Re-
wards, and Caresses.

I call reasoning with boys the acting always without pas-
sion and humor, and giving them the reason of our behavior
toward them. It is requisite, says Fenelon, to pursue all
possible means to make the things you require of them
agreeable to children. Have you anything displeasing to
propose to them? Let them know that the pain will soon
be followed by pleasure; show them always the usefulness
of what ^ou teach them ; let them see its advantage in regard
to the commerce of the world and the duties of particular
stations. This, say to them, is to enable you to do well what
you are one day to do; it is to form your judgment, it is
to accustom you to reason well upon all the affairs of life.
It is requisite to show them a solid and agreeable end, which
may support them in their labor, and never pretend to oblige
them to the performance by a dry, absolute authority.

Children are capable of hearing reason sooner than is
imagined, and they love to be treated like reasonable crea-


tures from their infancy. We should keep up in them this
good opinion and sense of honor, upon which they pique
themselves, and make use of it, as much as possible, as a
universal means to bring them to the end we propose.

They are likewise very much affected with praise. It is
our duty to make an advantage of this weakness, and to
endeavor to improve it into a virtue in them. We should
run a risk of discouraging them, were we never to praise
them when they do well ; and though we have reason to ap-
prehend that commendations may inflame their vanity, we
must strive to use them for their encouragement without
making them conceited.

For of all the motives that affect a reasonable soul, there
are none more powerful than honor and shame; and when
we have once brought children to be sensible of these feel-
ings, we have gained everything.

Rewards for children are not to be neglected ; and though
they are not, any more than praises, the principal motive
upon which they should act, yet both of them may become
useful to virtue, and be a powerful incentive to it. Is it
not an advantage for them to know that the doing well will,
in every respect, be their advantage, and that it is as well
their interest as their duty to execute faithfully what is re-
quired of them either in point of study or behavior.

ARTICLE VIII. To Accustom Children to a Strict Observ-
ance of Truth.

One of the vices we must carefully correct in children
is lying, for which we can not excite in them too great an
aversion and horror. It must always be represented to them
as mean, base, and shameful; as a vice which entirely dis-
honors a man, disgraces him, and places him in the most
contemptible light, and is not to be suffered even in slaves.


Dissimulation, cunning, and bad excuses come very near it.,
and infallibly lead to it.

Everything that the children see or hear from their pa-
rents or masters must conduce to make them in love with
truth, and give them a contempt for all double dealing.
Thus they must never make use of any false pretenses to
appease them, or to persuade them to do as they would
have them, or either promise or threaten any thing without
their being sensible that the performance will soon follow.
For by this means they will be taught deceit, to which they
have already too much inclination.

To prevent it, they must be accustomed not to stand in
need of it, and be taught to tell ingenuously what pleases
them or what makes them uneasy. They must be told that
tricking always proceeds from a bad disposition ; for nobody
uses it but with a view to dissemble; as not being such a
one as he ought to be, or from desiring such things as are
not to be permitted; or if they are, from taking dishonest
means to come at them. Let the children be made to observe
how ridiculous such arts are, as they see practiced by others,
which have generally a bad success, and serve only to make
them contemptible. Make them ashamed of themselves,
when you catch them in any dissimulation. Take from
them from time to time what they are fond of, if they have
endeavored to obtain it by any deceit, and tell them they
shall have it, when they ask for it plainly and without

ARTICLE IX. To Accustom Boys to be Polite, Cleanly, and


Good breeding is one of the qualities which parents most
desire in theii children, and it usually affects them more
than any other. The value they set upon it arises from


their conversation with the world, where they find that al-
most everything is judged by its outside. In short, the want
of politeness takes off very much from the most solid
merit, and makes virtue itself seem less estimable and
lovely. A rough diamond can never serve as an ornament ;
it must be polished before it can be shown to advantage.
We can not, therefore, take care too early to make children
civil and well bred.

It is also to be wished that children should be accustomed
to neatness, order, and exactness ; that they take care of their
dress, especially on Sundays and holidays, and such days
as they go abroad; that everything should be set in order
in their chambers and upon their tables, and every book put
in its place, when they have done with it; that they should
be ready to discharge their different duties precisely at the
time appointed. This exactness is of great importance at
all times and in every station of life.

ARTICLE X. To Make Study Agreeable.

This is one of the most important points in education,
and at the same time one of the most difficult: for among
a great number of masters, who in other respects are very
deserving, there are very few to be found who are happy
enough to make their scholars fond of study. Success in
this point depends very much on the first impressions, and
it should be the great care of masters, who teach children
their letters, to do it in such a manner that a child who is
not yet capable of being' fond of his book, should not
take an aversion to it, and the dislike continue when he
grows up.

The great secret, says Quintilian, to make children love
their books is to make them fond of their master. In this
case they willingly give ear to him, become docile, strive to


please him and take a pleasure in his lessons. They readily
receive his advice and correction, are much affected by his
commendation, and strive to merit his friendship by a proper
discharge of their duty. There is implanted in children,
as in all mankind, a natural spirit of curiosity, or desire of
knowledge and information, of which a good use may be
made towards rendering their study agreeable. As every-
thing is new to them, they are continually asking questions,
and inquiring the name and use of everything they see.
And they should be answered without expressing any pain
or uneasiness. Their curiosity should be commended and
satisfied by clear and express answers, without anything in
them deceitful or illusory ; for they will soon find it out and
take offense at it.

This great principle must be always in view: that study
depends upon the will, which admits of no constraint. We
may confine the body, make a scholar sit at his desk against
his inclination, double his labor by way of punishment,
force him to finish a task imposed on him, and for that end
deprive him of his play and recreation ; but can laboring
thus from force be properly called study? And what will
follow upon it but the hatred both of books, learning, and
masters too, very often as long as they live? The will,
therefore, must be gained ; and this can only be by mildness,
affectionate behavior, and persuasion, and above all by the
allurement of pleasure.

ARTICLE XL To Grant the Boys Rest and Recreation.

A great many reasons oblige us to grant rest and recrea-
tion to children ; first, the care of their health, which should
go before that of knowledge. Now nothing is more prejudi-
cial to it than too long and constant an application, which
insensibly wears and weakens the organs, which in that age


are very tender, and incapable of taking great pains. And
this gives me an opportunity of advising and entreating
parents not to push their children too much in study in
their early years, but to deny themselves the pleasure of
seeing them make a figure before their time. For besides
that these ripe fruits seldom come to maturity, and their
early progress resembles those seeds that are cast upon the
surface of the earth, which spring up immediately, but take
no root, nothing is more pernicious to the health of children
than these untimely efforts, though the ill effect be not im-
mediately perceived.

If they are prejudicial to the body, they are no less dan-
gerous to the mind, which exhausts itself and grows dull
by a continual application, and, like the earth, stands in
need of a stated alternation of labor and rest, in order to
preserve its force and vigor. Besides, the boys, after they
have refreshed themselves a while, return, to their studies
with more cheerfulness and a better heart; and this little
relaxation animates them with fresh courage ; whereas con-
straint shocks and disheartens them. I add with Quintilian,
and the boys will doubtless agree to it, that a moderate
inclination to play should not displease in them, as it is often
a mark of vivacity. In short, can we expect much ardor
for study in a child who at an age that is naturally brisk
and gay, is always heavy, pensive, and indifferent even to
its play?

But in this, as in everything else, we must use discretion,
and observe a medium, which consists in not refusing them
diversion, lest they should grow out of love with study;
and in not granting too much, lest they should contract a
habit of idleness.


ARTICLE XII. To Train up Boys to Virtue by Discourse
and Example.

What I have said shows that this is the indispensable duty
of teachers. As it is often requisite to fortify children
beforehand against the example and discourses of their
parents, as well as against the false prejudices and false
principles advanced in common conversation, and authorized
by an almost- general practice, they should be to them that
guardian and monitor which Seneca so often speaks of, to
preserve or deliver them from popular errors, and to inspire
them with such principles as are conformable to right and
sound reason.

It is requisite, therefore, that they have a perfect sense of
them themselves, and think and talk always with wisdom
and truth. For nothing can be said before children without
effect, and they regulate their fears and desires by the dis-
courses they hear.

There is still another shorter and surer way of conducting
boys to virtue, and this is by example. For the language of
actions is far stronger and more persuasive than that of
words. It is a great happiness for boys to have masters,
whose lives are a continual instruction to them, whose ac-
tions never contradict their lessons, who do what they
advise, and shun what they blame, and who are still more
admired when seen than when they are heard.

ARTICLE XIII. Piety, Religion, and Zeal for the Children's


Christianity is the soul and sum of all the duties I have
hitherto spoken of. It is Christianity which animates them,
which exalts and ennobles them, which brings them to per-
fection, and gives them a merit, whereof God alone is the


principle and motive, and of which God alone can be the
just reward.

What then is a Christian teacher, who is entrusted with
the education of youth? He is a man, into whose hands
Christ has committed a number of children whom he has
redeemed with his blood, and for whom he has laid down
his life, in whom he dwells, as in his house and temple ;
whom he considers as his members, as his brethren and
coheirs, of whom he will make so many kings and priests,
who shall reign and serve God with him and by him to all
eternity. And for what end has he committed them to his
care? Is it barely to make them poets, orators, and men
of learning? Who dares presume to say or even to think
so? He has committed them to the master's care in order
to preserve in them the precious and inestimable deposit
of innocence, which he has imprinted in their souls by bap-
tism, in order to make them true Christians. This is the
true end and design of the education of children, to which
all the rest are but means. Now how great and noble an
addition does the office of a master receive from so hon-
orable a commission? But what care, what attention and
vigilance, and above all, how great a dependence upon Christ
does it require 1


There are few men who have exerted a greater influence
upon education than the celebrated French author, Jean
Jacques Rousseau. He was born in Geneva June 28, 1712,
and died at Ermenonville, near Paris, July 2, 1778. As a
child he was very fond of reading, a disposition that was
encouraged by his father; and among other works, many
of which were worthless, he early devoured Bossuet, Ovid,
and Plutarch. " Thus began to be formed within me," he
says, " that heart, at once so proud and so tender, that effem-
inate but yet indomitable character which, ever oscillating
between weakness and courage, between indulgence and vir-
tue, has to the last placed me in contradiction with myself,
and has brought it to pass that abstinence and enjoyment,
pleasure and wisdom, have alike eluded me." In these few
words Rousseau has admirably sketched the main features of
his character.

It is not worth while to follow him through the unimpor-
tant events of his life. His boyhood was characterized by
a singular waywardness ; and in his " Confessions," a work
written with the utmost frankness, he does not attempt to
conceal lying and theft. He ran away from an engraver to
whom he had been apprenticed, and during the remainder of
his life he was a wanderer who enjoyed but temporary sea-
sons of repose. His life was a singular paradox. " Full
of enthusiasm for the beautiful and the good," says a French
writer, " he defended with invincible logic and passionate

PAINTER FED. Ess. 21 321


eloquence the eternal principles of justice and morality, and
he committed the most shameful and culpable acts. This
man, who wrote admirable pages upon domestic affection,
friendship, and gratitude, chose a companion unworthy of
him, placed his children in a foundling hospital, and showed
himself unjust and harsh toward his friends, and ungrate-
ful toward his benefactors."

Rousseau has exerted his influence upon educational de-
velopment through a single work, half treatise and half ro-
mance, to which all subsequent educators Basedow, Pes-
talozzi, Richter, Kant, and even Herbert Spencer have
been more or less indebted. It is, as he himself says, " a
collection of thoughts and observations, without order and
almost without connection." It is entitled " fimile, or con-
cerning Education." In many respects a radical book, it is
flung defiantly in the face of prevalent usage. " Go directly
contrary to custom," he says, " and you will nearly always
be right." The work was condemned by parliament, and to
escape arrest, Rousseau fled to Switzerland. The work
abounds in mingled truth and error, and needs to be read
with great discrimination ; but many of its truths are funda-
mental, and ever since their publication have been gradually
forcing an entrance into educational practice. " Not Rous-
seau's individual rules," says the great German Richter,
" many of which may be erroneous without injury to the
whole, but the spirit of education which fills and animates
the work, has shaken to their foundations and purified all
the schoolrooms, and even the nurseries, in Europe. In
no previous work on education was the ideal so richly and
beautifully combined with actual observation as in his."

Rousseau was largely indebted to his predecessors, es-
pecially to Locke, whom he frequently quotes, but with
whom he does not always agree. The two fundamental
principles which have perhaps exerted the widest influence


are these: I. Nature is to be studied and followed. 2.
Education is an unbroken unity, extending from early child-
hood to maturity. It is true that both these principles had
been advocated by Comenius, but it was through the charm
of Rousseau's work that they made a deep impression
upon the educational thinking of Europe. Along with posi-
tions wholly indefensible, he urges, in admirable style, many
of the reforms that have become commonplaces in the edu-
cation of to-day.

With the intention of following nature, Rousseau carries
fimile, his hero, through five periods of development: the
first embraces his infancy, the second extends to his twelfth
year, the third to his fifteenth, the fourth to his twentieth,
and the fifth includes his marriage. To each of these periods
a book, sufficient for a small volume, is devoted, setting forth
principles and methods in detail. The following extracts
consist of such paragraphs from the different books as will
give a clear and comprehensive view of Rousseau's system of



I. We are born weak, we need strength; we are born
destitute of all things, we need assistance; we are born
stupid, we need judgment. All that we have not at our
birth, and that we need when grown up, is given us by edu-

This education comes to us from nature itself, or from
other men, or from circumstances. The internal develop-
ment of our faculties and of our organs is the education
nature gives us ; the use we are taught to make of this devel-


opment is the education we get from other men ; and what
we learn, by our own experience, about things that interest
us, is the education of circumstances.

2. In the natural order of things, all men being equal, the
vocation common to all is the state of manhood; and who-
ever is well trained for that, cannot fulfil badly any vocation
which depends upon it. Whether my pupil be destined for
the army, the church, or the bar, matters little to me. Be-
fore he can think of adopting the vocation of his parents,
nature calls upon him to be a man. How to live is the
business I wish to teach him. On leaving my hands he will
not, I admit, be a magistrate, a soldier, or a priest ; first of
all. he will be a man. All that a man ought to be he can
be, at need, as well as any one else can. Fortune will in
vain alter his position, for he will always occupy his own.

Our real study is that of the state of man. He among us
who best knows how to bear the good and evil fortunes of
this life is, in my opinion, the best educated ; whence it fol-
lows that true education consists less in precept than in prac-
tice. We begin to instruct ourselves when we begin to live ;
our education commences with the commencement of our
life ; our first teacher is our nurse. For this reason the word
" education " had among the ancients another meaning which
we no longer attach to it; it signified nutriment.

To live is not merely to breathe, it is to act. It is to make
use of our organs, of our senses, of our faculties, of all the
powers which bear witness to us of our own existence. He
who has lived most is not he who has numbered the most
years, but he who has been most truly conscious of what
life is. A man may have himself buried at the age of a
hundred years, who died from the hour of his birth. He
would have gained something by going to his grave in youth,
if up to that time he had only lived.

3. But let mothers only vouchsafe to nourish their chil-


dren, and our manners will reform themselves ; the feelings
of nature will re-awaken in all hearts. The State will be
repeopled; this chief thing, this one thing will bring all the
rest into order again. The attractions of home life present
the best antidote to bad morals. The bustling life of little
children, considered so tiresome, becomes pleasant ; it makes
the father and the mother more necessary to one another,
more dear to one another ; it draws closer between them the
conjugal tie. When the family is sprightly and animated,
domestic cares form the dearest occupation of the wife and
the sweetest recreation of the husband. Thus the correction
of this one abuse would soon result in a general reform;
nature would resume all her rights. When women are once
more true mothers, men will become true fathers and hus-

4. A father, when he brings his children into existence
and supports them, has, in so doing, fulfilled only a third part
of his task. To the human race he owes men; to society,
men fitted for society ; to the State, citizens. Every man who
can pay this triple debt, and does not pay it is a guilty man ;
and if he pays it by halves, he is perhaps more guilty still.
He who cannot fulfil the duties of a father has no right to
be a father. Not poverty, nor severe labor, nor human re-
spect can release him from the duty of supporting his chil-
dren and of educating them himself. Readers, you may be-
lieve my words. I prophesy to any one who has natural feel-
ing and neglects these sacred duties, that he will long shed
bitter tears over this fault, and that for those tears he will
find no consolation.

5. The qualifications of a good tutor are very freely dis-
cussed. The first qualification I should require in him, and
this one presupposes many others, is, that he shall not be
capable of selling himself. There are employments so noble
that we cannot fulfil them for money without showing our-


selves unworthy to fulfill them. Such an employment is
that of a soldier; such a one is that of a teacher. Who,
then, shall educate my child? I have told you already,
yourself. I cannot ! Then make for yourself a friend who
can. I see no other alternative.

A teacher! what a great soul he ought to be! Truly, to
form a man, one must be either himself a father, or else
something more than human. And this is the office you
calmly entrust to hirelings !

6. In this outset of life, while memory and imagination
are still inactive, the child pays attention only to what ac-
tually affects his senses. The first materials of his knowl-
edge are his sensations. If, therefore, these are presented
to him in suitable order, his memory can hereafter present
them to his understanding in the same order. But as he
attends to his sensations only, it will at first suffice to show
him very clearly the connection between these sensations,
and the objects which give rise to them. He is eager to
touch everything, to handle everything. Do not thwart
this restless desire ; it suggests to him a very necessary ap-
prenticeship. It is thus he learns to feel the heat and cold-
ness, hardness and softness, heaviness and lightness of
bodies; to judge of their size, their shape, and all their
sensible qualities, by looking, by touching, by listening;
above all, by comparing the results of sight with those of
touch, estimating with the eye the sensation a thing produces
upon the fingers.


7. Far from taking care that fimile does not hurt himself,
I shall be dissatisfied if he never does, and so grows up
unacquainted with pain. To suffer is the first and most nec-
essary thing for him to learn. Children are little and weak,


apparently that they may learn these important lessons. If
a child fall his whole length, he will not break his leg; if he
strike himself with a stick, he will not break his arm ; if he
lay hold of an edged tool, he does not grasp it tightly, and
will not cut himself very badly.

Our pedantic mania for instructing constantly leads us to
teach children what they can learn far better for themselves,
and to lose sight of what we alone can teach them. Is there
anything more absurd than the pains we take in teaching
them to walk? As if we had ever seen one, who, through
his nurse's negligence, did not know how to walk when

Online LibraryF. V. N. (Franklin Verzelius Newton) PainterGreat pedagogical essays; Plato to Spencer → online text (page 24 of 33)